Department of Railways and Canals: Records related to the St. Lawrence Canals

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Document Record

Canada. Dept. of Railways and Canals.
Department of Railways and Canals: Records related to the St. Lawrence Canals
RG 43 C V
Document source
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
The Department of Railways and Canals is a former department of the Government of Canada. It had responsibility for the construction, operation, and maintenance of federal government-owned railways, as well as the operational responsibility for canals in Canada. The department was created in 1879 by transferring several existing government operations, namely the Railway Branch of the Department of Public Works, and the operational responsibilities for canals which were administered by the government's Office of the Chief Engineer. These components were reorganized into the Railway Branch and the Canal Branch, respectively. The Railway Branch was responsible for administering to the federally owned railways, namely the Intercolonial Railway of Canada and the Prince Edward Island Railway (at the time of the department's creation). The branch also provided a program of financial assistance to encourage new railway construction in the country. The Canal Branch administered Canada's canal system and undertook new construction as required. One of the most powerful departments in early Canadian governments, it was amalgamated with the Department of Marine and the Civil Aviation Branch of the Department of National Defence in 1936 to form the Department of Transport.
To overcome the hindrance to navigation presented by rapids, canals were constructed on the St. Lawrence River at various locations as early as the late eighteenth century. Following the union of the Canadas in 1841, older canals were replaced. Work on enlarging the canals was completed in 1913, and they were eventually replaced by the St. Lawrence Seaway during the 1950s.
This collection consists of records created and maintained by the Department of Railways and Canals relating to the St. Lawrence Canals.