|Smiths Falls Combined - Lock 29a
photo by: Ken W. Watson
|A single lock provides 25.6 feet (7.6 m) of lift. This is the newest lock on the Rideau Canal, built in the 1970s so that a fixed high level bridge could be built to replace the original swing bridge across the old combined locks.
Providing navigation through Smiths Falls provided a challenge to Colonel By with one of his engineers commenting that it "seems rather a puzzler." There were eight sets of rapids that had to be overcome. In the end, Colonel By bypassed most of the rapids with canal cuts, placing 3 locks in flight at the lower end and a single detached lock in a canal cut at the upper end. A navigation depth of water into these channels and basins was provided by a 23 foot high dam placed in the channel of the Rideau River. Only the top four feet of that dam is now visible, forming a wall at the end of the parking lot under the water tower (worth a short hike to see it).
The lock is located close to the headquarters for the Rideau Canal Office of Parks Canada and the Rideau Canal Visitor Centre (both located in an old mill buildings known as the Woods Mill Complex) For a full history of the Smiths Falls Locks see: History of the Smiths Falls Locks
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