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Friday, December 9, 2022
Exploring Photos with the NOTL Museum: Irrigation systems

We are all patiently waiting for the tasty fruit season to begin in Niagara. We know our unique geography makes this area one of the most important in Canada for the production of tender fruits. Back in the day, some farmers relied heavily on the Niagara River and Lake Ontario to water their crops. Unfortunately, some farmland that was more inland did not have that luxury. So, in the early 20th century, a municipal irrigation system was developed with a series of drains and ditches that zigzag across the rural community of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The system uses the natural northerly slope of the land to provide water to the farmland that was unable to draw from our natural waterways. This photograph shows local men working on one of the first ditches,  known as the Harrison ditch, in the early 1900s. The main Harrison ditch starts on Line 9 and at Line 7 it runs directly north as the road ditch for Concession 3. If you are out for a drive this spring, take a look and see if you can find part of this irrigation system, which is still used today.