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History of the Welland Canal
 Wikipedia - Welland Canalhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welland_Canalshapeimage_5_link_0
In the early days of settlement in Canada, in the absence of roads or trails, the lakes and rivers provided a natural and convenient mode of travel. This form of travel was, however, seriously limited by two obstacles, the rapids of the St. Lawrence and the much greater barrier of Niagara Falls. Prior to the construction of the First Welland Canal, the only route from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, which differ in elevation by 326 feet, was by means of a laborious and hazardous portage from Queenston to the Chippawa Creek. 

                                Read more at: www.welland.library.on.cahttp://www.welland.library.on.ca/digital/history.htmshapeimage_6_link_0