Parks Canada

Parks Canada

August 20, 2009 11:00 ET

Saint-Ours Canal: A Vital International Trade Waterway for More Than a Century

Government of Canada celebrates the national historic significance of Saint-Ours Canal

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Aug. 20, 2009) - On behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Andree Champagne, Senator, today unveiled a plaque commemorating the national historic significance of the Saint-Ours Canal.

"With the increase of pleasure boating, Saint-Ours Canal has become an area known for its recreational qualities as well as its heritage value. Today, this historic canal is a popular site for visitors, who come to enjoy its peaceful countryside personality, relax, picnic or fish. I am proud to represent the Government of Canada at this event underlining the important role played by this site in our country's history," said Senator Champagne.

Opened in 1849, this canal was an integral part of the vast network of navigable waterways built in Canada in the 19th century. Its lock and dam, along with the Chambly Canal upstream, allowed boats to navigate the Richelieu from the St. Lawrence to Lake Champlain, providing access to the Hudson River thus linking Montreal to New York City. At first, the canal played an important economic role by facilitating the export of goods, such as agricultural and forestry products, in exchange for American coal. During the 20th century, commercial navigation on the canal gradually gave way to pleasure boating.

"Saint-Ours Canal, with its ingenious lock and dam, is a key element of Canada's national system of historic canals. Thanks to this canal, the seaworthiness of the Richelieu River was greatly improved. As well, it's interesting to note that exactly 400 years ago, Samuel de Champlain traveled through Saint-Ours during its exploration of the Richelieu," said Minister Prentice.

On behalf of the people of Canada, Parks Canada manages a nation-wide network of national historic sites that commemorate persons, places and events that have shaped Canada's history and which offer visitors the opportunity for real and inspiring discovery.

Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of the Environment about the national historic significance of persons, places and events that have marked Canada's history. The presentation of a commemorative plaque represents official recognition of their historic value to the country.

(Also posted on the Internet at in the Media Room)

Contact Information

  • Parks Canada - Quebec
    Melissa Larose
    Communications Advisor