Canada Steamship Lines and Rankin Construction donate to Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial

Friday, December 4, 2015

A memorial to honour 137 workers who lost their lives during construction of the fourth Welland Canal is closer to being built thanks to donations from Canada Steamship Lines and Rankin Construction.


The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force Fundraising Chair, Greg Wight is pleased to announce significant donations from Canada Steamship Lines and St. Catharines-based Rankin Construction.  


“I’m very pleased by the support of the marine and construction community towards this project. The Fallen Workers Memorial will be a fitting tribute to the men who lost their lives building the canal that many of us have worked on and travelled through. On behalf of the Task Force, I want to thank CSL and Rankin for their generous contributions to this important project,” stated Mr. Wight.


Through its long history, Canada Steamship Lines, a division of The CSL Group based out of Montreal, has operated ships on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway and around the world. Local observers are familiar with CSL ships that pass through the Welland Ship Canal.


"Canada Steamship Lines and the Great Lakes shipping industry owe an immense debt of gratitude to those who died or were injured during the construction of the Welland Canal. Honoring these fallen workers is an important reminder that safety is the most important priority in any workplace,” stated Allister Paterson, President of Canada Steamship Lines.


St. Catharines-based construction company Rankin Construction, which has worked extensively on the Welland Canal also donated to the memorial.


“Our company does considerable work on the Seaway and Welland Canal and would like to show our respect for our fallen brethren who gave their lives in pursuit of building this engineering marvel,” said Tom Rankin, Chief Executive Officer of Rankin Construction. 


When the fourth Welland Ship Canal was constructed between 1914 and 1932, 137 men died in what is believed to be the largest loss of life on a federal government infrastructure project in Canadian history.


In August 2015 the design for the memorial was revealed and a fundraising campaign began with support from the Department of Canadian Heritage and Algoma Central Corporation. The Task Force is seeking financial support for the memorial from the marine and business community, Niagara community partners and the public. Once fundraising is complete, the memorial will be built in 2017.


“The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial will be a place for families and descendants to honour their loved ones and for all of us in the community and marine industry to reflect on the sacrifices made during construction of the canal that shaped our community and country,” stated Mayor Walter Sendzik, chair of the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force.


The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force is a volunteer group established to finance, design, build and install a memorial to recognize workers who were killed while building the Welland Ship Canal between 1914 and 1932. Members of the Task Force include representation from all Welland Canal communities, Niagara Regional Council, the federal government, the marine industry, local historians, the labour community, and community partner representatives from the Canadian Canal Society, the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre and the Welland Canals Foundation, with administrative and project support provided by the City of St. Catharines.


For more information about the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial or to contribute to the project visit www.stcatharines.ca/FallenWorkersMemorial.


Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force


c/o St. Catharines Mayor's Office


905-688-5601 ext. 1567