Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu - abbreviated as SJR, is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) southeast of Montreal on the west bank of the Richelieu River at the northernmost navigable point of Lake Champlain. Historically, the city has been an important transportation hub. The first railway line in British North America connected it with La Prairie in 1836. It also hosts the annual "Festival International des Montgolfières," an international hot air balloon festival which attracts thousands of tourists who come to see the hundreds of balloons in the sky. The Chambly Canal extends 20 kilometres (12 mi) north along the west bank of the river and provides modern freight passage to Chambly and the St. Lawrence River. The canal has one lock near the downtown core of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. In the winter, the city builds a skating rink on the canal near the lock. In the summer, the embankment on the east side of the canal has a 20-kilometre (12 mi) cycling path.