Canadian Theme Unit
Roads, Canals, and Railways

Roads, Canals, and Railways
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.84

     challenging words:    outlying, completion, further, immigration, economic, expansion, bypass, upstream, communication, insure, policy, interfere, government, burial, goods, serve
     content words:    New France, Great Lakes, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Niagara Falls, First Nations, Trent-Severn Waterway, Welland Canal, Rice Lake, Burleigh Falls

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Roads, Canals, and Railways
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     For the first French settlers of New France, roads were not important. Farms and villages were built along rivers, and people traveled on the water. As the population grew, people spread further along the shores or moved inland.
2     Roads had to be built for ease of communication and transportation between people. However, roads could not be used for everything, and shipping remained important.
3     The rapids near Montreal were an initial problem for ships going upstream to the Great Lakes. A larger, more serious obstruction blocking ship access from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie was Niagara Falls.
4     For years, the First Nations had used the Trent-Severn Waterway as their highway of choice. The lakes and rivers that formed it, however, were not completely linked. Some portages had to be made. This was possible with canoes, but not larger vessels.
5     Larger vessels were the concern at Niagara. Finally, in 1824, plans were begun for the Welland Canal that would bypass the falls and provide a regular shipping lane. It took five years to complete, but it opened whole new possibilities to shipping all around the Great Lakes.

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