Community Update: Ongoing Gate Replacements on the Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal National Historic Site

Ottawa Locks 1-8

Gates are often used to keep people out, but Parks Canada prefers to invite you in! Gates are often the first interaction a boater has with each lock site; the eager anticipation of approaching the lock; watching for the little whirlpool on the water as the gate first begins to open, and entering the lock chamber that leads to a world of adventure only the boater can design. For these reasons, a fresh gate is part of the unique and picturesque experience visitors have come to expect. They are also one of the most essential components in lock operation. As the Rideau sees on average over 11,000 boaters a year, effective and well maintained gates are essential for the safety and positive experience of boaters and visitors on land.

Many gates are being replaced along the Rideau Canal over the next few years as part of Parks Canada’s Infrastructure Investment program. Since the start of this program, gate fabrication has doubled from three gates per year to a total of six.

In order to construct these gates, logs weighing up to 4,800 lbs are transported to the Parks Canada shops. Our craftsmen proceed to plane, square and shape them into their appropriate form. From the time logs are received until the time they are sent to site is an eight week process. After gates arrive on site, they take another two weeks to install. The expected lifespan of each gate is between 15-20 years which will preserve the historic look and feel of each lock for future generations to enjoy.

The following schedule gives some insight into gate work that has been completed as part of our Infrastructure Investment program thus far, and into the work that is yet to come.

Gate installations that have been completed in 2018 are:

  • Old Slys (2)
  • Burritts Rapids
  • Hogs Back
  • Upper Nicholson’s
  • Upper Brewers

The following gates are scheduled to be completed in 2019:

  • Chaffeys
  • Kingston
  • Merrickville (2)
  • Edmonds
  • Berveridges

All new gates are scheduled to be installed during the non-navigation months to ensure boaters can continue to enjoy the waterway during the operating season.

Over the past 5 years, Parks Canada has invested over $103 million toward the reconstruction and rehabilitation of canal walls, dams, bridges and locks on the Rideau Canal. These investments are a part of Parks Canada’s unprecedented $3 billion dollar investment to support infrastructure work to heritage, visitor, waterway and highway assets located within national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas across Canada.

For More Information:

If you would like to receive more information about Rideau gates or receive email updates about any of our projects, please email us at: and include a project descriptor in the subject heading. Or check out what we’re up to at

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