« Les gars s’accrochaient après le train pis y se rendaient à l’école Saint-Henri […] pour économiser, pour être capables d’aller au restaurant […] manger une frite pis prendre une liqueur. »
Thérèse Boudreau-Dionne, résidente
Canal is an audiowalk that takes listeners from the Atwater Market to the Saint Gabriel Lock. Over the course of the walk, memories of residents and workers from the area guide the listener through history. Childhood memories, bridge rides, manufactures and workers’ struggles, intercultural relations, community organizing, conversions of old industrial buildings… Canal is a trip through time and space that is sure to make you see this famous navigational route in a whole new light.
You can download the audio file on our Vimeo channel and transfer it to your own player. You can also borrow our mp3 players for free if you are organizing a group activity (30 players available). Contact us for further information.
The 2.5 km walk begins before the Parks Canada booth located southeast of the Atwater Market, at the intersection of Atwater Avenue and St. Ambroise Street. After a walk across the Charlevoix bridge into the neighborhood of Pointe-Saint-Charles , it follows the railroad on the north side of the canal toward Georges-Vanier Street. It then continues north, into Little Burgundy, before arriving at Des Seigneurs where the tour turns south. It then runs past the old factories of Belding-Corticelli, Nordelec, and Redpath, and finally finishes in the middle of the canal, on the St. Gabriel lock . You can download and print the map here. The audio walk is one way. It takes an hour to travel the 2.5km and 15 to 20 minutes to walk back to the Atwater Market.
The audio walk comes with a booklet, Canal: Walking the Post-Industrial Lachine Canal which provides additional historical information about the 19 featured sites, references, and resources. It is however not essential to the audio walk (but do not forget to print the above map). You can purchase a copy at Parks Canada – Lachine Canal National Historic Site kiosk and at the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling for $10. The PDF version is available here.
Canal on Tales & Tours
Canal is now available on Tales & Tours. This mobile app gathers dozens of walks located in North America and Europe. Using your smartphone’s GPS, the app locates walks around you and invites you to discover the city or neighbourhood from different perspectives. It includes a map, the audio file as well as additional information and pictures. Only available on iOS for now, an Android version will be released soon.
Project and team
The audio walk and the booklet are part of the larger Post/Industrial Montreal research project and build on the previous Your Memories of the Lachine Canal Revealed oral history project, a partnership between Parks Canada’s Lachine Canal National Historic Site and COHDS. Katy Tari and Paul-Émile Cadorette conducted all of the interviews and the present project would have been impossible without their foundational work. Thanks also go out to all of the interviewees who agreed to share their stories with others.
The Canal project team consisted of Steven High, Eve-Lyne Cayouette Ashby, Phil Lichti, Simon Vickers, Sofie Desjardins, Ingrid Theuninck, Marie-Hélène Sauvé, and Viola Fini. Booklet design and layout is from Camille Rioux.