Running for more than eight miles through the southwest part of the island of Montréal, the Lachine Canal is a window onto the city's industrial history, reborn in recent decades as a place where nature and the city meet. Originally opened in 1825, the canal, with its five locks, allowed ships traveling between the upper St. Lawrence River and the sea to avoid the treacherous Lachine Falls. (Before the canal opened, ships would typically off-load their cargo at the village of Lachine, which would then be loaded onto another ship on the other side of the falls.) The canal's banks would soon be filled with small factories, but by 1950 the area had started to decline, in part due to the success of the railway. In 1970, it was closed to shipping completely. Recent efforts to clean up the canal have been successful, and now bikers and walkers take advantage of the paths that line it, while many of the former factories and warehouses have been converted into luxury lofts and condos. In 2002, the canal was opened to boats again—pleasure crafts, not barges—that travel its length. If you decide to explore the canal, the Atwater Market was one of the early projects to redevelop the area, and it remains a great place to buy all the items needed for a picnic.