Note: Because of the number of cultural resources on the system there is no attempt here to list them individually. An inventory of the in situ resources and their CRM level is available.

The in situ resources that are directly associated with the commemorative intent of the Rideau Canal - resources that symbolize or represent the national significance of the site - are identified as level one cultural resources. These resources are located on Canal lands and include engineering works, buildings, lockstation landscapes along with underwater and terrestrial archaeological sites.

6.1 Engineering Works

Through the evaluation exercise 40 of the Rideau’s 47 locks were identified as level one cultural resources. (NOTE: the locks do not include the lock gates which are facsimiles of the original.)

Of the approximately 45 dams, weirs and embankments along the original route, 18 were evaluated as level one. Over the years the original form and function of several of the dams and embankments have been lost to sight because of overfill and infill - the most notable one being the crib dam at Hogs Back. Technically these are now archaeological resources but have been included here because they remain part of the operational system.

The evaluation team recognized that many of the locks and dams had undergone repair and reconstruction, including the introduction of varying amounts of new material, as part of their operational life over the past 160 years. There was no attempt to impose a specific quota of original fabric in the evaluation. If the work retains core elements of its original built material - in situ not reused as a facade - it is considered an original structure.  Those locks and dams rebuilt with all new material or retaining only a vestige of original fabric or reusing original material only as part of a facade are not considered original to the system. This latter case applies to the locks at Lower Brewers (45), Davis (38) and locks one through five at Ottawa, plus the hydraulic lock at Smiths Falls (29a).

6.1.1 The  level one engineering works are valued for their:
  • direct relationship to the original construction achievement;
  • contribution to the unique historical environment of the Canal system;
  • integral role in the continuing operation of the navigation system (Locks 29, 30 & 31 at Smiths Falls Combined excepted );
  • surviving physical attributes of form, material and function;
  • manual mode of operation (Newboro, Black Rapids and Smiths Falls Combined Locks excepted);
  • contribution to knowledge relating to early 19th century engineering and construction techniques.

Noteworthy in this discussion of the historic values of the Rideau’s engineering structures are the remarkable stone arch dams at Long Island and Jones Falls. These are the two largest such structures on the system and the only two of the original five still completely visible. The Jones Falls dam is the first true masonry arch dam constructed in North America, and on completion was one of the largest arch dams in the world.

6.1.2 The  level one engineering works will be unimpaired or not under threat when:
  • they are maintained in an operational state (Locks 29, 30, and 31 at Smiths Falls Combined excepted);
  • a regular monitoring and maintenance regime is in place as an integral part of the operational and conservation program;
  • the existing manual mode of operation is maintained;
  • their original material, massing and form are safeguarded and maintained by technical and professional experts in accordance with the CRM Policy;
  • a record is maintained of any changes, repairs and/or interventions;
  • the current material and design of the gate and valve opening mechanism is maintained (Newboro, Black Rapids and Smiths Falls Combined Locks excepted);
  • the current material and design of lock gates is maintained,  (Newboro, Black Rapids and Smiths Falls Combined Locks excepted);
  • their historic values are effectively communicated to the public.

6.2 Buildings

In total, 18 Canal buildings including the Merrickville Blockhouse National Historic Site of Canada are level one cultural resources because they are considered to represent or symbolize the national significance of the site and were mentioned in the Board’s recommendation. These include the 12 defensible lockmasters’ houses and the four blockhouses one of which is the Merrickville Blockhouse. In addition, the blacksmith’s shop at Jones Falls and the Commissariat building at Ottawa Locks are level one because they relate directly to the commemorative intent of the site.
Several of the buildings have undergone considerable modification over the years including recent reconstruction and restoration work. Seven of the lockmasters’ houses had second stories added. While acknowledging these evolutionary changes, the evaluation team considered that all the buildings retain enough of their core elements to be considered level one cultural resources.

6.2.1 The level one buildings are valued for their:
  • direct association with the construction, operation and maintenance of the Canal during the military period;
  • direct association with the defense of colonial Canada;
  • physical evidence of the original purpose of the Canal;
  • functional design qualities;
  • surviving physical attributes of form and material;
  • contribution to the unique historical environment of the Canal system;
  • contribution to the historic character of their associated lockstations.
6.2.2 The level one Canal buildings will be unimpaired or not under threat when:
  • their historic characters are safeguarded according to the CRM Policy and the FHBRO Code of Practice, where applicable;
  • their heritage settings are safeguarded according to the CRM Policy;
  • a record is maintained of any additions, repairs or other interventions;
  • a regular monitoring and maintenance regime is in place as an integral part of a conservation program;
  • their material, form, and functional design qualities are safeguarded;
  • their visibility within the site and/or from approaches are maintained or enhanced through appropriate vegetation management;
  • their historic values are effectively communicated to the public.

6.3 Lockstation Landscapes         

The lockstation landscapes are fundamental resources of the Canal system and integral to the Rideau’s unique historical environment. The landscapes were evaluated in terms of the retention of historic circulation patterns, the spatial inter-relationships of buildings, engineering works, open spaces and other landscape features, plus the overall impact of new features on or near the stations. All 22 lockstations were evaluated as being Level I in accordance with the 1967 recommendation of the HSMBC.

6.3.1 The level one lockstation landscapes are valued for their:
  • associative and physical connection with the construction and early operation of the Canal;
  • contribution to the unique historical environment of the Canal system;
  • visual and historic associations with heritage communities along the Canal system such as Chaffey’s Lock, Newboro, Merrickville, Burritt’s Rapids, and Ottawa;
  • role as landmarks and providing a sense of continuity along the Canal system;
  • surviving historic layout and configuration including their open spaces and circulation patterns;
  • surviving historic views both within and beyond the station boundaries;
  • contextual and heritage settings for the stations’ buildings and engineering works.
6.3.2 The level one lockstation landscapes will be unimpaired or not under threat when:
  • their current historic layout and landscape patterns, including open spaces and circulation patterns, are safeguarded;
  • their historic views and visual linkages with surrounding landscapes are safeguarded through encouragement of and co-operation with municipalities or other levels of government, private landowners and partners;
  • their historic views within the lockstation grounds are safeguarded or enhanced through appropriate vegetation management;
  • the proposed introduction of new landscape elements (signage, parking lots, concession booths, vegetation, buildings, utility poles, etc.) are reviewed according to the principles of the CRM Policy in order to safeguard the historic layout, landscape patterns and views of the stations;
  • the appropriateness of proposed new uses or activities on lockstation landscapes are assessed according to the CRM Policy;
  • their historic values are effectively communicated to the public.

6.4 Archaeological Sites

There is no comprehensive inventory of Level I terrestrial or underwater archaeological sites along the Rideau Canal. The evaluation approach is to treat all archaeological sites dating from the construction and military periods as level one cultural resources.

Examples of known archaeological sites of national significance include:

  • the ruins of the engineers’ building, the remains of the lime kilns, the remains of the Sapper’s Bridge and the blacksmiths’ shop - all at Ottawa Locks;
  • the original dam at Merrickville (underwater site);
  • the construction camp at Newboro;
  • the remains of the submerged bridge at the Jones Falls dam (underwater site);
  • the guardhouse remains at Jones Falls;
  • the guardhouse remains at Morton Dam.

Note: There are archaeological sites directly related to the Canal’s construction and early operational period located off Canal lands and outside of the designated place. Most of the known sites are the remains of quarries that were sources of stone used in Canal construction. Due to their location, these sites are not included in this cultural resource inventory but they are identified here because they have historic value associated with the Canal. Of particular importance are the quarry remains located:  near the village of Elgin, off the First Concession Road;  Clowes Quarry on the south shore of the Rideau River by Clowes Lockstation; and the quarry at Hogs Back located in Vincent Massey Park in the City of Ottawa.

6.4.1 The level one archaeological sites are valued for their:
  • association with the construction of the Canal;
  • association with the military purpose of the Canal;
  • surviving physical elements.
6.4.2 The level one archaeological sites will be unimpaired and not under threat when:
  • inventory and evaluation records of Canal sites are developed and maintained;
  • known archaeological sites on Canal lands are monitored and safeguarded by adhering to the CRM Policy and the Guidelines for the Management of Archaeological Resources in the Canadian Parks Service;
  • underwater resources are safeguarded through the encouragement of and co-operation with municipalities or other levels of government, private landowners and partners;
  • all operational projects involving below ground disturbance (including the introduction of new vegetation) on Canal lands are reviewed to ascertain potential impact on resources;
  • all operational projects involving underwater disturbance are reviewed to ascertain potential impact on resources;
  • their historic values are effectively communicated to the public where deemed appropriate relative to the security of the resources.

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