Ferry Across the Canal

The Burlington Canal was officially opened July 1, 1826 although not fully completed until 1832. It was welcomed by lake vessels wishing to enter Hamilton Harbor from Lake Ontario, but what about overland traffic along the Beach Strip?

The solution ? A ferry, more like a scow, was put in place to carry horse and wagons, and foot travelers across the canal’s width. The lighthouse keeper, Captain Campbell, was given the job of managing ferry operations.


View from 1890’s or so showing the ferry – probably taken from the railway swing bridge.


The ferry reaching its crossing destination.


Reproduced from a newspaper, the photograph, dated 1893, reportedly shows Captain Campbell – my guess is that he is the man with the crooked leg, leaning on a railing outside of where the horses and wagons were placed. The photo also shows that the ferry was pulled by a rope, no motor on board. The ferry ceased operations about 1896.

Photos courtesy PreVIEW, Local History and Archives, Hamilton Public Library.

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