Uber-Canada ?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Magnum, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Location:
    The Commonwealth
    Actually I think you're failing to understand both the complexity of the existing canals built in Canada, and the difference between the Erie Canal and a proposed St. Lawrence canal. Principally that the canals built historically by the 1860s (Lachine, Buhearnois, Rideau) were greater in depth that the Erie Canal ever was, and these can all use the St. Lawrence River rather than having to depend purely on a canal project that has to go over rivers.

    What is suggested here is something that will allow steamers and river boats to shoot the St. Lawrence with ease compared to the difficult runs of OTL and allowing ships in excess of 500 tons to transit the canals. OTL that was possible by the 1850s, so maybe by the 1860s-80s you can expand them to accommodate ships in excess of 1000 tons. Nothing about the proposed "seaway" is outrageous for the technology of the time. We're not talking about the 10,000+ ton cargo ships of today, just smaller ocean going clippers or steamers. Even then most of those will stop at Montreal/Halifax then move their cargoes to river boats.

    This isn't impossible for the technology of the period.
     
    Adamant, RodentRevolution and telynk like this.
  2. telynk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Its funny that the peeson saying the i'm "right" was the one who thought that a st. lawrence canal system could only hand barges.... when i said "it's not the st lawrence seaway" i was envisioning river boats, not barges. probably sail powered and towed through the canals in the 1820s-1830s and steam powered by the 1850s. what i meant was that it's not really going to allow th RN to deploy to the great lakes...
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
    EnglishCanuck likes this.
  3. Napoleonrules Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    It is for Canada. And I'm sorry, you're now talking about the 1860s, no we are talking about the 1830s because that is what was originally told me that "within 5 years of the Erie Canal", so which is it? The Erie Canal was enlarged at the same time as the Rideau was being built (and actually the Enlarged Erie Canal was mostly a parallel larger version and was the same depth and width) and the Rideau was built OTL in the 1830s and didn't do much to prevent NYC's rise OTL so what do you think it will do in this ATL? You're not even getting OTL history right.
     
  4. The Gunslinger NQLA agent

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Location:
    Saskatoon, SK
    I'd be surprised if they built it large enough that anything bigger than a small gunboat could squeeze through for the 19th century.
    How on earth would the route around the St. Lawrence rapids be longer than the Rideau? The Rideau goes all the way up to Ottawa, is 200 km long excluding the portion on the Ottawa River and was finished in 1832.

    The St. Lawrence canal would be (A) shorter by at least 150km, (B) cheaper, and (C) much less difficult to engineer / construct. It could definitely be used for steamer traffic as evidenced by OTL.

    Rideau Canal wiki
     
    EnglishCanuck likes this.
  5. Napoleonrules Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    I was comparing a St Lawrence version of the Erie Canal to the Erie Canal, the Erie Canal is shorter, NYC already has an advantage at the time in population and economy and in speed plus geography of the Erie Canal will be open more often, which is self-evident if you didn't snip a bit out of just one post out of many and out of context. Canada competing successfully against NYC is laughable. Try making a POD much earlier than 1815.
     
  6. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Location:
    The Commonwealth
    Please don't be so rude. Per the Rideau Canal, The Gunslinger postulates the money and energy spent on it OTL would instead be transferred to a St. Lawrence Canal if the British win big in 1814, which isn't a stretch. The technology then exists to not only build it (and as Col. John By did, build it well) but to expand upon it as the 1800s go on.

    My point was the existing St. Lawrence canals of the 1860s could transit ships up to 500 tons, so it's not impossible this could be done earlier. The technology is there as evidence by the canal building ongoing in the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

    And sorry, but why is it impossible for Canada to do this? You've really piqued my interest on this one.

    Montreal/Quebec competing with NYC once the railroad is established isn't entirely outlandish. They'd never be as big, but they'd be the centers for river trade in the North, the Erie Canal just can't compete with the volume of traffic the St. Lawrence could handle even if it was open 5 months less. Once railroads are in place then it becomes a matter rail tonnage.
     
    Adamant likes this.
  7. The Gunslinger NQLA agent

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Location:
    Saskatoon, SK
    But that's a separate argument. You started by stating the whole thing was impossible to build, which it wasn't.

    But as for when I said "Montreal will rival New York" I think you're missing get what I meant. New York is huge and will likely remain huge. Montreal is small, and will likely never reach the size of New York (and if it does it will be deep into the 20th century). But if Britain controls the Great Lakes and manages to peel off even 1/4 of the traffic this will have a negligible impact on New York, but a massive change in Montreal. As the decades go on and the canals are rebuilt, deepened and widened then it becomes the preferred destination for all of the Great Lakes traffic once the Erie canal falls out of use.
     
    Adamant and EnglishCanuck like this.
  8. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2014
    Even supposing that an Erie Canal is objectively superior to any early attempt at a St. Lawrence canal, and likewise supposing that canals of the era are going to be incapable of letting big sea-faring ships pass... what does that matter? British North America and the USA are, to some extent, competitors. They do not enjoy free tree trade between the two of them at the time in question. Although an Erie Canal may well be superior ceteris paribus, an alt-Canada that controls the area for a St. Lawrence canal may well build it so it doesn't have to move as many goods through the USA (where custom duties would apply).

    Also, here in the Netherlands, we've been using canals for ages, indeed employing barges and rafts pulled by horses, donkeys, even cows etc. -- and that was all a huge improvement over trying to move the same goods over bumpy, muddy roads in carts and the like. So.... what if the big ships can't use the canal? Having barges available to ship goods is still far better than the alternative.

    I don't really see why the limitations of such a canal should lead to it not being constructed at all.
     
    The Gunslinger and EnglishCanuck like this.
  9. AuroraBorealis Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Neither is the erie-mohawk a seaway either RIGHT!
     
  10. AuroraBorealis Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Both Telnyk and yourself are out to lunch, or off your rockers. NOBODY could build a seaway as you seem to be trying to imply would be necessary for navigation on the St. Lawrence River. That is an absolute falsehood on your part. As to Mohawk-Erie,. built up the valley of the Mohawk river and thence to lake Erie. It's simply more descriptive of what the Erie was or did you not realize that.
     
  11. telynk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Which part of what i had to say is "out to lunch"? I tried to make a post saying that i no way shape or form agree with NapoleonRules.... I did have a missing "not" in one of my recent posts (about the RN), and it was quoted before i could edit it... but, I agree with thw other posters that a moderately sized st. lawrence canal would be much higher capacity than the erie canal... i just wanted to make the point that it would be moderately sized if built in the 19th century and would be tranisted by river boats rather than ocean-going ships...
     
    The Gunslinger likes this.
  12. AuroraBorealis Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    My apologies if I inappropriately tarred you with the same brush. I was merely responding to those statements as quoted.
     
  13. Napoleonrules Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    Did I ever say or imply that I wanted to build such a seaway? No. That was the other "side" of the argument... I was the one saying it ISN'T possible in the face of a bunch of people saying that the Canadians could build something that would rival the Erie Canal and they didn't seem to understand what the Erie Canal was and that the St Lawrence version would be in a much colder area closed more of the year, and be much longer which would cause it to not be a real competitor. The only competition would be a seaway and as I kept saying that's not feasible in the 1830s (and you must have missed in your rush to bash me for no reason with a personal attack)
     
  14. The Gunslinger NQLA agent

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Location:
    Saskatoon, SK
    The St. Lawrence canal would be far shorter than the Erie canal. It uses the St. Lawrence for 95% of the route, only the small area around the Montreal rapids gets the canals. And we know it's feasible in the 1830's because they built something 200km long (the Rideau) to do the same thing as the St. Lawrence canal in a more harsh and unforgiving terrain that still managed to be a hugely successful venture in spite of your alleged drawbacks. The St. Lawrence canal would do the EXACT SAME THING, but for a fraction of cost and fraction of the speed. How would it be impossible to build something shorter?
     
  15. AuroraBorealis Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    No I find your arguments still to be slipshod and unfounded. Your continued posts still show you to be in error. Exactly what level of technological achievement do you think is required? Why can it not be built with the tools available during the 1820's. As to the colder weather. NY state is not what I consider balmy during winter.
     
    The Gunslinger likes this.
  16. Napoleonrules Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    As the Erie Canal did not use the Mohawk River for any of it's length until the modern canal in the 1910s, so will the St Lawrence canal not be using the St Lawrence. You and others have continued to be in ignorance about what a 1820s and 1830s canal is like! It's freaking donkeys pulling rafts on a water version of a railroad track, it's more akin to railroads than what you think of as a canal obviously. This isn't "oh, my ship from England is just going to use these canals to bypass some rapids here and there". It's unloading that ocean going ship and taking canal boats through a canal. The St Lawrence is MUCH longer than the Hudson River plus the Erie Canal, and it is MUCH colder climate, I don't think the person who made the balmy comment realizes how much longer a winter the St Lawrence has historically been closed for compared to the Erie. I am sick of this crap of people who don't know what they are talking about and have no posted no proof of anything posting on things they shouldnt and claim I'm in error, to what point other than to say to other readers "he's in error! because I say he is". No. And the different posters keep confusing what I'm saying that a St Lawrence Seaway is not possible with that technology versus what I say about an Erie Canal-level type of construction which would be too long and closed too much of the year to be competitive against the Erie. Please, leave this conversation at this; I won't be following, don't reply to this post which will then give me a notice, don't tag my name, just move along. This has gone on too long and has given me too much stress and anxiety over something anyone who has spent anytime researching the Erie Canal as I did as a history grad student would have known from the beginning. Armchair historians.
     
  17. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Location:
    The Commonwealth
    This section right here proves you have absolutely zero clue what you're talking about. The Rideau Canal uses the Rideau River for practically all of its length, as well as the big and little Rideau Lakes and the Cateraqui River. Heck I've boated the thing for years and I can tell you it uses lots of the rivers and lakes.

    Your use of the Erie Canal as a comparison point is completely irrelevant in light of that since the existing canals built on the St. Lawrence, and the Rideau used the waterways. If anything you're destroying your own point here. The construction of a St. Lawrence Canal would be far simpler since the St. Lawrence itself already served as a natural highway seven months of the year, and the circumvention of the rapids south of Montreal and the difficult passes at Cornwall could have been accomplished with the same system they used with the Rideau.

    Please stop mistaking the Erie Canal for being comparable to any of the canal making efforts in Canada. It self evidently is not and even a glance at Wikipedia would have shown you that. The snark that you "know better" isn't helping your case. What you obviously haven't done is research anything regarding the canals established in Canada and have merely only used your knowledge of the Erie Canal to say "oh well if it wasn't done on the Erie Canal, it obviously can't be done on the St. Lawrence" which as we have been pointing out, is fundamentally in error just with how the Rideau Canal was built using the Rideau River and lakes to connect the Ottawa River to the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario at Kingston in the 1830s.

    If you want to back out that is fine, but you remain fundamentally wrong and have been needlessly rude in this whole conversation.
     
  18. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2005
    All valid information. Be a lot better (not to mention more likely to be remembered) if you stuck to playing the ball.
     
  19. The Gunslinger NQLA agent

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Location:
    Saskatoon, SK
    The St. Lawrence canal would use the St. Lawrence for most of the route, it's already navigable all the way to Montreal, and from Montreal to Lake Ontario except for two sections of rapids. They would use the same technology and construction techniques that they used on the Rideau, which uses the Cataraqui and Rideau River for its entire 200km route. They didn't build adjacent to the rivers for 200 km, they used the rivers themselves. Even a brief glance at the Rideau wiki will show you this.

    Most of the Great Lakes traffic would be offloaded at Montreal, as with the unloading of transoceanic freight. But the fact that it exists at all, and is 200+ km shorter than the Rideau means drastically reduced freight costs and an ability to compete with New York because of a lack of paying American duty. And if the climate was so awful, then they never would have built the Rideau canal in the first place. But they did, and it was a hugely complex and expensive piece of engineering... and it was a massive success.
    We have proof. The Rideau! It exists, they built it, it moved tens of thousands of people and Rena of thousands of tons of cargo from Kingston to Ottawa to Montreal. You're the one who hasn't offered any proof for why they wouldn't build shorter and cheaper version when the British were perfectly content to build a 200km version to go around the United States. And the great thing is, you can still use it today if you want. You can take a boat across the whole thing. You can even skate on most of it in the wintertime.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017 at 12:26 PM