Hello and welcome to this visit of the Lachine Canal. My name is Chantal and I will be your guide today.

First, can anyone tell me in which year the canal was opened?

It was in 1825. After being closed to maritime traffic in 1970, the canal was reopened to recreational boating in 2002.

Why did they build a canal at this location?

That’s a very good question. The Lachine Canal was built to bypass the rapids on the St. Lawrence River near the west end of the island of Montréal. These rapids prevent boats from travelling upstream of Montréal.

Why do you think people once wanted to travel further up the St. Lawrence by boat?

Do you remember the other province that existed at the time, which is now called Ontario? That’s right, Upper Canada.

At the time, many English immigrants had settled in Upper Canada. Farming quickly became important and people wanted to export commodities such as wheat.

It therefore became necessary to build a canal to facilitate the transport of goods. The merchants and government of Lower Canada decided to pay for the construction of the Lachine Canal. It was just one canal in a network of canals that allowed boats to reach the towns of the Great Lakes Region.

View of the Lachine Canal near Montreal and its port area.

Several industries also sprang up along the banks of the Lachine Canal in Montréal because it was easy to ship goods from there. The canal area became an important industrial area in the 19th century. The canal’s water power was also used to operate mills.

Author: Léon Robichaud, text updated by the Service national du RÉCIT en univers social

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