|Smiths Falls Lock Panorama
photo by: Ken Watson, 2003
|The most visible landmark in Smiths Falls is the water tower. Just under the water tower in this photo is the entrance to the combined lock. Straight ahead in the photo, is the now unused entrance to the original flight of three locks, abandoned in the early 1970s. To the far right, is the old stone building of the Woods Mill Complex, now home to the Rideau Canal Office of Parks Canada and the Rideau Canal Museum.
The white line above the old locks is the concrete side of the "new" bridge, the reason the old locks were abandoned. As Smiths Falls grew in size, the old swing bridge above this lockstation became a traffic bottleneck. A plan to build a new fixed bridge with the required 22 foot clearance above the lock was rejected because of cost and the fact that it would have required the removal of several buildings. It was decided to remove the old locks and replace them with a new single lock, allowing for a lower fixed bridge.
Fortunately for the heritage of Smiths Falls, Parks Canada took over the operation of the canal from Transport Canada at this time (1972), and immediately put a stop to plans to destroy the original locks. Instead, a compromise of sorts was reached, contructing a new lock (in 1973/74) to the north of the old locks, and leaving the old locks abandoned, but intact. A more detailed view of the combined lock can be seen in the next photo.
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