A Canadian Family

First Nations, French Canadians & Acadians

Happy 5oth Birthday – St-Lawrence Seaway!

When I was growing up in 1950s/1960s Quebec, the St-Lawrence Seaway was considered a great technological triumph. The seaway is 3,700 kilometres long but what is particularly impressive is that it includes a series of 7 mammoth locks that can lift large ocean-going ships hundreds of metres up, so that they can negotiate waterways reaching from Montreal all the way to Lake Ontario. Of course the Seaway is more than just a source of pride to those who built it – as the transportation hub for southern Quebec and Ontario it’s been the linchpin for the economic growth in that area for half a century.

St-Lawrence Seaway 001

The line you see snaking through the lakes is the Canadian/American border – which was quite a loose border when I was growing up. In fact we used to call it “the longest undefended border in the world“.  But that was before 9/11 – and the world has changed since then.

At the lower left hand corner you can see the area where I live – Chateauguay, Quebec. Chateauguay is not named but it borders the Mohawk (Iroquois) community of Caughnawaga. Today it’s called Kahnawake. A little further up you see the town of Candiac. I’m a teacher at St-Lawrence School in Candiac.

To the right bottom of the card you’ll notice the city of Montreal and some of its West Island communities of Verdun, Lachine, Dorval, Pointe Claire and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue.

Lachine is one of the earliest settlements in Quebec. Its name comes from the fact that the earliest French explorers were looking for a quick trade path from Europe through to China and India. They thought that the St-Lawrence River must be a waterway that would bring them to “La Chine”.   Next door to Lachine you see the community of Verdun.

To this day Verdun has many inhabitants of New Brunswick Acadian origin. This is because in the mid twentieth century there was an Acadian priest in the Montreal area (Msgr. Richard) who was concerned that too many Acadians were emigrating to New York and Maine for work and that they would lose their French language and Catholic faith, so he encouraged Acadians to settle in the Verdun/St-Henri area. My Theriaults were among the Acadians who settled in Verdun in the 1940s.

Another town in the area is Dorval which will be familiar to people who’ve arrived in Montreal by plane because it’s the site of Trudeau Airport – which was until recently called Dorval Airport.


Index: Vintage Postcards of Quebec


The St.Lawrence Seaway: Gateway to North America


 St. Lawrence Seaway Maximum Card.

Ships on the River

The Musical Ride Comes To Iroquois

One Tank Trip: Exploring the legacy of a historic shipping route

The Lost Villages, Canada

Map of the St. Lawrence River Canals – 1907

Reverse of St-Lawrence Seaway Postcard

St-Lawrence Seaway Back 001Published by Benjamin news Company, 425 Guy St., Montreal

Plastichrome by Colourpicture Publishers, Inc.

Made in Canada  P25393

Montreal, Ville de l’Exposition Universelle – 1967 – World Exhibition City

Note: Expo 67

July 2, 2009 - Posted by | .


  1. Hi Evelyn! I’m glad you enjoyed my blog post about the Musical Ride. I hope you will be able to see the ride yourself some time. Thanks for the links! Actually, Another River, Another Lock isn’t about the Seaway, it’s about the Rideau Canal, which also runs through our area. Being a history buff, you might enjoy Early Ontario Gravestones ( http://willowhousechronicles.wordpress.com/2009/06/15/bibliophilia-monday-early-ontario-gravestones/) You must have many interesting gravestones in your area, perhaps a bit older than here.
    Also, A Violent End is fun to read, having a bit of history about the seaway (http://willowhousechronicles.wordpress.com/2009/06/22/bibliophilia-monday-a-violent-end/)
    Sheri in Iroquois


    Comment by barefootheart | July 2, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hello Sheri in Iroquois,
    Thanks for the extra info – although your first link is not coming up.
    Yes I am interested in gravestones although most of the ones I’ve “collected” are from my ancestors’ regions in northern New Brunswick and Quebec.
    It’s nice to have met you,
    Evelyn in Montreal


    Comment by evelynyvonnetheriault | July 2, 2009 | Reply

  3. I have one of those cards with both the U.S. and Canadian stamps and first day cancellation. I already looked up some facts. I couldn’t decide whether to post it on the anniversary of the stamps or when you have your “water” topic.


    Comment by postcardy | July 2, 2009 | Reply

  4. What an interesting post. My DH and I want to take the kids into Canada, via Michigan, sometime next year. So much to see!

    I really like the artist style of that postcard. Thanks for sharing.


    Comment by mandalamichelle | July 2, 2009 | Reply

  5. Thank you for another very interesting post!


    Comment by Brenda | July 2, 2009 | Reply

  6. Great postcard!……such great detail.
    And a great post as well….

    Have a beautiful weekend.


    Comment by Robin | July 2, 2009 | Reply

  7. Howdy
    Happy PFF to you .
    Wow this was an awesome post so much fabulous information .
    Thank you so very much for sharing .
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Happy Trails


    Comment by Terry | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  8. I can already sense Lay’s excitement when she opens up this post! Her map collecting postcard heart will certainly beat faster for this one! What interesting info Evelyn! Happy Postcard Friendship Friday:)


    Comment by Marie | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  9. Again a great post. I like the postcard and its pride about the technical achievement of the St. Lawrence Seaway. In Holland with all our dykes and canals, we feel the same pride. In 2006, I visited Montreal for the first time and fell in love with the city. We saw so many beautiful buildings and loved the very friendly atmosphere. Greetings from Amsterdam.


    Comment by Bob of Holland | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  10. WOW!! This is such a great card! I have enjoyed your post so much. I live in Port Colborne, Ontario and we are the last locks the ships go through before heading into Lake Erie. I guess you could say we take this all for granted once the locks open every year, and don’t pay much attention to the ships going through, as we try and scurry around the three bridges to make it to the other side of town to beat the traffic. LOL…But it is amazing the tourists that enjoy watching the ships go through. We have beautiful parks all along the way for them to enjoy the view and at the last bridge is our famous West St. full of unique little shops and tourists. Have you ever been to Port Colborne, it is a beautiful little town?


    Comment by debby | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  11. Hey, I have a map card too on my blog this week. I’ve been to Niagara Falls- does that count as visiting the Seaway?
    My ancestors on my mom’s side were part of the Canada- US migration in the 1800’s. (to Mass.) My mom vaguely remembers her aunts switching from English to French when the gossip got really scandalous (so the kids wouldn’t understand).


    Comment by Viridian | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  12. Just think: you might have been a New Yorker!


    Comment by Chris Overstreet | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  13. That is a card I could covet! 🙂 My sister used to live in Prescott, which caused some confusion and amusement in the family because I had lived in Prescot near Liverpool at the time.


    Comment by Sheila | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  14. Hello everyone and thanks for the comments!
    Chris, actually some of my relatives did become New Yorkers. My paternal grandmother’s people were Legers and many of that branch settled in the Schenectady,N.Y. area. Unfortunately we’ve lost touch with them.
    Debby, I haven’t been to Port Colbourne but I definitely will visit some day. Port Colbourne is indeed a particularly impressive place to see the seaway. I also live next to some important spots including the St-Catherine and the Beauharnois locks.
    Sheila, if you actually do want a card it sounds like Postcardy Lynne has some to spare!


    Comment by evelynyvonnetheriault | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  15. Lovely postcard! Happy PFF!


    Comment by Beth | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  16. I know a Leger; not sure where his family hails from (might be Michigan or Wisconsin), and he moved to Colorado a few months ago so he’s not around to ask. He pronounces it “ledger”.


    Comment by Chris Overstreet | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  17. Thanks for mentioning that, Chris. I’m going to be posting heavily on “my” Legers this summer and I’m hopeful that with the names online someone will eventually make the connection!


    Comment by evelynyvonnetheriault | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  18. Happy PFF, Evelyn! I enjoyed seeing this postcard. that would be a very exciting place to visit when one was a child. My brother and his family just recently moved to Cleveland.. I’ll have to ask him about it. Happy PFF!


    Comment by Margo | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  19. hello friend,
    your blog is wonderful!
    happy PFF


    Comment by Marina Miranda | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  20. What great info on the St. Lawrence Seaway.
    I lived in Mtl for my first 8 years and now I am remarried – to a man whose family still lives in Dorval. We visit several times a year.


    Comment by Beverley Baird | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  21. Looking at my map cards today, I found another one of these cards without the stamps. I have been separating “family” cards from others when I find them, so the biggest surprise is that it was sent to me with a message from my father from Montreal in 1961. I may add the back of the card with the message to yesterday’s post.


    Comment by postcardy | August 16, 2009 | Reply

  22. I like this post card because of the rich color they put in it.
    It reminds me of the old maps of st.Lawrence seaway. This post card is really old I am guessing so that’s my comment.
    Thank you for a great post card.


    Comment by silly billy | September 17, 2009 | Reply

  23. […] Because opening days differ each year, an exact comparison isn’t available. But on Tuesday, the Seaway reported that from opening day March 25 through the end of April, 3.65 million tons of cargo were shipped. That’s up sharply from the 3.1 million tons shipped from last year’s opening day March 31 through April — an 18 percent increase in March and April cargo shipments compared with 2009. (image source) […]


    Pingback by Maritime Monday 214 | May 16, 2010 | Reply

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