Exploring Great Destinations in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada
port dalhousie

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Port Dalhousie, Ontario

Soon after the disbandment of Butlers Rangers in 1796 the Crown granted its loyal subjects land west of the Niagara River. The land closest to the Niagara River was then called Butlersbury after John Butler. However large tracts of land were also granted to other high ranking ex-military.

One such location was at the mouth of the Twelve Mile Creek, which was deeded to Captain Peter Tenbroeck, an officer in Butler's Rangers. In 1796 he received over eight hundred acres of Crown land on what is now Port Dalhousie.

The area was originally quite marshy, due to its close proximity to the creek and lake, however by the 1820’s a small settlement known as Dalhousie was taking shape. It was named after the Earl of Dalhousie, who was Governor-General of Canada from 1820-1828.

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The Lincoln Fabrics building, Port Dalhousie

Eventually "Dalhousie" would become the northern entrance to the Welland Canal, hence gaining the distinction as Port Dalhousie. The entrance to that canal was on the west side of Lakeside Park.

This first canal would follow the course of The Twelve Mile Creek and pass alongside the north-east side of Lock Street and along the back of the Lincoln Fabric building.

Eventually Captain Tenbroeck sold some of his land to Mr. Pawling. By the time the Second Welland Canal was built there were over a dozen homes built on land owned by Nathan Pawling.

Mr. Pawling, who went by the name Squire Pawling, was one of Port Dalhousie's first and most colourful citizens. He was a magistrate, a teacher, a farmer and would serve as councillor for the newly formed village of Port Dalhousie in 1862.

A Scottish shipbuilder named Alexander Muir would build a floating dry dock in 1850 and this ship building business would spur the development within the tiny village.

The Welland Canal also played a pivotal role in the town's prosperity. Since it's inception in 1829 traffic on the canal was increasing at an alarming rate, and because of it's location as a port and shipbuilding centre many sailors would pass their idle time in the taverns and hotels that sprang up to serve them.

A railway, begun in 1853 and completed in 1859 from Port Dalhousie to Port Colborne was built. The terminus for this railway was east of the old canal. This railway would transport tonnes of grain which up until now had been transported by scows.