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Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 8

The Canals of Canada

by John P. Heisler


Canals have played an important part in the economic and social development of Canada. Undertaken but never completed during the French regime, they were begun soon after 1760 and reached the peak of their development and use during the mid-19th century. The financing and construction of canals to improve navigation on the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes; the Rideau Canal constituting a waterway between the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence, and the canals communicating with the American waterway system of New York state are discussed in detail. Several waterways were proposed and some actually constructed in the Maritimes and in the West. Part of this deep waterway system culminated in the St. Lawrence Seaway, a successful venture in international cooperation.

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