The Welland Canal was originally constructed in 1829 to link Lake Erie with Lake Ontario and offer ships a safe detour around Niagara Falls. The Welland Ship Canal is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway, that connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean and is used by ships to by-pass Niagara Falls. These ships carry cargo and passengers.
The canal carries about 3,000 ships a year. The canal is longer than two football fields and weighs more than 30,000 tons. The locks are filled and emptied by water flowing downhill from Lake Erie toward Lake Ontario. The St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre is located at Lock 3 (see photo) of the Welland Canal and includes the Welland Canal Viewing Platform, the St. Catharines Museum Exhibition Galleries and Merritt’s Mercantile Gift Shop.