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Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada

The History of the Rideau Canal


Specifications of the Lockstation:

Single lock with a lift of 9 feet.

The Construction of the Lockstation:

Fishing at Burritt's Rapids
Fishing at Burritt's Rapids
©Parks Canada / Bill Pratt / Rideau Canal

The Village of Burritts Rapids, one of the earliest settlements in the Rideau Corridor, was founded in 1793 by Colonel Stephen Burritt, a Loyalist from Connecticut, who built a house and sawmill at the site. The construction contract for the lockstation at the village was given to Philemon Wright who was the contractor at several other locations on the canal. Besides his work on the canal, he was active in the timber trade on the Ottawa River and was the the founder of Hull, Quebec.

The Structures of the Lockstation:

Lockmaster's House: The plan was to build a blockhouse at Burritts Rapids, but only the stone walls for the ground floor were ever built and it became the lockmaster's house. It was demolished in 1914 and replaced by two-storey house, built on the old foundation. It was eventually destroyed in 1969 to make way for the present lockstation office.

Engineering Structures: The Burritts Rapids lockstation is situated at the downstream end of a one and a quarter mile artificial channel that runs parallel to the Rideau River. The single lock chamber was built between 1827 and 1831. The lockstation also consists of a 224 foot long dam and a waste weir, built to help regulate water levels.

Two bridges are located at Burritts Rapids. One, erected in 1920 to cross the river, is a steel deck truss bridge, the only one of its kind on the Rideau Canal. The other is a steel swing bridge built in 1897 to cross the artificial channel.