60th anniversary of “the big flood” to be marked July 1 in Iroquois

IROQUOIS — A blast on July 1, 1958 in Cornwall changed the face of the St. Lawrence River forever and a special event is planned for Iroquois to mark the 60th anniversary. Organized by the Iroquois Waterfront Committee, the event will memorialize the inundation – the flooding of the occupied small and large towns in the river valley. At 8 a.m. on July 1, 1958 the cofferdam in Cornwall was demolished and over the next week, the St. Lawrence gradually filled its new basin.

The sites of former villages all along the St. Lawrence between Iroquois and Cornwall were gradually flooded as the river rose to take its new level, covering much of the area’s pioneer beginnings forever.

On July 1, the sixtieth anniversary of the “big bang” the Iroquois Beach will be the site of a moderated discussion, that will see a number of local folks who lived in the area in 1958 sharing their recollections with current residents. As well, anyone in the audience who has memories of that event will be invited to tell their story. This informal event will memorialize the inundation – the flooding of the occupied small and large towns in the river valley.  Conversations will be informal and will take place either on the new deck or under one of the picnic shelters. There will be a PA system to ensure everyone can hear the stories and plans call for the conversations to be recorded and copies provided to local schools and libraries. Organizers have set the time at 10 a.m. until about noon when activities will shift to the Iroquois-Matilda Lions Canada Day festivities at the Locks. To tie in with the event, the beach canteen will be open to provide refreshments.

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