4. Issues and Strategic Directions

4.2 Strategic Directions

The Saint-Ours Canal National Historic Site of Canada at the Dawn of the 21st Century

In the year 2020, the Saint-Ours Canal will be a national historic site that is recognized and much frequented because of its heritage value and varied cultural, recreational and nautical functions.

The preservation and presentation of the resources and remains related to the two periods of canalbuilding and canal operations provide visitors with an opportunity to discover, appreciate and learn more about the role played by this lock in the Richelieu River waterway and, at the same time, to grasp the canal's national historic significance.

The Saint-Ours Canal represents a major heritage attraction in the region. The uniqueness of its varied functions and the high quality of its facilities and programs make it a remarkable cultural site that considerably enhances the regional concept of "Heritage River". The site is of great interest to the local and regional population, as well as to tourists. The pleasure craft that dock or travel through the lock hail from every region of Quebec and from many places outside the province thanks to the site's growing reputation as destination.

The site has become a genuine museum, recalling various functions fallen in disuse, presenting artifacts from different periods of development, and featuring an exhibition in the superintendent's house. The layout and facilities of the visitor reception services give the site an historic atmosphere that is recognized and shared by walkers, picnickers and pleasure boaters keen to enjoy a pleasurable outing.

Visitors take great interest in observing the various fish species thanks to the presentation of the fish ladder, which thus encourages further discovery of the riches of the Richelieu River. The fish ladder has had a beneficial effect on the fish populations above the dam. The forest on the island is also in better health and is showing promising signs of regeneration.

The various levels of federal and provincial government, municipalities, private companies, local organizations and community groups have formed a close network of partnerships focused on attaining common goals. By working together and sharing various responsibilities, they reinforce the Saint-Ours Canal's ties with its community and enhance its attraction for the local and regional population, as well as for tourists. These partners contribute to the harmonious management of the site, making it a place where culture, nature and recreation can be experienced and enjoyed in equal measure.

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