Species at Risk

Vianney-Legendre Fishway at the Saint-Ours Canal National Historic Site of Canada

What is the Vianney-Legendre Fishway?

Aerial view of the Richelieu River and the Saint-Ours Canal National Historic Site of Canada. Aerial view of the Saint-Ours Canal National Historic Site of Canada and the Saint-Ours dam, on the Richelieu River.
© Parks Canada

The Vianney-Legendre Fishway is a structure that offers an alternative route to fish stranded at the base of the Saint-Ours dam as they try to swim up Quebec’s Richelieu River.

The fishway was named in honour of Vianney Legendre, a renowned ichthyologist (fish scientist) who officially named the Copper Redhorse (Moxostoma hubbsi) in 1952.

The Copper Redhorse is one of the species that uses the fishway. It is a rare fish found only in Quebec. In fact, the world’s only known Copper Redhorse spawning grounds are located on the Richelieu River. Because of its limited geographical distribution, low population density and increasing rarity, the Copper Redhorse was listed as threatened by COSEWIC in 1987. In 2004, COSEWIC moved the Copper Redhorse to its endangered list.

Where is the Vianney- Legendre Fishway?

Species at Risk - Who Knew?

The French name for the Copper Redhorse is "Chevalier Cuivré", which means "Copper Knight." This name comes from the fish's large, copper-coloured scales, which resemble the chain mail worn by medieval knights.

The Saint-Ours heritage canal, opened in 1849, enables boats travelling the Richelieu River to bypass a hurdle between Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River - the Saint-Ours dam. The fishway is part of the Saint-Ours Canal National Historic Site of Canada, by the dam between Sorel and Chambly, Quebec.