Trotting the Globe

Explore great shipping ports all over the globe as you trace paths of international commerce forged with the help of the mighty St. Lawrence River.

Here at the Granite Sphere, you will find the major global trading routes destined for the St. Lawrence etched into a 5000-pound globe of granite. Learn about where the things in your home might come from by tracing paths of commerce from around North America, as well as those spanning the entire globe. What other Ontario getaway can cover that much ground?

About 25% of the cargo that passes through the St. Lawrence River and Seaway travels to and from ports in Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Give the globe a little push! Just like our Earth spins on its axis, you’ll see the massive Granite Sphere rotate weightlessly as it floats on a thin film of water and reveals another hemisphere. Young explorers will get a better idea of the huge scope of global shipping and commerce, as the Granite Sphere includes major shipping routes and their distance from right here in Brockville. How’s that for international perspective? Ontario getaways don’t usually offer such global scope, from the St. Lawrence River to the rest of the world!

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River have served as trading routes for North America since well before Canada and the United States were nations. When it opened to navigation in 1959, the mighty St. Lawrence River’s shipping route, now called the St. Lawrence Seaway, has been a crucial path for trade around the globe. The seaway consists of a complex system of several locks for ships to pass through and ranges greatly in depth, with some areas measuring in with a minimum depth of 8.2 meters (27 feet). The St. Lawrence Seaway can welcome vessels as long as 225.5 meters (740 feet) – the length of almost four ice hockey rinks put together!

Granite Sphere Fast Facts:

  • Domestic carrier ships are called “lakers,” while international ships are known as “salties.” Each “salty” flies the flag of its country, connecting the St. Lawrence River to major ports all over the world.
  • Since its opening in 1959, more than 2.5 billion tons of almost every type of cargo imaginable, estimated at a total value of over $375 billion, have passed through the St. Lawrence River and Seaway.
  • The St. Lawrence Seaway has kept a nearly perfect record of trouble-free navigation for 50 years due to its meticulous maintenance and ongoing improvements.