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  Trent-Severn Waterway
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Trent-Severn Waterway National Site of Canada, Ontario

The Trent-Severn Waterway has been called one of the finest interconnected systems of navigation in the world. At 386 km long the canal is impressive. Originally used for commercial and military purposes the canal is nowed used exclusively for pleasurecraft connecting Lake Ontario at Trento to Lake Huron at Port Severn. Its natural waterways include The Trent, Severn and Otonabee Rivers, Kwartha lakes, Lake Simcoe, and Lake Couchiching. The canal begins at Trento, Ontario and apx 32 km of man-made channels. There are 45 locks in total, including 36 conventional locks, two sets of flight locks, hydraulic lift locks at Peterborough, Kirkfield and Swift Rapids and a marine railway at Big Chute which transports boats between the upper and lower sections of the Severn River. The highest point it reaches is at Balsam Lake which is also the highest point on Earth to which a vessel can be navigated from sea level.


The Trent-Severn Waterway was originally devised as a method for lumber barons to transport their recently felled logs. Construction for the canal began in 1833 with the Lock at Bobcaygeon. It then took the next 87 years to complete. It wasn’t until 1920 that a boat could travel the entire route. The lock system aided in the settlement and development of Central ontraio, allowing efficient flow of goods and people from major trading centres along Lake Ontario. The rugged rough terrain of the province made transportation by land extremely difficult. During the years that the canal was under construction railway made a significant impact on travel. As well, ships were becoming larger and the small canal could not accommodate these new larger vessels. When the Welland Canal was built the Trent Severn waterway became obsolete. Today the lock system is still operational from spring until fall but the canals now cater to the tourist crowd and recreational boaters.

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