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Canada Gotoarrow.png Quebec Gotoarrow.png Chambly Canal

Chambly Canal at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec helps to link the St. Lawrence River to Lake Champlain, thence to New York City.


Historical Background

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.[1]

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.[2]

Indians and French settlers used the Richelieu River and recognzed its strategic military importance. A series of forts were built in the 1600s and 1700s to help defend it.[3]

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 an important part of increasing Canadian-American trade into the 20th Century. After World War I (1914-1918) freight traffic declined, but has partially been replaced since with tourist pleasure cruises.[3]


The Richelieu River flows north out of Lake Champlain in the Montérégie region in the far south of Quebec as follows:

Champlain map.png
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.

External Links


  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Chambly Canal" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 7 June 2011).
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Richelieu River" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 8 June 2011).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Parks Canada, "Waterway History," Chambly Canal National Historic Site Canada at (8 June 2011).
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