On May 14, 1819, over 40 people drowned in a boat that sank opposite Verdun. Farmers from the south shore who wanted to go to the market in Montréal had to board a big boat in La Prairie. In 1819, this boat was operated by 51-year-old Joseph Brosseau, a former militia lieutenant who was recognized as a good swimmer.
Here is the account of this wreckage that was published in The Gazette on May 19, 1819: "On the afternoon of Friday, May 14, 1819, a boat that had come to Montréal from La Prairie in the morning was heading back with some forty people, men and women, almost all of them farmers from the Village of Saint-Constant. When the boat arrived opposite Saint-Paul’s Island (L’Île-des-Soeurs or Nuns' Island today), the wind—which was extremely strong—made the boat turn, causing all the passengers to fall into the water. Far from any rescue services, everyone drowned except for two men and one woman who had managed to climb onto the boat's deck. They were found around 8 p.m.”