Where is the Heritage Corridor?
The Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) encompasses the communities and counties along the historic 97-mile Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor. The Heritage Corridor spans from the Chicago Portage Area just southwest of Chicago to LaSalle-Peru including the counties of Will, Grundy, LaSalle and Putnam. The region conveniently located along I-55 from Chicago to Joliet along I-80 west to LaSalle-Peru.

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Chicago Portage Area | Bolingbrook Area | Joliet Area
Morris Area | Starved Rock Area | Putnam County

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Trade and Travel along the I&M Canal

A River Thru History is one of the I & M Canal's signature events, featuring a unique historical reenactment along the Heritage Corridor Illinois and Michigan Canal.  It is important to understand the historical and cultural impacts that the canal has had on both transportation and trade. That is why we sat down with Rendezvous Director Mike Bosse for a look at this year's events and activities!

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CVB:  What do you enjoy most about this event?

Mark Bosse:  I enjoy the Voyageur landing, that features several big canoes come around the river bend from Montreal with trade goods.  The reeinactment starts with the landing of the Voyageurs, as they secure their canoes, and begin to carry bundles up on shore. Then their leader meets with the Booshway, (who runs the Rendezvous Camp) and shortly after, everyone takes a knee as Pere' Marquette blesses the landing and gives thanks for a safe journey.  

CVB:  What IS a rendezvous in relation to this event?  

Mark Bosse:  A Rendezvous was place where people gathered once a year in the fall to trade furs for goods from Europe.  

CVB:  Why is it so important to commemorate this event in relation to historical travel and trade?

Mark Bosse:   Canoes were the motor coaches and rail cars of the era.  Transportation continues today in the corridor with trucks, trains, and interstate I-55.  UPS and BSNF are the modern Voyageur brigades, delivering the goods to and from Chicago along the corridor.  Our Rendezvous celebrates the I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor's contribution to both transportation and trade.

CVB:  What activities can people participate in during the event?

Mark Bosse:  My personal favorite is learning how to throw a tommahawk!  Aside from that, there are many activities featured at this event including: seeing wolves up close, learning how to shoot a bow and arrow, listening to Marquette's reading his journal, watching flint and steel fire starting and the skillet toss competition,  learning how to make root beer, fry bread with powdered sugar, the children's trading post, children's games, Indian history and games, fingerweaving, River Valley Colonials marching through camp (better move out of the way!), and lots of other fun things!


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So there you have it!  There is a lot to do and see at this year's A River Through History Event.  We encourage you to attend and see how the I & M canal has shapped today's modern trade routes and impacted the way we travel!

Click HERE to find out more about this great event!