St. Lawrence Seaway

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May 26th 2010
Published: May 29th 2010
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"Papa" getting coffee at a Quebec McDonalds!"Papa" getting coffee at a Quebec McDonalds!"Papa" getting coffee at a Quebec McDonalds!

This picture is for Lucy and Riley because they want to see their "Papa". I miss you both and will seen you soon. Love you.

St. Lawrence Seaway

May 25-26, 2010

Today’s blog will be about the St. Lawrence Seaway but first wanted to say the travel to Montreal was very scenic. I wanted to stop in Montreal but no one told me about the 2-hour traffic jam and just getting into the city would take 3-4 hours. Oh well. Montreal and Quebec are a vacation destination in an of themselves.

Are you ready for some history? When I travel I do a little research into the area that I am going to visit. It is very worthwhile as it gives you a new perspective on what the people are like, their livelihood, and so much more.

When we take a look at the history of the St. Lawrence Seaway, it is filled with lots of interesting “stuff”.

It has a long history beginning in 1680. That’s when 
Dollier de Casson, Superior of the Sulpician Seminary in Montreal, began to try to build a 5 feet deep canal to bypass the Lachine Rapids between Lake St.Louis and Montreal. The amazing piece that the canal was finally completed in 1824. Talk about labor.

The St. Lawrence Seaway opened to navigation in
Unique greenery design near QuebecUnique greenery design near QuebecUnique greenery design near Quebec

I stopped to get an ice cream and came across this unusual design featuring an Indy Formula car.
1959. Construction of the 189-mile stretch of the Seaway between Montreal and Lake Ontario is recognized as one of the most challenging engineering feats in history. Seven locks were built in the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway, five Canadian and two U.S., in order to lift vessels to 246 feet above sea level.

The 28-mile Welland Canal is the fourth version of a waterway link between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, first built in 1829. The present canal was competed in 1932, deepened in the 1950s as part of the Seaway project, and further straightened in 1973. Today its eight locks, all Canadian, lift ships 326 feet over the Niagara Escarpment.

The channels permit ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes as far as Lake Superior.

II did not know this but it’s called Marine Highway “H2O” and runs 2,300 miles between Canada and the U.S.

There are 42 ports (on/off ramps) that connect to real roadways and rail lines that service all of Canada and many portions of the U.S.

The tides are felt along the river all the way to Saint-Pierre Lake, a shallow body of water
St. Joseph Catholic Church in Maskinonge, QBSt. Joseph Catholic Church in Maskinonge, QBSt. Joseph Catholic Church in Maskinonge, QB

It is very easy to find the local Catholic church in the villages. Just look for the steeple.
attached to the St. Lawrence near Trois-Rivières, about 900 miles from the Atlantic Ocean! And why would the changing tide in the distant Atlantic manage to be felt so far inland? Because of the sheer size of the St. Lawrence Estuary. In fact, the tides in the St. Lawrence are stronger than in some seas on the Atlantic.

Another interesting aspect is that with dozens of small villages dotting the Seaway landscape, one can always see rising above the village a church steeple.

I have been told that all churches in Quebec may be struggling with attendance and that the Catholic church is no longer a dominant force in Quebec society. The role of the church was pre-eminent in schools and hospitals, and in every municipality in the province. A village might not have had a town hall, but it had a church steeple. Generations of Quebecers were baptized, married and buried from there.

There are several observation areas along the south side of the seaway that I stopped to take photos. I am always talking to people and trying to find out where they are from.

I met a couple of men from France who
Statue of JesusStatue of JesusStatue of Jesus

Unique statue outside the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Muskinonge, QB
had accompanied their wives for a conference to Quebec and they rented a car and were doing the same thing I was…touring. We had a great time chatting and their English was very good. Eric (see photo) had served in the French military so we had a great conversation. In fact Eric owns a BMW R1200GS so we had a lot in common. They were taking pictures of my BMW and especially my “ADVNTR” license plate.

Well, that’s about it for today. I made it to Plaster Rock, New Brunswick where I spent the night at the Settler’s Inn. It’s a great little hometown motel and the customer service was excellent. The town was formed in 1881 and named for gypsum found in the area, which is used to produce plaster. Now the big employer in town is the sawmill.

It’s a very small town, however, their claim to fame is the World Pond Hockey Championships. It’s an annual international competition that takes place outdoors, on bodies of frozen water, playing the pond hockey variant of ice hockey. Check out their website at

I also had a chance to talk to a high school student and
The Church Steeple leads the wayThe Church Steeple leads the wayThe Church Steeple leads the way

I would say that every village I travelled through in Quebec had a Catholic Church with awesome steeple.
asked what he prefers to speak...French or English. He said French because he was enrolled in a French immersion program for four years where he actually takes all his classes in French. French immersion programs were introduced into Canadian schools in the 1970s to encourage bilingualism across the country. Thirty years later, immersion programs provide an alternative education stream for many students.

Today I will head over to the New Brunswick Coast and hopefully make Prince Edward Island. Until then, thanks for all your comments.


Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway MapGreat Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway Map
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway Map

This map gives you a perspective of how the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway are connected.
Hidden SanctuaryHidden Sanctuary
Hidden Sanctuary

I stopped at a small picnic area to take a break and came across this viewing area for the local birdwatching as well as the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Tourists From GermanyTourists From Germany
Tourists From Germany

Eric Delleniaut (L) and Mohammed Benbrahim pose in front of my BMW. Their wives came to Quebec for a conference and they tagged along. Had a great time talking about our two countries. Eric served in the French Armed Forces.
One can never have enough scenic shots with BMW in the foreground!One can never have enough scenic shots with BMW in the foreground!
One can never have enough scenic shots with BMW in the foreground!

Here the St. Lawrence Seaway is in the background.
St. Lawrence SeawaySt. Lawrence Seaway
St. Lawrence Seaway

I did not know that their is a pretty significant tide up and down the Seaway. Here the tide is out.
Old and NewOld and New
Old and New

The sailboats ranged from ancient to new. I wonder where they have sailed to?
St. Lawrence Seaway ShorelineSt. Lawrence Seaway Shoreline
St. Lawrence Seaway Shoreline

There were many homes up and down the Seaway...some were very old and beautiful.
Riviere du Loup HarborRiviere du Loup Harbor
Riviere du Loup Harbor

This is where you can catch the ferry to the north side of the Seaway...takes about one hour.
Settler's Inn in Pleasant RockSettler's Inn in Pleasant Rock
Settler's Inn in Pleasant Rock

If you are passing through Plaster Rock, they serve the best supper and breakfast. Home town cooking.

29th May 2010

Great History Lesson
Hi Rob, This blog is really great. Not only for its history lesson but for its pictures and travel update. Keep them coming. Sorry I missed your going away blast in Bismarck. When I last talked to you I had forgotten that my brother Tom from Fargo was in town for the night for a mini family get-together. Safe Travels.....Vern
31st May 2010

Hi Rob, Love the history lessons, when I get free time in the winter I usually pick up some books on American History, great stuff, I've learned more since being out of school than I did when I was in school. Hope you have awesome travel today, Memorial Day, thanks for your many years of service, stay safe. Steve W. (Grand Rapids, not ND Steve W., I'm never sure if people keep us straight on FB etc.)
31st May 2010

You're inspiring me.
I think after this I may need to be searching for 2 motorcycles, a Road Glide and a BMW... Great to read about your trip!

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