The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Sept. 21, 1857

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p.2 To the Editor of the Daily News:

Goderich, Sept. 13th, 1857.

Sir, - After leaving the Falls I took the cars for St. Catherines to meet the boat in the canal. The distance between St. Catherines and Thorold is only three miles, and there are 23 locks, (29 in all.) These locks are built in the most substantial manner of cut stone, 145 feet long, 26 feet 6 inches wide, with a fall of 10 feet, making in all a height of 290 feet in the distance of about 35 miles; - still the locks are not considered large enough for the immense trade that is carried on between the East and West. The canal is lined with towns and villages its entire length: Port Dalhousie at its entrance, St. Catherines, Thorold, etc., with Port Colborne at its head. The flour that is manufactured on this canal is considered the best in Canada: whether this excellence is derived from the quanlity of wheat in the country round about it, or from the manufacture, I cannot tell.

There are very few towns of any considerable size on the Canadian side of Lake Erie. Port Stanley, about 45 miles from Port Colborne, and Port Burwell, 60 miles further up the lake, are the principal towns until you get to Amherstburg, on the Detroit river. The shore of Lake Erie presents a very rugged appearance, the banks being mostly of sand and clay, very high in some places, yet it is relieved by the numerous ravines formed by the washings from the rear table lands. We had occasion to put into Rondeau harbor and lay there for about 24 hours, so I had time to go into the country a short distance. The land round the harbor is a rich black loam, covered with black walnut, beech, maple, and other trees. The walnut, in particular, is the finest I have ever seen. There is a large saw mill for its manufacture a few miles from a village of some high sounding name, composed of a tavern, general store, two or three houses, and a few mechanic shops, like most of the Western villages. The Point au Pelee Light House is in rapid course of construction; the abutment is placed about four miles out from the point, on account of a sand bar that extends for a long distance into the lake. I believe there is a very narrow channel between the lighthouse and the Point, but as there are no buoys, not one in a hundred can navigate it, so they take the safest course and go around.

The first thing that strikes the eye in entering Amherstburg, formerly Malden, is the line of small steam tug propellers that are constantly on the move, looking out for a vessel to tow up the river to Lake St. Clair, and which for beauty and strength I have never seen equalled. The Detroit river is almost as beautiful in its scenery as the St. Lawrence; along its banks it is very thickly populated on both sides, and here and there, villages to diversify the scene. The principal of these villages is Wyandott, on Fighting Island, with its large Iron Works, chiefly for the manufacture of railroad iron. Then comes Sandwich and Windsor, and Detroit opposite on the American shore (quite a contrast); St. Claire Lake comes next with its flats, which renders it difficult, if not altogether impossible, to navigate in the dark; then St. Claire river, very deep and rapid, with most beautiful scenery on both sides. Steam sawmills dot the American side; and the Government range of log houses erected for the Chippewa and Huron Indians, presents a very pleasing appearance, extending for about four or five miles. Port Sarnia is at the head of St. Claire river on the Canadian side, and Fort Huron on the American side. We arrived at Sarnia in time to see a regatta, and the prize carried off by an American boat, much to the disappointment of the Canadians, though I learned that the boat was Canadian built.


p.3 Imports - 19.

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Date of Original:
Sept. 21, 1857
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Daily News (Kingston, ON), Sept. 21, 1857