|Clowes - Lock 20
photo by: Ken W. Watson
|Three detached locks provide 24.9 feet (7.6 m) of lift. The locks are in an man-made cut that bypasses the original rapids and waterfall in the Rideau River. The largest blockhouse built on the Rideau Canal sits beside the upper lock.
When Colonel By arrived in this area in late 1826, a miller by the name of William Mirick was already well established, using the water power from the "Great Falls" to run his mills. Colonel By's preference was to try to bypass existing mills if possible (to save having to buy them out). The first plan was to put the locks in a flood channel adjacent to the river. But Mirick was using this for his own water control so after a closer look at the topography of the area Colonel By decided to create an artificial cut to the east of the river and flood channel. The locks are "detached" (separated), following the natural topography of the area, saving much excavation.
For a full history of the Merrickville Locks see: History of the Merrickville Locks
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