My "Mini Rideau"
Evening Skate on the Feeder Canal
This is our first full winter in our Home in the Village of Wainfleet. With the weather being well below 0 for the last week, the Wainfleet Feeder Canal has completely frozen over. I had forgotten about this little "bonus" feature that came with the house. My husband and I have driven 6 hours to Ottawa just to skate the Rideau Canal for a day. Now we pretty much have our own "mini Rideau" 5 minutes out our front door. I have lived in Wainfleet my entire life, yet I've NEVER skated on the Feeder until tonight.
Working on Hockey Skills
We aren't the first to play here. Hockey has been played on the Feeder for years. Love this shot!
We spent some quality family time on the ice tonight. Practicing both our skating and hockey skills, while enjoying the fresh winter air. I took a solo skate down the Canal and started looking at all the houses that stood at the banks. These houses must be some of the oldest houses to exist in Wainfleet. I started thinking about the history I was now skating on. This Canal is what boosted settlement into Wainfleet, the place that now has 6,000 plus residents. The place I call my home, the place where I will raise my son, and the place where I was brought up. "It all exists because of this Canal", I thought to myself.
The Canal in 1918
Me skating in the same spot in 2013!
Being the history buff/nerd that I am. I went home after skating and looked up the Chronicles of Wainfleet Township. According to the the Wainfleet Chronicles, in 1817 Wainfleet only had 17 homes throughout the township. In 1829 the digging of the Feeder Canal began. The construction of the canal brought several labourers who built dwellings for themselves along the banks. My own house was most likely built as a result of this project. The Canal workers even named the village "Marshville", the name that would be used until 1920. The Labourers were paid $13 a month! That's less than I make an hour! Several of them died from disease during the project. However, despite the hardship by August 1829 the Feeder was complete.
November 14, 1928 The Feeder Canal was open for Traffic
Our House sits one road over from the Canal. Our Home was built around the same time period as the Canal.
The Canal has been closed to transportation for years. While its initial purpose is no longer needed, the Wainfleet residents can still make use of it. Whether that be long bike rides along the canal, catching fogs and turtles or even pulling on their skates during the winter months. I have a greater appreciation for all the hard work that went into building the Feeder, for it helped shape Wainfleet into the wonderful place it is today!
The House where I spent my childhood