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The Impact Of The St. Lawrence Canal System On The Early Canadian Economy

4731 words - 19 pages

Canada not only is one of the largest country in the world, it is also a country with lots of resources. It is not hard to imagine that Canada's early economic developments were based on its natural resources. Harold Innis suggested the relationship between resources and economic development as the staples Thesis. The development of resources contribute economic gain to the early economy. Thus, it led to the exploration and colonization of this vast land.One of the important resources for the early Canadian economy is cod fisheries. Cod fisheries brought colonists to Canada's Atlantic coast. Secondly, the interior of Canada was explored and colonized with the expansion of the fur trade. Since the Hudson Bay Company absorbed the Northwest Company in 1821 , the St. Lawrence region overtook massive changes. Montreal no longer has the advantage in fur trade. The fur trade would be conducted directly from the Hudson Bay to Europe.At that time there were two new staples appeared in the Canadian economy, timber and agricultural products.Since these two staples coincided with British 's industrialization, timber was needed for construction and food was required to feed a rapidly growing work force. Montreal 's merchants saw an opportunity to take back their commercial position in North America. Therefore, in order to deliver the resources from the Great Lakes to tide water at Montreal, a new marine transportation system must be developed. Moreover, the Americans were pressuring the Canadian to develop this transportation route. The Erie Canal was completed in 1825 . The Erie Canal was a direct route from New York on the Atlantic coast inland to Lake Erie. Although there was urgency for Canada to develop its St. Lawrence system, but due to numerous political, geographical and economical problems, Canada did not complete its St. Lawrence canal system until 1948.Twenty-three years after the completion of the Erie Canal, a thorough route from Lake Erie to Montreal was finally accomplished. This was a significant lag in which Canada would never recover from. The St. Lawrence canal system was an economic failure and it has created enormous impact to early Canadian economy. To demonstrate this failure, three of the system's most expensive and inefficient canals must be analyzed: The Rideau Canal, the Lachine Canal, and the Welland Canal. The failure of these three canals demonstrated Canada's slow response rate to the American threat. This would be an analysis based on the period leading to 1850. In 1850, another transportation method would be developed which made the canals and river systems virtually obsolete. This was the development of the Railway systems. Therefore, analysis of the failure of the St. Lawrence canals transportation system was important in understanding why Canada continued to be led by the United States in economic development even to the present.The first of these canals to be considered and also one of the most important failures of...


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