Like arteries of the human body, Canada's canals have carried the lifeblood of our nation. They were built on and around the inland waterways along which our forefathers travelled - European explorers, fur traders, settlers, immigrants - and along which villages were built and communities were formed. Though used primarily for recreation today, Canada's canals were originally constructed as artificial watercourses for inland navigation - built as improvements to the natural waterways for embanking, straightening, dredging or overcoming levelling differences. This stamp set features six of Canada's canals, a waterway and a lock.
The Canals stamp set is an exquisite collection of scenic scapes that blends illustrations of historic canals with images of modern recreational use. The series consists of a pane of 10 stamps, with the Rideau Canal and the Trent-Severn Waterway featured twice. On the selvedge, a summary relief map displays the locations of all six canals and the bodies of water they connect.
The Lachine Canal is the oldest canal in Canada and, for many years, was one of the most active. It enabled ships travelling from the Atlantic Ocean through Montreal to bypass the Lachine Rapids en route to Lake St. Louis. Lined by masonry walls, the canal contained five locks operated electrically. Several bridges crossed over it, and three tunnels lay beneath it. Operational for over 130 years, the Lachine Canal was closed in 1970 - its use diminished by the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.