Rehabilitation of Concrete and Masonry

As a part of Parks Canada’s extensive infrastructure investment, masonry repair work to the lock and approach walls was undertaken at Buckhorn Lock 31, as well as the re-painting of the steel lock gates.

Over the winter months of 2017 contractors removed grout and repointed, and repaired or replaced stones as required on the upstream and downstream masonry approach walls and the lock itself. The lock gates were sandblasted, primed and painted. 

The specific and stringent ways in which Parks Canada undertakes construction and maintenance projects re-enforce our role as stewards of Canada’s natural and cultural resources. For example the work at this site was staged in a manner that accommodated specific constraints due to being in an aquatic environment, including the installation and removal of cofferdams outside of sensitive spring fish spawning seasons. 

Undertaking the rehabilitation project at Buckhorn during the Spring, Winter and Fall has ensured that we’re able to welcome visitors to the Trent-Severn Waterway during the navigation season and contribute to the thriving tourism economy in this area. The work at Buckhorn Lock 31, one of the busiest lockstations on the Trent-Severn Waterway, was scheduled to be completed by the open of the 2017 navigation season. 

About Buckhorn Lock 31

In 1828 John Hall purchased property on both sides of the rapids in what is now known as Buckhorn, and over the next four years constructed a dam and mill. By the 1850’s and 60’s, the dam was rebuilt, as well as a 642 foot long bridge. A timber slide, piers and booms were included in the new work to support the area’s logging activity and by the latter part of the century, a bustling milling community stood. By 1887 a lock was in operation, having incurred extra time and expense due to the difficulties in both drilling through the pre-Cambrian granite of the Canadian Shield, and labour shortages in this part of the country at the time.

Although the lumber industry remained an important commercial undertaking at Buckhorn, there was a concerted effort to promote the tourism potential of the waterway. With the advent of rail service it was clear the original commercial imperatives that had prompted the government to complete through-navigation from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay were no longer necessary. Between 1920 and the 1930’s, representatives from communities all along the waterway participated in the Trent Waterway Development Association, designed to promote tourism.

In the 1960s the Department of Transport initiated a major upgrade of facilities along federal canals due in part to significant increases in recreational boating. Major renovations to the Buckhorn lock, including mechanizing operation and some conversion to concrete, were undertaken in 1972. Along with this change a new high level concrete bridge was built which completely bypassed the lock. Today, the lock at Buckhorn rivals both Bobcaygeon Lock 32, and Couchiching Lock 42 as the busiest lock each navigation season.

For More Information

For questions or concerns, or to receive updates regarding this project, please contact us at Ont.TrentSevern@pc.gc.caand include “Buckhorn Lock 31” in the subject heading. You can also follow Twitter@TrentSevernNHS.


May 2, 2017 - Community Update: Buckhorn Lock 31 Masonry and Concrete Rehab (PDF, 534 KB)
March 16, 2017 - Community Update: Buckhorn Lock 31 Masonry and Concrete Rehab (PDF, 337 KB)
October 5, 2016
Communique: Buckhorn Lock 31 - Rehabilitation of Concrete and Masonry (PDF, 224 KB)
May 9, 2016 - Underwater Core Sampling