In the early twentieth century a movement flourished in the Midwestern states bordering the Great Lakes to champion the St. Lawrence route as the answer to easily transporting goods in and out of the centre of the continent. Internal rivalries in the United States and Canada held back the project for fifty years until Canada suddenly decided to build a seaway alone, pressuring the American Congress to co-operate. The building of the Seaway and its completion in 1959, involved engineering on an unprecedented scale and significant human dislocation. During construction, communities along the Great Lakes planned for increased prosperity, but changes in transportation, aging infrastructure, and environmental problems have mean that "the Golden Dream" has not been fully realized, even today. This popular history chronicles the rise of one of the great engineering projects in Canadian history and its controversial impact on the people living along the St. Lawrence River.
Ronald Stagg has taught at Ryerson University for over thirty years, specializing in Canadian history. He has written on subjects ranging from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century and served ten years as chair of Ryerson's history department. He lives in Toronto.