Canal a Canal b
The two pictures here are of Lock 13 of the first Welland Canal, looking to the south and north respectively.

I get an odd feeling when I think about this place. Around 1830, the equivalent of millions of dollars was put into building the canal. People lost their lives in the construction; there were labor disputes; at one point, there was even a bomb. It became a commercial artery, through which commerce flowed north and south between the Great Lakes, and what’s now the downtown of the city of St. Catharines rose up because of it.

But, after a while, a new canal route was dug a couple of miles to the east… and now the original canal is little more than a drainage creek with a modest nature trail. It’s more an obstacle than anything – you can see how people have shoved pipes from one side to the other to carry more important things.

As I walk along that trail, and look at what remains of the original locks, I can’t help but think of things I don’t usually think of. So much effort and energy put into something considered so important… now entirely forgotten. A once-thriving piece of industrial infrastructure; now little more than another of those near-forgotten, in-between spaces lost between the things people do pay attention to these days.

The emotion inspired in me isn’t quite nostalgia, nor is it quite melancholy, though it partakes of both. There’s probably a German word for it, but I don’t know what it is.

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