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The Lachine Rapids
The Lachine Rapids
The Lachine Rapids are a series of rapids on the Saint Lawrence Rivermarker, between the Island of Montrealmarker and the south shoremarker. They are located near the former city of Lachinemarker.

The Lachine Rapids contain large standing waves because the water volume and current do not change with respect to the permanent features in the riverbed, namely its shelf-like drops. Seasonal variation in the water flow does not change the position of the waves, although it does change their size and shape.

In the past these represented a considerable barrier to maritime traffic. Until the construction of the Lachine Canalmarker through Montreal, the rapids had to be portaged. Even with the canal, the difficulty was such that it was usually more convenient to ship goods by rail to Montreal, where they could be loaded at the city's port. Montreal was long a major rail hub and Canada's largest port for that reason.

The Lachine Rapids are now passed by the South Shore Canal (Saint-Lambert and Côte Sainte-Catherine locks) of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.


The rapids contain a number of islands used by migratory birds.


The first European to see the rapids was Jacques Cartier, who sailed up the St. Lawrence Rivermarker in 1535, believing he had found the Northwest Passage. In 1611 Samuel de Champlain named the rapids Sault Saint-Louis, after a crewman who drowned here; the name later extended to Lac Saint-Louismarker. This name remained in use until the mid-19th century, but later came to be replaced by the name of the adjacent town of Lachinemarker.

The first person to design a ship capable of shooting the Lachine Rapids was shipbuilder and carpenter John McQuaid, a County Armagh, Ireland native who later settled in Kingston, Ontario with his family.

Recreational activities

Whitewater rafting and jet boat expeditions to the rapids are available in Montreal. Whitewater kayaking has become popular, along with river surfing, on a standing wave adjacent to the Habitat 67.( ).


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