“We just want people across Canada and the world to know that this was a very unique and important period of time in Ontario and Canadian history. Local history, but history on the big scene.
You know, when you had leaders from around the world coming here, visiting the sites, and there’s lists of those folks – I can’t name them all – but when you had the Queen come and open the Seaway in ’59 and when you had Richard Nixon here and you had Louis St. Laurent.
August the 10th 1954. I know exactly where I was that day: I was down at Maple Grove at the power dam with Louis St. Laurent being there to turn the shovel. My father adored Louis St. Laurent! And there was a guy on the federal scene, on the Canadian scene, who was here in Cornwall doing that thing, turning the sod.”
Jim Brownell, President, Lost Villages Historical Society, Interview Audio Excerpts, LVHS Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 22, 2013
Want Canada and the world to know how the Seaway as history on the big scene. With Prime Ministers, Presidents and the Queen.
The Seaway was an incredible engineering feat.
The Lost Villages Historical Society was formed in 1976 to save the artefacts that were saved from the flood but were now being thown out.
We felt a real sense of community in our towns.
Video Excerpt: Jim Brownell, President, Lost Villages Historical Society, LVHS Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 22, 2013
In this video clip Jim Brownell discusses how important this period of time was to Canada, with the area attracting visits from such people as Queen Elizabeth, Vice President Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent.
At the time the construction of the St Lawrence Seaway was considered a seminal moment in Canadian history and the British Commonwealth a symbol of modernity, industrial progress and national pride. At various stages it attracted heads of state and government.
Jim Brownell grew up in Moulinette, Ontario. After a career as popular local high school teacher, he served several terms as the local Liberal MPP in the Ontario legislature.
Jim Brownell is a passionate and effective advocate for the Sunken Villages. He is the President of the Lost Villages Historical Society which runs a community based, volunteer driven museum in Long Sault, Ontario. The Society and museum maintain artefacts and important historical archives from and about the villages lost to the St Lawrence Seaway. It is the focal point where those from the villages and their descendants maintain their social and community ties. The Museum maintains a research library.
He now lives in Long Sault, Ontario.