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St. Lawrence River Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

The US and Canada both use the St. Lawrence River to move people and things. People also use the river to create electricity. Learn all about the river in this lesson!

The Saint Lawrence River

When you take a shower, you use about two gallons of water every minute. When you fill up the tub to take a bath, it probably holds around 36 gallons of water.

Now can you imagine a bathtub big enough to hold two million gallons of water?

That's how much water flows out of the St. Lawrence River every single day. That's a lot of water! In this lesson, you'll learn all about the St. Lawrence River and how people use that water.

Geographic Facts

The St. Lawrence River connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Starting from the eastern end of Lake Ontario, it flows out towards the ocean. At the very end, it gets wide and turns into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. If you start at the very western end of Lake Superior, you could swim all the way out to the Atlantic through the great lakes and then the St. Lawrence River.

The Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River
St. Lawrence River system

Starting from Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River is almost 750 miles long. If you wanted to drive that distance in a car, you'd have to drive for more than 12 hours straight.

The St. Lawrence River flows close to the border between the United States and Canada. Mostly, Canada is to the north of the river and the US is to the south. But a little bit of Canadian land is also south of the river.

Plants and Animals in the River

Lots of fish and birds live in the St. Lawrence River. Also, many birds travel through the area when they fly south for the winter and back north for the summer. These birds like to stop by the St. Lawrence River for a quick snack of fish, seaweed, or other plants - it's like a big highway rest stop, but for birds.

How People Use the River

The St. Lawrence Seaway

The St. Lawrence River runs through the part of Canada where most Canadians live, going past major cities such as Montreal. So a lot of people want to use it for transportation. In 1954, the US and Canada started working together on the St. Lawrence Seaway. They made the shallow parts of the river deeper so big ships could sail all along the whole river.

At some parts, the St. Lawrence River has waterfalls or really steep downhill flows. To let ships go by these parts of the river safely, the St. Lawrence Seaway includes a lot of locks. Locks are like elevators for boats.

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