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Welland Vale is the name given to a small valley located where Welland Ave. crosses 12 Mile Creek today and where William Hamilton Merritt, founder of the original Welland Canal, operated a mill on the creek that runs through the valley. Today Welland Vale is the best place to see the original channel used by the First Welland Canal, and Lock 2 of the Second Welland Canal.
Welland Vale can be considered the birthplace of the Welland Canal. It was here that William Merrit bought a run down sawmill in 1816. When water levels in the creek proved unreliable at ensuring a steady flow of water for the mill, William Merritt happened upon the idea of building a shipping canal that would connect the creek to the Welland River, allow ships to travel to Lake Erie, and provide a steady flow of water to his Mill. The First Welland Canal, built in 1824-1829, followed Twelve Mile Creek along the west edge of the valley. When the Second Welland Canal was built in 1842-1845, a straighter route was built along the east side. Aside from making the canal easier to navigate, the new channel turned Welland Vale into an island and indirectly helped preserve the channel of the first canal.
The Welland Vale property was sold in 1869 and turned into a factory complex known as Welland Vale Manufacturing Industries until it amalgamated with several other factories to become Canada Cycle and Motor Co. in 1899.
See also: Welland Vale Manufacturing Industries page on this website.
TripClip Audio File
Click to play or download Welland Vale: Lock 2, 2nd Welland Canal TripClip (mp3 format)
This destination is also part of the TripClip tour 'Touring the Twelve.'
Exit QEW at Ontario St. Travel south approximately 2 km. Turn right (west) onto Welland Ave and then immediately right onto Welland Vale Rd. Welland Vale refers to the valley area, so once you've reached the bottom of the valley simply look for a suitable parking spot.
See also the Welland Vale Manufacturing Industries page on this website.