Department of Railways and Canals : Records related to Welland Canal
Available reels: 22
- Canada. Dept. of Railways and Canals.
- Department of Railways and Canals : Records related to Welland Canal
RG 43 C VI
- Document source
- Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
The Department of Railways and Canals is a former department of the Government of Canada. It had responsibility for the construction, operation, and maintenance of federal government-owned railways, as well as the operational responsibility for canals in Canada. The department was created in 1879 by transferring several existing government operations, namely the Railway Branch of the Department of Public Works, and the operational responsibilities for canals which were administered by the government's Office of the Chief Engineer. These components were reorganized into the Railway Branch and the Canal Branch, respectively. The Railway Branch was responsible for administering to the federally owned railways, namely the Intercolonial Railway of Canada and the Prince Edward Island Railway (at the time of the department's creation). The branch also provided a program of financial assistance to encourage new railway construction in the country. The Canal Branch administered Canada's canal system and undertook new construction as required. One of the most powerful departments in early Canadian governments, it was amalgamated with the Department of Marine and the Civil Aviation Branch of the Department of National Defence in 1936 to form the Department of Transport.
The Welland Canal is a ship canal in Ontario, connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Legislation passed in 1824 incorporated the Welland Canal Company and the first sod was turned on November 30, 1824, by company president George Keefer. There have been various iterations of the canal since this date. The canal opened a lifeline of trade and commerce to inland North America, and many communities along the canal owe their urban form and industrial development to the canal.
This collection consists of records created and maintained by the Department of Railways and Canals relating to the Welland Canal. The collection includes records created by the Paymaster, the Overseer of the Dunnville Feeder Canal, the Superintending Engineer, the engineer in charge, and other members of the canal's engineering staff.