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Tour participants watch a skit at the old train station
Tour participants watch a skit at the old train station

Seaway at 50: The living revisit the ghosts of the Lost Villages

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On July 1st, 1958, the once wild waters of the St. Lawrence River began to rise up behind the massive Moses-Saunders hydropower dam. A year later, the river officially opened to international shipping as the St. Lawrence Seaway. We're recalling that 50th anniversary this week. But that day - now 51 years ago -- is known locally as Inundation Day. The rising water swallowed nine whole villages and hamlets on the Canadian side of the river, known today as the Lost Villages. 530 homes were moved or destroyed. 6500 people were forced to higher ground. You can still see roads that disappear into the river. Old foundations emerge when the water level drops. The memories of life before Inundation Day remain strong in today's towns on the northern banks of the St. Lawrence River. The Lost Villages Museum there brought the old days back to life recently with a Ghost Tour. As a part of our special coverage of the Seaway's 50th Anniversary, David Sommerstein went along and has our story.

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A map of the St. Lawrence before and after inundation.  [credit: Lost Villages Museum]

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