Saint Lawrence River (in French: fleuve Saint-Laurent; Kahnawáˀkye in Tuscarora, Kaniatarowanenneh meaning big waterway in Mohawk) is a large river flowing approximately from southwest to northeast in the middle latitudes of North America, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It is the primary drainage of the Great Lakes Basin. It traverses the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario and forms part of the international boundary between Ontario, Canada, and the U.S. state of New York.
The Saint Lawrence River originates at the outflow of Lake Ontario between Kingston, Ontario on the north bank, Wolfe Island in mid-stream, and Cape Vincent, New York. From there, it passes Gananoque, Brockville, Ogdensburg, Massena, Cornwall, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, and Quebec City before draining into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the largest estuary in the world. It runs 3,058 kilometres (1,900 mi) from the furthest headwater to the mouth (1,197 kilometres or 744 mi from the outflow of Lake Ontario). The furthest headwater is the North River in the Mesabi Range at Hibbing, Minnesota. Its drainage area, which includes the Great Lakes and hence the world's largest system of fresh water lakes, has a size of 1.03 million km² (390,000 sq mi). The average discharge at the mouth is 10,400 m³/s (367,000 cu ft/s).
The river includes Lake Saint-Louis south of Montreal, Lac Saint-François at Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and Lac Saint-Pierre east of Montreal. It encompasses three archipelagoes: the Thousand Islands chain near Kingston, Ontario; the Hochelaga Archipelago, including the Island of Montreal and Île Jésus (Laval); and the smaller Mingan Archipelago. Other islands include Île d'Orléans near Québec City, and Anticosti Island north of the Gaspé.
The Saint Lawrence River is in a seismically active zone where fault reactivation is believed to occur along late Proterozoic to early Paleozoic normal faults related to the opening of Iapetus Ocean. The faults in the area are rift related, which is called the Saint Lawrence rift system.
Until the early 1600s, the French used the name Rivière du Canada to designate the Saint Lawrence upstream to Montreal and the Ottawa River after Montreal. The Saint Lawrence River served as the main route for European exploration of the North American interior, first pioneered by French explorer Samuel de Champlain.
Because of the virtually impassable Lachine Rapids, the St. Lawrence was once continuously navigable only as far as Montreal. Opened in 1825, the Lachine Canal was the first to allow ships to pass the rapids. An extensive system of canals and locks, known as the Saint Lawrence Seaway, was officially opened on 26 June 1959 by Queen Elizabeth II (representing Canada) and President Dwight D. Eisenhower (representing the United States of America). The Seaway now permits ocean-going vessels to pass all the way to Lake Superior.
During World War II, the Battle of the St. Lawrence involved a number of submarine and anti-submarine actions throughout the lower St. Lawrence River and the entire Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Strait of Belle Isle and Cabot Strait from May to October 1942, September 1943, and again in October and November 1944. During this time, German U-boats sank a number of merchant marine ships and three Canadian warships.
In the late 1970s, the river was the subject of a successful ecological campaign (called "Save the River"), originally responding to planned development by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The campaign was organized, among others, by Abbie Hoffman, then on the run under the pseudonym of Barry Freed.
Occasionally, the French name fleuve Saint-Laurent is wrongly translated as Saint Lawrence seaway since it uses the word fleuve and not rivière. However, the word fleuve means a large river, which runs to the ocean or sea. There is no word in English that distinguishes this type of a river from others, and thus is appropriately translated by river. The seaway is a system of artificial canals and is called in French la voie maritime du Saint-Laurent.
The source of the North River in the Mesabi Range in Minnesota is considered to be the source of the Saint Lawrence River. Because it crosses so many lakes, the water system frequently changes its name. From source to mouth, the names are:
Precipitation Modulation by the Saint Lawrence River Valley in Association with Transitioning Tropical Cyclones*
Apr 01, 2013; ABSTRACTThe St. Lawrence River valley (SLRV) is an important orographic feature in eastern Canada that can affect surface wind...