Mary Cope (née Allison)

Mary Cope was in her early teens when her family was forced from their riverside tourist resort on the outskirts of Morrisburg





“And then I made a second quilt and it was more like being out on that island. I showed a ship ‘cause that was the reason for the whole thing, was the ships, the large ships having to go down that river.

And I remember, after the flooding, ‘cause we lived right on the waterfront. But it was very deep because the canal was down – I don’t know how many, 10 feet down and then the canal – and there were fish, sunfish. Schools and schools and schools of sunfish. And they went up and down and up and down. I was a kid that was out on the water playing and fishing.

And I remember that they just went up and down, they were totally lost; they didn’t know where to go. And I think they were doing that probably for two and a half or three years until they found their own habitat.

And so in my quilt are these fish with words on their lateral line, which is their sensitive line. I put words like ‘destroyed.’ I can’t remember right now but all the feelings I had, about what I felt about the Seaway and what it had done to people and living things, living creatures.”


Mary Cope (née Allison)

Mary Cope was in her early teens when her family was forced from their riverside tourist resort on the outskirts of Morrisburg





“The feeling that I try to maintain on it is the fact that there was a lot of electricity generated in that power house, there.

If you total up what entered into New York and what came into Canada, there were a lot of people benefited from all that electricity. That’s the plus side.

The down side, of course, is the disappearance of those municipalities that were around there for a long, long time. And then they were suddenly, they suddenly disappeared.”



Audio Interview



Audio Excerpt: Mary Cope (née Allison) Interview, Paris, Ontario, Canada. August 05, 2013

Audio Interview



Audio Excerpt: Mary Cope (née Allison) Interview, Paris, Ontario, Canada. August 05, 2013

Audio Interview



Audio Excerpt: Mary Cope (née Allison) Interview, Paris, Ontario, Canada. August 05, 2013

Audio Interview



Audio Excerpt: Mary Cope (née Allison) Interview, Paris, Ontario, Canada. August 05, 2013

Summary

In this audio clip, Mary Cope (née Allison) talks about the creation of her quilt showing ships and the sunfish that were disoriented for years after the construction of the Seaway.

The experience is a metaphor for the disorientation still felt by people to this day.

Bio

The Allison family had an old farm converted into a riverside tourist camp resort on the St Lawrence River. It was a prime location beside Highway 2 on the eastern outskirts of Morrisburg, Ontario. She was in her early teens when they were forced to move.

Her family’s land is now in partly under water and partly a small island bisected by a strip of asphalt from the old highway. The foundations of their buildings are still visible in the shallow water.

Summary

In this audio clip, Mary Cope (née Allison) talks about the creation of her quilt showing ships and the sunfish that were disoriented for years after the construction of the Seaway.

The experience is a metaphor for the disorientation still felt by people to this day.

Bio

The Allison family had an old farm converted into a riverside tourist camp resort on the St Lawrence River. It was a prime location beside Highway 2 on the eastern outskirts of Morrisburg, Ontario. She was in her early teens when they were forced to move.

Her family’s land is now in partly under water and partly a small island bisected by a strip of asphalt from the old highway. The foundations of their buildings are still visible in the shallow water



The Sunken Villages interviews give voice, sometimes for the first time, to the memories, emotions, experiences and reflections about what happened when the construction of the Seaway flooded the St Lawrence Valley. These first person accounts are reviving a history that has been officially ignored and largely forgotten.

July 1, 1958 is remembered as Inundation Day around Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, NY. At 08:00 a controlled explosion tore open a cofferdam. Four days later an area that had been 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, 12 communities, some dating back to the 1700s, were affected. Maple Grove, Mille Roches, Moulinette, Sheeks Island, Wales, Dickinson’s Landing, Farran’s Point and Aultsville were entirely destroyed. Iroquis was demolished and moved a mile to continue on in name. About half of Morrisburg – including its waterfront and most of its business district and main street – were levelled.

On the American side, in St Lawrence County in upstate New York, Croil's Island, Louisville Landing, and Richards Landing ceased to exist, and parts of Waddington were dismantled.

The Sunken Villages interviews give voice, sometimes for the first time, to the memories, emotions, experiences and reflections about what happened when the construction of the Seaway flooded the St Lawrence Valley. These first person accounts are reviving a history that has been officially ignored and largely forgotten.

July 1, 1958 is remembered as Inundation Day around Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, NY. At 08:00 a controlled explosion tore open a cofferdam. Four days later an area that had been 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, 12 communities, some dating back to the 1700s, were affected. Maple Grove, Mille Roches, Moulinette, Sheeks Island, Wales, Dickinson’s Landing, Farran’s Point and Aultsville were entirely destroyed. Iroquis was demolished and moved a mile to continue on in name. About half of Morrisburg – including its waterfront and most of its business district and main street – were levelled.

On the American side, in St Lawrence County in upstate New York, Croil's Island, Louisville Landing, and Richards Landing ceased to exist, and parts of Waddington were dismantled.