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The Lockstations

Verdant lawns, large pine, maple and oak shade trees, friendly and knowlegable lock staff - these are all hallmarks of a Rideau Lockstation. There are 23* of them along the 202 kilometre waterway from Kingston to Ottawa, plus 2 at the entrance to the Tay Canal. This page allows you to get information about each lockstation in two ways. Use the table below to get a profile of each lockstations, or use the links following the table to view some of the facts about all the lockstations.

Other Lockstation Information

bbStatistics (Lift, clearances, vessel passages)
bbDistances between lockstations
bbFees and Hours of Operation
bbLockstation Services
bbCamping at a Lockstation
bbLockstation Safety
bbGPS Data
bbHow a Lock Works
bbLockstation Tel. Numbers
bbPhoto Tour Videos of each lockstation
bbPhoto Tour Satellite Map (external link)
bbMap Linked Lockstation Information (external link)

* How the Locks Are Counted

When the canal was opened in May, 1832, there were 47 masonry locks that provided navigation from Kingston to Ottawa. In reality, only 46 locks actually provided the navigation since one of the two locks at Hogs Back was (and still is) a guard lock (a flood guard, it normally doesn't provide any lift). But that is picking nits, so we'll leave the count at 47. In the late 1880s, two locks (Beveridges) were constructed at the entrance to the Tay Canal. Although not part of the Rideau Canal proper, they are administered by the Rideau Canal Office - so although the number of locks required for Kingston to Ottawa navigation didn't change, administratively, 2 more locks were added (total 49). In the 1970s, a new single lock (29a) replaced the flight of 3 Smiths Falls Combined locks. This reduced the actual number of Kingston to Ottawa navigation locks to 45 and the total locks administered by the Rideau Canal Office to 47. This is the situation today.

In terms of Lockstations, the present day Kingston to Ottawa navigation lockstations number 23 - they are: Ottawa (8 locks in flight), Hartwells (2 locks in flight), Hogs Back (1 lift lock, 1 guard lock), Black Rapids (1 lock), Long Island (3 locks in flight), Burritts Rapids (1 lock), Nicholsons (2 detached locks), Clowes (1 lock), Merrickville (3 detached locks), Kilmarnock (1 lock), Edmunds (1 lock), Old Slys (2 locks in flight), Smiths Falls Combined (1 lock), Smiths Falls Detached (1 lock), Poonamalie (1 lock), Narrows (1 lock), Newboro (1 lock), Chaffeys (1 lock), Davis (1 lock), Jones Falls (3 locks in flight, 1 detached), Upper Brewers (2 locks in flight), Lower Brewers (1 lock), Kingston Mills (3 locks in flight, 1 detached). The lift statistics for those locks can be seen on the individual lock pages (see links above) or on the Statistics Page.

Parks Canada quotes 24 lockstations since they are counting in the Beveridges Lockstation (2 detached locks) of the Tay Canal.

The term "Lockstation" is generally used for a single grouping of locks. In most cases this is easy, the exceptions are Nicholsons (2 locks 380 metres apart), Beveridges (2 locks 500 metres apart) and Smiths Falls (2 locks 480 metres apart). Historically Nicholsons has generally been run with 2 crews under a single lockmaster, Beveridges 1 crew and lockmaster, and Smiths Falls (Combined and Detached) with 2 crews and 2 lockmasters. In general this means that those 3 sites are 4 lockstations (Nicholsons, Beveridges, Smiths Falls Combined and Smiths Falls Detached).

The astute observer will have noted that I have 27 links (not 24) to "lockstations" since I've split out both Nicholsons and Beveridges and I've also included Colonel By Island (not a lockstation, but it is a site run by the Rideau Canal Office of Parks Canada). But if someone quizzes you on the number of lockstations use either 24 (Parks Canada number) or, to be technically correct, 23 on the Rideau Canal and 1 on the Tay Canal. Same with locks, use either 47 (Parks Canada number) or, the more technically correct, 45 on the Rideau Canal and 2 on the Tay Canal.

Black Rapids Jones Falls

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©1996- Ken W. Watson