Welland | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Welland, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1917, population 52,293 (2016 census), 50,631 (2011 census). The city of Welland is located on the Niagara Peninsula, 24 km south of St. Catharines. It is named after the Welland River.

Settlement and Development

Welland grew up where the Welland Canal crossed the Welland River. It was the seat of Welland County from 1856 until a regional government was established in 1970. After 1900, Welland’s canal and railway were supplemented by hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls and DeCew Falls. Following these developments, Welland experienced extensive industrial growth and large-scale immigration from eastern and southern Europe.


In 1973, an improved bypass channel for the Welland Canal was constructed on the east side of the city. This was to be the first section of a fifth Welland Canal, but the remainder of the project was never completed because of a drop in canal traffic. The abandoned channel through the centre of the city has become a recreational waterway.

Manufacturing firms employ a large percentage of city residents. A major office of the Canadian Tire Corporation is another major employer.


Welland is home to a campus of Niagara College Canada, and is the centre of French education and culture in the Niagara region.

Further Reading