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A History of the Murray Canal
by Dan Buchanan


During the 1790s, Upper Canada’s first lieutenant governor, John Graves Simcoe, promoted the idea of a canal in the area between the Bay of Quinte and Presqu’ile Bay on Lake Ontario, but his idea did not come into fruition until decades later. Why did it take so long? In A History of the Murray Canal, historian Dan Buchanan provides a detailed account of the building of the Murray Canal and how lobbying and politics combined to finally make it happen in 1889. Industries, farmers, and merchants around the Bay of Quinte all wanted an easier, cheaper path to move products within the region. Mounting pressure from them, supported by their members of Parliament, pushed politicians to finally approve the necessary funding to build a canal. The construction of the Murray Canal began in 1882, with the contract going to a company that had experience with the Welland Canal. Steam-powered dredges dug the canal straight from Twelve O’Clock Point to Presqu’ile Bay, through land that had been expropriated from farmers along the route. When it opened at last, the Murray Canal became an important link in the regional transportation system, a role it continues to play today as part of the Trent-Severn Waterway. Currently the only published historical record of the Murray Canal, A History of the Murray Canal not only chronicles how the canal was built and how it has changed over the years, but also sheds light on the movers and shakers who got the job done.

www.danbuchananhistoryguy.com


Dan Buchanan photo

Known as The History Guy of Brighton, Ontario, Dan Buchanan enjoys researching, writing, and presenting interesting stories about local history. He writes a history column for a municipal newsletter, is a member of the Brighton Heritage Advisory Committee, and works closely with the Brighton Digital Archives. Dan is also the author of Murder in the Family: The Dr. King Story (Dundurn Press, 2015), 38 Hours To Montreal: William Weller and the Governor General's Race of 1840 (FriesenPress, 2018), and The Wreck of HMS Speedy: The Tragedy That Shook Upper Canada (Milner & Associates Inc., 2020).


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Author
Dan Buchanan
Photographer
Sean Scally


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