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Lachine Canal National Historic Site of Canada

The Canal in the New Millenium

Imagine it is 2025. On a beautiful sunny day, you decide to go on an outing at the Lachine Canal. The revitalization project is well underway. In fact, the canal is already back in operation. The coming and going of boats and the lockage manoeuvres recreate the lively atmosphere of another era.

You make your first stop at the Old Port, located at the mouth of the canal. A variety of activities are offered; of special interest are the land and river shuttles. The departure point is nearby.

artistic rendering showing the Peel Basin (excavated) and the city in the backgroundClearing the mouth of the canal, detail
© Ville de Montréal, Service des parcs
Artistic rendering showing boats, the canal, the vegetation and the Redpath complexThe Saint-Gabriel lock
© Ville de Montréal, Service des parcs
architectural rendering of Atwater Market and its surroundingsAtwater Market square
© Ville de Montréal, Service des parcs
Architecturel rendering showing the building, the canal and factories on the northern bankCentre d'excellence de Montréal en réhabilitation des sites
© Ville de Montréal

Immediately to the west of the port's locks, you are surprised by the intense activity in the Peel Basin. Located at the foot of the downtown towers, this unusual waterway is becoming an important, regional nautical centre. Marinas, businesses offering services for pleasure boaters, boutiques and restaurants help make this a dynamic and popular sector.

Less than a kilometre away, the atmosphere changes radically: the Saint-Gabriel sector takes you back several decades. The recently restored Lock No. 3, the industrial buildings from the 19th century and the remains of the first canal dating from 1825 attract your attention. And the recently renovated Redpath sugar refinery and Pointe-des-Seigneurs archaeological park are worth a look (and a photo!).

Slightly further west, around the Atwater Market, commercial and service activities dominate. Cyclists and walkers from all over converge on this path crossroads in the South-West. Take advantage of this unique and original spot to recharge your personal batteries while you take a look at the interpretation island evoking the Saint-Henri and Sainte-Cunégonde neighbourhoods.

Le Centre d'excellence de Montréal en réhabilitation des sites ( CEMRS ) is located at the foot of the Sir George-Étienne-Cartier footbridge. It presents an exhibit on the environmentsal history of the Lachine Canal. See how science and the latest technologies allow contaminated sites to be decontaminated and rehabilitated.

The Côte-Saint-Paul Lock marks the eastern end of the huge Basin No. 4 which stretches as far as Lachine, over a distance of nearly eight kilometres. It is an inviting place try going for a boat ride right in the heart of the city. Next to the Gadbois recreational complex, boat-launching facilities are available. Three service areas provide a variety of services along the basin.

The Lachine Lock visitor services centre marks the end of the canal and serves as a terminal for the shuttles. An exhibition there presents the history of the canal and outside is an interpretation trail retracing its vestiges. However, the trip does not necessarily end here, since Lake Saint-Louis and its magnificent shores tempt you to go further. You pause to visit one of the many museums or historic buildings before heading back.

This pleasant outing in the heart of the island of Montréal is not just a figment of your imagination. The work required to make it a reality has been going on for five years, and many interventions describe here have already been accomplished. At the Lachine Canal a mega project is underway that will showcase its history and restore its role as a navigable waterway.