Major rehabilitation work begins on the historic Grenville Canal

After months of delays followed by preliminary work, the Village of Grenville is finally able to begin major rehabilitation work on the historic Grenville Canal. Work began on Monday August 15.

Stabilization and reconstruction of the canal walls is underway along the northern part of the canal near the jetty and near the site of the old lock next to Desforges Park.

The project is made possible by $2.5 million each from the Quebec and federal governments, originally announced in January 2021.

“This was an important issue for me,” said Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation MNA Stéphane Lauzon at a press conference held in Grenville on August 19.

Lauzon said securing the funding took a long time. He described it as a start towards the preservation of the canal, as the ongoing work is currently the first of two phases.

Argenteuil Member of the National Assembly (MNA) of Quebec Agnes Grondin spoke about the heritage significance of the canal and how its preservation could benefit the local economy.

Grondin also mentioned the importance of the preservation of the canal for the former mayor of Grenville, Luc Grondin, who died in November 2018. Mayor Grondin was a cousin of MP Grondin.

“The municipality is very grateful to the governments of Canada and Quebecnoted Grenville Mayor Pierre Thauvette.

The contractor carrying out the canal work is PRONEX of Lachute, which has significant experience in excavation in the marine environment.

Repair work on the Grenville Canal along Canal Nord Street. Photo: James Morgan

The Grenville Canal was built between 1819 and 1834 by the British army as a transportation route along the Ottawa River to connect Montreal to the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. The canal bypasses the Long Sault rapids, which were flooded following the construction of the Carillon hydroelectric plant in the 1960s.

Once the repairs to the Grenville Canal have been completed, it can be reopened to pleasure boating. Since 2008, the subsistence along the lock walls has made the upper part of the canal unsafe for shipping traffic and the section has been closed to boats. The project will also modernize infrastructure along Canal Nord Street.

Work on the canal walls was carried out along Canal Street South in 2021. The village also relocated the old tourist information building in 2020 from the corner of Maple Street and Principale Street next to the wharf and the boat ramp. It will eventually reopen as a new tourist information and reception center.

The completion of the canal works is intended to enhance the historic canal as a centerpiece of the village and to make it a major recreational tourist attraction focused on boating, cycling and historical interpretation.

The boat ramp on Canal Nord Street has been closed since August 15 and will remain closed for the remainder of the 2022 boating season. Access to Canal Nord Street will be very limited and street residents are kept informed by the village of the progress of the project.

According to the general manager of the village Alain Leveillethe rehabilitation of the Grenville Canal will be completed by fall 2023.

Map of the Grenville Canal area where rehabilitation work is taking place. Map: Village of Grenville with information added by James Morgan

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