Federal plans to put in gates and fencing to keep people off the pier locks out a once very populart]

background graphic greenBy Pepper Parr

April 3rd, 2021



While the city is taking a closer look at how to deal with the crowding problem in the Beachway a federal government is looking for ways to limit public access to the piers on both sides of the canal that separates Burlington from Hamilton.

canal two piers

The two piers reach more than 320 metres out into the lake. The federal Transportation wants to fence them off to prevent the public from walking out.

The canal is overseen by the federal department of Transportation; in the words of Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith, “it’s their asset and they get to do whatever they want”.

Burlington’s MP Karina Gould got wind of the Transportation plans – they probably ran what they had in mind past the Minister which got the issue to the city.

The Gazette learned about the plans more by luck than anything else. No direct word from the Minister, the Mayor or the ward Councillor.

We learn now that the idea of putting up fences and gates has been paused. Galbraith believes that it is just a matter of time before the federal people decide this is necessary and just go ahead and build.

canal tour boat

Tour boats made use of the canal and the public got out on them much of the time.

There was a time when those piers were the point at which steam ships that were taking people on tours would tie up and take on passengers.

We believe there are many people in the city who can add to what we know at this point – we would sure like to hear from them.

Governments do respond to pressure – the planned upgrade – it’s actually more of a rebuild – calls for the Beachway community plans for parks that run right up to the canal area.

It will be interesting to hear what the Region tells the city in the fall when they are scheduled to bring the city up to date on where the plans for the “new” Beachway stand.

canal - train bridge

A bridge dedicated to rail traffic into Burlington. At one point there were two tracks leading into the city.

The walking trail that begins at the west end of Spencer Smith Park and goes right up to the canal was once a rail bed for trains that came into Burlington, picked up some of the produce from large farms and took it on in to Toronto and Montreal.  Some of that produce made its way to European cities.

The trains that came through the city had their own exclusive bridge across the canal.  At one point there were three bridges across the canal.  When the Skyway bridge was opened – there was just the one bridge.

canal Royal Hamilton Yacht Club

The Royal Hamilton Yacht Club – a significant point of Hamilton Society

There is a lot of history in that part of the city.  During a walking tour with former Mayor Walter Mulkewhich he pointed out the location for a planned science museum tucked into land close to the western pier.

The Royal Hamilton Yacht Club had a magnificent clubhouse on the western side of the canal.  An impressive stone light house used to serve as a beacon for ships – it is still there, hidden from view by the lift bridge that changed the movement of traffic that used to clog the road that serves as the entrance to the hospital

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8 comments to Federal department plans to put in gates and fencing to keep people off the canal piers

  • Joseph A Gaetan

    So Canalgate then. Pathetic.

  • Judy G

    WHY ??? Did somebody have nothing to do so they thought they would take away our Public pier?

  • g.fraser

    Let’s see what our Minister does??

  • David Brown

    What minion of the nanny state thought it would be a good idea to block public access to the piers? It’s a dumb solution in search of a problem.

  • Claudette B Mancini

    As a youngster, we used to go smelt fishing after dark off the pier. People would line up, with their bickets or nets, and haul in buckets of the tasty little fish. Moms would clean them for frying and we’d have a feast. It was a fun night that everyone concerned looked forward to.

  • Bob Ker

    A beach road resident started a petition that gathered over 2000 signatures from people who objected to the closure. Bob Bratina took that petition to the people that made that decision. Thanks to all the folks involved, the closure has been stopped

    • Phillip Wooster

      Only temporarily–this decision is being “reviewed”. Interpretation: the Liberals will close the pier AFTER the election.

      • Maggie Anne Steiss

        With any luck and some common sense by the public the Liberals won’t get in. Even better would be to see Trudeau and a few others in jail.