The prison museum didn’t take all that long (if you’re like me and take a tonne of pics, you’re still in and out in about an hour), so we decided to head over to the Lost Villages Historical Society. It was a random find, at the exit to the prison we picked up a pamphlet, and were like “why not?” Thank god for Google Maps!
For those of you who aren’t aware of Ontario’s lost villages, once upon a time, there were ten more communities along the St. Lawrence near Cornwall. With the St. Lawrence River become the St. Lawrence Seaway, permanent changes were made to the landscape. Most notably, the construction of the Moses-Saunders Power Dam, which resulted in the (intentional, of course) flooding of ten villages, listed here. Inundation Day was July 1, 1958. Many buildings were relocated, but remantsof these communities and the memories they contain are permanently submerged in the St. Lawrence. There are actually dead end roads along the Seaway, leading into the water; these are the former roads leading into the submerged towns.
I’ve always been intrigued by ghost towns, abandonment, and history. I just don’t like pokey museums where everything is cordoned off and I’m surrounded by people. So, I enjoyed the Lost Villages Museum. I was able to wander through buildings “saved” from the flood and relocated inland: an old barber shop, church, train station, one room school house, home, and more, with no one else around. And explore, I did!
You can pick up a guidebook for a self-guided tour at the tiny general store (which does sell a few things, like water).
My favorite? The school house, of course!
The Lost Villages Historical Society is located in Ault Park near Long Sault, Ontario. Admission is free. For more information, check out their website.