Through the Ages: Port Colborne Lighthouses
Entrance To Harbour, Port Colborne, ON.
Entrance To Harbour, Port Colborne, ON. Details
In the early 1830s, the Welland Canal Company chose Gravelly Bay on Lake Erie to be the southern terminus of the Welland Canal. The first lighthouse at the new village of Port Colborne was built in 1833, completed at the same time as the canal through Port Colborne.
Since then, the Welland Canal has gone through four major construction periods. Each of these construction phases created a new version of the canal, designed to accommodate larger and more technically-advanced ships. Each version of the canal also required new breakwalls, piers, and lighthouses to protect the expanded harbours.
Twice, in 1844 and 1889, storms so badly damaged the main lighthouses in Port Colborne that new ones had to be built. Sometimes, implementing new technology meant major changes to existing lighthouses or required new lighthouses: such as concrete construction rather than stone and timber, or more powerful lights and foghorns. Improvements to the lighthouses often happened alongside other harbour improvements. The lighthouses, piers, and breakwaters work together to make the harbour safe for ships.
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