The heritage of the Soulanges Canal
Historical interpretation panels
By going along the Soulanges cycle path, you’ll find historical interpretation panels to help you better understand what your eyes are looking at! There are a total of ten interpretation panels spread over the 23.4 km of the canal.
To satisfy your curiosity between now and your visit, take a look at our ” About the canal ” section. Happy reading!
Guided tours along the Soulanges Canal
August 4, 11 and 18, 2023
Get on your bike and take part in the ArchéoTour bike tour from 9.30am to 12pm.
This 17 km circuit along the Soulanges Canal, guided and animated by Parks Canada staff, offers impressive archaeological landscapes of the St. Lawrence canalization. Recommended for ages 16 and up.
Price: $18 + taxes / person. Reservations required by following the link :canaldesoulanges.ca/event/archeotour2023
Xplorateurs Family Bike Tour
Xplorators Family Bike Tour, in collaboration with Parks Canada!
The “Xplorateurs à vélo” tour is a self-guided bike rally for the whole family. Head to the Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site to pick up your special booklet and explorer’s gear and get ready to discover the history of the navigators along the Soulanges Canal.
Price: $4.94/family. Ideal for families with children from 6 to 12 years old.
Payment by card or cash, directly at the Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site.
From June 17, 2023, to September 4, 2023, 10am to 5pm.
Le Parc des ancres, Pointes-des-Cascades
The Parc des ancres is located near lock number 3 of the Soulanges Canal, on either side of rue Centrale, in the heart of the village of Pointe-des-Cascades.
This place is a real open air museum, open 365 days a year and boasting an impressing collection of over 100 anchors and other artifacts from the maritime world. A stop has to be made there! Besides, it’s also at this area that the KM 0 of the Soulanges cycle path is located. The perfect place to start your day!
Anchor Park exists thanks to the impressive work of the Société de Recherches historiques de Pointe-des-Cascades.
Pointe-des-Cascades, Coteau-du-Lac and Les Coteaux lighthouses
For nearly 60 years, day in and day out, rain or shine, four lights would show ship captains the way forward.
Whether it was from the Saint-Louis lake or the Saint-François lake, these entry lighthouses guided navigators who would begin their delicate maneuvers to enter the canal and avoid the Saint Lawrence river rapids. It’s by orienting themselves with these two lights
superimposed one on top of the other that captains would align the ship on the correct approach axis. From the first steamships in 1899 to the last ocean-going vessels in 1958, captains have relied on these guardians to perform a veritable feat, lining up ships in a channel 30 meters wide and 23.4 km long. Installed in pairs at the two mouths of the canal in the spring of 1900, these four metal sentinels were first operated by gas and then converted to electricity in 1903.
They are made up of four components: a pedestal that is higher or lower than the water level; a light-generating lamp powered by gas or electricity; an optical system to focus this light and direct it towards the horizon; and a lantern to protect the lamp and optical system from the elements. While the landscape surrounding them has changed, we can still see, at both ends of the canal, these four sentries, now at ease.
Arches, doors and tanks
By going through the canal, we can still notice some remnants of its golden age. The various components of cement and cut stone, arranged between the six locks, testify to the scale and ingenuity of this great work. Between the large lock gates and the piers, you can still see the arches that made up the biefs, the large artificial basins that held the water between two locks. Distributed all along the canal, the abutments, which would support the decks of the five swinging bridges, are still very visible.
While these structures bear witness to the technical innovation used in the construction and operation of the canal, they now contribute to the aesthetic qualities of this exceptional place and the cultural landscape of the region.
Le Petit pouvoir, Les Cèdres
The electrification of the Soulanges Canal led to the construction of a building whose architecture continues to surprise and amaze. Designed for industrial purposes, the hydroelectric power plant stands out from the other buildings sheltering the canal’s facilities and employees. Influenced by a typically Canadian architecture influence, the building has a “castle” style. Classified as a historic monument by the Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec in 1984 (now the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec), this jewel of Quebec heritage bears witness to the dynamism and importance of the Soulanges Canal. The Little Power of the Cedars is one of only four hydroelectric power stations that were built in Quebec before 1900 and that still stand today.