Welland Canal, ON - Madeline Leblanc

My Watermark is the Welland Canal, Ontario.

The Welland recreational canal has never meant more to me in the past few years than it ever has my entire life. I have always lived in Welland Ontario, but have just recently been taking advantage of this beautiful waterway that we have now. In 2011 I lost two friends to cancer, and wanted to do something about it. In 2012 I bought my first stand up paddle board and in 2013 I came up with the idea of 'On Board' which is now the title of my current fundraiser I have been running for the past three years (this upcoming summer 2017 will be year four). On Board is a 10km SUP ride fundraiser that raises funds for brain cancer research.

The Welland Canal has been a very important body of water for me because it has allowed me to pursue my passion and give back to my community. There is no better feeling than being on a SUP board, and the canal is my home base to do what I love. This body of water is very special to me!

More recently the canal has gained popularity by hosting many dragon boat competitions, scuba diving lessons and even the Pan Am water sport games a couple years ago. My local high school 'Notre Dame' takes advantage of the canal as well by practicing daily on the water for rowing competitions. A wide variety of paddlers, swimmers and fishers use the canal on a daily basis which is what makes this body of water so special. It means a lot to a lot of people.

Currently our municipality is reviewing the 'go quiet ban' on the Canal which has not permitted the use of motorized boats on the canal (March 2017). Basically the city is revisiting the ban, asking for public opinion if boats should be allowed on the canal again. This issue is a big deal for my community because as I have already mentioned, so many people use the canal for different purposes but adding in motorized boats changes everything. It will change how others use the canal, but mostly importantly it will affect the recreational safety of the canal. This is something that definitely will have a huge impact on our community and the body of water we all love so much, I'm curious to see what is going to happen in the near future.

Welland Canal, ON
Claire Lawson
Madeline Leblanc

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