We took a trip in the Pontiac, lasting about 3 hours, including a stop for pie and coffee in Cardinal Ontario, a cute little town on the St. Lawrence River.
A short history follows.
Early natives camped beside the turbulent rapids here 400 to 500 years ago. French voyagers who rested by the rapids during expeditions gave them their original name, "Galloping Waters".
However, it was United Empire Loyalists who finally settled at the rapids' site, and that settlement became the village of Cardinal.
After the American Revolution, troops loyal to the King (United Empire Loyalists - U.E.L's), gathered in Lower Canada in an attempt to stage a counter revolution. Returning to Canada, it became apparent that something must be done to recompense the men who had given up so much for their loyalty to the King.
It was decided to survey the upper St. Lawrence Valley, with a view to settlement, while some of the Loyalists turned to the east and took up residence in Nova Scotia.
Hugh Munro, seeing the possibilities of water power inherent in the rapids, had by 1790, settled at Point Cardinal.
The "galloping rapids" at Cardinal were so treacherous that the boats had to be pushed upstream with poles. One of Cardinal's first settlers, Henry Lewis, established a very profitable business using yokes of oxen to pull boats through the swift waters. Some days he made as much as $20!
As river traffic increased plans were made to build a canal that would take boaters around the Galop Rapids. Construction, done without the benefit of machinery, began in 1844. Workers used carts, horses, picks, axes, wheel barrows and shovels, and were paid 50 cents a day. The canal cut through the outer edge of the village.
Soon a deeper waterway was needed and work began on a "new" canal in 1897.
Although this new canal was deeper, it was still not possible for ocean-going ships to pass through. The St. Lawrence Seaway was constructed and a causeway was built.
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