Dimensions of a Border Line

Dimensions of a Border Line

By Gillian Tyrrell

The Saint Lawrence River, 1197 km in length, connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean and forms part of the international border between Canada and the United States. As one of the continent's only inward waterways it has helped build the nations that share it – a fact strengthened by the construction of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System, completed in 1959, which remains one of the single most impressive engineering feats undertaken in North America. (1) A stretch of this boundary, where the river narrows, is called the Thousand Islands. Dotting the water's surface, is an archipelago formed by the emergent points of a vast underlying mountain range, a subaquatic landscape carved under the weight of retreating glaciers some ten thousand years ago. (2) Here, great freighters glide steadily amid the landforms, sweeping over the shipwrecks of the many that went before them.

The border between Canada and the United States is a line. The line cuts through land and water; in parts it appears decidedly straight and unrelenting, in others it reaches down to gather a piece it has dropped or surges up to embrace and corral another, like a mother wrapping a chiding arm around her stray child. It is a line that carries the weight of political and cultural pasts, battles, legislation, treaties and promises - neatly marked and labeled on maps made by visitors to a land that had long been home to her aboriginal peoples before it was ever divided into countries. The line itself is, of course, an imaginary one. It occupies no space. Nevertheless this line is politically drawn and with each individual experience of crossing it we strengthen its absolute nature in our collective imagination.

This line hovers atop a great history that predates it. There is an admitted absurdity that must be acknowledged of the demarcation, imagining it originally drafted in hard pencil lead along a set rule, sweeping along dense and ancient forests, mountains moved by shifting plates of the earth's crust greater than any city, and lakes so vast that the other shore is invisible on the horizon.(3) But with this acknowledged, there are many who say that the boundary line is essential for the way we humans perceive the world, and the societal and ideological order that comes from this compartmentalization. (4)

The St. Lawrence River is not a line. Its waters have a history, a cultural density built from an almost literal layering of time, space, and narrative, spanning its width and accumulating in its depth. The liminal nature of the river and its islands lend it a sort of heightened viscosity, a thickness in which the boundary line is filtered and the transition from one side to another is blurred. Here, in between a constellation of stories, a third identity is formed. (5) It is my intention to offer, in the following paragraphs, an exploration of the St. Lawrence river as a borderland through an examination of its physical and historical attributes and their function as a narrative backdrop. (6)


When I set out to write about the St. Lawrence and the border it accommodates I thought of it as being a space of fluidity. I believed that water, by its very nature, blurred the line of the border. Having grown up in relative proximity to the river, I had seen the white upturned wings of sailboats slip through the waves with choreographed ease on wind-whipped summer days. They drifted between islands, permeating each country's border many times over, governed by the wind rather than by any demarcation. This sense of porosity is not just the fancy of childhood imagination. It would seem that both countries have agreed that the water necessitates a certain level of flexibility to the normal rigidity of the line; passports and travel documents are only required once a boat docks and a passenger steps out on to the definitive firmness of land (land in this case being any of the Thousand Islands, of which the actual count is eight thousand and sixty-four). (7) In a sense, the river suspends the passenger in a liminal state, not quite at home and not yet a foreigner, the distinction is made once on shore. In the water there is freedom from definition. 

Of course, what I had not fully considered before venturing out to photograph the Thousand Islands stretch of the St. Lawrence, on the coldest winter day of the year, is just how changeable water is. In winter the river is transformed into a whole new landscape. Islands that were autonomous solitudes in summer months, become connected objects in a field of ice. When temperatures plummet, mists seethe from the crystalline surface of the river, so that the shadows of these landforms project and recede into fog. The Seaway all but shuts down with winter's tightened grip. Only two ferry routes are kept operable, carving their way through a single and predetermined path.

The transformative state of the river contributes to our reading of it as a borderland. (8) The ice changes the relationship between the two shorelines that flank it. Where perhaps the fluidity of water at once creates a natural and convenient divide between the two sides more in keeping with the intent of the border, the formation of ice each year can literally and figuratively bridge that separation, reinforcing the surface of the river as a transitory state - a milieu identity between two worlds. At other border crossings the sense of change in identity is immediate. It is a very different thing to be a Canadian in Canada, than it is to be a Canadian in America and vice versa; when I step across the traditional border threshold I become the "other". (9) That said, while the border line is of course divisive, it is also a meeting place. Indeed, we only have to connect the two words to create an entirely new meaning. Borderline implies a third state - not quite one or the other - it is the almost. The mist that rose from the river that day, neither solid nor liquid, was at home in the in-between. This is the space through which the St. Lawrence River sets its course, undefined and undeterred by the boundary line that bisects it. 


In 1783 The Definitive Treaty of Peace, also known as The Paris Treaty, between Great Britain and the United States established the first iteration of the border. (10) The description agreed upon was vague in places, and the stretch of line along the St. Lawrence River and her islands was left ambiguous. (11) Discussions over the border location through the river can be traced through several treaties and agreements, including the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, and the Boundary Treaty of 1908. (12) It seems it wasn't until 1915, when the International Waterways Commission was given license by the treaty of 1908 to "ascertain and reestablish accurately the location of the international boundary line beginning at the point of its intersection with the St. Lawrence River...and thence through the Great Lakes and communicating waterways", that the border was established here. (13)

While the exact thread of how the boundary line was decided upon is difficult to identify in the tapestry of past diplomatic treaties and agreements, there are three consistent facts that emerge from local sources; the border would not bisect any one island, it would maintain a 100 yard distance from either shore, and where this margin was not possible, the border would follow the centreline of the river. (14) These criteria mean that the boundary line weaves in and around the Thousand Islands, so that even in its origins the division line has a sort of width to it where the two countries bleed into one another. This width, traversed throughout its history, is the stage for stories innumerable, each of which contribute to the thickness of its borderland. 

The War of 1812 had not initially impacted the villages clustered along the banks of the St. Lawrence. The river was at points only a mile wide, and neighbours from either side of the border regularly made trade and exchanged pleasantries. September of that year saw the arrival of Captain Benjamin Forsyth and his company of US Riflemen at Ogdensburg. (15) With the presence of the American military forces came an immediate disruption of the peace previously enjoyed in the region. Captain Forsyth set his men to attacking the many British convoys that passed through the Thousand Islands. The British forces responded with protective gunboats but quickly decided further fortification was required, and a series of blockhouses were constructed along the northern shoreline.(16) A British garrison was stationed at Prescott, and a military presence was established in Elizabethtown (now Brockville). 

The winter had been a severe one, and the men on opposing sides of the river had run their practice drills through thick blankets of snow and stinging winds. In February Captain Forsyth launched an offensive attack against Elizabethtown, capturing fifty-two British soldiers, releasing American prisoners, pillaging the armory and setting fire to the barracks. (17) This action was not well received by the local people of Ogdensburg as they had a good relationship with their neighbours and feared that the attack would provoke retaliation.(18) The British struck in the early hours of the morning on February 22, 1813.  Lieutenant Colonel George Macdonell and six hundred of his men marched across the frozen St. Lawrence. The snow creaked and the ice hummed beneath their boots, drumming in unison. They pulled with them three canons, which were ensnared in snow before they could be of much use. (19) The British managed to defeat the Americans. Forsyth was called to surrender but refused, choosing instead to retreat with his remaining men to Sackets Harbor. (20) Macdonell's men gathered supplies from the town and made the trek back across the river, but not before setting light to the Ogensburg barracks and two schooners besieged by the ice. (21)

In the winters of the mid-19th century ice roads across the St. Lawrence River were common. When ferryboats retired for the season, the cold temperatures provided an efficient alternative. Once the ice had been deemed thick enough, wide swathes were designated for use as roads and local traffic traversed the frozen river easily. Farmers made use of the new routes to bring goods to market, their horses towing wagons piled high with hay. (22)

It was from this frozen landscape that Louis-Adélard Senécal struck upon an idea. Ever a businessman and entrepreneur Mr. Senécal, who had made his name in the shipping industry in his youth, had transitioned his talents to owning and managing several railway branches by the later years of the century. Rather than pay the costly tolls of the Grand Trunk Railroad's Victoria Bridge, the only rail link to cross the river at the time, Senécal devised his own means of traversing the frozen St. Lawrence in winter.(23) From January to April the ice, he reasoned, was thick enough to support the weight of his trains. Senécal had extra wide beams laid down on the ice in wide intervals in order to distribute the load of the temporary tracks, the trains that he proposed to run along them and their cargo. The system ran from 1880 to 1883, helping transport goods from Canada down to American cities across the border. (24)

The American Prohibition era brought a new source of traffic to the width of the St. Lawrence River. From 1920 to 1933 the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was in full effect, and Canadian breweries and distilleries made use of the opportunity. Waiting for the customs station lights to go out in the waning hours of the day, bootleggers would trace across the river in their false-bottomed boats, drifting between islands, little more than shadows in the near moonless night. One particular island afforded the safety of deep-water docks, relative obscurity given by the larger surrounding islands, and a close proximity to the Canadian border; folklore has it that Whiskey Island was named for its use as a way-point for Prohibition smugglers. (25) When the water of the river flowed freely, crates of illegal liquor were packed with flotation devices and subsequently weighed down with salt. If the bootleggers saw a federal boat approach, they would swiftly toss their crates overboard, letting them sink from view. Upon searching the boat, the police would find nothing incriminating. In time the salt would dissolve in the river, allowing the crate to float to the surface where the smugglers would be waiting. (26) When the river froze over, its ice like hard stone slabs, men drove trucks full of contraband to meet at the border. Their breath came in long streaming clouds, caught against splinters of moonlight, as they set to work moving boxes from one vehicle to another.

On the morning of July 1, 1958 water began to drown the Lost Villages. (27) The St. Lawrence Seaway, a project that had been planned for so long, was finally being realised. The depth of the river had to increase, and along with it its width. The flooding took four days and by the end of it the river had swallowed whole communities, ten in all, and claimed much of the Akwesasne Reserve lands belonging to the Mohawks. (28) Many of the residents were relocated to towns (Long Sault and Ingleside) expressly planned for this purpose. Some buildings were painstakingly shifted from their foundations and moved to higher land in preparation for the inundating waters, while others were burned down or demolished. (29) Highways were rerouted, and train rails connecting Montreal to Toronto were rebuilt north of the river's shore. (30) Building materials were salvaged from doomed factories and mills, trees were cut to stumps, fences ripped from their moorings, and boxes were stacked high with family heirlooms. (31) Close to six thousand five-hundred people were forced to leave their homes; many of them watched as the water gradually submerged their histories, concealing the roads they had walked so often beneath the river's depth.   


The depth of this watery border is vast. Beneath the river's surface is a literal repository of collective memory. The remnants of stories that flitted briefly across its width rest here quietly, mired in the silt at the bottom of the St. Lawrence. The Lost Villages are here, their foundations just deep enough to clear the underbellies of passing ships. When the water first inundated them, the edges of town blocks and outlines of buildings were hidden from view completely. Clouded and teeming with aquatic vegetation, the waves had obscured them. But with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the history that had seemingly been erased in the name of progress gradually came back into focus. The hulls of the great freighter ships that sailed in from foreign lands provided transportation for an invasive species, the zebra mussel. (32) The species rapidly multiplied with detrimental impacts to the waterway's ecological system. A single zebra mussel is able to filter up to a litre of water a day by consuming phytoplankton and other aquatic vegetation. (33) This meant that the water of the St. Lawrence was actually losing its opacity. Over time the water reached a dramatic clarity. Today the outlines of the past are discernable from aerial photographs. Old bridges, great locks with their gates ajar, barns and their silos, churches, factories, and sidewalks emerge from the depth, their stories given new voice by an unintended side effect of the very thing that had once silenced them. (34)

The clarity of the St. Lawrence River makes it popular for scuba divers. The historical ephemera that build worlds beneath the water's surface provide an endless source of discovery. Divers often report finding old bottles of moonshine or Canadian whiskey from the days of Prohibition lining the riverbed. (35) Lying alongside the bottles, are the old trucks and vans that once carried them across the frozen border. (36) Perhaps the men who drove them attempted to cross in the early days of winter, before the ice had reached its full thickness, or an unseasonable warm spell had thinned it along their route. In any case, the ice had not been quite strong enough to hold them.

Louis-Adélard Senécal must have thought of this possibility, when he had first dreamed up his ice railroad. In winter the frozen river can seem like land, the ice veiled in swathes of snow. If it weren't for the shoreline trees and the earth bowing down in uneven slopes toward the smooth open planes of ice, one could walk out to the centre of the river without ever realising the fathoms deep water over which they're suspended. Perhaps this is why Mr. Senécal had such confidence in his ice bridge. On January 5, 1881, the early winter's ice was fragile; fault lines traced their spidery webs over its surface. (37) With no warning the train plunged into the icy waters of the St. Lawrence, leaving its passengers little time to clamber from its cars before it sank. Undeterred, the railway reopened the very next day, with some adjustments to the locomotive's weight. (38) If there were other disasters, or near-ones, they went undocumented. It seems plausible that the volatile nature of the ice influenced the decision to retire the route in 1883, only three seasons into its life. (39) There are no stories of the locomotive's resurrection from the depths.  Presumably it still lies where it fell, enshrined in a coarse skin of zebra mussels, amid the drifts of seaweed. 

The shipwrecks of the St. Lawrence are an attraction for underwater explorers. The number of wrecks in the river remains unknown, and each year more are found. Some date back to the eras of the War of 1812, and the American Revolution, with the oldest known wreck dating back some two hundred and fifty-seven years to the Seven Years' War. The wreck was once the L'Iroquoise, a French warship launched from the shores of the St. Lawrence in 1759. (40) The vessel, "armed with ten 12-pound canons" was instrumental in defending the French Fort Niagara in 1759, and was heavily involved in the Battle of the Thousand Islands in 1760. (41) It was subsequently captured by the British and renamed the H.M.S. Anson. The ship met her end on October 23, 1761, when she sank off Wellesley Island, coming to rest at the foot of the Niagara shoal beneath eighty feet of water. (42) The discovery of the L'Iroquoise brought together historians and expert divers from the four countries with histories entwined in the wreck; Canadian, American, British and French researchers joined forces in an effort to uncover more about the ship and the events that brought it to its final resting place on the American side of the St. Lawrence River. (43)

But before all of this, before the first aboriginal tribes fished and hunted these wild lands, before Jacques Cartier sailed up the shores of the river in 1534, indeed before there was a river on which to sail and a border to draw upon it, immense towering sheets of glacial ice bore down on the earth's surface over twelve thousand years ago. (44) The ice began to release its grip hesitantly, receding only to re-form two hundred years later. The glaciers retreated in earnest ten thousand five hundred years ago, leaving a great scar; the sheer weight of the ice had left deep depressions in the earth's crust. This violent sculpting was further emphasized by the isostatic rebound that followed. (45) Released from its burden, the earth heaved upward in relief, forming a network of geological scar tissue that puckered into great rifts, like a seam pulled tight. The resulting mountainous landscape brought the region above sea level. Over time the valleys filled with fresh water. Beneath the St. Lawrence River this mountain range still lies, its peaks piercing the water's surface and forming the Thousand Islands. A vast network of Precambrian rock stitches its way across Canada, beneath the St. Lawrence to the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in the United States. Its ancient walls form a repository of collective memory in the river; an eclectic memory box of old treasures, some familiar and others caked in years of dust waiting to be rediscovered. The temporal depth here is greater than any physical one. The shared history beneath the border holds the origins of nations in its catacombs.


The preeminent Canadian historian Donald Creighton, who spent much of his life studying the St. Lawrence River, argued that the waterway was a symbol of Canadian unity and that "the realization of its potentialities has been one of the most persistent and compelling aims of their existence as a people". (46) Its course and character has been altered over time by human interaction in the pursuit of said potentialities. The narrative histories that have blinked across its surface and collected in its depths draw us together, even as the border divides us. There is a volume to the in-between.

The line to pull apart these two countries was never simple to begin with. The islands scattered across the river make it a naturally liminal space. This is evident in the sense of community that surrounds the Thousand Islands. The people who call this region their home, whether seasonal or permanent, share their stories in local magazines and online forums that are saturated with collective memory; a patchwork of narratives that pay little heed to which side of the border they originated from. The islands blur the border. It is perhaps because of these indeterminate margins that the tradition of storytelling is so strong here. (47)

In writing this piece an intricate world of stories opened up before me, the breadth of which, I realised quickly, would be impossible to capture. I did not intend to set such a daunting task, and now I see that my objective was naive. There is a density to this borderland that would take more than my lifetime to unpack, and the river is an evasive living thing by its nature. Water seems so familiar to us and yet so unpossessable. You cannot grasp it in your hands or coax it to remain unchanged. It can evaporate into billowing clouds; it can rain down in sheets and disappear into the earth, or petrify into great slabs of marbled ice. In a similar way, the paths formed in history can lead you down immeasurable lengths, through forests and fields where each leaf or blade of grass is a different voice, a different story to tell. The means of understanding these varied paths comes with the employment of interpretation. The boundary line is one such opportunity.

Any given boundary sows the double face of Janus: it is always a boundary between and a boundary to, a distinction which is immanent in any material boundary, though not defined by its materiality.  Hence, any given boundary met by any agency, human or not, presents this agency with the necessity of an interpretation [...] Because of this element of interpretation, any boundary produces first of all meaning.  No boundary is anything in itself - it is never an autonomous or absolute phenomenon - but is always determined by what is placed on either side of it, two domains which in turn substantiate and specify the meaning it produces. (48)

The history of the border between Canada and the United States where it meets the St. Lawrence River is layered with stories. There were events, names and dates attached to these - some known, and likely a great many more forever lost. After the anthropologist's work is complete and the cartographer's tools are set down; after the necessary exercises of "exposition, analysis, and criticism" have been committed to the annals of history, what endures, quite simply, is the place - built by stories. (49)


(1) James H. Marsh,"The St. Lawrence River," The Canadian Encyclopedia: Historica Canada, last modified March 4, 2015. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/st-lawrence-river/.

(2) Timothy J. Abel and David N. Fuerst, "Prehistory of the St. Lawrence River Headwaters Region" in Archaeology of Eastern North America, Vol.27 (1999), 8.

(3) Rüdiger Görner, "Notes on the Culture of Borders," in Border Poetics De-limited, ed. Johan Schimanski and Stephen Wolfe et al. (Hannover: Wehrhahn Verlag, 2007), 62.
"It is not for nothing that the English word for the very instrument with which we draw such lines of distinction is "ruler" implying that the very act of drawing a line is a matter of power."

(4) David Newman, "The Lines that Continue to Separate Us: Borders in Our "Borderless" World," in Border Poetics De-limited, ed. Johan Schimanski and Stephen Wolfe (Hannover: Wehrhahn Verlag, 2007), 27.
"Even the globalization purists would accept that the basic ordering of society requires categories and compartments, and that borders create order."

(5) Görner, "Notes on the Culture of Borders," 60.
"[...] borders of whatever kind are demarcations of either personal or political identity."

(6) Newman, "The Lines that Continue to Separate Us: Borders in Our "Borderless" World," 39.
"In many cases, the borderlands take on the characteristics of transition regions, enabling a gradual movement from one cultural norm to another, as contrasted with the rigid line understanding the border as a distinct cut off point.  Within the transition zone, cultural, linguistic and social hybridity can emerge, resulting in the formation of a sub-cultural buffer zone within which movement from one side to the other eases up considerably - the person in transit from one place or group to another undergoes a process of acclimatization and acculturation as he/she moves through the zone of transition...In some cases it can bring about the formation of transnational, transboundary, spaces with the emergence of new hybrid regional identities."

(7) Of these 1864 islands, many are so small they cannot accommodate a dock.  In order to be considered part of the archipelago known as the Thousand Islands, the landform must remain above the water's surface for every day of the year, and manage to support at least one living tree.  The likelihood of there being any border agent to whom a passport could be presented on these small islands is minimal, but instructions for a self check-in system are signposted along the Canadian shoreline.  

(8) "Borderland," Border Poetics, accessed February 22, 2016. http://borderpoetics.wikidot.com/borderland
"The borderland can be a place of mutual antagonism and of marginalization, but they can also take on the characteristics of regions or zones of transition with emergence of new cultural, linguistic and social hybrid identity, enabling a gradual movement from one cultural norm to another and producing successful border-crossings."

(9) Newman, "The Lines that Continue to Separate Us: Borders in Our "Borderless" World," 34-35.
"We are all cognizant of the fact that borders create (or reflect) difference and constitute the separation line not only between states and geographical spaces, but also between the "us" and "them", the "here" and "there", and the "insiders" and "outsiders".  Borders retain their essential sense of sharp dislocation and separation, a sharp cut-off point between two polarities." 

(10) "The Definitive Treaty of Peace 1783," Yale Law School: Lillian Goldman Law Library for The Avalon Project, accessed February 22, 2016. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/paris.asp.

(11) Peter Sullivan, David Bernhardt and Brian Ballantyne, "The Canada-United States boundary: The next century," The International Boundary Commission, 2009, 3. Accessed February 23, 2016. http://www.internationalboundarycommission.org/docs/ibc-2009-01-eng.pdf.

(12) Sullivan, Bernhardt and Ballantyne, "The Canada-United States boundary: The next century," 3.

(13) International Waterways Commission, Report of the International Waterways Commission Upon the International Boundary Between the Dominion of Canada and the United States Through the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes,  (Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau Ottawa, 1916), 7-8.

(14) "1000 Islands - St. Lawrence Seaway Regional Report," (Brain Trust Marketing & Communications, February 2008), 8. Accessed February 23, 2016. http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/publications/PR_1000_Islands.pdf.

(15) Robert Henderson, "Guarding the St. Lawrence: Fort Wellington and the War of 1812," The War of 1812, accessed February 24, 2016.  http://www.warof1812.ca/fortwellington.htm.

(16) Gilbert Collins, Guidebook to the Historic Sites of the War of 1812, Second Edition, (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2006), 207.

(17) Ibid, 207.

(18) Ibid, 208.

(19) Ibid, 209.

(20) Ibid.

(21) John R. Grodzinski, " "They Really Conducted Themselves Remarkably Well": Canadian Soldiers and the Great War, 1783 to 1815," in Perspectives on the Canadian Way of War: Serving the National Interest, ed. Colonel Bernd Horn (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2006), 79.

(22) "Drawing hay to market across the St. Lawrence River, QC, 1903," McCord Museum: Collections and Research, accessed February 18, 2016. http://www.musee-mccord.qc.ca/en/collection/artifacts/VIEW-3618.

(23) Alanah Heffez, "The Ever-so-short-lived Saint-Lawrence Ice Bridge," Spacing Magazine, January 5, 2011, accessed February 12, 2016, http://spacing.ca/montreal/2011/01/05/the-ever-so-short-lived-ice-bridge/.

(24) Ibid.

(25) Becky Pemberton, "Illicit getaway: Prohibition hotspot Whiskey Island used by bootleggers to ship liquor to New York could be yours for £2m," Daily Mail Online, August 10, 2015, accessed February 20, 2016, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3192185/Illicit-getaway-Prohibition-hotspot-Whiskey-Island-used-bootleggers-ship-liquor-New-York-2m.html.

(26) "Smugglers and Early Ogensburg," Watertown Daily Times, August 14, 2014, accessed February 20, 2016, http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20140814/BLOGS/140819357.

(27) "The Lost Villages," The Ottawa Citizen, June 28, 2008, accessed February 20, 2016, http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=b888ee7c-b7b1-4c0d-b52f-451271952ba4

(28) Peter Gorrie, "Our own Three Gorges," The Toronto Star, June 29, 2008, accessed February 20, 2016, http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2008/06/29/our_own_three_gorges.html.

(29) Ibid.

(30) P. Camu ,"The St. Lawrence Seaway," The Town Planning Review, Vol. 28, No.2, (July 1957), 103.

(31) "The Lost Villages."

(32) Joseph A. Salvato, Nelson L. Nemerow and Franklin J. Agardy, Environmental Engineering: Fifth Edition, (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2003), 411.

(33) Ibid.

(34) Aerial photographer Louis Helbig's series Sunken Villages demonstrates the incredible visibility of these communities beneath the river.  You can see them at his website: http://www.louishelbig.com/

(35) Kim Lunman, "Island Treasures; Secrets of the deep lure divers beneath the St. Lawrence time and time again," The Brockville Recorder, July 12, 2008, accessed February 20, 2016. http://www.recorder.ca/2008/07/12/island-treasures-secrets-of-the-deep-lure-divers-beneath-the-st-lawrence-time-and-time-again

(36) "Fishing and Scuba Diving in Northern New York," Ogensburg Chamber of Commerce, accessed February 20, 2016. http://www.ogdensburgny.com/ships-and-fishing

(37) "Railway on the ice over St. Lawrence River, Montreal, QC, 1880," McCord Museum: Collections and Research, accessed February 16, 2016. http://www.musee-mccord.qc.ca/scripts/viewobject.php?section=162&Lang=1&tourID=GE_P2_6_EN&seqNumber=19.

(38) Heffez, "The Ever-so-short-lived Saint-Lawrence Ice Bridge"

(39) Ibid.

(40) Dennis and Kathy McCarthy, "'IROQUOISE PROJECT' Shipwreck Yields Data for Computer Reconstruction," Inland Seas, Fall, 1998, accessed February 25, 2016. http://images.maritimehistoryofthegreatlakes.ca/59358/data

(41) Ibid.

(42) Ibid.

(43) Ibid.

(44) Abel and Fuerst, "Prehistory of the St. Lawrence River Headwaters Region," 8.

(45) Ibid.

(46) Donald Creighton, Towards the Discovery of Canada, (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1972), 160.

(47) Görner, "Notes on the Culture of Borders," 69.
"Arguably, border zones provide the most interesting grounds for artistic creativity.  It appears that these zones are better referred to in terms of margins...which blur the distinction between inside and outside [...] For a poet it seems indeed the margin rather than the hub of things is the ideal location for defining his own identity."

(48) Svend Erik Larsen, "Boundaries: Ontology, Methods and Analysis," in Border Poetics De-limited, ed. Johan Schimanski and Stephen Wolfe (Hannover: Wehrhahn Verlag, 2007), 98.

(49) Creighton, Towards the Discovery of Canada, 21.
"Narrative, it seems to me, is the only way in which a theme can be fully developed and all its changes and phases revealed.  At times, of course, there must be exposition, analysis, and criticism; but history's main emphasis should surely be placed on the sequence of events and on the thoughts and actions of men and women in the changing situations of their lives.  The encounter between character and circumstance is essentially a story; and therefore, for me at least, history's most closely affiliated literary form is the novel."

Gillian Tyrrell is an intern architect based in Toronto, Ontario. Gillian is interested in how spaces and sites can take on the impression of their inhabitants, and how stories can form the foundations for architectural atmospheres. She is always searching for new means of creative expression and innovative design techniques to hone her craft as an architect and maker.  Gillian believes that the art of storytelling is integral to the design of great spaces.