A Respectable Ditch: A History of the Trent-Severn Waterway

By James T. Angus

The Trent-Severn Waterway was more than a navigation route, it was the predominant political issue in central Ontario for much of the nineteenth century. Local boosters saw a through waterway as foundation of the region’s development, and never ceased to clamour for its development. Their arguments were often nonsensical, but astute politicians like John A. Macdonald realized that the waterway was the local issue that could decide elections, and used its completion as a way to buy votes.

Angus has produced the authoritative account of the 87 year process of building the Trent-Severn Waterway, from the construction of the Bobcaygeon Lock in 1833 to the first voyage through the waterway in 1920—a notably subdued affair, given the generations of advocacy for its completion.

Available softcover at the Museum Gift Shop.

Available for purchase at the museum gift shop.