The wealth of water
Along the water
Waterway improvements
Harnessing water
Waterway improvements

The waterways are a natural, functional and profitable traffic route, especially when transporting large amounts of goods. Waterways were used both for long-distance shipping and for commuter traffic. In wintertime, things were transported across the ice, although once the weather warmed up slightly, it became difficult for anyone residing on an island to get around.

In the 19th century, the waterways had to be improved due to an upswing in boat traffic and an increase in boat size. In the 19th century, canals started to be built to meet the needs of civilian sailors. The Saimaa Canal was completed in 1856 and inland waterways from Northern Savo and Northern Karelia to Lake Saimaa were improved. The Heinävesi waterway was launched at the beginning of the 20th century. The Juojärvi waterway, which diverges from the Heinävesi waterway and which includes the Varistaipale and Taivallahti Canals, was completed in the 1910s.

The Varistaipale Canal and the Canal Museum

The Varistaipale Canal in Heinävesi was built from 1911 to 1914. The canal is still actively used and in the immediate vicinity are the preserved houses and their annexes that were built for canal employees. Nowadays, these buildings are home to the Channel Museum. Visitors to Varistaipale can learn more about the canal environment from the early 20th century when canal employees working for the government formed their own special social class within the rural community.

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Copyright © Etelä-Savo museums 2007. All rights reserved. Last modified: 10 Feb 2011 08:40