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St. Catharines
City of St. Catharines
From top, left to right: The corner of St. Paul and Queen streets, the Silver Spire United Church on St. Paul, a ship traversing the Welland Canal with the Garden City Skyway in the background, the lighthouse of Port Dalhousie, the Arthur Schmon Tower of Brock University, and the gazebo in Montebello Park
From top, left to right: The corner of St. Paul and Queen streets, the Silver Spire United Church on St. Paul, a ship traversing the Welland Canal with the Garden City Skyway in the background, the lighthouse of Port Dalhousie, the Arthur Schmon Tower of Brock University, and the gazebo in Montebello Park
Flag of St. Catharines
Coat of arms of St. Catharines
Coat of arms
Official logo of St. Catharines
The Garden City, St. Kitts, St. Cats, The Kitts
Industry and Liberality
Location of St. Catharines and its census metropolitan area in Ontario
Location of St. Catharines and its census metropolitan area in Ontario
St. Catharines is located in Southern Ontario
St. Catharines
St. Catharines
Location in Southern Ontario
Country Canada
Province Ontario
Region Niagara
Settled 1779; 244 years ago (1779)
Incorporated (town) 1845; 178 years ago (1845)
Incorporated (city) 1876; 147 years ago (1876)
 • Land 96.13 km2 (37.12 sq mi)
 • Urban
378.68 km2 (146.21 sq mi)
 • Metro
1,397.51 km2 (539.58 sq mi)
97.80 m (320.87 ft)
 • City (lower-tier) 133,113 (Ranked 38th)
 • Density 1,384.8/km2 (3,587/sq mi)
 • Urban
309,319 (Ranked 12th)
 • Urban density 816.8/km2 (2,116/sq mi)
 • Metro
406,074 (Ranked 12th)
 • Metro density 280.6/km2 (727/sq mi)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Forward Sortation Area
L2M to L2W
Area code(s) 905, 289, 365, and 742
Highways  Queen Elizabeth Way
 Highway 406
Highway 58
GDP (St. Catharines–Niagara CMA) CA$15.2 billion (2016)
GDP per capita (St. Catharines–Niagara CMA) CA$37,505 (2016)

St. Catharines is the largest city in Canada's Niagara Region and the sixth largest urban area in the province of Ontario. As of 2016, it has an area of 96.13 square kilometres (37.12 sq mi), 133,113 residents, and a metropolitan population of 406,074. It lies in Southern Ontario, 51 kilometres (32 mi) south of Toronto across Lake Ontario, and is 19 kilometres (12 mi) inland from the international boundary with the United States along the Niagara River. It is the northern entrance of the Welland Canal. Residents of St. Catharines are known as St. Cathariners. St. Catharines carries the official nickname "The Garden City" due to its 1,000 acres (4 km2) of parks, gardens, and trails.

St. Catharines is between the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and the Canada–U.S. border at Fort Erie. Manufacturing is the city's dominant industry, as noted by the heraldic motto, "Industry and Liberality". General Motors of Canada, Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of General Motors, was the city's largest employer, a distinction now held by the District School Board of Niagara. THK Rhythm Automotive, formerly TRW, operates a plant in the city, although in recent years, employment there has shifted from heavy industry and manufacturing to services.

St. Catharines lies on one of the main telecommunications backbones between Canada and the United States, and as a result a number of call centres operate in the city. It is designated an Urban Growth Centre by the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, intended to achieve a minimum density target of 150 jobs and residents combined per hectare by 2032 or earlier.

Sister cities


St. Catharines
Year Pop. ±%
1841 3,500 —    
1871 7,864 +124.7%
1881 9,631 +22.5%
1891 9,170 −4.8%
1901 9,946 +8.5%
1911 12,484 +25.5%
1921 19,881 +59.3%
1931 24,753 +24.5%
1941 30,025 +21.3%
1951 37,984 +26.5%
1961 84,472 +122.4%
1971 109,722 +29.9%
1981 124,018 +13.0%
1991 129,300 +4.3%
1996 130,926 +1.3%
2001 129,170 −1.3%
2006 131,989 +2.2%
2011 131,400 −0.4%
2016 133,113 +1.3%
Ethnic Origin [1] Population Percent
English 40,430 31.09%
Scottish 28,645 22.03%
Irish 23,830 18.33%
German 18,450 14.19%
French 15,120 11.63%
Italian 7,820 8.61%
Dutch 7,820 6.17%
Polish 6,940 5.47%
Ukrainian 6,875 5.42%

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, St. Catharines had a population of 136,803 living in 58,903 of its 61,977 total private dwellings, a change of 2.8% from its 2016 population of 133,113. With a land area of 96.2 km2 (37.1 sq mi), it had a population density of 1,422.1/km2 (3,683/sq mi) in 2021.

At the census metropolitan area (CMA) level in the 2021 census, the St. Catharines - Niagara CMA had a population of 433,604 living in 179,224 of its 190,878 total private dwellings, a change of 6.8% from its 2016 population of 406,074. With a land area of 1,397.09 km2 (539.42 sq mi), it had a population density of 310.4/km2 (804/sq mi) in 2021.

As of the 2016 Canadian census, 84.7% of the population is White. Other groups include Black: 2.9%, Indigenous: 2.6%, Chinese: 2.1%, Latin American: 1.7%, and South Asian: 1.4%.

Sports and leisure

Ice hockey

St. Catharines entered into the Ontario Hockey Association Junior 'A' Hockey in 1943 as the St. Catharines Falcons. In 1947, they became the Teepees and were affiliated with the American Hockey League's Buffalo Bisons. When the National Hockey League's (NHL) Chicago Blackhawks made the Bisons their number one farm team, they inherited the Teepees. In the 1960s, the Jr. 'A' team went deeply into debt to the Chicago Black Hawks, but continued as a successful franchise and were named the St. Catharines Black Hawks. The Hamilton Fincups moved to St. Catharines in 1976 and played here for one year before moving back to Hamilton. The AHL St. Catharines Saints played in St. Catharines between 1982 and 1986, before being forced to re-locate to Newmarket due to protests from the NHL Buffalo Sabres. The St. Catharines Saints served as the farm team for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and today are known as the Toronto Marlies.

In 2007, the OHL's Mississauga IceDogs relocated to St. Catharines and became the Niagara IceDogs. The IceDogs played out of the Jack Gatecliff Arena, which was renamed the Gatorade Garden City Complex. In 2014, the IceDogs moved to the newly built Meridian Centre. Since starting out the team has won the Emms Trophy in 2010–2011 & 2018–2019. They have also won the Bobby Orr Trophy during 2011–2012 season and 2015–2016 season, qualifying for the OHL Finals. They would be beaten both times by the London Knights. The team has had numerous NHL alumni including Alex Pietrangelo, Dougie Hamilton, Vince Dunn, Ryan Strome, Akil Thomas and Mark Visentin.

The St. Catharines Falcons play in the Golden Horseshoe Division of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. The team has played since 1968 and plays all home games out of the Jack Gatecliff Arena. The team were runners up for the Sutherland Cup in 1979, 1990, 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2014, but won the cup in 2012.


In 2015, the National Basketball League of Canada announced that Niagara had been awarded a new franchise to play in the Meridian Centre.

The team, named the Niagara River Lions, began play in 2015 where they reached the conference quarterfinals. The team joined the Canadian Elite Basketball League after the 2017–18 season.

In 2021, the River Lions had one of their best seasons, finishing 2nd with a 10-4 record. The River Lions made it through the playoffs into the finals, where they lost 65-101 to the Edmonton Stingers.


The city was the home of the New York–Penn League's St. Catharines Blue Jays, the Short-season A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, from 1986 to 1999. In 1996 the team was renamed the St. Catharines Stompers, and was subsequently sold and relocated to Queens, New York City in late 1999, where they became the Queens Kings.


St. Catharines Tigers RFC was formed in 1978. Beginning in 2015, the Tigers joined the Niagara Wasps RFC and play at their field in Thorold.


The Canadian Soccer League's St. Catharines Wolves are one of the most successful professional soccer teams in Canada, and play at Club Roma in the west-end of the city.


Martindale pond
Martindale Pond next to Martindale Road in St. Catharines, Ontario

Martindale Pond in St. Catharines' Port Dalhousie is the site of the annual Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, a world-class event that brings over 3,000 athletes from various nations to the city. The site hosted the FISA World Rowing Championships in 1970 and in 1999. More recently, the World Master's Rowing Championship was held at the Martindale Pond in the summer of 2010, with $500,000 in improvements to the facility such as: a weed harvester, new docking and a new timing system. There are currently talks to bring the Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame to St. Catharines sometime in the near future. The pond is also home to the St. Catharines rowing club, Brock University rowing club, Ridley College rowing club and to the annual CSSRA Championships, which draws hundreds of high school athletes from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. The Martindale Pond or Henley, continues to hold its world-renowned status as a major rowing venue in the world. The rowing event in the Pan American Games were held in St. Catharines in 2015. Several Olympic medallists in rowing are from St. Catharines, including Melanie Kok, Buffy Williams, and Dave Boyes.


There are marinas at Port Dalhousie and Port Weller and a club that sails from Municipal Beach. The St. Catharines Marina is at Port Weller. The Port Dalhousie Pier Marina and the Port Dalhousie Yacht Club are at Port Dalhousie.

Trail system

Walker's Creek, one of the paths and parks for which St. Catharines is known

The city's trail system offers over 90 kilometres (55 mi) of accessible pathways that are suitable for walking, jogging, cycling, hiking and cross-country skiing.

  • Bruce Trail: Canada's oldest and longest hiking trail, following the Niagara Escarpment (designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve site) from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Tobermory. A 20-kilometre (12 mi) section with associated side trails winds through St. Catharines passing by places such as the Morningstar Mill.
  • Merritt Trail: a segmented 11 km (6.8 mi) trail that passes many of the old sections of the second Welland Canal and remnants of its locks.
  • Terry Fox Fitness Trail: named after Canadian hero Terry Fox, a 1.5 km trail that runs along the former interurban railway right-of-way through central St. Catharines. Placed strategically along the Terry Fox Fitness Trail are six exercise stations of Dynatract Fitness Course, with instruction boards at each station.
  • Waterfront Trail: follows the shore of Lake Ontario, connecting communities from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Brockville. The Port Dalhousie portion of the trail is a major highlight.
  • Welland Canals Parkway: provides an uninterrupted 9-kilometre (5.6 mi) paved path for non-motorized traffic, along the western side of the scenic Welland Canal. It links with the waterfront trails of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Port Colborne, and the Niagara Parkway to create the Greater Niagara Circle Route, measuring approximately 150 kilometres (90 mi). An equestrian trail is on the canal's east side and is part of the parkway.


St. Catharines is home to Brock University (established 1964), a modern comprehensive university on the Niagara Escarpment. A partnership between the university and the Ontario Grape and Wine Industry established the city as a centre for cool-climate grape and wine research. Brock offers an Honours Bachelor of Science in Oenology and Viticulture.

Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, a post graduate institution of the Lutheran Church–Canada, operates on the campus of Brock University.

McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine opened a satellite campus in St. Catharines in September 2008. The Hamilton, Ontario-based university educates 28 first-year medical students in local hospitals within the city.

Ridley College, near the city's downtown core in the Western Hill neighbourhood, is a distinguished co-educational boarding and day school. It was established as a boys' school in 1889, and became co-educational in 1973.

A campus of the Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology is near the city's east end. Niagara College is the only fully licensed teaching winery in Canada. The "Niagara College Teaching Winery" (or NCT for short) has created award-winning wines. Niagara College has also taken home various medals from international wine competitions such as "Cuvee", "The Ontario Wine Awards" and "The Finger Lakes International Competition" to name a few. The school's Horticultural Campus was once on 360 Niagara Street in the 1970s–1990s but has since been relocated to Niagara-on-the-Lake. One of its greatest teachers, R. Roy Forster, was recognized with the Order of Canada on 14 April 1999, for his work in creating the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The District School Board of Niagara (DSBN), responsible for managing a school system of nearly 119 faculties, contains 6 Secondary Schools in the city of St. Catharines, the DSBN Academy, Laura Secord Secondary School, Sir Winston Churchill, Governor Simcoe, St. Catharines Collegiate, and Eden.

The Niagara Catholic District School Board (NCDSB) manages 61 elementary and secondary schools within the Niagara Region and operates 3 Catholic Secondary Schools within the city, Holy Cross, Denis Morris Catholic High School, and Saint Francis.

The St. Catharines Public Library operates four branches in the city.


MTO building St Catharines
The Garden City Tower is the Ministry of Transportation headquarters, with downtown transit terminal at ground level.

The most defining transportation icon of St. Catharines is the Welland Canal, a ship canal that runs 43.4 kilometres (27.0 mi), passing through the city. Four of its locks are within city boundaries. The canal allows shipping vessels to traverse the 99.5-metre (326.5 ft) drop in altitude from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

The main access routes into and out of St. Catharines are served by two major freeways. The Queen Elizabeth Way runs east (at 15-Mile Creek) to west (at Garden City Skyway) and Highway 406 runs north (at QEW) to south (at St. David's Road). Prior to the construction of these freeways, St. Paul Street (former Highway 8, now Regional Road 81) and Hartzel Road (former Highway 58, now a city-maintained street) provided east–west and north–south access to the city.

Public transportation is served by the St. Catharines Transit Commission, which operates bus routes throughout the city and neighbouring Thorold. All major routes converge at the St. Catharines Bus Terminal, which is downtown within the headquarters of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. The central station is also served by Coach Canada, with service to Toronto and Niagara Falls.

Though transportation by rail is becoming increasingly popular, the St. Catharines train station is largely under-utilized, with car and bus travel being the dominant forms of transportation for the city. The station is in its original building, outside the downtown core (because of issues involving the crossing of 12-Mile Creek). It is served daily by Via Rail and Amtrak trains connecting it to Toronto and New York City. The provincial and federal government recently committed $385 million each to GO Transit to aid in the development of their 10-Year Capital Expansion Plan, which includes an expansion bus line servicing the Niagara Region. Currently, regular GO Bus service exists to St. Catharines with a stop at Fairview Mall, allowing riders to travel either west toward Burlington or east toward Niagara Falls. A rail link with GO Transit operates during the summer months with plans for the city to be permanently linked via rail in the future.

St. Catharines/Niagara District Airport services general aviation as well as chartered jetliner flights. The airport is served by charter flights from FlyGTA Airlines and offers charter flights to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Muskoka and Collingwood. It is near the city's east-end in neighbouring Niagara-on-the-Lake. Other airports surrounding the city include Niagara Falls/Niagara South Airport and Niagara Central Dorothy Rungeling Airport. The closest airports in proximity offering long-haul and international flights are John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, Niagara Falls International Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport.

St. Catharines had one of the first interurban electric streetcar routes, which ran between the city and Merritton and was eventually extended to Port Dalhousie in the north and Thorold to the south. Like most streetcar routes throughout the world, it was decommissioned in the 1960s, and the right-of-way has since been converted to parks and trails.

Notable people

Images for kids

See also

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