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The Vanha Vaasa Canal

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The Vanha Vaasa Canal. Far in the background lies the Kingsbarn park. Photo Hanna Kalliomaa.

The Vanha Vaasa Canal runs beside Vanha Vaasa, alongside the Kingsbarn Park, the Mound and Vanha Vaasa hospital. It continues past the Old port area and flows into the Eteläinen Kaupunkiselkä bay in Patteriniemi, Suvilahti. Dredging of the canal was begun in the winter of 2009 and will continue into 2011. Dredging is done from Patteriniemi to the Mound in order to create better preconditions for recreational activities. The Vanha Vaasa Canal is protected under the ancient monument preservation act.

The port of Vaasa had to be relocated in 1640 to the western shore of the Hästholmen island, as it had grown shallow because of the land uplift phenomenon. In 1660, canals started being dug out from the original strait to theedge of the city lots to facilitate boat traffic. During the 1790’s the port had to be once again relocated, this time to the Palosaari strait. Between 1838 and 1845 the Vanha Vaasa Canal was dredged, opening a waterway to the Old port and sea. This was completed as the strait had become virtually unusable due to the land uplift. The canal has been dredged numerous times since construction, so that it can, despite land uplift and overgrowth, at least be used for canoeing today. The latest dredging took place 2009-2011 and there are plans of constructing a trail for recreational purposes on the removed sediments along the eastern bank of the canal, from the Mound to Patteriniemi in Suvilahti. The trail is planned to cross both valuable cultural environments as well as natural forest environments. The canal and its surroundings offer habitats for a variety of plants and wildlife.

The banks of the Vanha Vaasa Canal offer a unique nature trail, which can be experienced both on foot and by canoe. The use of the banks is mainly limited from spring to autumn. Vegetation, nature types and varying species of wildlife, including animals and birds, can be observed throughout the trail. Various landscape features are located along the canal, such as farmlands, meadows, groves and fir dominated mixed forests. Birds species present in the area include the willow warbler, chaffinch, European greenfinch and yellowhammer. By chance, one may also be able to spot a flying squirrel, bat or muskrat.

One of the pipelines across the canal. Photo Hanna Kalliomaa 2010.