2. Commemorative Integrity of the Site

2.5 Other Heritage Resources

Although these heritage resources have not been designated as being of national historic significance, they nonetheless bear historical significance for the Saint-Ours Canal and are said to be “level 2 resources.”10

In situ resources

Location and significant landscapes

Parks Canada facilities on Darvard Island (1990)
Parks Canada facilities on Darvard Island (1990)
© Parks Canada / Jean Audet / neg. 184/PA/PR-7/SPO-00010

The Saint-Ours Canal is part of the macro-landscape of the Richelieu Valley, a broad plain intersected by a wide river whose shores consist of low banks vulnerable to erosion. The Saint-Ours Canal site is remarkable for its integration of the canal system into the geographic environment of the river and Darvard Island. Human beings imposed structures on this natural setting, including the main access roads running alongside the river, the canal and its two consecutive locks, lead caissons and walls, the dam linking Darvard Island with the west bank, and related buildings. The form of the landscape also contains less visible remains of facilities which nevertheless shaped the site.

Interconnections between major aspects of this landscape are maintained to this day and are considered to be fundamental to the heritage value of the site. Features of the landscape that relate to the historical evolution of the site are as follows:

  • The present-day lock set between Darvard Island and the east bank;

  • The canal that channelled the water into the lock, its route, walls and lead caissons;

  • The regulating dam linking the west bank with Darvard Island;

  • The fact that the route of the old canal runs parallel to the present-day canal;

  • The remains of the old lock whose lower entrance can still be seen;

  • The relationship between the old buildings and the canal;

  • The fish ladder, recalling the one that was built on the west side of the river around the lock and is still discernible by the lead 1891.

While the landscape underwent certain changes as the facilities evolved, some features have remained constant. The canal system built at Saint-Ours consists of three main components whose original relationship to the dominant features of the landscape has not altered:

  • The dam, built to maintain a sufficient water level, links the southern tip of Darvard Island with the west bank.

  • The lock allows boats to negotiate the change in elevation. It lies between the island and the east bank, parallel to the shore and the old lock.

  • The canal channels the water towards the lock and is still discernible by the lead caissons on the east side. The west side of the canal still retains its alignment even though the caisson docks were replaced with concrete retaining walls.

10 Cultural Resource Management Policy, paragraph 2.2.2.

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