Upper Brewers Lock 43 Masonry Repair
Rideau Canal National Historic Site
Smiths Falls, Ontario, March 9, 2016 – Parks Canada is pleased to provide an update regarding the repairs to the historic masonry at Upper Brewers Lock 43, located approximately 30 km Northeast of Kingston.
Originally built between 1828 and 1832, the lock walls at Upper Brewers contain some of the original sandstone masonry that is now more than 180 years old. Major repairs carried out over a century ago incorporated limestone into several of the walls. The specialised repair work undertaken as part of this current project will preserve both examples of the historic masonry and add a further 25–30 years to their life.
As part of the project to repair the masonry at Lock 43 — the sloped sandstone walls, the vertical gate walls, the sluice tunnels, and the floor of the lock will all be repaired. Additionally, voids existing behind the walls will be filled, mortar will be removed and replaced, and damaged stones will be squared off and preserved. In cases where individual stones are damaged beyond repair, they will be replaced with carefully selected stones matching the original.
Work is now more than 50% done and is on schedule for completion in advance of the 2016 navigation season.
Upper Brewers Locks 43 and 44
The Upper Brewers site is named after John Brewer who obtained rights to the rapids at Upper and Lower Brewers in 1819. Brewer was also awarded the contract to construct this section of the canal, however the project was ultimately completed by Robert Drummond.
The construction of a dam and weir at the Upper Brewers site enabled Colonel John By to raise water levels in the area and construct a navigable channel extending to Jones Falls through what was previously swampland and marsh. Work in this region of the Rideau Canal was incredibly challenging both due to the terrain and the impact of malaria on those working at the site.
Earthen embankments built from the clay and other materials excavated during lock construction remain in use at the site today. Additionally, a defensible stone lockmasters house added to the site in the 1840s remains as evidence of the military importance of the Rideau Canal at the time.
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