Category Archives: Lost Villages Museum

A Perfect Place for a Murder?

In the name of progress a number of Eastern Ontario communities were basically wiped off the face of the earth for the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project.
murderThe dark blue on the map above shows the original river and the lighter blue shows the ‘new’ river after flooding.

People lost their homes and their livelihoods. Some houses were moved but the majority were either torn or burnt down but their foundations remain.

Zooming in on the google earth image of the area, you can see the old highway and rail line and how much land is now submerged.

The following three pictures were taken in August 1957 when the rapids at Long Sault were drained.

my mum walking on the once submerged boulders of the rapids
me on my dad’s shoulders at one of the once submerged boulders of the rapids
me on my dad’s shoulders at a stack of once submerged boulders of the rapids

According to what my mum wrote on the backs of these photos, I was only 9 months old at the time.

I definitely don’t remember seeing the rapids drained but I do remember after the flooding. We lived near Maitland, ON far enough west that the effects of the seaway construction weren’t felt, but close enough to make it a nice Sunday drive.

the old highway disappearing under the water and reappearing on the other side

I do remember scenes similar to this one in the photo I took in July of this year. As a child, I remember having nightmares about the road disappearing under the water never to be seen again but I didn’t know at the time where it was.

Bridges and causeways were built to join the islands created due to the flooding and became part of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. The road joining them is known as the Long Sault Parkway.

The scenic drive is free but to stop at any of the beaches or campgrounds or even the 45th parallel, you have to buy a pass.

45th parallel cairn on McDonell Island
closeup of the plaque on the 45th parallel cairn

The old CN line (formerly the Grand Trunk Railway) in the photo below is part of the Waterfront trail. I had taken photos from the same side of the road but after I crossed to see if I could see where the rail line reappeared, the sun came out from behind a cloud and illuminated it perfectly.

the old rail line between the mainland and West Woodland Island

With  so much land now being under water, wouldn’t this location make a great place for a murder? Maggie Wheeler thought so and used the area of the Lost Villages for her Farran MacKenzie murder mystery series.

Maggie will be my special guest on September 19th. Mark your calendar for that date so that you don’t miss it.



Artisans in the Park ~ July 4, 2015

The Lost Villages Museum


Artisans in the Park

This museum, located between Cornwall and Long Sault, ON showcases a cross-section of buildings from the villages that were lost as a result of the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

In all, six villages (Aultsville, Farran’s Point, Dickinson’s Landing, Wales, Moulinette and Milles Roches) were lost and the two new towns of Ingleside and Long Sault were created and new homes built to re-house the people affected. In some cases, huge house-moving equipment was brought in and homes were relocated to new foundations elsewhere, or they were marked for destruction and either burned or torn down.

Since outdoor events aren’t always agreeable with books (wet weather and paper products don’t get along well) I decided to see if I could get one of the buildings and then persuade my crafty friend, Dorothy Bush, to come along and we’d split the cost.

Our venue
Our outdoor display

Can you guess what these cute articles on hangers are? All morning, my poster board for A Shadow in the Past stayed on the easel but by afternoon, I had to bring it inside and sit it on the bench so it could ‘wait for the train’, too.

Melanie and Dorothy
My display

The train station isn’t very big inside so it was hard to decide the best way to set up. The museum provided the table and it was almost too big for the available space. Note to self, next year bring my smaller 6-foot table.

My display

Plenty of people stopped in and it was wonderful to chat with them about the history of the area. I even met a woman who used to work at Quarriers Village (formerly the Orphan Homes of Scotland where my father was raised) during the 1980s and knew some of the same people that I knew from my trips to Scotland!

My husband came along for the day and enjoyed welcoming people into ‘our train station’. He held the fort a couple of times so Dorothy and I could go on a wander to see what/who else was there.

Homemade jewellery, quilting, paintings, stepping stones, artisan breads and many other items were on display.

There was even another author there! Jennifer De Bruin was set up outside the log cabin with her two books, Shadows in the Tree and A Walk with Mary.

It was a wonderful day and the best part is, I even sold some books. You’ve got to like that part of things. I’m looking forward to attending again next year.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Lost Villages but don’t want to read dry, factual accounts of the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway and accompanying Power Project, then perhaps Maggie Wheeler’s mysteries would be more to your liking. Maggie skillfully weaves the facts into her fiction making it an enjoyable way to discover the history of the area. I’ve read the first three and can tell you they are great reads! I can’t wait to read the fourth book in the series.

Do you think you know what the cute articles on hangers are? Leave your guess in the comments.