The Lachine Rapids are a significant stretch of whitewater in the St. Lawrence River near Montreal. An exceptionally strong current roils the St. Lawrence there.
Explorer Jacques Cartier named the Rapids when he stopped at the village of Hochelaga, future site of Montreal, during his 1536 expedition to explore the St. Lawrence River. Climbing to the top of the hill he named Mount Royal, Cartier speculated that beyond the Rapids lay his goal of a route to China, and he named the Rapids "La Chine" because of this mistaken idea.
Cartier's explorations stopped at Hochelaga because his vessel could not cross the rapids. In fact, ocean-going ships were unable to proceed beyond Montreal until the Lachine Canal was constructed in the nineteen century to bypass the rapids. The completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 superseded the Lachine Canal1 as a Rapids bypass.
The Lachine Rapids today are one of Montreal's tourist attractions, with jet ski and whitewater rafting tours as well as kayaking and canoeing.
- The Lachine Canal became a waste dump for many years thereafter, but is now being restored as a National park.