The steam boat—a risky tourist attraction

Starting in the second half of the 19th century, the Lachine Rapids became a tourist attraction. Although the Ontario steamboat made in Niagara had successfully gone down the river and through the rapids in the fall of 1840, with the help of two Indians—Old Jock and Old Pete—without sustaining any damage, navigation through the rapids was still not an organized attraction for tourists.

However, in 1848, at a time when the Lachine Canal became doubly wide and deep, shooting the rapids by boat became an increasingly regular activity. From then on, tourists could travel down the rapids and then travel up again via the canal to their point of departure.

The Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, was one of the most famous tourists of the Lachine Rapids. He took in this attraction during his trip to Canada for the inauguration of the Victoria Bridge in 1860.

The navigation companies saw a source of attractive profit thanks to these clients who wanted to indulge in thrills and chills... Around 1870, the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation company introduced regular service for passengers between  Toronto and Montréal. The company was renamed Canada Steamship Lines in 1913 and the itinerary called the Rapids Service was abandoned in 1949.