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Happy Birthday, St. Lawrence Seaway

57 years ago today, Queen Elizabeth II and President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally opened St. Lawrence Seaway with a short cruise aboard the Queen’s Royal Yacht, Brittania, after addressing crowds in Saint-Lambert, Quebec, just across the St. Lawrence River from…

Montreal. 22,000 workers were employed at one time or another on the construction of the seaway, a 2,300-mile-long superhighway for ocean freighters.Ships sailing through the seaway are limited to 740 in length due to the size of the Welland Canal, which crosses the Niagara Peninsula and connects Lake Erie with Lake Ontario. This size limit excludes the larger “Panamax” ships, the largest ships able to navigate the Panama Canal, which can be up to 965 feet long.The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 made the Erie Canal obsolete, which contributed to the severe economic decline of several cities along the canal in upstate New York. However, there is no catchy folk song about the St. Lawrence Seaway that even comes close to the ever-popular “Fifteen Years on the Erie Canal.” Such is the price of progress.