Lake Saint-Louis

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Lake Saint-Louis
Lac Saint-Louis
Lake st-louis.png
Location map
Location Montérégie region, southwestern Quebec
Coordinates 45°24′05″N 73°48′51″W / 45.40139°N 73.81417°W / 45.40139; -73.81417Coordinates: 45°24′05″N 73°48′51″W / 45.40139°N 73.81417°W / 45.40139; -73.81417
Type natural
Primary inflows Beauharnois Canal, St. Lawrence River, Ottawa River, Saint-Charles River
Primary outflows St. Lawrence River
Basin countries Canada
Surface elevation 21 m (69 ft)
Settlements Montreal

Lake Saint-Louis, or in French Lac Saint-Louis, is a lake in southwestern Quebec, Canada, adjoining the Island of Montreal at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers. The St. Lawrence Seaway passes through the lake.


Lake St. Louis is a widening of the St. Lawrence River in the Hochelaga Archipelago.


It is fed by three main sources: the Ottawa River at the end of Lake of Two Mountains by its two branches on either side of the Île Perrot, by the river itself, by the Beauharnois Canal which is an important branch of the St. Lawrence and where is hydro-electric Beauharnois and the Soulanges Canal.[1] Also two rivers feeding the lake to a lesser extent: the St. Louis River which flows into the lake at the height of Beauharnois Canal and Châteauguay River which flows into the lake the height of the city of the same name.


St. Louis Lake has three outlets: a emissary natural, the St. Lawrence River at the Lachine Rapids, natural obstacle which prevents the passage of merchant vessels, and two artificial outlets, the Lachine Canal, first bypass channel fast and dangerous Saint Lawrence Seaway, whose entrance is located at the height of the Tekakwitha Island in front of Kanawake. It is through this passage that ships access to the Lock Côte-Sainte-Catherine bypassing the Lachine Rapids.


The lake is bounded to the north and east by the Island of Montreal. Additionally, it is bounded by the Regional County Municipalities of Beauharnois-Salaberry, Roussillon, and Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

The town of Beauharnois with its power-dam and canal lie to the south. The lake contains a part of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, joining the South Shore and Beauharnois canals.

To the west, at the lock in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, the lake connects to the Lake of Two Mountains.

The West Island shore is mostly built-up with private houses, but includes some parks and clubs for yachting, sailing, and canoe-kayak.

Islands in the lake include l'Île-Dorval, les Îles de la Paix National Wildlife Area and Dowker Island.


Lake St. Louis has two upstream: the Lake of Two Mountains northwest and the St. Lawrence River to the southwest. The lock at Sainte-Anne connects with the Lake of Two Mountains. The Beauharnois Locks establish the connection with the Lake St. Francis towards Great Lakes. Downstream, two paths open to Mariners or the Lachine Canal and its series of five locks to achieve 14 m below the level of the St. Lawrence River at the Old Montreal either Seaway St. Lawrence Lock Côte-Sainte-Catherine.

  • Access to Lake of Two Mountains: Lock Sainte-Anne can accommodate ships of 170 feet (51.81 meters).
  • Access to the Saint Lawrence Seaway: The Saint Lawrence Seaway permits the passage of vessels with a minimum length of 20 feet (6.096 meters) and a maximum length of 740 feet (225.5 meters) and a maximum width of 78 feet (23.8 meters).[2]
  • Access to Lachine Canal: the smallest of the five locks of the Lachine Canal has a useful dimension of 160 feet (49 meters) by 40 feet (12.2 meters). The vertical clearance is 7.97 feet (2.43 meters).


  • It has the distinction of receiving the brown waters of the Ottawa River and the green waters of the Great Lakes. Observers can see the demarcation of waters.
  • Lake St. Louis is the second of three fluvial lakes on the St. Lawrence River. Upstream of it is Lake St. Francis, and downstream is Lake Saint-Pierre. Its average flow is 8,400 cubic metres per second (300,000 cu ft/s).[3]


Many species of fish are present in the lake, including yellow perch.



A small map by Champlain of 1611 names the lake. The same year, Champlain reported that a young man named Louys was drowned in what is now known as the Lachine Rapids, and in 1870 Charles-Honoré Laverdière stated that the rapids, and later the lake, were named in honour of the drowned man. A 1656 Jesuit account describes a crossing «Lac Saint Louys».[4]

The name of St. Louis has a young French explorer, Louis, who was charged by Samuel de Champlain, to go for exploring the Ottawa River with two Native Americans. After reaching the current location of the city 's Ottawa, explorers turned back to return to the colony. During the return trip, as they sailed on the waters of a nearby lake island of Hochelaga (Montreal), the three explorers decided to stop on an island to hunt some herons.[citation needed]

The hunting party stretched later in the day and anxious to return to port before nightfall, Louis decided to take a shortcut along the northern coast. Louis and his two companions ventured into the rapids and their boats were sucked into a vortex, carrying Louis and one of the Indians, who died drowned. The Amerindian survivor named Savignon, see Champlain returned and told him the tragedy. Saddened by the loss of his explorer Champlain named the lake in his memory and fast - which later changed its name to the Lachine Rapids. Many historians still wonder today whether Louis and his partner drowned in the Lachine Rapids or rather those of St-Anne-de-Bellevue. The Perrot is based on several historical sources where Louis and his two companions would have stopped for hunting herons, which makes it very plausible that the fatal shortcut taken by Louis was the Rapids St-Anne-de-Bellevue, which at the time were much more violent today because of the control of water level established by the hydro-electric plant Carillon. The exact location of the tragedy is very difficult to determine and is still to this day uncertainty.[citation needed]


Pollution of excessive fecal coliform and PCB oil flow into the lake from tributaries on the land. Two notable news stories were on Nov 20, 2014 by the CBC and December 9, 2014 by the Montreal Gazette.[5][6]


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