Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about

WELLANDPORT: Busy Shipping centre of a Bygone Era PART 2

[Niagara Farmers’ Monthly  September 1992]

Dr John W. Collver was Wellandport’s resident physician from 1868, until his death in 1912. He was responsible for another of the town’s firsts, introducing lucerne to Canada. The seed , which he imported from Germany, was grown on property owned by another familiar name J.D. Fulsom, at the east end of the village.

Dr. Collver also had a drug store, on the northeast side of the Canborough Rd. and Hwy 57 junction.

Descendant and namesake John Collver and his wife, Dorothy, recently posted a sign, “The Collvers of Wellandport”, with others on display at Watson Lake, Yukon.

One of Dr Collver’s successors, Dr. John Leeds, caused quite a stir in 1933, when he administered the first vaccinations to the pupils at SSNo 1 Caistor. He had the unenviable task of persuading the children to have the dreaded needles, as well as convincing their parents that it was beneficial!


The old businesses began to disappear, victims of time and technology, and the end of the great lumber era. Among them were the cheese box factory, Peter Swartz’ harness boot and shoe shop, Jim Sheldon’s grocery with a crank telephone, and up to eight families on one line. It was closed in 1961, when dial telephones came into service.

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WELLANDPORT: Busy Shipping Centre of a Bygone Era

[Niagara Farmers’ Monthly, August 1992]

By Margaret Comfort

Much of Wellandport’s history may be gleaned from physical evidence, dating back even to prehistoric times. Skeletal remains of two elephant-like mastodons were discovered in the area, indicating that it was once covered with evergreens, the mainstay of their vegetation diet.

The Welland River(Chippawa Creek) was a direct artery in shipping lumber and grain to the United States, narrowly separated from Beaver Creek by a former Indian path. That two-mile long strip of land was called The Narrows by United Empire Loyalists (UEL) who began settling there in the late 1700s.

The two waterways made the location an ideal one for transportation, livestock and personal use, as well as power for the saw and grist mills so vital to progress.

As the community matured, the water source took on a new significance, in combating two major fires within the village itself. Effects of those fires and more recent growth may be traced by comparing the architecture of the buildings along today’s Canborough Road and Highway 57 junction.

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