The Soulanges Canal: an impressive technical heritage
Designed in 1889 and built from 1890 to 1902, the Soulanges Canal offered a series of technical innovations that made it famous at the time.
The engineer Thomas Monro (1831-1903), responsible for this vast project (design and construction), based on his experience acquired notably during the construction of the Welland Canal (which he designed and supervised from 1870 to 1888) and through the detailed report he made of his visit to the brand new Manchester Ship Canal in 1891, synthesized the latest innovations that had appeared on the North American and European canals. But he also proposed innovations of his own. Thus, in order to build a safer canal (simplicity of the route, fluidity of traffic), and to better control construction costs, he limited the number of locks, imposed the use of concrete, installed Stoney gates and, finally, implemented an all-electric operation (lighting, lock gates, and valves) from a small hydroelectric power station erected on a weir.
Disused in 1959, the Soulanges Canal will soon be revived, thanks to the initiative of the MRC of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, which has developed an ambitious development plan.
In preparation for the field visit, this presentation summarizes the history and future of the canal.