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Canadian Canals

Illustrated London News, January 11, 1862

The first canal is about two miles long, through the southern extremity of the island of Montreal; and this avoids the rapids of Lachine.
The next, in order to avoid the Cascades and Cedars Rapids, is much longer, and, unfortunately, it is made on the right or American bank of the river, and only some twelve of fifteen miles distance from the frontier itself. This extends from Beauharnais to Hungry Bay, and is called the Beauharnais Canal.
The next, the Cornwall Canal, extends from Cornwall to Dickenson's Landing, to avoid the Long Sault. Beyond this are short detached canals at Farrand's Point, the Platte, Iroquois, and Galops Rapids.
After these the navigation is clear through the Thousand Islands into Lake Ontario. The tall, wide, three-storied river steamers which ply between Ontario and Montreal go up these canals everyday; and up these canals, too, the gun-boats, sloops, and corvettes must pass to protect the shores and trade of Western Canada. They may do so with ease, since all the locks in these canals are built to pass vessels 186 ft. long, 44 ft. beam, and 9 ft. draught.
Once on the waters of lake Ontario, all our difficulties would be at an end; for at the western extremity of Lake Ontario is the Welland Canal, connecting Port Dalhousie, on Lake Ontario, with Port Colborne, on Lake Erie. The length of this canal is about thirty-five miles, and it passes entirely through British territory. The lock-gates on this are capable of passing vessels of 142 ft. long, 26 ft. beam, and 10 ft. draught. From Lake Erie the River St. Clair leads direct, between Detroit, on the American side, and Chatham, on the Canadian side, into Lake Michigan. Across Lake St. Clair and down the St. Clair River two-thirds of the corn and provision traffic between the States of the Far West and the Atlantic seaboard is carried on, and one or two corvettes on Lake St. Clair would be sufficient to stop it all.
Lake Ontario can be reached from Montreal by the Ottawa and Rideau Canal. This is the longest in Canada or America, about 120 miles in length, running from Ottawa to Kingston. The locks on this accommodate vessels of 100 ft. long, 19 ft. beam, and 5 ft. draught; so that by this route our gun-boats might gain Ontario and Erie, while the corvettes and short frigates came up by the St. Lawrence.
At Sorel, also about twenty miles below Montreal, is a river which leads through the St. Ours Lock and through the Chambly Canal direct on to the head of Lake Champlain. The locks on this canal admit ships of 113 ft. length, 22 ft. beam, and 6 ft. draught; so that by this route also any number of gun-boats might be sent into Lake Champlain.-Times.

TheShipsList | 1862

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