Three Nations Crossing

Last updated
Three Nations Crossing
Cornwall Canada Customs Building 2010.jpg
The former Canadian Border Station on Cornwall Island during the 2009 Akwesasne occupation
Country United States; Canada
Coordinates 44°59′26″N74°44′22″W / 44.990602°N 74.739561°W / 44.990602; -74.739561 Coordinates: 44°59′26″N74°44′22″W / 44.990602°N 74.739561°W / 44.990602; -74.739561
US Phone(315) 769-3091
Canadian Phone(613) 932-5875
HoursOpen 24 Hours

The Three Nations Crossing is a border crossing on the Canada–US border, connecting the city of Cornwall, Ontario in Canada to Rooseveltown, New York, a neighborhood within the Town of Massena, in the United States. The crossing is associated with the Seaway International Bridge, which crosses the two channels on each side of Cornwall Island, which is located on the St. Lawrence River. The bridge is 4.7 km (2.9 mi) in length.



Canada established Cornwall as a port of entry in 1800. Regular ferry service existed between Cornwall and Massena since the late 1800s.

In 1900, the rail bridge of New York and Ottawa Railway was built at Cornwall, the only crossing on the St. Lawrence River between Niagara River and Montreal at this point.

During the 1920s, negotiations with several parties were initiated to find a way of supporting automobile traffic on the Cornwall railway bridge. In 1935 a road bridge was added and both rail and road bridges were commemorated as the Roosevelt International Bridges. The international bridges were replaced in 1958 by the Cornwall-Massena International Bridge, at which time both border stations were also replaced. The north span of the bridge was replaced in 2014.

In 2000, the international border crossing was renamed the Three Nations Crossing, in honor of the Mohawk people of Akwesasne, a federally recognized Mohawk tribe in the United States and Indigenous peoples in Canada. The reservation is situated mostly in the US state of New York, and crosses into the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.


In May 2009, the Mohawk people of Akwesasne occupied the area around the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) port of entry building to protest the Canadian government's decision to arm its border agents while operating on Mohawk territory. The north span of the Seaway International Bridge and the CBSA inspection facilities were closed. During this occupation, the Canadian flag was replaced with the flag of the Mohawk people. Although US Customs remained opened to southbound traffic, northbound traffic was blocked on the US side by both American and Canadian officials. The Canadian border at this crossing remained closed for six weeks. On July 13, 2009, the CBSA opened a temporary inspection station at the north end of the north span of the bridge in the city of Cornwall, allowing traffic to once again flow in both directions. [1]

The Mohawk people of Akwesasne have staged ongoing protests at this border. In 2014 they objected to a process that made their crossing more tedious; believing it violated their treaty rights of free passage. When traveling from the US to Cornwall Island, they must first cross a second bridge into Canada, for inspection at the new Canadian border station. Discussions between inter-governmental agencies were being pursued on the feasibility of relocating the Canadian border inspection facilities on the US side of the border. [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

Ogdensburg, New York City in New York, United States

Ogdensburg is a city in St. Lawrence County, New York, United States. The population was 11,128 at the 2010 census. In the late 18th century, European-American settlers named the community after American land owner and developer Samuel Ogden.

St. Regis Mohawk Reservation

St. Regis Mohawk Reservation is a Mohawk Indian reservation in Franklin County, New York, United States. It is also known by its Mohawk name, Akwesasne. The population was 3,288 at the 2010 census. The reservation is adjacent to the Akwesasne reserve in Ontario and Quebec across the St. Lawrence River. The Mohawk consider the entire community to be one unit, and have the right to travel freely across the international border.

Cornwall, Ontario City in Ontario, Canada

Cornwall is a city in Eastern Ontario, Canada, and the seat of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. Cornwall is Ontario's easternmost city, located on the Saint Lawrence River in the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor along Ontario Highway 401, and is the urban centre for surrounding communities, including Long Sault and Ingleside to the west, Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne to the south, St. Andrew's and Avonmore to the north, and Glen Walter, Martintown, Apple Hill, Williamstown, and Lancaster to the east.

Massena, New York Town of Massena, New York

Massena is a town in St. Lawrence County, New York, United States. Massena is along the county's northern border, just south of the St. Lawrence River and the Three Nations Crossing of the Canada–United States border. The population was 12,883 at the 2010 census. The town of Massena contains a village also named Massena.

Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge Bridge connecting Canada and the United States

The Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge spans the St. Marys River between the United States and Canada connecting the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The bridge is operated by the International Bridge Administration under the direction of the Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Authority, a bi-national governing body consisting of four directors appointed by the Governor of Michigan and four appointed by the Canadian government-owned Federal Bridge Corporation.

Thousand Islands Bridge

The Thousand Islands International Bridge is an American-maintained international bridge system over the Saint Lawrence River connecting northern New York in the United States with southeastern Ontario in Canada. Constructed in 1937, with additions in 1959, the bridges span the Canada–US border in the middle of the Thousand Islands region. All bridges in the system carry two lanes of traffic, one in each direction, with pedestrian sidewalks.

United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry United counties in Ontario, Canada

The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry is an upper-tier municipality in the Canadian province of Ontario that comprises three historical counties and excludes the City of Cornwall and the Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne. However, both Cornwall and Akwesasne form part of a larger census division named for the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. The municipality's administrative office is located within Cornwall.

Canada–United States border International border between Canada and the USA

The Canada–United States border, officially known as the International Boundary, is the longest international border in the world between two countries. Shared between Canada and the United States, the border belongs to the second- and fourth-largest countries by respective area. The terrestrial boundary is 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi) long, of which 2,475 kilometres (1,538 mi) is the border between Alaska and Yukon. The agencies currently responsible for facilitating legal passage through the international boundary are the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Akwesasne Mohawk Territory

The Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne is a Mohawk Nation (Kanien'kehá:ka) territory that straddles the intersection of international borders and provincial boundaries on both banks of the St. Lawrence River. Most of the land and population are in what is otherwise present-day Canada. A small portion is also in the United States. Although divided by an international border, the residents consider themselves to be one community. They maintain separate police forces due to jurisdictional issues and national laws.

Honoré Mercier Bridge bridge crossing the St. Lawrence River near Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Honoré Mercier Bridge in Quebec, Canada, connects the Montreal borough of LaSalle on the Island of Montreal with the Mohawk reserve of Kahnawake, Quebec and the suburb of Châteauguay on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River. It is the most direct southerly route from the island of Montreal toward the US border. It carries Route 138, originally Route 4. It is 1.361 km (0.846 mi) in length and contains four steel trusses on its first section. The height of the bridge varies from 12.44 m (40.8 ft) to 33.38 m (109.5 ft) with the highest sections located over the St. Lawrence Seaway. The bridge is named after former premier of Quebec Honoré Mercier.

New York and Ottawa Railway former railroad that ran between Ottawa Ontario Canada and New York City New York USA

The New York and Ottawa Railway was a railway connecting Tupper Lake in northeastern New York to Ottawa, Ontario, via Ramsayville Russell, Embrun, Finch and Cornwall. It became part of the New York Central Railroad system in 1913 although it was under the larger company's possession since the end of 1904. It had started out as the Northern Adirondack Railroad and evolved into the Northern New York Railroad, the New York and Ottawa Railroad and was last known as the New York and Ottawa Railway before being merged into the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. Other lines that were a part of this route are described below.

Ogdensburg–Prescott International Bridge

The Ogdensburg–Prescott International Bridge, is a suspension bridge connecting Ogdensburg, New York in the United States to Johnstown, Ontario in Canada. Designed by Modjeski & Masters and completed in 1960, it has 6 spans and a main span of 350.75 metres (1,150.8 ft) totaling 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi) across the Saint Lawrence River and Saint Lawrence Seaway. The bridge is owned and operated by the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, which also owns and operates Ogdensburg International Airport, the Port of Ogdensburg-Marine Terminal Facility, Commerce Park, the Port of Waddington, a medium-heavy industrial park and two short line railroads. The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority is a New York State public-benefit corporation.

Seaway Trail highway in Pennsylvania and New York

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail, formerly named and commonly known as the Seaway Trail, is a 518-mile (834 km) National Scenic Byway in the northeastern United States, mostly contained in New York but with a small segment in Pennsylvania. The trail consists of a series of designated roads and highways that travel along the Saint Lawrence Seaway—specifically, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the Saint Lawrence River. It begins at the Ohio state line in rural Erie County, Pennsylvania, and travels through several cities and villages before ending at the Seaway International Bridge northeast of the village of Massena in St. Lawrence County, New York. It is maintained by the non-profit Seaway Trail, Inc.

Massena Center is a small hamlet in Town of Massena, St. Lawrence County, New York, United States. It is made up of 89 homes and several small businesses.

Seaway International Bridge Bridge in Canada

The Seaway International Bridge is an international crossing connecting New York State, in the United States, and the province of Ontario in Canada. It consists of the South and North Channel Bridges. The South Channel Bridge was opened in 1958, and spans the St. Lawrence Seaway. The North Channel Bridge, opened in 2014, connects the City of Cornwall to Cornwall Island.

Rooseveltown, New York is a hamlet in the town of Massena, New York, United States located in St. Lawrence County, New York. It is near the eastern town line by the Raquette River.

Cornwall Island (Ontario)

Cornwall Island is an island in the Saint Lawrence River, directly south of the city of Cornwall. The island is located completely within Canada, but it is also part of the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve, which straddles the Canada–United States border and the Quebec – Ontario border. The Seaway International Bridge, with a channel crossing on each side of the island, provides road access to Cornwall Island from both Canada and the United States.

Moses-Saunders Power Dam dam in Massena, New YorkCornwall, Ontario

The Moses-Saunders Power Dam, short for Robert Moses-Robert H. Saunders Power Dam, is a dam on the Saint Lawrence River straddling the border between the United States and Canada. It is located between Massena in New York and Cornwall in Ontario. The dam supplies water to two adjacent hydroelectric power generating stations, the United States' 912 MW St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project and Canada's 1,045 MW R.H. Saunders Generating Station. Constructed between 1954 and 1958, the dam created Lake St. Lawrence and is part of a larger project called the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Aside from providing significant amounts of renewable power, the dam regulates the St. Lawrence River and affords passage for the navigation of large vessels. Despite the enormous economic advantages to the dam, it required the relocation of 6,500 people and caused harm to the surrounding environment. Positive efforts have been made over the years to improve shoreline and fish habitats.

Thousand Islands Border Crossing

The Thousand Islands Border Crossing connects the towns of Alexandria Bay, New York and Ivy Lea, Ontario on the Canada–US border. The crossing is via the international span of the Thousand Islands Bridge. The Thousand Islands bridge, which was completed in 1938, is actually a system of five bridges and the island roadways connecting them. The international span, which crosses a small rift between Wellesley Island in the US and Hill Island in Canada, is only 90 feet (27 m) in length. A second, parallel span was built in 1959 to accommodate congestion at the ports of entry. The US and Canada border stations are located at the opposite ends of this span.


  1. "Cornwall border reopened after Mohawk dispute". CTVNews. 2009-09-19. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
  2. Sommerstein, David (Jan 24, 2014). "New Cornwall bridge opens, but it still feels closed to Mohawks". North Country Public Radio. Retrieved 13 November 2016.