Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sunset On The Lake...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The History Of Highway H2O

By : Dennis Stein

  The dream of the St.Lawrence Seaway began in 1680, with an attempt to bypass the Lachine Rapids near Montreal, using a mile long shallow canal. It was not actually completed until 1959, the Canadian ice breaker D'Iberville making the first transit. It was officially opened in June of that year by Queen Elizabeth and U.S. President Eisenhower.
  Earlier, in 1833, the Lachine Canal bypassed the Lachine Rapids, linking Montreal to Lake St. Louis. The first Welland Canal was also completed, being almost 44Km long and consisting of 40 wooden locks.Two World Wars, and oppposition to the project from influencial rail transport companies in the United States slowed the development of the Seaway into a full fledged trade route. 100 years after the opening of the first Welland Canal, the canals at Cornwall and Beauharnois were open, and the new fourth Welland Canal was completed. Its 25 foot depth raises ships 326 feet over a system of eight locks.
  By the mid to late 50's, the Iroquois, Snell and Eisenhower locks were opened, after the U.S. and Canadian governments reached an agreement totalling almost $500 million to construct and maintain a deep draft waterway between the port of Montreal and Lake Erie. Power dam development around the international rapids saw the relocation of 6500 people and 550 homes to the new Ontario towns called Long Sault, Ingleside, and Iroquois. New channels were dug and existing ones dredged, revealing rock formations of Pre-Cambrian rock, requiring new digging technologies and equipment to get past. Four bridges in Montreal had to be modified, in order to accomdate large ships, and were completed without disrupting traffic.
  During its first year of operation, the seaway saw 25 million tons of cargo. By 1979 that gross tonnage had increased to 80 million tons. As the mid 90's approached, the St.Lawrence seaway witnessed 160,000 ship transits from over 50 different nations, and over 2 billion tons of cargo, worth over $300 billion.
  Currently, the seaway has a maximum draft of 26 feet and six inches, which has been increased from original over the history of this remarkable waterway to enable ships to carry extra cargo. It allows ships with a maximum size of 740 feet, and a beam of 78 feet to access the port at Duluth, Minnesota, 2342 miles inland from the Atlantic. In 2004, the St.Lawrence seaway was given the name Hwy. H2O. Important note: A ship can move a ton of cargo 800 km using only 4 litres of fuel, and produce 7.5 times less greenhouse gases than road transport...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Steeples Of Brockville

By : Dennis Stein

  One thing the city of Brockville has an abundance of is churches. A person can barely make it a few blocks in our city without seeing one. The churches in Brockville are among the oldest buildings in the city, and regardless of the denomination, add to the beauty of our town's architectural heritage.
  A church which definitely stands out is the First Presbyterian Church on aptly named Church St. The ministry for this church began exactly 200 years ago in 1811, and is credited with the very first Sunday School in Canada. The pastor began its ministry on horseback, carrying his bible in his saddle bag. The church building itself is an amazing example of nineteenth century architecture, and was rebuilt three times over its history, now having a 100 x 110 foot main sanctuary to seat 900 people. It shares Court terrace with the First Baptist Church on the corner of pine St., built around the same time period, and having similar features, and Wall St. church, adjacent to the courthouse on its east side.
  St.Paul's Anglican church on Pine St. is another shining example of beautiful architecture in Brockville. It is one of the most original historical buildings in town, having few restorative modifications over its history.
  Trinity Anglican Church on George St. has an uncertain future. This month may see it purchased along with the rest of its property by a developer. Plans for a condominium project on the site, and the eventual marketing of the church for commercial purposes are in the works, although the church is on the city's heritage list. It is in need of expensive restoration work however, and eventual demolition of the church building has not been entirely ruled out over the long term.
  Another beautiful building whose church bells can be heard on a daily basis is St. Francis Xavier on Church St. It does not share the neo-gothic style of the First Presbyterian, or First Baptist, but has an immense front entry, with terraced steps, and a tall bell tower directly up front. It's ministry began in 1858, proudly displayed on a plaque above the front entrance.
  All of the church buildings in Brockville are filled with beautiful stained glass windows, and are immaculate in architectural detail. Their high spires and bell towers add to the rich history of Ontario's oldest city...

Monday, August 1, 2011