I-84855.1 | Wreck of S.S. "Louis Renaud" in Lachine Rapids, QC, 1873

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Wreck of S.S. "Louis Renaud" in Lachine Rapids, QC, 1873
William Notman (1826-1891)
1873, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
12 x 17 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  event (534) , History (944) , Photograph (77678) , river (1486) , Waterscape (2986)
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Keys to History

In the 1800s, thrill-seekers flocked to the roiling Lachine Rapids on the southwest side of the Island of Montreal. They shot the fast-flowing waters in solidly built steamers, normally in comfort and safety. But as seen in this photo, one voyage of the S.S. Louis Renaud was anything but normal.

The rapids were good for tourism, but they hampered the city's economic growth. In 1821, digging began for the Lachine Canal, designed to bypass the white waters. The Canal opened for navigation in 1824, allowing ships to enter at the port of Montreal and come out in Lac Saint-Louis, bound for the Great Lakes.

Source : Disasters and Calamities [Web tour], by Nathalie Lampron (see Links)

  • What

    The drop down the formidable Lachine Rapids is as much as 13 metres. Downstream, the river flows at more than 8,500 cubic metres per second.

  • Where

    The Lachine Rapids border LaSalle and Lachine, on the south side of Montreal Island.

  • When

    In 1535, the Lachine Rapids prevented Jacques Cartier from pursuing his expedition to the West. In 1611, Samuel de Champlain had no better luck. This natural obstacle was called Sault Saint-Louys until about 1850, when it was given its current name.

  • Who

    Brothers George and William Tate, who operated a shipyard on the Lachine Canal in Montreal, built the Louis Renaud, which was 52 metres long.