Who am I?
- I am an engineering graduate of the Royal Military College
- From 1912-1917, I surveyed, designed and supervised the construction of the present Welland Canal, one of Canada’s greatest engineering feats
- My goal was a longer, wider and deeper canal on a shorter north-south route across the escarpment to replace the inefficient outdated one.
- I patterned the famous twinned locks after those of the Panama Canal, a project that likewise entailed daunting engineering requirements.
- I created an artificial harbour at a St. Lawrence Seaway port that bears my name. The community was annexed by the city of St. Catharines in 1961.
- I experienced disappointment as well as success. Although the canal was to have been completed in 1918, the government abruptly suspended construction to concentrate on the war effort.
- I left the public service and moved to Hamilton, where I bought a house on Bay Street South. Work on the canal proceeded at a snail’s pace in my absence.
- I lived to see the canal finally open for navigation, but I died at 80 years of age, only 2 1/2 months before its official inauguration on Aug. 6, 1932.
Who am I?
a) 101 JL Weller (RMC 1883);
b) 109 WG Warner (RMC 1884);
c) 166 CS Cowie (RMC 1887); or
d) 168 WCG Heneker (RMC 1887)
Answer: 101 John Laing Weller (RMC 1883)
John Laing Weller: The Man Who Does Things by Madelein “Peggy” Muntz was copublished by Vanwell Publishing and the St. Catharines Museum in 2008. John Laing Weller, a graduate of the Royal Military College, supervised the surveying, design and construction of the fourth Welland Canal, one of Canada’s greatest engineering feats, starting in 1912. His goal was a longer, wider and deeper canal on a shorter north-south route across the escarpment to replace the inefficient outdated one. The government abruptly suspended construction in favour of supporting the war effort, which delayed the 1918 completion date. Thereafter, largely due to Weller’s moving to Hamilton, work proceeded at a snail’s pace. He did live to see the canal finally open, but died at the age of 80 — just months before its official inauguration in 1932. The community of Port Weller, which was annexed by the city of St. Catharines in 1961 was named for John Laing Weller. To purchase your copy, contact