Tuesday Sites

Coteau-du-lac National Historic Site

For a last Canadian historic site (for now), here are photos from a visit to Coteau-du-lac National Historic Site. This is on the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River, the site of the first lock canal in Canada, plus the remains of a fort . . . and more.

shows a model of a fort with a lock canal and a second, narrow passageway along the curved edge of the shore

This first photo is of a model of the fort. It shows the lock canal and general outlines of the fort as it was in it’s heyday — but also, it shows a canal/passage older than the lock canal which winds around the headway. This is a spot which people have been using for centuries to passage between two lakes on the St. Lawrence.

As you can see from the line(s) of white across the river, there are good reasons for people to want to avoid the rapids here.

One of the facts I found particularly interesting–from talks with the rangers stationed at Coteau-du-lac (I wound up talking to three of them as I made my way around) was that in the 1930s the river level here dropped 30″! It’s still nowhere near as high as it once was, which partly explains why the remains of the canal are so dry.

Most of the fort fell apart over time, and only the foundations remain. One of the key visual marks of the fort is the tower — this is a replica, built as accurately as possible with the exception of location. It’s right next to the original foundation.

Overall, an enjoyable site–and I lucked out with nearly perfect weather for the visit, too!

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