The Saint Lawrence River (French: Fleuve Saint-Laurent; Tuscarora: Kahnawáʼkye; Mohawk: Kaniatarowanenneh, meaning "big waterway") is a large river in the middle latitudes of North America. The Saint Lawrence River flows in a roughly north-easterly direction, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean and forming the primary drainage outflow of the Great Lakes Basin. It traverses the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, and is part of the international boundary between Ontario, Canada, and the U.S. state of New York. This river also provides the basis of the commercial Saint Lawrence Seaway.
|Saint Lawrence River|
Fleuve Saint-Laurent, Fleuve St-Laurent, St-Lawrence River, St-Laurent River
Saint Lawrence River near Alexandria Bay
Map of the Saint Lawrence/Great Lakes Watershed
|Etymology||Saint Lawrence of Rome|
|Country||Canada, United States|
|- location||Kingston, Ontario / Cape Vincent, New York|
|- elevation||74.7 m (245 ft)|
|Mouth||Gulf of St. Lawrence / Atlantic Ocean|
|0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||500 km (310 mi)Excluding the estuary. Ca. 1200 km if included.|
|Basin size||1,344,200 km2 (519,000 sq mi)|
|- location||below the Saguenay River|
|- average||16,800 m3/s (590,000 cu ft/s)|
The Saint Lawrence River begins at the outflow of Lake Ontario and flows adjacent to Gananoque, Brockville, Morristown, Ogdensburg, Massena, Cornwall, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, and Quebec City before draining into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the largest estuary in the world. The estuary begins at the eastern tip of Île d'Orléans, just downstream from Quebec City. The river becomes tidal around Quebec City.
The Saint Lawrence River runs 3,058 kilometres (1,900 mi) from the farthest headwater to the mouth and 1,197 km (743.8 mi) from the outflow of Lake Ontario. These numbers include the estuary; without the estuary the length from Lake Ontario is ca. 500 km (ca. 300 mi). The farthest headwater is the North River in the Mesabi Range at Hibbing, Minnesota. Its drainage area, which includes the Great Lakes, the world's largest system of freshwater lakes, is 1,344,200 square kilometres (518,998.5 sq mi), of which 839,200 km2 (324,016.9 sq mi) is in Canada and 505,000 km2 (194,981.6 sq mi) is in the United States. The basin covers parts of Ontario and Quebec in Canada, parts of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin, and nearly the entirety of the state of Michigan in the United States. The average discharge below the Saguenay River is 16,800 cubic metres per second (590,000 cu ft/s). At Quebec City, it is 12,101 m3/s (427,300 cu ft/s). The average discharge at the river's source, the outflow of Lake Ontario, is 7,410 m3/s (262,000 cu ft/s).
The Saint Lawrence River includes Lake Saint-Louis south of Montreal, Lake Saint Francis at Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and Lac Saint-Pierre east of Montreal. It encompasses four archipelagoes: the Thousand Islands chain near Alexandria Bay, New York and Kingston, Ontario; the Hochelaga Archipelago, including the Island of Montreal and Île Jésus (Laval); the Lake St. Pierre Archipelago (classified biosphere world reserve by the UNESCO in 2000) and the smaller Mingan Archipelago. Other islands include Île d'Orléans near Quebec City and Anticosti Island north of the Gaspé. It is the second longest river in Canada.
The Saint Lawrence River is in a seismically active zone where fault reactivation is believed to occur along late Proterozoic to early Paleozoic normal faults related to the opening of the Iapetus Ocean. The faults in the area are rift-related and comprise the Saint Lawrence rift system.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the Saint Lawrence Valley is a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division, containing the Champlain and Northern physiographic section. However, in Canada, where most of the valley is, it is instead considered part of a distinct Saint Lawrence Lowlands physiographic division, and not part of the Appalachian division at all.
The Norse explored the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in the 11th century and were followed by fifteenth and early sixteenth century European mariners, such as John Cabot, and the brothers Gaspar and Miguel Corte-Real. The first European explorer known to have sailed up the Saint Lawrence River itself was Jacques Cartier. At that time, the land along the river was inhabited by the St. Lawrence Iroquoians; at the time of Cartier's second voyage in 1535. Because Cartier arrived in the estuary on Saint Lawrence's feast day, he named it the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The Saint Lawrence River is partly within the U.S. and as such is that country's sixth oldest surviving European place-name.
The earliest regular Europeans in the area were the Basques, who came to the St Lawrence Gulf and River in pursuit of whales from the early 16th century. The Basque whalers and fishermen traded with indigenous Americans and set up settlements, leaving vestiges all over the coast of eastern Canada and deep into the Saint Lawrence River. Basque commercial and fishing activity reached its peak before the Armada Invencible's disaster (1588), when the Spanish Basque whaling fleet was confiscated by King Philip II of Spain and largely destroyed. Initially, the whaling galleons from Labourd were not affected by the Spanish defeat.
Until the early 17th century, the French used the name Rivière du Canada to designate the Saint Lawrence upstream to Montreal and the Ottawa River after Montreal. The Saint Lawrence River served as the main route for European exploration of the North American interior, first pioneered by French explorer Samuel de Champlain.
Control of the river was crucial to British strategy to capture New France in the Seven Years' War. Having captured Louisbourg in 1758, the British sailed up to Quebec the following year thanks to charts drawn up by James Cook. British troops were ferried via the Saint Lawrence to attack the city from the west, which they successfully did at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. The river was used again by the British to defeat the French siege of Quebec under the Chevalier de Lévis in 1760.
In 1809, the first steamboat to ply its trade on the St. Lawrence was built and operated by John Molson and associates, a scant two years after Fulton's steam-powered navigation of the Hudson River. The Accommodation with ten passengers made her maiden voyage from Montreal to Quebec City in 66 hours, for 30 of which she was at anchor. She had a keel of 75 feet, and length overall of 85 feet. The cost of a ticket as eight dollars upstream, and nine dollars down. She had berths that year for twenty passengers.
Within a decade, daily service was available in the hotly-contested Montreal-Quebec route.
Because of the virtually impassable Lachine Rapids, the Saint Lawrence was once continuously navigable only as far as Montreal. Opened in 1825, the Lachine Canal was the first to allow ships to pass the rapids. An extensive system of canals and locks, known as the Saint Lawrence Seaway, was officially opened on 26 June 1959 by Elizabeth II (representing Canada) and President Dwight D. Eisenhower (representing the United States). The Seaway now permits ocean-going vessels to pass all the way to Lake Superior.
During the Second World War, the Battle of the St. Lawrence involved submarine and anti-submarine actions throughout the lower Saint Lawrence River and the entire Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Strait of Belle Isle and Cabot Strait from May to October 1942, September 1943, and again in October and November 1944. During this time, German U-boats sank several merchant marine ships and three Canadian warships.
In the late 1970s, the river was the subject of a successful ecological campaign (called "Save the River"), originally responding to planned development by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The campaign was organized, among others, by Abbie Hoffman.
The source of the North River in the Mesabi Range in Minnesota (Seven Beaver Lake) is considered to be the source of the Saint Lawrence River. Because it crosses so many lakes, the water system frequently changes its name. From source to mouth, the names are:
The Saint Lawrence River is at the heart of many Quebec novels (Anne Hébert's Kamouraska, Réjean Ducharme's L'avalée des avalés), poems (in works of Pierre Morency, Bernard Pozier), and songs (Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne", Michel Rivard's "L'oubli", Joe Dassin's "Dans les yeux d'Émilie"), and André Gagnon's "Le Saint-Laurent"). The river was the setting for the Canadian television drama series Seaway. The river has also been portrayed in paintings, notably by the Group of Seven. In addition, the river is the namesake of Saint-Laurent Herald at the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
The novel and film Black Robe is set primarily on the St. Lawrence River during the 17th century.
Candiac is an off-island suburb of Montreal, in the Canadian province of Quebec; it is located on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River opposite Montreal near La Prairie. The population as of the Canada 2016 Census was 21,047.Galop Island
Galop Island is an uninhabited island in the Saint Lawrence River located in St. Lawrence County, northeast of Ogdensburg, New York. The 675-acre (2.73 km2) island is owned by the New York Power Authority and managed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as the undeveloped Galop Island State Park.Galop Island has historically been known by a variety of names, including Isle Aux Galloup, Gallou Island, Butternut Island, Dillingham Island, Dixon Island, Lalone Island, Lotus Island, Round Island, Sears Island, Tick Island, and Twin Island.Gananoque
Gananoque ( GAN-ə-NOK-way) is a town in the Leeds and Grenville area of Ontario, Canada. The town had a population of 5,194 year-round residents in the Canada 2011 Census, as well as summer residents sometimes referred to as "Islanders" because of the Thousand Islands in the Saint Lawrence River, Gananoque's most important tourist attraction. The Gananoque River flows through the town and the St. Lawrence River serves as the southern boundary of the town.Hochelaga Archipelago
The Hochelaga Archipelago (French: Archipel d'Hochelaga), also known as the Montreal Islands, is a group of islands at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa rivers in the southwestern part of the province of Quebec, Canada.Ironsides Island
Ironsides Island is an uninhabited rocky island in the Saint Lawrence River, and part of the Thousand Islands region near Alexandria Bay, New York. It is in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. Most of the island lies in the Town of Alexandria, in Jefferson County, while its northeasternmost corner lies in the Town of Hammond, in St. Lawrence County. The island is located near Kring Point State Park.The 30-acre (12 ha) island has 30-to-40-foot (9 to 12 m) cliffs along its waterfront, and its vegetation is dominated by white pine trees. It was donated by former Reader's Digest ad executive William Browning to The Nature Conservancy in the late 1960s to ensure protection of the island's great blue heron rookery. Over a thousand herons return to breed every April. It was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1967.Prior permission from The Nature Conservancy is required to land on the island, but it can easily be viewed from the water.Lyon Mountain (Clinton County, New York)
Lyon Mountain is a mountain located in Clinton County, New York, of which its peak is the highest point.
The mountain is named for Nathaniel Lyon, an early settler of the area who moved from Vermont in 1803 and died circa 1850.
Lyon Mountain stands within the watershed of the Saint Lawrence River, and into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
The northeast slopes of Lyon Mtn. drain into Chazy Lake, the source of the Great Chazy River, and Lake Champlain, which drains into Canada's Richelieu River, thence into the Saint Lawrence River.
The southeast slopes of Lyon Mtn. drain into Smithkill Brook, thence into True Brook, the Saranac River, and Lake Champlain.
The southwest end of Lyon drains into Cold Brook, thence into the North Branch of the Saranac River.
The west slopes of Lyon drain into Standish Brook, thence into Middle Kiln Brook, Upper and Lower Chateaugay Lakes, the source of the Chateaugay River, which drains into the Saint Lawrence River in Canada.
The northwest slopes of Lyon drain into Separator Brook, thence into Upper Chateaugay Lake.
Lyon Mountain Mountain Fire Observation Station, built in 1917, still stands atop the mountain, and can be accessed by hikers.
Lyon Mountain is within New York's Adirondack Park.North Country (New York)
The North Country is a region of the U.S. state of New York that encompasses the state's extreme northern frontier, bordering Lake Ontario on the west, the Saint Lawrence River and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec on the north and northwest, and Lake Champlain and Vermont on the east. Generally speaking, the North Country is understood to be that portion of northern New York which lies outside the Adirondack Park and consists of mostly level lands or the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, but is not within the Adirondack range itself. New York's North Country shares with Ontario the Thousand Islands, an archipelago within the Saint Lawrence River. The region is the most sparsely populated but is also the geographically largest, in New York. At the 2010 United States Census, the population of all six counties is 428,357.
The New York State Department of Transportation defines the northern lobe of the state as part of the Adirondack Region, which includes the counties of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, and Warren.The North Country incorporates cultural similarities with Canada.
The North Country Trail, more formally known as the "North Country National Scenic Trail," is a 4,600-mile (7,400 km) long-distance trail being developed and is proposed to begin at Crown Point, New York on Lake Champlain and traverses New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota.Notre Dame Island
Notre Dame Island (French: Île Notre-Dame) is an artificial island in the Saint Lawrence River in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is immediately east of Saint Helen's Island and west of the Saint Lawrence Seaway and the city of Saint-Lambert on the south shore. Together with Saint Helen's Island, it makes up Parc Jean-Drapeau, which forms part of the Hochelaga Archipelago. To the southwest, the island is connected to the embankment separating the seaway and Lachine Rapids.
Parc Jean-Drapeau is registered as a leg of the Route Verte and Trans Canada Trail.
It houses the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, host of the Canadian Grand Prix of Formula One.Nuns' Island
Nuns' Island (officially Île des Sœurs; French pronunciation: [il de sœʁ]) is an island located in the Saint Lawrence River that forms a part of the city of Montreal, Quebec. It is part of the borough of Verdun.
The island is primarily composed of residential apartments, condos, row houses, semi-detached and detached houses. Nuns' Island is a very desirable area due to the tranquility and relaxation associated with the area. There are two principal projects: Evolo Pointe Nord which consists of two tall buildings and townhouses and Symphonia Pointe Sud which is mostly composed of semi-detached and detached houses.Old Port of Montreal
The Old Port of Montreal (French: Vieux-Port de Montréal) is the historic port of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Located in Old Montreal, it stretches for over 2 km (1.2 mi) along the Saint Lawrence River. It was used as early as 1611, when French fur traders used it as a trading post.
In 1976, Montreal's Port activities were moved east to the present Port of Montreal in the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.The Old Port was redeveloped in the early 1990s, under the direction of architects Aurèle Cardinal and Peter Rose. It is today a recreational and historical area and draws six million tourists annually.Repentigny, Quebec
Repentigny is an off-island suburb of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is located north of the city on the lower end of the L'Assomption River, and on the Saint Lawrence River. Repentigny and Charlemagne were the first towns off the eastern tip of the Island of Montreal. Repentigny is part of the Lanaudiere region.Rivière-du-Loup
Rivière-du-Loup (2011 population 19,447) is a small city on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec. The city is the seat for the Rivière-du-Loup Regional County Municipality and the judicial district of Kamouraska.Saint-Sulpice, Quebec
Saint-Sulpice is a municipality in the Lanaudière region of Quebec, Canada, part of the L'Assomption Regional County Municipality. It is located on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River and includes most of Verchères Islands.Saint Helen's Island
Saint Helen's Island (French: Île Sainte-Hélène) is an island in the Saint Lawrence River, in the territory of the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is situated immediately southeast of the Island of Montreal, in the extreme southwest of Quebec. It forms part of the Hochelaga Archipelago. The Le Moyne Channel separates it from Notre Dame Island. Saint Helen's Island and Notre Dame Island together make up Parc Jean-Drapeau (formerly Parc des Îles).
It was named in 1611 by Samuel de Champlain in honour of his wife, Hélène de Champlain, née Boullé. The island belonged to the Le Moyne family of Longueuil from 1665 until 1818, when it was purchased by the British government. A fort, powderhouse and blockhouse were built on the island as defences for the city, in consequence of the War of 1812.Saint Lawrence Seaway
The Saint Lawrence Seaway (French: la Voie Maritime du Saint-Laurent) is a system of locks, canals, and channels in Canada and the United States that permits oceangoing vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes of North America, as far inland as the western end of Lake Superior. The seaway is named for the Saint Lawrence River, which flows from Lake Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean. Legally, the seaway extends from Montreal, Quebec, to Lake Erie and includes the Welland Canal.
The Saint Lawrence River portion of the seaway is not a continuous canal; rather, it consists of several stretches of navigable channels within the river, a number of locks, and canals along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River to bypass several rapids and dams. A number of the locks are managed by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation in Canada, and others in the United States by the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation; the two bodies together advertise the seaway as part of "Highway H2O". The section of the river from Montreal to the Atlantic is under Canadian jurisdiction, regulated by the offices of Transport Canada in the Port of Quebec.Street Mountain (New York)
Street Mountain is a mountain located in Essex County, New York, named after Alfred Billings Street (1811–1881), a poet and New York State Librarian.
The mountain is the high point of the Street Range of the Adirondack Mountains.
Street's northeast ridge is Nye Mountain.
Street Mountain stands within the watershed of the Saint Lawrence River, which drains into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
The southeast, east, and northeast slopes of Street Mtn. drain into the northern Indian Pass Brook, thence into the West Branch of the Ausable River, and Lake Champlain, thence into Canada's Richelieu River, and the Saint Lawrence River.
The north and northwest slopes of Street Mtn. drain into the headwaters of the Chubb River, thence into the Ausable's West Branch.
The west end of Street Mtn. drains into the northern Moose Creek, and thence into the Cold River, the Raquette River, and the Saint Lawrence River in Canada.
The southwest slopes of Street Mtn. drain into Roaring Brook, thence into Duck Hole pond, the source of the Cold River.
Street Mountain is within the High Peaks Wilderness Area of New York's Adirondack Park.Thousand Islands
The Thousand Islands (French: Mille-Îles) constitute an archipelago of 1,864 islands that straddles the Canada–US border in the Saint Lawrence River as it emerges from the northeast corner of Lake Ontario. They stretch for about 50 miles (80 km) downstream from Kingston, Ontario. The Canadian islands are in the province of Ontario and the U.S. islands in the state of New York.
The islands range in size from over 40 square miles (100 km2) to smaller islands occupied by a single residence, or uninhabited outcroppings of rocks. To count as one of the Thousand Islands, emergent land within the river channel must have at least one square foot (0.093 m2) of land above water level year-round, and support at least two living trees.Varennes, Quebec
Varennes is an off-island suburb of Montreal, in southwestern Quebec, Canada, on the Saint Lawrence River in the Marguerite-D'Youville Regional County Municipality. The city is approximately 24 kilometres (15 mi) from Downtown Montreal. The population as of the Canada 2011 Census was 20,994. In 2015, the population is listed at 24,000.Verchères
Verchères is an off-island suburb of Montreal, in Montérégie, Quebec, located on the south bank of the Saint Lawrence River. The population as of the Canada 2011 Census was 5,692.