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Date:9/17/2014 12:09:47 PM
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part 2
One of the main reasons behind the growth of the Lachine Canal region was the access to hydraulic power which was provided through the deepening of canal in the 1840s. Throughout the mid to late 19th century, industries all along the banks of canal experienced consistent growth through the access to this energy source. However, by the end of the 19th century, factories began to utilize steam powered factories as opposed to hydraulic power. Although this switch did not initially affect the Lachine canal region in a negative manner, factories were no longer dependent on the canal as an energy source. Industries now had the option of building further and further away from the canal itself, which was also helped by the development of a railway system throughout Montreal’s industrial region. However, while the Lachine Canal proved an enormous boom for Montreal and the Province of Quebec, time would show that for Canada's Maritime Provinces, it was the first major nail in that region's economic coffin.The first enlargements took place between 1843 and 1848, under the supervision of Alfred Barrett. Five new locks, each 61 m long, 13.5 m wide and 2.7 m deep replaced the original seven locks. A second enlargement of the canal took place between 1873 and 1885 at which time the locks were lengthened to 82 m and deepened to 4.3 m.The canal continued to operate successfully until around 1950, but now, surrounded by the industrial developments which it helped to create, it could not be expanded further to cope with the continuing increase in vessel size. The canal became obsolete in the second half of the 20th century, being replaced by the St. Lawrence Seaway, which opened in 1959. The canal was finally closed to shipping in 1970. The opening of the Seaway and the decline of shipping on the canal led to the devastation of the neighbourhoods that lined the canal in Montreal's Le Sud-Ouest borough due to shifting patterns of industrial development and shipping.In 2002, the Lachine Canal was reopened as a pleasure boating area, despite environmental concerns about heavy industrial contamination of its bottom, and the banks of the canal were redeveloped. An environmental reclamation project continues to clean up old oil spills. The banks of the canal offer bicycling and roller blading. Parks Canada offers guided tours of the canal by foot, bicycle, and boat during the summer months.
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