Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site
The 274 m long and 18 m wide historic lock chamber could hold one "upper laker" and two smaller vessels. The present day lock was reconstructed in 1997 to accommodate recreational vessels and is of a more modest size; 77 m long and 15.4 m wide. It is now open from mid-May to mid-October for recreational vessels.
The original lock had five sets of gates. Each leaf, for the largest set of these gates, was made of 34 one-foot square-timbers of British Columbia Douglas Fir. These gates weighed 100 tons and were set in place by the canal's gatelifter.
The motorhouses adjacent to the lower lock have been recently reconstructed. Those at the upper lock remain as they were built in the 1960s. All four motorhouses contain most of the original 1895 machinery. Inside the Powerhouse, you will find the water-powered turbine and belt-driven pumps used to "unwater" the lock.
The heritage buildings on North St. Marys Island are an important aspect of the canal's distinct character and history. The Administration Building, Superintendent's Residence, Canalmen's Shelter, Powerhouse were constructed of red sandstone and trimmed with limestone defining their prominance onsite. The Stores Building/Blacksmith Shop, also constructed of sandstone, it was considered a utilitarian building and therefore was not decorated with the limestone trim.
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