Sunken Villages. Seeing. From the air. Through the water.
Sunken Villages. Speaking. From experience. Through time.
7,500 people lost their properties, homes, farms, churches, businesses to the Inundation. Twenty-seven people bear witness. Lives shaped by actions that cannot be undone. Places no one can return to.
Their voices. Their words. 27 individuals tell 115 stories about losing their homes, communities and landscape, beneath the St Lawrence River. Making sense of the incomprehensible - the 1950s echoing into the present.
July 1, 1958 is remembered as Inundation Day in the region near Cornwall, Ontario and Ogdensburg, New York. At 08:00 a controlled explosion tore open a cofferdam and four days later an area once home to 7,500 people disappeared under the waves of Lake St. Lawrence, part of the newly created St. Lawrence Seaway.
On the Canadian side, twelve communities, some dating back to the 1700s, were gone. Maple Grove, Mille Roches, Moulinette, Sheeks Island, Wales, Dickinson’s Landing, Farran’s Point and Aultsville were entirely destroyed; Iroquis was demolished and moved inland continuing on in name; and, about half of Morrisburg – including its waterfront, business district and main street – were levelled.
In St Lawrence County on the American side, the community of Croil's Island disappeared and, along Highway 37B, Louisville Landing and Richards Landing ceased to exist. Much of Waddington was also dismantled.
On both sides, large rural tracts and property, farms, cottages, and entire islands were flooded. Sacred sites were obliterated and the historic battlefield of Crysler’s farm – where in November 1813 Redcoats, local militia and …. [more]
This ‘video’ combines the voices of those affected by the flooding and destruction of the St Lawrence Seaway project, with a slow ‘slide show’ of the foundations, roads, stumps and much else that are still to be seen in the shallows of the St Lawrence River.
The emotions lie close to the surface, not unlike the remains at or below the surface of the water.
Do take 20 minutes to watch, ideally with headphones or a good quality sound system.