Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada

The History of the Rideau Canal

BLACK RAPIDS

Specifications of the Lockstation:

A single lock with a lift of 9 feet.

Construction of the Lockstation:

Black Rapids Black Rapids
©Parks Canada

This single lock was built in the river bed of the Rideau where rapid dropped 4 ½ feet over a ½ mile stretch. Construction began in July of 1827 under the contractors Thomas Phillips and Andrew White, who also built Long Island Lockstation. A quarry was opened on the east bank of the river to provide limestone for the construction of the dam, lock and a lockmaster's house. The house was completed in 1829 and the dam and artificial channel in 1830. The following year the lock and earth embankment were completed.

Canal Structures:

The lock underwent major change in 1969 when the gate operations were converted from a manual to a hydraulic system.

The Black Rapids station has been the site of four overflow dams. The first structure, built between 1827-1830 was a stone arch dam. Over the years, ice and flooding damaged the dam. By 1860 it was in very poor shape. In the spring of 1862 the dam was demolished and the first of two timber crib dams was constructed. The timber crib dam, as its name implies, was a series of wooden box type structures filled with rock. In 1908, spring flooding destroyed the dam and a replacement dam was built the following winter. The next spring flood (1909) was a real test for the new structure because it was one of the worst floods ever recorded. The dam held up well but the embankment to the east did not. Much of the riverbank was washed away. To prevent this from reoccurring the dam was extended an additional 100 feet. The second timber crib dam was eventually replaced in three stages between 1949-54. This time the dam was constructed of concrete.

The lockmaster's house was constructed in 1914, replacing the original stone house which was built during the construction of the canal.

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