2029 Historic Welland Canals Task Force

The 2029 Historic Welland Canals Task Force will be responsible for developing an interpretive plan to commemorate the history of the first and second Welland Canals and recognize significant milestones in the construction and operation of the historic first and second Welland Canals.


The Task Force will meet monthly, or as required, at the discretion of the Chair until the completion of the project. For a schedule of upcoming meetings view our meeting calendar. You can read our agendas and minutes to stay informed.

Our purpose

The 2029 Historic Welland Canals Task Force was established to:

  • Work in partnership with the Heritage Advisory Committee, Transportation Advisory Committee and any other related committees to identify opportunities to showcase the historic First and Second Welland Canals in the development of the trail system.

  • Create an overall plan on how to better showcase the remains of the historic First and Second Welland Canals, including both current exposed and buried locks, wayfinding signs, public art, look out points, etc.

  • Liaise with other community groups, to be identified, which are currently working to attain national historical status for the First Welland Canal.

  • Identify the historical value and explore opportunities to map the ultimate state of the historical assets of the First and Second Welland Canals.

  • Explore alternate funding opportunities, including but not limited to, sponsorship, fundraising and grants.

  • Identify a strategy for the long-term conservation of Canal-related infrastructure to ensure that remnants (both above and below ground) can be enjoyed for future generations.

  • Identify policies that may be included in the Official Plan that will allow for the longterm conservation of Canal-related infrastructure.

  • Identify opportunities for commemorative events and activities surrounding three distinct historic dates:

1) 1824 – the signing of the charter to incorporate the Welland Canal Company.
2) 1829 – the first season ships transited a part of the First Welland Canal.
3) 1833 – the full opening of the First Welland Canal to Gravelly Bay.


The 2029 Historic Welland Canals Task Force will operate until the interpretative plan is approved by Council. The members of the task force are:

  • TBD, resident of St. Catharines
  • TBD, resident of St. Catharines
  • TBD, resident of St. Catharines
  • Brian Narhi and Lorraine Giroux – co-representatives, Heritage Advisory Committee
  • TBD – representative, Public Art Advisory Committee
  • Professor Daniel Samson – representative from Brock University
  • Colleen Beard – noted expert on Welland Canal history 
  • Councillor Lori Littleton – Merritton Ward Councillor
  • Councillor Greg Miller – Merritton Ward Councillor
  • Councillor Carlos Garcia – City Council representative
  • Councillor Karrie Porter – City Council representative 


The Task Force shall be comprised of up to 11 members as follows:

  • Three residents of St. Catharines (3)
  • One representative of the Heritage Advisory Committee (1)
  • One noted expert on Welland Canal history (1)
  • One representative from Brock University with knowledge of the history of the Welland Canal (1)
  • One representative of the Public Art Advisory Committee (1)
  • Two Merritton City Council members (2)
  • Two additional City Council members (2)

Reporting structure

The Task Force reports directly to the Cultural Sustainability Committee. Coordination with other advisory bodies may be required, depending on the Task Force recommendations. Administrative support to the Task Force shall be provided by Community Recreation and Culture Services which shall assign a Secretary to the Committee. Additional staff resources will be provided, as required from time to time.