Tuesday 22 May 2012


Early on the morning of Wednesday, March 28, 1973, myself and a handful of other people stood on the west bank of the Welland Canal across from Ramey's Bend as the bulk carrier SENNEVILLE approached us from the south heading downbound for Port Cartier, Quebec carrying over a million bushels of barley. Previously at Ramey's Bend ships would turn left or port into the narrow channel that would have ships pass beneath many vehicle and railroad lift bridges through downtown Welland on it way to the flights locks and eventually Lake Ontario.
However on this day the SENNEVILLE kept her course steering dead ahead to become the first commercial ship to enter a new channel that would be known as the Welland Bypass. The new 13.4 km channel was constructed to provide a shorter more direct alignment between Port Robinson and Port Colborne and bypass the city of Welland. Also, to allow vehicles and trains to pass beneath the canal, two tunnels we constructed. The new channel is 330 ft, as compared to the 192 ft width of the old channel.
To commemorate this unique event, later in 1973 I did a pen & ink sketch of the SENNEVILLE, all dressed up in its international maritime signal flags flapping in a light breeze and sailing into the history books and Wikipedia forever. The SENNEVILLE has travelled the channel many times since her first passages almost 40 years ago, but by different names such as ALGOVILLE and more recently known as the TIM S. DOOL.

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