History of the Piers


  • The piers consist of timber cribs filled with rock and a concrete mass on top.
    – The original concrete decks were added in the 1900s
    – The West Pier is 600m and the East Pier is 700m
  • The Piers were originally constructed in 1840s as the northern terminus of the Second Welland Canal.
  • The channel was made deeper for the Third Welland Canal and the piers were likely rebuilt in the 1870s.
  • Since 1990/1991, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has spent close to $2 million at Port Dalhousie.
    • This includes approximately $1.5 million between 1992 and 1994 to address major structural deficiencies that had been identified further to a comprehensive condition assessment.
  • Various concrete deck repairs and rehabilitations have also taken place over past 30 years


April 2015

  • In the interest of public safety, sections of the East and West piers at the Port Dalhousie Harbour are closed to vessel, vehicular and pedestrian traffic by the DFO.


West Pier:

  • A barricade prohibiting pedestrian access is erected approximately 250m from the shore.
  • Vehicle access and mooring for vessels is limited until further notice.

East Pier:

  • A barricade prohibiting pedestrian access is erected starting at the lighthouse.
  • Vehicle access and mooring for vessels is limited until further notice.
  • The decision to limit access to the Piers was made by the DFO following the receipt of a Condition and Structural Evaluation report that was commissioned in late 2014. The Report recommends the restrictions based on evidence of substantial damage to the substructure of the Piers.

May 2015

  • A side-scan sonar survey of the East and West Piers is completed and reveals further degradation to the substructure than initially anticipated.
  • The DFO receives a Repair Analysis Report, which outlines three possible methodologies to remediate the piers.
  • Temporary repair options are explored, but none could be completed in a manner that ensures public safety.

Fall/Winter 2015

  • A hydraulic analysis on the impact of all the rehabilitation methodologies is completed and determines that all are feasible.
  • The DFO contracted an engineering investigation on the remainder of its infrastructure in the river system, which recommends:
    • Restricting vehicular access within six metres of the walls of the Lakeside Park Wharf and Southwest Wall, and
    • Repairing the East Concrete Wall, which supports the fueling station operated by the Port Dalhousie Yacht Club.

February/ March 2016

  • The DFO hosts briefings for local media and City staff that outline:
    • The barricaded portions of both the east and west piers will remain closed to the public as long as they pose a safety risk.
    • The results of the hydraulic study.
    • The results of the engineering investigation on the remainder of the site, including recommendations.

May 2016

  • The DFO hosts a public open house to advise the public on the status of the Port Dalhousie Small Craft Harbour, including a detailed explanation of the three repair methodologies.

June and July 2016

  • City staff performs public consultations – online and in-person – to determine the public’s vision for the future of the piers.
  • Consultations were held from June 28 until July 17.
  • More than 1,100 surveys were completed over this span.

September 2016

  • Staff report is prepared outlining the City’s preferred repair options for the Port Dalhousie Piers.

April 2017

  • Due to high water levels temporary fencing is installed along the east and west piers.

September 2017

  • Temporary fencing installed along the east and west piers is removed.

October 2017

  • St. Catharines City Council passes motion reaffirming interest to negotiate transfer of ownership and responsibility of the piers from the DFO, contingent on funding for repairs.