Sunday, December 28, 2008

Groundbreaking
Next year sees the 50th anniversary of the St Lawrence Seaway, the seaway between Canada and the US that was so long in the making. There was a natural seaway between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, full of falls, shallows and rapids. Canada needed this searoute to open up trade to the east, but for the US there was no such direct need for a better route; it was mianly on foreign soil and the existing, excellent rail connections were to be preferred anyway. This hampered developments no end, but when Canada started threatening going it alone, the US caved in and agreed to the project. One advantage for them was that it was a project not just to create a seaway but to generate power as well. And so finally, in 1954, the construction of the seaway began with the usual groundbreaking ceremony, on August 10, exactly 419 years after Cartier named the waterway the St Lawrence! This day has been commemorated with a nice, privately produced cover.

Special stamps were issued as well, by both the US and Canada but that was not until 1959, when the Seaway was opened.

Another one of those privately produced covers marks the event of the first passenger ship to sail the Seaway, although the cover puzzles me slightly.

The postmark reads September 6, 1958, I would think. The cover illustration has a date of February 9, taking into account that the Americans write the month first, but even if they didn't here, the date would be September 2, which has no link to the postmark, apart from the month. And above all, the date of the postmark is before the date of the official opening in 1959, but it could of course well be that ships were allowed through the Seaway before the official opening. If anyone happens to have any more information about this, then they're very welcome!

:-)
Adrian

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