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Coteau-du-Lac in Vaudreuil-Soulanges RCM, Quebec — French Canadian Region
 

The construction of the canal

La construction du canal

 
 
The construction of the canal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 6, 2014
1. The construction of the canal Marker
Inscription. English:
The construction of the canal at Coteau-du-Lac began in the summer of 1779.

William Twiss, Commanding Royal Engineer of the British army, was in charge of the project. Most of the labourers who worked on the canal were soldiers of the King’s Royal Regiment of New York, a colonial regiment made up of Loyalists.

The soldiers dug the canal in the rock using fairly primitive tools and techniques. Gunpowder was used for blasting. The British army probably brought over experienced Cornish miners from England to carry out this difficult and dangerous work.

The construction of the canal lasted for a little over a year. It was completed in the fall of 1780.

The canal was inaugurated the following spring, when navigation season reopened.

Long, hard work!
All the construction work on the canal at Coteau-du-Lac was done by hand.

The top layer of soil was removed with picks and shovels. Holes were dug in the bedrock using sledgehammers and jumpers, a kind of boring tool. Gunpowder was poured into these holes and then ignited to blast the rock. Wheelbarrows were used to cart away the earth and excavated rock.

Blocks of stone used to build the walls of the canal were dressed with chisels and small hammers before they were laid by the masons. A hand
The construction of the canal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 6, 2014
2. The construction of the canal Marker
crane was sometimes used to hoist very heavy pieces of stone.

The materials used to build the lock gates were obtained from various sources: the flat iron came from England, the iron castings from les Forges du Saint-Maurice, and the timber from the vicinity of Coteau-du-Lac.

French:
La construction du canal de Coteau-du-lac débuta à l’été de 1779. C’est William Twiss, commandant des ingénieurs royaux de l’armée britannique, qui dirigea ce chantier de construction. Les ouvriers qui y travaillèrent étaient pour la plupart des militaires du «King’s Royal Regiment of New-York», régiment colonial constitué de Loyalistes.

Les militaires creusèrent le canal dans la roc à l’aide d’outils et de techniques rudimentaires. Ils utilisèrent de la poudre à canon pour faire éclater de sol rocheux. Pour exécuter ce travail de minage, difficile e dangereux, l’armée britannique a probablement eu recours à des mineurs expérimentés de la région des Cornouailles, en Angleterre.

Les travaux de construction du canal se poursuivirent durant un peu plus d’un an et se terminèrent à l’automne de 1780.

Le canal fut inaugure au printemps suivant, à la reprise de la navigation.

Un travail long et difficile
Tout le travail de construction du canal de Coteau-du-lac fut exécuté à la main.

La terre de surface fut enlevée au pic et à la pelle. Des trous furent creusés dans l roche mère à l’aide d’un foret et d’une masse. Pour faire éclater le roc, on introduisait dans ces trous de la poudre à canon, à laquelle on mettait feu. Le transport de la terre et des débris de pierre d’effectuait a la brouette.

Les pierres de taille utilisées pour edifier les murs du canal furent façonnées avec des ciseaux et une petit masse et furent ensuite posées par un maçon. Une «chèvre» (grue manuelle) était parfois utilisée pour lever les pierres les plus lourdes.

Les matériaux utilisés dans la fabrication des portes d’écluses provenaient de différents endroits: le fer plat, d’Angleterre; la fonte, des forges du Saint-Maurice; le bois, des environs de Coteau-du-lac.
 
Erected by Parks Canada / Parcs Canada.
 
Location. 45° 17.239′ N, 74° 10.567′ W. Marker is in Coteau-du-Lac, Quebec, in Vaudreuil-Soulanges RCM. Marker can be reached from Chemin du Fleuve just from Rue du Fort, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 307 Chemin du Fleuve, Coteau-du-Lac, Quebec J0P 1B0, Canada.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A supply centre / Un poste de ravitaillement (a few steps from this marker); A canal excavated in the rock (a few steps from this marker); The first lock canal in North America (a few steps from this marker); Why a canal at Coteau-du-Lac? (within shouting distance of this marker); The “rigolet” canal (within shouting distance of this marker); What is a lock canal? (within shouting distance of this marker); North blockhouse / Le blockhaus nord (within shouting distance of this marker); A canal that must be preserved (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Coteau-du-Lac.
 
More about this marker. This marker is located at Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site.
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar of 1812Waterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 229 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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