26 June

Queen and President Open St. Lawrence Seaway

An outstanding example of co-operation between Canada and the United States is the St. Lawrence Seaway which was officially opened on June 26, 1959, by Queen Elizabeth for Canada, and President Eisenhower for the United States.

The St. Lawrence Seaway is a canal 191 miles long, enabling large ocean freighters to travel from the Atlantic to Lake Ontario and then continue to Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, using other canals that had already been built. The Seaway is also an important source of electric power, generated by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario and the Power Authority of the State of New York.

Canada had done a great deal of work on a seaway before the building of the present canal began in 1954. The first canal past the Lachine Rapids above Montreal was built in 1700, and was enlarged in 1821. About that time Canada and the States began talking about building something bigger and better. The Americans were never able to co-operate, and Canada kept enlarging the waterway through Lake Ontario. By 1883 the canal had a depth of 14 feet. Another integral part of the waterway through to Lake Erie was the Welland Canal, by-passing Niagara Falls.

In 1932, it looked at though the dream of attracting ocean-going ships into the Great Lakes was becoming a reality when Canada and the States signed the St. Lawrence Deep Waterway Treaty. However, strong railway, shipping and other interests in the States opposed it, and the Senate would not pass the bill.

Finally, in 1952, Canada decided to "go it alone" and build a deepwater seaway entirely in Canadian territory. This decision led Congress to take swift action and the Seaway was built as a joint venture. As Canada had already spent millions of dollars on the St. Lawrence and Welland Canal, the States spent a larger share on the cost of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The control dam required by the power project flooded a large area between Cornwall and Iroquois, and necessitated the removal of entire communities. New homes had to be provided for 6,500 people; 40 miles of the C.N.R. had to be rerouted, and Highway 2 relocated. Many improvements were made, including the creation of Upper Canada Village in Crysler's Farm Battlefield Park, now a popular tourist attraction.


26 June

-1604    De Monts and Pontgravé established the first settlement in Acadia, with Champlain as a member of the group.

-1721    The James Napper expedition to find the Northwest Passage sailed from Fort York, Hudson Bay, and was lost on June 30.

-1754    The Hudson's Bay Company sent Anthony Henday west to combat French influence with the Indians. He was the first white man to see the Rockies (see April 23) .

-1854    Sir Robert Borden was born at Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia.

-1857    The steamer Montreal caught fire and sank 15 miles above Quebec, with the loss of 250 people, mostly Scottish and Norwegian settlers.

-1873    An Imperial Order-in-Council authorized Prince Edward Island to join Canada on July 1.

-1947    Lord Bennett, formerly Prime Minister R. B. Bennett, died in England where he had gone to live after resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.

-1961    Prime Minister Hyato Ikeda of Japan visited Ottawa.

              Upper Canada Village was opened near Morrisburg, Ontario.