Canada's leaders were key participants. Governor-generals, from Sir Guy Carleton, who ordered the first survey, to Lord Syndenham, who cancelled construction in 1841, were intimately involved in the project. For nearly a century every prime minister, from Francis Hincks, who tried to sell the decaying locks and dams, through John A. Macdonald, who revived the scheme, to Robert Borden, who finally completed it, was caught up in this most persistent public project. But the most important participants were countless little-known Canadians who, for one reason or another, promoted the scheme and doggedly pushed it to a conclusion. This is their story.