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John Brown and the Welland canals

11:30 AM, Friday 27 May 2022 (20 minutes)

The little we know about John Brown (1809–76) tends to focus on his important contributions to the construction of the Second and Third Welland Canals before his untimely death. Locally, he is also known for the hydraulic cement works he operated in Thorold from the 1840s. But who this Scottish-born stonecutter was or what else he accomplished has tended to be obscured by two factors: a confusingly common name, and dying unmarried and intestate. This remained the case until archival material emerged during the pandemic in 2020: since then, it has been possible to create a more comprehensive picture of a man who was considerably more than his sobriquet ‘John Brown, Contractor, Thorold’. This lecture will provide a summary of other civic works projects including his lighthouses and even his one known piece of domestic architecture, the limestone house Lakeview that overlooked the Niagara Escarpment at Thorold. 

CAHP, City of Thorold
Historian / Heritage Professional
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