Smiths Falls detached lock

This canal town is named for Thomas Smyth, a Loyalist who in 1786 was granted four hundred acres in what is present-day Smiths Falls.

smiths falls,rideau canal,lock

At the time of Rideau canal construction a small settlement had been established around a mill operated by Abel Russell Ward, who had bought Smyth’s land. Colonel By ordered the removal of Ward’s mill to make way for the canal. He settled with Ward for £1,500, one of the largest claims made by mill owners on the canal.

smiths falls,rideau canal,lock

A 36-foot drop in less than a quarter of a mile posed an obstacle to navigation at Smiths Falls. A natural depression to the south of the river was used to create a flight of three locks, known as Combined Lockstation today.

The natural course of the river was dammed to create a basin upstream of the locks. At the upper end of the basin a fourth (detached) lock was constructed.

smiths falls,rideau canal,lock

I stopped by to visit the lock while the canal was drained and maintenance was being conducted – it’s an interesting sight as it allows you to see how the locks work, but at the same time it shows how people use the Rideau canal for a dumping ground.

smiths falls,rideau canal,lock

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© 2013 CKB


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