Fallen Workers Memorial receives support from marine industry

The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force is pleased to receive donations of C$25,000 each from Hamilton-based marine companies McKeil Marine and Heddle Marine Service.

The memorial will be built to honor 137 workers whose lives were lost during construction of the fourth Welland Canal. Fundraising Chair Greg Wight is grateful to receive support from the marine industry in recognition of the importance the canal system has played in the growth and development of the marine industry.

The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force is pleased to receive donations of C$25,000 each from Hamilton-based marine companies McKeil Marine and Heddle Marine Service.

The memorial will be built to honor 137 workers whose lives were lost during construction of the fourth Welland Canal. Fundraising Chair Greg Wight is grateful to receive support from the marine industry in recognition of the importance the canal system has played in the growth and development of the marine industry.

“I’m very pleased by the response from the marine industry for this project. The memorial will be a special place for those of us in the industry to recognize the hard work and sacrifice of the workers who built the canal where ships connect the Niagara-Hamilton region to the world,” said Wight. “Thank you to McKeil Marine and Heddle Marine Service for their support and generous contributions to the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial.”

McKeil Marine is a family-owned and -operated marine service provider that has been operating in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway, the Canadian East Coast and Arctic since 1956.

“The Welland Canal has and continues to play a vital role in our daily operations. We are forever grateful to those who built the canal system and we are honored to pay tribute to the 137 workers who lost their lives while building it,” said Blair McKeil, Chairman & CEO McKeil Marine Limited.

“Supporting the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial is not only the right thing to do, it is something that our crew feel very passionate about,” said Steve Fletcher, President McKeil Marine Limited.

Heddle Marine Service is a marine repair firm based in the Port of Hamilton. A growing company, Heddle Marine operates a full ship repair yard and floating drydocks to service various sizes of marine vessels.

“Heddle Marine Service is honored to support the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial and show our respect for all of the lives lost during the construction of the fourth Welland Canal,” said Rick Heddle, President, Heddle Marine Service.

Mayor Walter Sendzik, Chair of the task force, also thanked the companies for contributing to the memorial.

“On behalf of the task force, thank you to McKeil Marine and Heddle Marine Service for generously donating to help build the memorial. The marine industry is an important part of our history, our development as a region and continues to be a vital part of our local economy today. Thank you for your support,” said Mayor Sendzik.

When the fourth Welland Ship Canal was constructed between 1914 and 1932, 137 men died in what is believed to be the largest loss of life on a federal government infrastructure project in Canadian history.

In August 2015 the design for the memorial was revealed and a fundraising campaign began with support from the Department of Canadian Heritage and Algoma Central Corporation. The task force is seeking financial support for the memorial from the marine and business community, Niagara community partners and the public. Once fundraising is complete, the memorial will be built in 2017.

The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force is a volunteer group established to finance, design, build and install a memorial to recognize workers who died while building the Welland Ship Canal between 1914 and 1932. Members of the task force include representatives from all Welland Canal communities, Niagara Regional Council, the federal government, the marine industry, local historians, the labor community and community partner representatives from the Canadian Canal Society, the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre and the Welland Canals Foundation, with administrative and project support provided by the City of St. Catharines.

For more information about the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial or to contribute to the project click here.

Maritime Editorial