The Canal du Centre is a canal in Belgium, which, with other canals, links the waterways of the Meuse and Scheldt rivers. It has a total length of 20.9 km (13.0 miles). It connects the artificial lake Grand Large near Nimy, with the Brussels–Charleroi Canal near Seneffe.
The canal begins in the west at Mons, and passes through the towns of Nimy, Obourg, Ville-sur-Haine, and Thieu. This section is 15 km (9.3 miles) long, and has a relief of 23.26 metres (76.3 feet). The canal climbs by means of six locks. There are five locks with a relief of 4.2 m (14 feet), and a final lock with a relief of 2.26 m (7 ft 5 in) at Thieu.
The next section of the original canal route between Thieu and Houdeng-Gœgnies climbs 66 metres (217 feet) over a distance of 6,790 m (22,280 feet), which is too steep a climb for canal locks. Therefore, this section contains four hydraulic boat lifts, dating from 1888 to 1917, which are now on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The Strépy-Thieu boat lift lies on a branch of the Canal du Centre in the municipality of Le Rœulx, Hainaut, Belgium. With a height difference of 73.15 metres (240.0 ft) between the upstream and downstream reaches, it was the tallest boat lift in the world upon its completion, and remained so until the Three Gorges Dam ship lift in China was completed in January 2016.