History of Hartwells lockstation

Rideau Canal National Historic Site

Specifications of the lockstation

Two locks (in flight) with a total lift of 6.5 m (21.5 feet).

The Construction of the lockstation

The original contractor for Hartwells was a man named Walter Fenlon. He quit in 1828 (due to difficulties at Hogs Back) and the contract was given to the partnership of Thomas McKay and John Redpath. Thomas McKay (the contractor for the Ottawa locks) was the on-site contractor.

Colonel By had planned to make a canal cut through what is now Hartwells lockstation. However, faced with extensive excavation between Dow’s Great Swamp (today‘s Dows Lake) and Hogs Back, By reconsidered his plan and opted to move two of the lift locks he planned for Hogs Back to this location, in order to reduce the amount of channel excavation. Rock for the masonry work was quarried near the river at Hogs Back.

A waste weir was built to the east of the lock, draining excess water in an open channel back to the Rideau River

Structures of the lockstation

Lockmaster's House: The defensible lockmaster's house, built in the 1840s, has been altered greatly from its original design. Originally a one-storey structure of rough stone, over the years it has gained a second storey. The entire structure has been covered in clapboard, disguising its original form.

Drain System: The original weir was replaced with a sluice and culvert system in the 20th century.

Hartwells lockstation is in the midst of a popular recreational area between the Central Experimental Farm and Carleton University. The Rideau River is to the east of the lockstation on the other side of the university. The construction of Colonel By Drive and the university around World War II forced the station to retreat to the west bank of the canal. Some of the buildings on the east side of the lock were demolished and while others were moved to a new location across the canal.

In its early years, Hartwells served as a maintenance depot. A gully on the west bank was converted into a basin, providing a space for tugs and scows to be repaired out of the way of the canal traffic.

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