The Lachine Canal stretches from the Old Port of Montreal to Lake Saint-Louis. Between 1825 and the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, it was the preferred route for ships travelling up and down the St Laurence river which wanted to avoid the Lachine Rapids.


Today the canal is a big recreational strip stretching from Lachine to Old Montreal.



View across from old Agmont building.

View of city from Lachine Canal near Atwater has been blocked in many places by new condominiums and apartments.



View across from La Quai des Eclusiers, one of the ugliest projects on the Canal.



Detail from turning bridge.





Jeff Dekzty cruises by on his home made battery powered cycle that runs on a cell phone batttery and solar panels!


Old chimney of a twine factory that once operated at this site




History

In 1670, François de Salignac Fénelon, the superior of the Sulpician Seminary, proposed the digging of a canal between Montréal and Lachine. This initial project did not materialize.  François Dollier de Casson, the superior's successor, reintroduced the idea in 1680, affirming that such a canal would provide water for the mills in Montréal and facilitate shipping towards the "up-country".  Work started in 1689.  The unusually rocky soil slowed construction. An attack on Lachine by the Iroquois, however, put an end to the project.  The work continued in 1700 under the direction of Gédéon de Catalogue who had to abandon it due to lack of funds on the death of Dollier de Casson. 

It was not until the arrival of the British that the Canal would become a reality. The Lachine Canal became a necessity for the Montréal merchants who sought to make their city one of the main hubs of North American trade. Work began in 1821 and was not completed until 1925. The canal included seven locks, with a depth of 1.5 meters. Thirteen bridges spanned the canal.

The first canal enabled the passage of small flat-bottomed sailboats. With the increase in shipping and in tonnage, it had to be enlarged twice the work was carried out from 1843 to 1848 and from 1873 to 1884. 


It was this period of construction and modification of the Lachine Canal had a dramatic effect on the city of Montreal. The canal not only increased shipping, making Montreal one of the largest ports in North America, but also attracted industrialists who were interested in locating along the canal. The canal and the later completion of the Grand Trunk Railway line in 1871, provided the opportunity for city authorities to actively encourage warehouse and factory construction. The banks of the canal made prime locations for factories in need of water—either to provide power to drive their machines and for use in their production process. The government rented industrial lots along the canal and allowed factories to take a certain quantity of water directly from the canal through regulated intakes. The first industries to locate along the canal were flour mills, nail manufacturers, foundries and sawmills and by 1850 the canal was the site of the heaviest concentration of industry in Canada; employing a population of workers estimated to be around two thousand in 1856

In its heyday, just before the great crisis in 1929, nearly 15 000 ships used the canal annually.  However, 30 years later, it would be replaced by the St.  Lawrence Seaway.  Falling into disuse and partially filled in beginning in the 1960s, it was closed to shipping in November 1970. 

Managed by Parks Canada since 1978, the Lachine Canal is widely known for its exceptional, multi-purpose path, which has enabled millions of users to explore an unusual landscape filled with history.  However, the canal is primarily a national historic site whose objective is to bear witness to the importance of shipping, canalization and industrialization in the history of the country's development. 

Since 1997, a mega revitalization project has been undertaken with the purpose of breathing new life into this site.  The various levels of government, community organizations and private businesses will inject several tens of millions of dollars.  These funds will notably be devoted to the presentation of the site's history and to the canal's restoration.  The canal will reopen to pleasure boating in 2002. 
adapted from Lachine Canal National Historic Site of Canada






There are no more Otters in Otter Lake. As a matter of fact, there is no more Otter Lake!


Former site of Otter Lake, now a playground and residential neighborhood.

St Henri Today
St Henri Today

St Henri
St Henri History

Lachine Canal
Lachine Canal

Notre Dame Street
Notre Dame Street

Industrial Buildings
Industrial Buildings

Dominion Textiles
Dominion Textiles

Redpath
Redpath

RCA Victor
RCA Victor

RCA Victor
Art at RCA

Housing
Housing

Back Alleys
Back Alleys

Atwater Market
Atwater Market

Then and Now
Then and Now

Churches
Churches

Rail Transport
Rail Transport

Monuments
Monuments

Doors of StHenri
Doors of St Henri

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