Telling my family's stories
Matthew Neary, an Irish immigrant, was the contractor who built the section of the I&M Canal around Aux Sable. His workers, also mostly Irish, earned a dollar a day and lived in shantytowns – hastily built towns of crude wooden shacks– in the Aux Sable area. Some planted gardens to grow their own food, which they may have sold or bartered to their co-workers. Many canal workers were paid in scrip that was redeemable for canal land instead of cash, and a number of them settled in Aux Sable Township after the canal was finished.
History prepared by the Canal Corridor Association