Lost Villages

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Fri 27 May 2011 22:57
The Lost Villages




The Lost Villages are ten communities in the Canadian province of Ontario, in the former townships of Cornwall and Osnabruck (now South Stormont) near Cornwall, which were permanently submerged by the creation of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1958 - a cost of $460 million. The flooding was expected and planned for as the result of the Moses-Saunders Power Dam construction that began in August 1954. In the weeks and months leading up to the inundation, families and businesses in the affected communities were moved to the new planned communities of Long Sault and Ingleside. These negotiations were controversial, however, as many residents of the communities felt that market value compensation was insufficient since the Seaway plan had already depressed property values in the region.

The town of Iroquois was also flooded, but was relocated 1.5 kilometres north rather than abandoned. Another community, Morrisburg, was partially submerged as well, but the area to be flooded was moved to higher ground within the same townsite. In all, approximately 6500 people were displaced by the project, 530 buildings moved, and countless other homes, schools, and businesses demolished. A portion of the provincial Highway 2 in the area was flooded; the highway was rebuilt along a Canadian National Railway right-of-way in the area.

At 8 a.m. on the 1st of July 1958, a large cofferdam was demolished using 30 tonnes of explosives, allowing the flooding to begin. Four days later, all of the former townsites were fully underwater. Parts of the New York shoreline were flooded by the project as well, but no communities were lost on the American side of the river. 


Lost Villages Museum near Long Sault 





Entrance to Pioneer Memorial that contains headstones from cemeteries of the Lost Villages and mounted tombstones from St. John's Cemetery



A museum in Ault Park near Long Sault is devoted to the Lost Villages, including several historic buildings salvaged from the communities. Other buildings from the villages were moved to the site of Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg. The flooded area also includes Crysler's Farm, where a major battle was fought during the War of 1812. A monument commemorating the battle was also moved from Crysler's Farm to Upper Canada Village. In some locations, a few remnants of sidewalks and building foundations can still be seen under the water, or even on the shoreline when water levels are sufficiently low. Some high points of land in the flooded area remained above water as islands, and are connected by the Long Sault Parkway. Lock 21 of the former Cornwall Canal (since replaced by the St. Lawrence Seaway) is a popular scuba diving site, a few feet from the shore along the Parkway. The Lost Villages were Aultsville. Dickinson's Landing. Farran's Point. Maple Grove. Mille Roches. Moulinette. Santa Cruz. Sheek's Island. Wales. Woodlands.





 Christ Church moved 



At the time response to the news was mixed. When the pact finally  was signed and construction began in 1954, many breathed a sigh of relief and began to celebrate. It was finally over.  Quite a few residents looked forward to the thought of living  in a new town site and enjoying the conveniences of running water, paved roads, street lighting, mall shopping and all the  other amenities that people in larger towns took for  granted.  Others were heartbroken at the thought of  losing riverside homes that had been in their families for  generations. Initially many of the residents were not impressed with the relocation plans. It called for the formation of two new towns called Long Sault and Ingleside. Residents from the villages of Mille Roches and Moulinette would be offered comparable new homes in Long Sault  and those from the communities of Wales, Dickinson’s Landing, Farran’s Point and Aultsville were offered homes in Ingleside.  Farmers and business owners could obtain farms or businesses of similar size and quality. The alternative was cash at market value plus 10 per cent.  However, since the seaway plans had been in the works for many  years, property values were depressed and a number of people, particularly those living alongside the river, believed they were not receiving fair replacement value for their property. The area now is very beautiful, a wildlife haven and a lovely place to visit.