North Shore Channel

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The North Shore Channel near the Bahá'í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois.
Chicago area rivers

The North Shore Channel is a drainage canal built between 1907 and 1910 to flush the sewage-filled North Branch of the Chicago River down the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.[1] The sewage carrying duty has been largely taken over by the Chicago Deep Tunnel, but there are still occasional discharges due to heavy rains.[2]


A sluice gate usually prevents the canal from draining out to Lake Michigan in Wilmette, although the gate must be opened occasionally to prevent downstream flooding.[1] The north end is near the Bahá'í House of Worship, and connects to the North Branch at the junction of several North Side community areas, such as Wilmette, Evanston, Skokie, Lincolnwood, and Chicago. In 1999, the system of which the canal is a part was named a Civil Engineering Monument of the Millennium (as part of the Chicago wastewater system) by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).[3]


Surrounded by parks and steep, wooded banks, the canal provides a corridor for local wildlife.[1] Chicago's only waterfall within the city limits, which looks like a concrete spillway, is just south of Foster Avenue, in Chicago's River Park, where the North Branch drops about 4 feet (1.2 m) through a dam into the canal.[citation needed]


Since the water quality improvement, fishing has become possible in the canal.[4] Bass and croppie are abundant, especially at the confluence of the canal and the North Branch of the Chicago River, where the waterfall aerates the water.[5] Canoeing and kayaking are allowed, with several put-in points along the length.[6] In addition to water navigation, both walking and biking paths follow along nearly the entire length of the canal.[7] The Evanston-Wilmette Community Golf Course ("Canal Shores") plays along a stretch of the canal of about 1 mile (1.6 km), and two par-3 holes play across it.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Hill, Libby (2000). The Chicago River, A Natural and Unnatural History. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press. pp. 139–151. ISBN 1-893121-02-X. 
  2. ^ "CSO - Operational and Maintenance Plan Summary". Village of Willmette. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  3. ^ American Society of Civil Engineers. "Chicago Wastewater System". Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "10 Places to Catch a Fish in Chicago". World Fishing Network. 
  5. ^ "River Park". Chicago Park District. 
  6. ^ Author unknown (date unknown). North Shore Channel put-ins. Retrieved from
  7. ^ Raz, Katherine (2010). "Best Alternative to the Lakefront Path". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  8. ^ Evanston Wilmette Community Golf Course. "Scorecard". Retrieved 12 February 2014. 

Coordinates: 42°02′28″N 87°42′35″W / 42.04111°N 87.70972°W / 42.04111; -87.70972