St Lawrence Seaway is an inland waterway system consisting of locks, river canals and channels. It is part of both USA and Canada and permits ocean-going (large-sized) ships to navigate from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, as far as Lake Superior.
- The St Lawrence River flows from Lake Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean.
- Saint Lawrence Seaway extends from Montreal to Lake Erie, including the Welland Canal. This section consists of several river channels, locks and canals along the banks of the river. They were constructed to bypass the river's rapids and dams along the route.
- Some the locks are managed by Canadian autorities ("Saint Lawrence Seaway Management Corp") and some by the USA ("Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp"). The Seaway is advertized as part of "Highway H2O".
- The river section downstream of Montreal is fully Canadian and regulated by Transport Canada (Port of Quebec).
- Great Lakes and St Lawrence Seaway shipping generates annually over USD 3,4 billion in revenue from shipping hundreds of million tons of cargo. Inbound shipments, include mostly steel (approx 6% of the USA's total). Outbound shipments include grain (approx 7% of the total cargo and approx 4% of the USA's overseas total grain shipments). The toll revenue from ocean-going ships is approx 30%.
- The Seaway locks match the Welland Canal's locks, permitting passages of ships with max length 740 ft (230 m) and max beam (width) 78 ft (24 m). There is a Seaway locks expansion project planned for 2030, that will allow box ships (container carriers) to navigate to the Great Lakes. The expanded Seaway's max height clearance is 150 ft (46 m) due to the river bridges' height restrictions (Mackinac, Ambassador, Blue Water, and Gordie Howe).. The new max water drought will be 36 ft (11 m), compared to the current max draft of 27 ft (8,2 m) now.
- Currently, Montreal port allows max drafts of 36 ft (11 m) in the St Lawrence River's estuary.
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence is the outlet of North American Great Lakes via St Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean. The gulf is actually a semienclosed sea that covers an area of nearly 236,000 km2 (91,000 ml2). This unique waterway contains around 35,000 km3 (8,400 ml3) of water, resulting in an average depth of 148 m (486 ft).
Perce Rock ("Rocher Perce", on the above photo) is a huge rock formation (reddish-gold limestone and shale) located on the Gaspe Peninsula's tip. It is considered one of St Lawrence Gulf's (and Quebec's) natural icons and is a major tourist attraction in the region. The "Pierced Island" is linked to the mainland by a sandbar. The town of Perce is on Perce Bay. The famous reef is approx 800 m from the town's centre, where smaller-sized ships can be moored.
- St Lawrence Gulf borders to the north with Labrador Peninsula, to the east with Newfoundland Island, to the south with Nova Scotia Peninsula, and to the west with Gaspe Peninsula, New Brunswick, and Quebec. Largest islands in the Gulf are Anticosti, Prince Edward Island, Magdalen Islands (Quebec), Cape Breton Island, Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France).
- Besides St Lawrence River, major rivers that empty into the Gulf are Miramichi, Natashquan, Romaine, Restigouche, Margaree, and Humber,
- The Gulf's branches include the bays Chaleur, Fortune, Miramichi, St George's, also Bay of Islands and the Northumberland Strait.
- The list of national parks / Canadian Government-protected areas along the Gulf includes Forillon National Park (Gaspe Peninsula), Prince Edward Island National Park, Kouchibouguac National Park (New Brunswick), Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Gros Morne National Park (Newfoundland) National Park Reserve (Cote-Nord, Quebec).
The Saint Lawrence River was first sailed by an European in 1534 - by the French explorer Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) who claimed the current-day Canada's territory for France. He named it "The Country of Canadas", after the indigenous word for "settlement" / "village". At just about the same time, Basques came to frequent the region for whale-hunting and trade with First Nations people of modern-day Quebec and the rest of the Atlantic provinces. They left vestiges of presence in many locations - graveyards, furnaces, docks, etc.
St Lawrence Seaway cruise terminal
Next photo shows the map of St Lawrence Seaway, with the location of all its ports and locks in USA and Canada.
The St Lawrence Seaway cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near St Lawrence Seaway, Ontario, Canada.
If you lose the St Lawrence Seaway location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.
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