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Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada

The History of the Rideau Canal


Specifications of the Lockstation:

Two locks with a lift of 18 feet.

The Construction of the Lockstation:

Lockmaster's house
Lockmaster's house
©Parks Canada

John Brewer founded the village of Brewer's Upper Mills in 1802 and built a sawmill, a grist mill and a brewery at the site. Prior to the construction of the lockstation he sold the mills to the government and they were allowed to deteriorate. Brewer became the contractor for the lockstation but, like so many other contractors, ran into serious difficulties. Cranberry Bog, located just north of the site, was the major problem. This marshy area was a source for malaria which was so serious that, in the summer of 1828, work was halted at Upper Brewers. Brewer ran into financial difficulties. Unable to complete the project and fled the country and was succeeded by John Drummond, who completed the job.

The Structures of the Lockstation:

Lockmaster's House: This house is one of 11 defensible lockmasters' houses built at various lockstations to protect them from American attack. A one storey stone structure, it was built around 1842 and occupied by the lockmaster and his family until 1868.

Engineering Structures: An artificial channel was excavated at Upper Brewers and is the location for the two locks. An 18 foot high arched dam of earth and stone and a waste weir were built at the northern end of the channel and a second dam was located at the nearby village of Morton to control water levels for the locks.