Bridges and Lock cabins

Chambly Canal National Historic Site

The Chambly Canal was equipped with a dozen road bridges. Eight of them are still operated by Parks Canada staff. Several of the Chambly Canal bridges have rare technical characteristics, in some cases unique in the Canadian canal system. The canal’s bridges are of various types (rolling, swing or bascule) and bear witness to the evolution of various 19th and 20th century technologies.

Near the locks and bridges are some small buildings, often with gabled roofs. These are lock cabins built to house the canal’s lockmasters and bridgemen, who in earlier times were on duty 24 hours, day and night. Most of the logettes are still on their original sites.

These buildings are of various styles. For example, six are in the neo-Queen Ann style. Others reflect a current known as “City Beautiful.” This movement advocates beauty and integration with surroundings. The lock cabins, sometimes with old-fashioned architectural motifs, remain contemporary

Bridge No. 4

There’s something special about Bridge No. 4 of the Chambly Canal: it’s the last one on the canal that still operates with we like to call “elbow grease.” It dates back to 1921 and continues to use a complex rack mechanism. For a vessel to go past, the bridgeman has to activate the mechanism connected to a system of wheels under the bridge, and this enables the structure to rotate and open. Take a few minutes to observe the structure and the operation of its mechanism.

On a lighter note

a boat on the Chambly Canal, and a little lockhouse in the background
Lockhouse at lock no 6

Lock cabins No 1 and No 3 located near locks 1-2-3 were constructed between 1905 and 1907. When the new stone lock cabin was built in 1967-1968, the original lock cabins were sold by the Department of Transport to the Club Nautique and moved. There, they were used as a storage area and changing room.

In 1986, the original lock cabins were reacquired by the National Parks Service (today Parks Canada) and moved back to their original sites.

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