Visiting Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site of Canada, Quebec: Formerly Main Import Gateway to Lower Canada
18th century memories of a strategic location on the Saint-Lawrence River
Lieu historique national du Canada Coteau-du-Lac / Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site — thus designated in 1923 — consists of 18th and 19th century canal workings and fortifications, which recall the strategic location some centuries ago.
A replica military blockhouse recalls one built in 1819.
Coteau-du-Lac is situated at the confluence of the small Delisle and the huge Saint-Lawrence rivers. The proximity of rapids made river approaches to Montreal from the south difficult, and the building of a canal by the rapids was ordered by Governor of Quebec Sir Frederick Haldimand (1718-1791); work on the canal began in 1789 and was completed in 1791.
The canal was expanded in the early 19th century. It was eventually superseded by larger canal schemes on the local area of the Saint-Lawrence. The canal workings at Coteau-du-Lac are among the oldest in North America. (I have supplied, above, a drawing of the site as it looked in 1819.)
This locality was very much a point of tension during the American Revolutionary Wars and the War of 1812. Later its commercial significance grew.
Interestingly, Coteau-du-Lac was formerly the principal port of entry for imports to Lower Canada (1). A customs post operated here until 1840.
Coteau-du-Lac is located in the Municipalité Régionale de Comté / Regional County Municipality of Vaudreuil-Soulanges.
The Site is administered by Parcs Canada / Parks Canada.
February 20, 2018
(1) See also: http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=11675&pid=0
Also worth seeing
Pointe-des-Cascades (distance: 17.7 kilometres) is situated at the confluence of the Ottawa and Saint-Lawrence rivers, commemorated by anchor monuments.
Montréal (distance: 59.4 kilometres) The architectural and cultural attractions of Montreal are too numerous to mention here, but of special note, among many others, are the domed Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours), dating from 1847, which was a venue used to house the Parliament of United Canada, prior to Confederation. The Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal ) was built mainly between 1824 and 1829; many Montrealers attend annual performances of Handel's 'Messiah' there. The Olympic Stadium (Stade Olympique) in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, used for the 1976 Olympics, has the world's tallest inclined tower, at 175 metres.
How to get there: Coteau-du-Lac may be reached via Route 20 from Montréal. Air Canada flies to Montreal (Aéroport international Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau de Montréal) from Toronto-Pearson, and from New York-Newark and New York-La Guardia, with wide connections. A number of car rental companies offer service at Montreal-Trudeau airport. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting Pointe-des-Cascades, Québec: The Confluence of Two Great Rivers; Anchors Recalling Maritime
The confluence of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers occurs at Pointe-des-Cascades, Québec; here also a park displays a collection of ships' anchors.
- Visiting Mount Royal: Commanding Views of Montreal, Quebec
From Mount Royal — and particularly from the Belvedere — may be obtained fine vistas of a great North American city on the St. Lawrence River.