The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Welland and Georgian Bay Canals
The Railway and Marine World (Toronto, ON), April 1911, pp. 379, 381

Full Text

In referring to inland marine transportation in the House of Commons, Mar. 10, the Minister of Railways said. while Canada must of necessity increase her railway facilities, she must not lag behind in keeping her waterways transportation as fully developed as possible. It was a curious coincidence that the Greater the increase in railway traffic the greater the increase in canal and waterbourne traffic. That arose from the fact that the volume of traffic is greater and that the regulating force of the waterways on the rates of railways attracts traffic to those particular routes that are so governed. Following is a statement of tons of freight passed through the various canals during the years 1909 and 1910: —

1909 1910 Increase
Sault Ste. Marie 27,861,245 36,395,687 8,534,442
Welland 2,025,951 2,326,290 300,399
St. Lawrence 2,410,629 2,760,752 350,123
Chambly 752,117 669,299 82,818
Ottawa 336,938 385,261 48,322
Rideau 91,774 134,881 43,107
St. Peter's 78,850 85,951 6,101
Murray 102,291 177,941 75,650
Trent Valley 59,952 46,263 13,699
St. Andrews 8,283 8,283
_______ _______ _______
Total 33,720,748 42,990,608 9,269,860
1901 5,665,259
1910 42,990,608
Increase for 10 years 37,325,349 tons
Equal to 660 per cent

If we are to continue to have this traffic, he went on, we must develop this branch of our transportation system. The figures show that traffic on these waterways has increased more rapidly than the railways, of which they are the regulators, and consequently, if Canada is to maintain her hold on the carrying trade she must be alert to the greater improvement of her waterways.

In connection with the Welland Canal, he gave a detailed description of the present canal and a statement of its total cost, and went on to say that while surveys for improvements had been in progress for some years, it was [p. 381] only within the last two or three years that there had been any great activity shown. Surveys had been made in order to find, it possible, a route for a better and bigger canal, if it is deemed better to build a new one rather than to deepen the old one. He could not define the policy of the Government on this matter, more especially as to the time at which any work would be done, but he could say that three routes had been surveyed, and since Oct. 8, 1910, survey work had been practically confined to the third route, and the location had been determined and plotted on the plan. This route commences at Lake Erie, east of Morgan's point, thence across the marsh to Chippewa Creek, east of Marshville, thence curving to the west an the vicinity of Boyle, through the divide by a deep cut to the rocky gorge on Twenty Mile creek, near Jordan. Borings had been made to rock between Lake Erie and Boyle, and another boring machine was being used in determining the surface of the rock in the gorge between Jordan and Lake Ontario. The starting point on Lake Erie for this route would be several miles from Port Colborne, and he would say, personally, that the advantages of this route would have to be very great to justify the Government in giving up the work done at Port Colborne. Before finality was reached upon the matter the Government would gather the best opinions upon the subject.

It had been stated that the Georgian Bay Canal was the route which should be developed. That project did not come before his department, but he believed that it would be in the interests of Canada from one end to the other to enter upon the construction, not only of the Georgian Bay Canal, but also of a new Welland Canal, at a not very distant date, he believed that no greater interest would accrue from any investment that the people could make than would result from the development of these two waterways.

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April 1911
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Welland and Georgian Bay Canals