LACHINE CANAL

After four years of construction the original Lachine Canal was finally opened during august of 1825. Built primarily to bypass one of a series of rapids on the St. Lawrence River it was the first of several small canals that would help make Montreal one of North America's most important ports for the flow of goods into and out of the continent.Moreover the ready supply of raw materials from the interior along with cheap water transportation gave rise to many types of industries along its banks.As many as 25000 jobs were created by such industries in the working class area of south central Montreal.But it wasn't until the beginning of the 20th century when the Lachine Canal had been lachine canal enlarged to allow passage of larger ships and the supporting canals on the St. Lawrence had been finished that it came into prominence. For approximately 135 years it served its purpose but finally its inability to handle larger and more modern ships made it obsolete. With the completion of the joint US-CANADA St. Lawrence Seaway opening in 1959 the Lachine Canal was closed down and the ends were filled in. And with it most of the industries along its banks also closed, many of which moved up river to Toronto which was much closer to the demographic center of North America. During the 1970's Parks Canada took over the Lachine Canal and adjacent land and developed it into a cycling ,jogging and walking trail... stretching about 15km from the Old Port of Montreal to the city of Lachine...which in turn connects to other cycling paths extending to the western tip of the island. Although many of the old factories and plants along its shore have been torn down some of the buildings remained solid enough to draw the interest of developers. Determined to maintain the aura of the past the facades of the original structures have been designed into several new condominium projects. Finally in May of 2002 the revitalization was complete with the first boats appearing on the Lachine Canal in over 30 years.

Lachine Canal Photos
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