William Hamilton Merritt 1793-1862

A pioneer in the field of transportation, Merritt was born in Bedford, New York and settled at Twelve Mile Creek (St. Catharines) with his Loyalist family in 1796. He served with the provincial cavalry during the War of 1812, then operated mercantile and milling enterprises here. Primarily responsible for the construction of the first Welland Canal (1824-33), Merritt worked tirelessly to promote this ambitious venture, both by raising funds and by enlisting government support. During his long tenure in the Legislative Assembly (1832-60), he championed freer trade policies and various transportation projects. In particular, he advocated building a comprehensive system of canals and railways linking inland waters with the ocean, a scheme that foreshadowed the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway over 100 years later.


In Memorial Park, St. Paul Street West, St. Catharines

Region: Niagara Falls and Region

County/District: Regional Municipality of Niagara

Municipality: City of St. Catharines