Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Mighty St. Lawrence River

by Susan G Mathis

The bi-national St. Lawrence River drains more than a quarter of the Earth’s freshwater and is two-hundred and fifty feet at its deepest point. It flows through both the U.S. and Canada and includes the Great Lakes. It's one of the largest in the world, and its waters reaching deep into the North American continent. Thus, the St. Lawrence River—and the Seaway—is a vital geographic and economic waterway that is part of the Great Lakes system. The river connects the lakes to the Atlantic Ocean and provides important navigation for ocean-going vessels.

The river is about eight hundred miles long and drops two hundred twenty-six feet between Montreal, Canada and Lake Ontario. It includes the world’s largest estuary, and there are three primary regions:

• The freshwater river between Lake Ontario and Quebec City

• The St. Lawrence estuary from Quebec City to Anticosti Island

• The saltwater Gulf of the St. Lawrence that leads to the Atlantic Ocean.

Two years ago, I had the privilege of cruising from Boston to Quebec City. Sailing through the Gulf of the St. Lawrence and down to Quebec City, my husband and I enjoyed the beauty and wonder of this mighty river. But it was even more special for me since I wrote the true story of my ancestors taking this same path in my debut novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy.

Back in the 1850s, tens of thousands of Irish fled to countries such as America and Canada through the St. Lawrence River in famine ships, hoping for a better life. These countries and others welcomed them with open arms. But getting from Quebec City to the Thousand Islands Region was no easy task.

In the 1850s, they used a French batteau—a large canoe—to take passengers up the two-hundred and fifty feet of falls and rapids to get to the Upper St. Lawrence, home of the 1,864 Thousand Islands. In 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to bypass these dangerous waters and link the Great Lakes with the St. Lawrence River and the ocean through a series of canals, locks, and channels.

St. Lawrence Fish

Commercial fishing and pollution have depleted fishing, but conservation is helping balance the river, little by little. Salmon, herring, and sturgeon have been overfished, but sports fishermen—and women—still enjoy many stretches of the river famous for their small and largemouth bass, northern pike, carp, and muskellunge (a.k.a. muskies).

Animals of the St. Lawrence
About eighty-three land and aquatic mammals call the river and its gulf home, including the beluga whale. The river is also part of the Atlantic Flyway, where at least 400 species of birds, such as bald eagles, ospreys, and black terns, reside and migrate. During the early 1900s, the fox, beaver, mink, and muskrat were threatened by the fur industry, but most have come back to a healthy level.

River Plants
More than 1,700 species of plants include the rare lady’s-slipper orchid. Springtime blooms beautiful, summer is splendid, and the autumn is epic. It truly is a lovely piece of the world.

What else would you like to know about the mighty St. Lawrence River? Leave your answer or comments on the post below and join me on the 19th for my next post.

About The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy:

After struggling to accept the changes forced upon her, Margaret Hawkins and her family take a perilous journey on an 1851 immigrant ship to the New World, bringing with her an Irish family quilt she is making.

A hundred and sixty years later, her great granddaughter, Maggie, searches for the family quilt after her ex pawns it. But on their way to creating a family legacy, will these women find peace with the past and embrace hope for the future, or will they be imprisoned by fear and faithlessness?

About Susan:

Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than 20 times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books.

Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise, and her newest, Reagan’s Reward, are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including two Illumination Book Awards, the American Fiction Award, the Indie Excellence Book Award, and the Literary Titan Book Award. Visit for more.



  1. Thanks for posting! The St. Lawrence sounds like a beautiful area. I have your book on my TBR pile. Can't wait to get into it.

  2. When I was nine years old, our family took a trip across the Great Lakes, going through the locks at Sioux Saint Marie. It took four days and was quite an experience. I've never forgotten it.