On May 11, 1914, the Duke of Connaught (also known as Prince Arthur) and his daughter, Princess Patricia, visited St. Catharines. The Duke was the Governor-General of Canada at the time. A substantial part of their visit was devoted to a tour of the construction of the Welland Ship Canal. Construction had only begun on the canal a year before the Duke's visit and did not open until 1932. But it was an enormous project and of great importance to the economy. The Duke noted in his address early in the day that "I am looking forward with the greatest interest to my visit to the Welland Ship Canal this afternoon. Not only is this undertaking an engineering feat of the first importance, but it will mean a great increased commerce and prosperity to thousands of Canadians in which the inhabitants of St. Catharines will receive a very generous share".
The Duke was given an illustrated historical sketch of the Welland Canal, presented to him by Miss Catherine Welland Merritt, granddaughter of William Hamilton Merritt, and Miss Marjorie Weller, daughter of the chief engineer of the Welland Ship Canal at that time. A detailed itinerary of the tour, including the stops made by the party, can be found in the Brock University Archives. The programme also includes detailed maps, diagrams, and the historical sketch of the Welland Canal. The map below shows some of the destinations on the tour according to the programme. The pages that follow provide more details on each individual stop and which parts of the canal were observed.