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The remains of two Riverside Heights buildings under the waves of the St. Lawrence Seaway.  Photo: Louis Helbig
The remains of two Riverside Heights buildings under the waves of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Photo: Louis Helbig

Photos: Ottawa artist explores the Seaway's "sunken" communities

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Since 2009, Ontario aerial photographer Louis Helbig has been collecting stories and memories of life along the St. Lawrence River before and after Inundation Day (July 1, 1958), when Canadian and American villages along the St. Lawrence were flooded and thousands of people relocated, so the St. Lawrence Seaway could come into being. Helbig's "Sunken Villages" project includes images and stories about the communities that have been hidden under the St. Lawrence Seaway for over 50 years.

For the last few years, Helbig has arranged exhibitions of his birds-eye view of the underwater remnants of houses and streets on the Canadian side of the Seaway. Now, he's looking for stories and family histories from the American side. On Thursday night at 6:30, he'll make an audio and visual presentation at the Massena Public Library.

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Reported by

Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer

The entire length of Highway 37B, which once followed the American shoreline of the St. Lawrence River from East of Waddington via Louisville Landing and Richards Landing to Massena, was submerged by the Seaway project. This is the highway at the eastern edge of Waddington, NY. Photo: Louis Helbig (<a href="http://sunkenvillages.ca/exhibition/new-york-state-route/">more information</a>)
The entire length of Highway 37B, which once followed the American shoreline of the St. Lawrence River from East of Waddington via Louisville Landing and Richards Landing to Massena, was submerged by the Seaway project. This is the highway at the eastern edge of Waddington, NY. Photo: Louis Helbig (more information)

Wales, Ontario. The Park, or Connors’ Race Track as it was more commonly known, was owned by Jim Connors and Eldred Markell and hosted many different community events including the Osnabruck Fair and local horse races. The main entrance was across a bridge from Upper Road connecting Wales with Dickinson’s Landing. A favourite short cut of local kids was along the CNR rail tracks – on the upper left – and then along well worn path through the woods to the track. Photo: Louis Helbig (<a href=http://sunkenvillages.ca/exhibition/connors-race-track-2/">more information</a>)
Wales, Ontario. The Park, or Connors’ Race Track as it was more commonly known, was owned by Jim Connors and Eldred Markell and hosted many different community events including the Osnabruck Fair and local horse races. The main entrance was across a bridge from Upper Road connecting Wales with Dickinson’s Landing. A favourite short cut of local kids was along the CNR rail tracks – on the upper left – and then along well worn path through the woods to the track. Photo: Louis Helbig (more information)

Wales, Ontario. Once known as Dickinson’s Landing Station, and renamed after the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1860, Wales was originally founded by Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution in the late 1700s. Here the foundations and floor or a building can be seen through water that is only a few feet deep. Photo: Louis Helbig (<a href="http://sunkenvillages.ca/exhibition/wales-building-two/">More information</a>)
Wales, Ontario. Once known as Dickinson’s Landing Station, and renamed after the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1860, Wales was originally founded by Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution in the late 1700s. Here the foundations and floor or a building can be seen through water that is only a few feet deep. Photo: Louis Helbig (More information)

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