Community Update: Wharf Replacement to Begin Black Rapids

Rideau Canal National Historic Site

Image of Black Rapids
Black Rapids Lock 13 Rideau Canal

November 29, 2017
– In December 2017, Parks Canada will begin work on the replacement of the Black Rapids and Lower Nicholsons Wharves. These projects are expected to be completed in spring 2018.

Sites like Black Rapids and Lower Nicholsons are popular locations for Canadians and other visitors to stop and enjoy the natural and built beauty. Parks Canada is undertaking these repairs to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to explore and experience these charming historic sites.

These projects are 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. These investments represent the largest federal infrastructure plan in the 105-year history of Parks Canada.

About Black Rapids Lock 13

In 1827, Black Rapids Lock was built along a 2.4 kilometre stretch of rapids on the Rideau Canal. The lock was built out of local limestone sourced from a quarry on the east bank of the river, opened specifically to supply the lock construction. In 1829, the lockmaster’s house was completed, with the dam and artificial channel completion following thereafter.

Throughout the years, a number of repairs and modifications have been made at Black Rapids Lockstation. In 1925, the waste weir was rebuilt in concrete. Concrete was again used in the late 1940s and early 1950s to rebuild the timber dam. In the late 1960s, under the operation of Transport Canada, Black Rapids Lock was converted to hydraulic mechanized operation to improve efficiencies for recreational boat traffic.

About Nicholsons Locks:

In the mid-1820s Colonel By made plans to construct a dam, lock and embankment at Nicholson’s Rapids. The plan had the dam bypass the rapids with a canal cut along the east bank. Work was completed by contractor H.C. Steven and Co. who worked diligently on the canal cut and lock construction. Local stone from Clowes’ Quarry was used to build the locks and dam. In 1838, an 8m x 8m stone lockmaster’s house was completed. Sometime between 1914 and 1930 a framed second storey was added to the house. In 1912 the upper wing wall, piers and sill of Lower Nicholson lock were reconstructed.

For More Information:

For up-to-date news on infrastructure work along the Rideau Canal, please visit our website: If you would like to be added to our community engagement list and receive updates on this project, please e-mail and include “Black Rapids and Lower Nicholsons Wharves” in the subject heading.

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