Beginnings

The Burgoyne Bridge was opened in 1914 allowing traffic from the west direct access over the Twelve Mile Creek.

The famed Springbank Hotel built in 1864 by Dr. Theophilus Mack was on Yates Street nearby. The hotel, along with the Stephenson and Welland House Hotels gave St. Catharines it reputation as a health spa resort. The Springbank became a private school for boys, The Bishop Ridley College, in 1889 and the wooden structure burned down in 1903. Never fear–it reincarnated itself on the western side of the canal two years later (Robert Shipley, St. Catharines: Garden on the Canal, pp.116-117) and is still as grand as ever.

Dignitaries from the United States and Canada, President Lincoln’s wife Mary Todd, Sir John A. Macdonald and Lord Dufferin were early visitors (Thomas  Owen, Niagara’s Freedom Trail: a guide to African-Canadian history on the Niagara Peninsula, Region Niagara Transit Council, 1995; John Jackson and Sheila Wilson, St. Catharines Canal City, The St. Catharines Standard Ltd., 1992, 163).

A painting of the grand Springbank Hotel can be found in the archives at the St. Catharines Museum (Lock 3).

Many thanks to Greta Hildebrand, Administrator of the RiverBrink Art Museum–Home of the Weir Collection, for the research on St. Catharines Spas. See www.riverbrink.org

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