Book – The Living River by Ian Bowering and Lor Pelton




When French Explorer JACQUES CARTIER first sailed up the St Lawrence River in search of a passage to the Orient, his voyage was impeded by a series of violent rapids, running from Montreal to Prescott. For the next 300 years, this region of the river remained relatively isolated, with the exception of a few Mohawk settlements until the United Empire Loyalists settled the region and developed steam boats and canals to bypass the rapids. Following the Battle of Crysler’s Farm during the War of 1812 between British and American forces, this region quickly became a transhipment, tourist, and smuggling centre. During the mid-twentieth century, Cartier’s dream of navigating the river from Montreal to Prescott became possible with the construction of the St Lawrence Seaway, which, unfortunately, required “drowning” several established villages.

This book tells stories and reveals secrets of this geographically unique and historically rich section of the St. Lawrence River, including these tales:

Alexander Henry the Elder shooting the Lachine Rapids by canoe
Lady Elizabeth Postuma Simcoe painting the rapids
Peggy Bruce, Eastern Ontario’s Laura Secord, and Duncan Clark, Canada’s Paul Revere
Rebellions of 1837-38, Fenian (Hunter) Raids, and the German plan to attack Canada
Tourist homes at Stanley Island and steamboat cruising in the Gilded Age
‘Caribou’ Cameron gold mining in the Yukon
Dr. Locke healing hands and medical tourism
Elephants marching into Cornwall and swimming in the river
Grafting McIntosh apples and importing Holstein Friesian cattle
Collapse of the International Bridge at Cornwall
Sinking of the Eastcliffe Hall, Milverton, Corsican, and other river wrecks
Sheriff’ Ron Martelle and smuggling cigarettes
Celebrating the Seaway construction with HRH Queen Elizabeth II and VP Richard Nixon
Flooding of the Lost Villages: Iroquois, Morrisburg, Aultsville, Farran’s Point,
Dickinson’s Landing, Wales, Moulinette, Mille Roches, and Long Sault Rapids


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