Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site of Canada
Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site of Canada is located in the Suroit tourist area in Monteregie, 30 miles southwest from Montreal, on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Visitors can get there via Highway 20 West (exit 17, near Valleyfield).
This historic site is a reminder of the strategic importance of the St. Lawrence River canals, built in the 19th Century, and of its rich history going back several millennia in time.
At first, this site was a portage for nomadic Aboriginals. Later, it became a bypass for sea voyagers from Great Britain and France. By the late 18th century, a lock canal was constructed there, the first work of its kind in North America. Coteau-du-Lac National Historic site focuses on the role this waterway played in Canada’s economic development, in its transportation system, and in its communications network.
The interpretation center guides provide visitors with an introduction to the history of the site and demonstrate the site’s development turning points on navigational charts, on a scale model of the Coteau-du-Lac-Complex, and with original artifacts, some of which are among the oldest ever found in the St. Lawrence River valley.
Guests can explore the remains of Canada’s first lock canal, as well as authentic vestiges of the early-19th-century fortifications erected by the British troops and a replica of a blockhouse.
The Suroît tourist region has many treasures to discover: summer theatre, camping, golf courses, beaches, museums, lodging, shades rest areas, etc.
Large-scale archaeological excavations uncovered the remains of a few more buildings, which can be seen at different points along the walkway. The path, marked off by interpretive panels, takes visitors on a trip through time from the earliest presence of humans in the area to the peak of British military activity in 1820. A cycling trail of about 40 kilometers (25 mi) along the Soulanges Canal offers lush green and pastoral scenery.
Around Coteau-du-Lac, visitors to Quebec have many treasures to discover: museums, summer theatres, beaches, golf courses, and gourmet restaurants. The choice of accommodations is very large, from campgrounds to 5-star hotels.
Coteau-du-Lac Historic Site of Canada. Photo : © Lucie Smith