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St. Catharines, the "Garden City", is located at the Lake Ontario mouth of the Welland Canal. This places it in South-East Ontario, about 20 minutes from Niagara Falls Ontario, and 35 minutes from New York State. Population is about 130,000

St. Catharines is a semi-industrial city, with a history of heavy auto manufacturing, paper production, and of course, shipping. With seven of the Welland Canal's locks within greater St. Catharines, sea-going container ships -must- pass through in order to reach Detroit, Chicago and other cities on the Upper Great Lakes. Major rail/marine interchanges are located within the city, and a GM plant and Abitibi Consolidated, a massive paper concern, are located directly on the waterway.

Both paper and auto manufacturing have taken a major hit in recent years, and St. Catharines teeters on the edge of being a depressed area. Though surrounded by tourist destinations like Port Dalhousie, Niagara on the Lake and Niagara Falls, St. Catharines is not a popular place to visit. The Canals are beautiful in a gritty industrial way, but are not well set up as attractions. (A museum and viewing platform at Lock Three is an exception... though just barely.)

St. Catharines is the home of Brock University, perched at the top of the Niagara Escarpment. Brock has a strong teaching program, and the only oenology and viticulture degree program of which I am aware.

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