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Shipping Canal: Saint Lawrence Canal

Posted in Shipping Canal - 21 Jun 2021, 3:39 PM

Saint Lawrence Canal, also known as St. Lawrence Seaway, refers to a water channel system stretching across North America, involving the United States and Canada. This canal provides some crucial routes from seagoing vessels aiming to explore the Atlantic Ocean and the oceanic area in both countries. The Great Lakes of North America, Lake Ontario, and Lake Superior are among the inland waters included in the canal’s route.

The canal itself is located along the St. Lawrence River, hence the name. In addition to its historic name, you can find out more facts about this notable canal below.

Brief History of Saint Lawrence Canal

The construction of the Saint Lawrence Canal began in 1954, but its first use as a seaway for North American trades didn’t happen until four years later. History recorded that the four-year period of the canal’s construction process involved more than 22,000 workers. It also used over 6 million yd3 (4.6 million m3) of concrete while moving around 210 million yd3 (161 million m3) of earth and rock.

However, the site where this canal is located has a deeper history long before that. Prior to the official opening of St. Lawrence Seaway, the same water channel was preceded by The Welland Canal from 1824. Unlike the current seaway, the first canal was considered too small for large seagoing vessels despite its four-stage developments until the early 20th century.

The Canal’s Features

Regarded as an engineering wonder in the 20th century, Saint Lawrence Canal provides a total of 15 locks along the area, consisting of 13 locks in Canada and two others in the United States. With an approximate length of 370 miles (596 km), its starting point lies in Port Colborne, Ontario, and ends in Montreal, Quebec.

The first lock of this binational canal is located right after Montreal Harbor. Some popular locks are named after several important figures that have a strong relation to the canal’s construction. Among them are St. Lambert Lock, Cote Sainte Catherine Lock, Beauharnois Lock, Bertrand H. Snell Lock, and Dwight D. Eisenhower Lock. To connect all the locks, the main seaway is supported by five shorter canals, namely South Shore Canal, Beauharnois Canal, Wiley-Dondero Canal, Iroquois Canal, and Welland Canal.

Points of Interest around the Canal

Besides serving as a crucial canal for national, binational, and international trades, Saint Lawrence Canal offers various points of interest to enjoy. Here are some recommended sites to visit around the canal and river shore:

  • Boldt Castle, a Gothic German castle built in the late 19th century by a hotel mogul, George C. Boldt.
  • Antique Boat Museum, a historic waterside site displaying the craft of boat-making as well as numerous traditional wooden boats.
  • Coal Docks, a pleasant seafood restaurant serving heavy and hearty meals, from seafood to steak.
  • Coyote Moon Vineyards, a beautiful vineyard offering a free tour and wine tasting for tourists.

That concludes some interesting things about Saint Lawrence Canal, including the history and facts about the canal’s area. Looking at its channeling route and crucial roles in the oceanic sites of Canada and North America, no wonder this canal has been considered an important seaway for decades.

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