In 1832, the original widening and deepening of the Burlington
Bay Canal was finished. The canal was the first public work
ever undertaken with the backing of a provincial government
and was one of a series of waterways designed to provide
uninterrupted navigation from Lake Erie to the Atlantic Ocean.
Eighty years later, while Dofasco was pouring its first heats of
steel, there were many other burgeoning industries anchoring
themselves along the shores of Hamilton Harbour, including
many that were poised to supply and support the steel mills.
To respond to this emergence of industry, The Hamilton
Harbour Commissioners was established in 1912. By
establishing a Harbour Commission controlled by the federal
government, the city became eligible for federal funds
to develop the port. A 1919 master plan envisioned the
creation of a vast industrial area in the eastern port, through
a program of infilling and land reclamation. Rail lines would be
consolidated to serve industry. The beach strip would become
a residential area crisscrossed with lagoons and bridges—
resembling similar development at Venice Beach California.
The Welland Ship Canal, completed in 1932, brought a big
boost in shipping to Hamilton industry. Anticipating larger
Great Lakes vessels and ocean freighters, the Commissioners
had already widened and deepened the canal. When the St.
Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, the first ship travelling up
the new system berthed in Hamilton.
Port of call: Hamilton