OTD: Construction on Montréal’s Lachine Canal completed

On today’s date in 1825, construction on the Lachine Canal, which runs 14.5 kilometres through Montréal’s southwestern tip – from the Old Port to Lake Saint-Louis – was completed.

The tokens showed a beaver on one side and a locomotive train on the other.

The tokens showed a beaver on one side and a locomotive train on the opposite side.

The canal was used as designed for about 20 years, until the 1840s, when it was deepened to allow heavier ships to pass through. At the same time, the industries located on the canal’s banks began using hydraulic power, which increased overall output. This, coupled with the canal’s expansion, saw it change from being a way to avoid the Saint Lawrence River’s Lachine Rapids to being a direct path to Montréal’s industry. The city quickly became a lucrative area to do business, and what followed was the development of industrial suburbs that replaced what was formerly considered Montréal’s downtown core.

Bronze tokens with a 25-mm diameter were issued.

Bronze tokens with a 25-mm diameter were issued.

Towards the end of the 1840s, railway tokens (Breton No. 530) were issued in place of train tickets after it was found the tickets were inconvenient for use by both Aboriginals and local workers, both of which made up the railway’s third-class passengers

Struck in Birmingham, England at the Birmingham Mint and then imported to Montréal, the tokens were strung on a wire as they were collected by the train’s conductor. The tokens, which showed a train locomotive on one side and a beaver on the other, were used until the early 1850s.

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