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Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada

The History of the Rideau Canal


Specifications of the Lockstation:

One lock with a lift of 10 feet 2 inches.

The Construction of the Lockstation:

Chaffey's Mill Chaffey's Mill
©Parks Canada

In about 1820, Samuel Chaffey settled at this location and built an impressive mill complex that included a mill dam, distillery, carding mill, sawmill and a grist mill. After Samuel Chaffey died of malaria in 1827, Colonel By purchased the mill complex from his widow and removed it to make way for the canal works.

The contractor for Chaffey's Lock was John Haggart, a stonemason and miller from Perth. Similar to many of the lockstations, particularly those in the southern section of the route, malaria plagued the construction project. As well, the project was slowed by the lack of a local quarry. Sandstone had to be hauled six miles from a quarry at Elgin.

The Structures of the Lockstation:

Lockmaster's House: A stone one-storey defensible lockmaster's house was built sometime between 1844-1847. Its purpose was to protect the lockstation from American attack as well as providing accommodation for the lockmaster's family. In the latter part of the 19th century, a frame second storey was added to the house. The building continued to be used as a residence until 1964. Today it is a museum operated by the Chaffey's Lock and Area Heritage Society.

Engineering Structures: The original plan for Chaffeys Lockstation called for two locks and two dams. The plan was altered resulting in the construction of a large single lock and waste weir, and only one dam. Years later, a wooden swing bridge was built which was replaced by the present steel swing bridge in 1949.