top of page
The Lost Villages

In 1958, Queen Elizabeth and President Dwight D. Eisenhower inaugurated the Moses-Saunders Dam and shipping lane in Cornwall, Canada, 435 km east of Toronto. The project, necessitating the flooding of the St Lawrence River at Milles Roches, Ontario, aimed to construct a hydroelectric dam and expand the seaway shipping lane.

However, the construction led to the relocation of 6,500 Canadians from communities and the flooding of 25,000 acres of Mohawk treaty land. Despite consultation, residents, including those from Aultsville, Dickinson’s Landing, Farran’s Point, and others, felt inadequately compensated. Indigenous peoples were not consulted or compensated for the loss of their lands initially, although a compensation process evolved later, with a formal apology from Ontario Power Generation. The project caused irreversible changes, including felled forests, relocated cemeteries, and burned homes. Residents, aware no American communities were affected, sacrificed for Canada. They were offered the chance to buy lots at New Town No. 1 or No. 2 (now Ingleside and Long Sault), but no waterfront residences were available as that land was reserved for the Crown.

"The Memory of Water" project uses abstract-styled but accurate images of lost village sites. Informed by research from the Lost Villages Historical Society, the photographs capture the direction of former communities, showcasing sky, clouds, water, and horizons. The images prompt reflection on the meaning these lost communities held for their residents and the changes over time. The project explores negative space, memory, imagination, and contemplation, addressing the passage of time and the erosion of memory, guilt, and appropriation. Through these silent spaces, it invites contemplation on empty promises and the lost way of life for Empire Loyalists and Indigenous peoples who occupied the lands for 9,000 years.

Purchase the book, Lost Villages at Blurb CLICK HERE

bottom of page