Historic & Heritage Sites
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Third Welland Canal - Summit Lock
Located just 1 km south of the town of Thorold, the Summit Lock of the Third Welland Canal remains a spectacular sight for people hiking in the area. Perhaps the closest thing the Niagara Region has to ancient ruins, the lock hasn't been used for almost 80 years.
When the Third Welland Canal was being built in the 1870s, the design called for a series of 25 locks to be built along its route. Concerned that a flood or other emergency might require that the water flowing into the canal be held back, one special lock was built just south of Lock 25. The summit lock didn't have the ability to lift or lower boats, but contained two massive wooden doors that could be closed in the case of an emergency.
During its years of operation 1881 to 1932 the Summit Lock became a landmark for those traveling the canal, representing either the start of a long day's work navigating the 25 locks or their successful completion, depending on which way the ship was heading.
The summit lock is located in large area of land left mostly unused today. Interestingly the area is dominated by infrastructure associated with the Welland Canals. The channel of the Third Welland Canal can be followed south at this point using the Merritt Trail located on the west side of the channel. The remains of the Second Welland Canal can be seen as a swampy area just west of the Summit Lock, while the current Fourth Welland Canal passes by 100 meters to the east. Lock 25 is mostly buried, but can be located just 50 meters north of the summit lock.
From Hwy 406
Exit Hwy 406 at Beaver Dams Rd. Take Beaverdams Rd east until it ends at Ormand St. Turn right (south) and continue a short distance to find a parking space on the side of the road. Please use caution and do not proceed past the small gate at the end of the road.
Text and photographs on this page were graciously contributed by Matthew Jantz.