History of Long Island lockstation

Rideau Canal National Historic Site

Specifications of the lockstation

Three locks (in flight) with a lift of 7.6 m (24.9 feet).

The Construction of the lockstation

The contractor for this lockstation was the partnership of Andrew White and Thomas Phillips.

Close to 40km (25 miles) of waterway lies between Burritts Rapids to Long Island. Prior to canal construction, several rapids over a distance of about 3.9 km (2.4 mi), with a total drop of about 7.3 m (24 feet) made the west channel of Long Island impassable. A smaller set of rapids in the east channel could be run by canoe and it was this channel that was chosen to be the navigation way. Richmond, a community west of the river, was the only settlement in the area at this time.

Several of the workers who had family with them built their own dwelling cabins during construction of the locks. This formed the nucleus of a new community, the village of Long Island, located on the east bank of the river just south of the lockstation. The years following the construction of the canal saw schools, churches and a hotel at Long Island. By the mid-19th century Long Island was in decline and by 1890 the village was deserted and in ruins. Development in nearby Manotick, founded in 1860, attracted many of the settlers from Long Island.

Structures of the lockstation

Dam: The stone arch dam at Long Island still stands as originally constructed.

Lockmaster’s House: A two-storey stone lockmaster's house, built during construction, was torn down in 1914 and replaced by the current two storey frame house.

Bridge: The first bridge at Long Island, a wooden king post truss swing bridge, was built in 1874. It was rebuilt a number of times until 1935, when the wooden bridge was replaced with a steel truss swing bridge.

Former Forge: A blacksmith's forge was built during Canal construction some time before 1831. It was located directly behind the lockmaster's house. It was probably built of stone similar to forges at other lockstation construction sites. The forge disappeared some time between 1844 and 1852.

Former Carpenter’s Shop: Similar to the forge, the carpenter's shop was built during the construction of the canal. The carpenter's shop was located to the east of the blacksmith's shop.

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