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In 1539, Jacques Cartier sailed the St. Lawrence River. He and other explorers, believing they had found the mythical Northwest passage to China, named the area Lachine (from the french La Chine, which is the name for China). The problem with the Lachine area of the river though were the many rapids. While they’re apparently great fun on a jet boat, they’re not as much fun on a boat trying to transport goods.
In an attempt to find a way around the rapids, the French Colonial government started work on the Lachine Canal in 1689. The French failed, but more than 130 years later some Scotsmen succeeded and the Canal was finally completed. The Canal was in use until 1970 when it was replaced by the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Now the Lachine Canal is a popular public recreation area. It has long been popular with bikers, walkers and inline skaters. In 2002 the water was reopened to recreational boaters, and a water reclamation project was started to clean up old oil spills. The area is a National Historic Site, and Parks Canada gives regular guided tours.
When you’re in Montreal, get some sun and get some fun, but make sure you check out the historic Lachine Canal.