A new phase of restoration work on the historic Rideau Canal is getting underway, focusing on Kingston Mills Locks. It’s a part of a five-year, $3-billion investment by the federal government to rehabilitate parks and national historic sites.
Parks Canada says the work will include stone replacement and repair, repointing and grouting within the locks and select concrete repairs.
“We’re rehabilitating all four locks,” Jamie Dickey, the project engineer with Parks Canada, said. “We’ll be working on the basin as well and working on the flight locks down below. We’re starting this year up at Lock 46 up at the top and then each year we’re working our way down to the lower lock.”
Dickey says the work is needed as the last major rehabilitation done at Kingston Mills was in the 1970s. The project will take three years to complete. Working in the boating off-season isn’t ideal, Dickey says, because of the colder temperatures.
“The cold weather is tricky, especially with the masonry. You have to keep it at a certain temperature to cure. So that’s why we’re putting trusses over the locks to cover them and heat them up to get them to a controlled environment, right humidity and the right temperature so we can get the work done.”
The $13.4-million Kingston Mills project is supposed to be done by the spring of 2021. The Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site stretching from Kingston and the foot of Lake Ontario to Ottawa. It first opened in 1832.