Masonry Repairs at Poonamalie Lock

December 10, 2018 – The final phase of historic stone masonry repairs at Poonamalie Lock 32 is progressing well. The contractor has been working on the final stone replacement, repointing, and grouting required to conclude this rehabilitation project, expected to finish in winter 2019.

In order to complete these historic masonry repairs on the monoliths, upstream breast wall and within the lock, materials are carefully selected. Sandstone mined from a local quarry is being used to replace the worn stone at Poonamalie Lock. In order to match the finish of the original stone, the new sandstone is hand hammered to create a rough finish. The hammered stones are then installed into their final resting place within the structure, matching the historic aesthetic.

This project is part of Parks Canada’s unprecedented $3 billion dollar investment over 5 years to support infrastructure work to heritage, visitor, waterway and highway assets located within national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas across Canada. These historic investments will mitigate health and safety risks, halt the loss of nationally significant built heritage and stimulate the economy in communities across the country.

 Contractor hammering cut sandstone

A Brief History of Poonamalie Lock 32

The Poonamalie site’s original name was First Rapids, as it is the first lockstation encountered in the descent toward Ottawa on the Rideau system. According to local folklore, the name Poonamalie was derived from a town in India named Poovirundavalli where the British Army stationed a garrison in the early 19th century. An officer of the Royal Engineers felt the cedar-lined roads at First Rapids were reminiscent of those he had seen while serving in India.

The channel in this section of the Rideau Canal is nearly 2.5km and bypasses the original rapids in the Rideau River. In addition to the lock, earth dam, and weir, a defensible lock master’s house can also be found at this site. This building was originally built in 1842 and remains in use to this day.

For More Information:

For up-to-date news on infrastructure work along the Rideau Canal, please visit For questions or to receive updates regarding this project, please email and include “Poonamalie Lock” in the subject line.