3. Present Situation
3.1 The Natural Setting
The Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal lies within the climatic region of Montréal, recognized as the mildest region of Quebec. Owing to its southerly location, this area enjoys the longest number of days without frost, the longest period of sunshine, and the longest growing season in the province. In addition, temperature variations in the region are reduced in part by the presence of the St. Lawrence River.
The Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal is situated within the geomorphological area of the St. Lawrence Lowlands, which is characterized by a vast plain consisting of clay deposits of marine origin. As a whole, the site does not have any notable differences in level except along the walls or sloping ground that border the river and the canal. The backfilled bank at the downstream entrance to the old lock shows signs of erosion.
Successive construction projects and other work have gradually eliminated the original vegetation. Although a few elm and maple trees are still found on the site, most of the trees and shrubs are ornamental species that were planted in the 1960s and have now reached maturity. There is no natural regeneration on the banks of the canal.
Large trees shade the downstream pier, the areas on either side of the lock and the strip of land to the east, upstream from the lock. There are no trees, however, on the upstream pier. The vegetation planted along the municipal boardwalk helps to offset the concrete in the canal’s downstream section.
The banks of the Becker Dam have been gradually colonized by vegetation, consisting mainly of deciduous trees.