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The Chambly Canal along a part of the upper Richelieu River helps connect the St. Lawrence River in Quebec to Lake Champlain in Vermont and New York. The canal and its locks allowed boats to bypass the Richelieu River rapids near Chambly and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Work began on this canal in 1831 and was completed in 1843. The canal from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu to Chambly is 12 miles (19 km) long.
The Richelieu River in Quebec flows north from Lake Champlain near the United States border about 106 miles (171 km) to Sorel-Tracy where it joins the St. Lawrence River.
The Chambly Canal was part of a network of canals, lakes and rivers connecting New York City to the St. Lawrence River. Freight such as lumber and coal could be shipped from the St. Lawrence River, up the Richelieu River and Chambly Canal to Lake Champlain, and down the Champlain Canal to the Hudson River to New York City. The Hudson River is also connected to the Erie Canal. The Chambly Canal was opened during a period of increasing Canadian-American trade. After World War I (1914-1918) commercial traffic declined, but has partially been replaced since with tourist pleasure cruises.
Connecting Migration Routes. The Richelieu River - Chambly Canal are linked to other migration routes at each end.
The migration pathways connected at the south end included:
The migration pathways connected at the north end included:
- St. Lawrence River
- Halifax Road or Grand Communication Route
Settlers and Records
No complete list of settlers who used the Richelieu River - Chambly Canal is known to exist. Nevertheless, local and county histories along that route may reveal pioneer settlers who arrived after 1843 and therefore who were the most likely candidates to have traveled the Richelieu River - Chambly Canal.