St. Catharines History – Principal City Within the Niagara Region
Starting the year 1845, St. Catharines had begun to build it’s reputation as an established area, fitted with a railway system that connected it’s southern neighboring town’s Welland and Port Colborne and traveled as far west as Hamilton, Ontario. However, more known for it’s locking canal system and hydro-electric power stations, the 1900s in St. Catharines became grossly recognized for its innovation and vastly growing manufacturing industry.
Prior to the booming era, St. Catharines was built from six different wards, quickly reduced down to three in 1854; St. George’s, St. Paul’s, and St. Thomas’. Recognized as the ‘Garden City’ based on it’s beautiful location surrounding vast agriculture and gardens, these areas gained popularity an were again renamed in 1894 to St. Andrew’s, St. George’s, and St. Patrick’.
With urbanization on the horizon, the first street was paved in 1905 and along with it brought the introduction of the automobile, bringing the city an improved standard of living, accommodating the many families and businessmen inhabiting the now very populated town, now know as the principal city within the Niagara Region. In 1911, the recorded population reached just over 12,400 citizens which more than doubled to 24,700 within the next 20 years. The cities demand called for further expansion of the Welland canal, building it’s fourth connection by 1931, along with connecting bridges making pass-ways across the developed waterways. Bridges and paved roads allowed for easier transportation and continued to move St. Catharines towards an urbanized community. The year 1940 was monumental for infrastructure across Canada and The U.S. as St. Catharines played a considerable role in the development of The Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), the first four lane divided highway in all of North America.