Description of Historic Place
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House overlooks the Rideau Canal and stands close to the lock at Poonamalie Lockstation, as part of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada. It is a two-storey, cube-shaped building with a hipped roof and symmetrical façades, both front and rear. The darker, limestone walls of the first-storey contrast with the painted clapboard exterior of the second-floor. An open porch protects the main entrance. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is a good example of a building associated with the construction and operation of the Rideau Canal. The house illustrates the theme of military defence for Upper and Lower Canada in the 19th century, and the evolution and transformation of the waterway as a federal public work. This building is the only surviving residence among those constructed on the site during the military era, and hence is an important representative example of that period in the community's development.
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is valued for its good aesthetic design. Its appearance is characteristic of a late 19th-century and early 20th-century residence. The second-storey addition, summer kitchen and the interior layout reflect an increased emphasis on residential design, which resulted from a change in the function of the canal by the 20th century from defence to recreation and commerce and as such, combines both its original military form as well as added residential features. Very good functional design is evidenced in the interior layout. Very good craftsmanship can be seen in the ground floor stonework. The regularly coursed stone masonry of the lower storey and defensible porch represent the craftsmanship of the Royal Engineers.
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House reinforces the historic character of its park-like setting at Poonamalie Lockstation and is a familiar landmark to local residents and to visitors.
Sources: James De Jonge, Twenty Nine Buildings, Central Area, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report 91-072 to 91-081; Defensible Lockmaster’s House, Poonmalie Lockstation, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 91-072.
The character-defining elements of the Defensible Lockmaster’s House should be respected.
Its excellent aesthetic, good functional design and excellent materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the two-storey massing with hipped roof, and a chimney;
- the exterior walls, the thick ground floor wall constructed of limestone masonry and the frame second floor clad in clapboard;
- the symmetrical front and back façades with regular placement of the windows and doors;
- the enclosed east porch and the summer kitchen at the rear;
- the interior configuration with its centre hall plan, the central staircase, and the base of the original hearth.
The manner in which the Defensible Lockmaster’s House reinforces the historic character of its park-like setting at Poonamalie Lockstation and is a familiar local landmark, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, design and materials, that harmonize with the green spaces around the lock station;
- its visibility due to its prominent location adjacent to the canal, which makes it a local landmark;
- its role as an historic museum, which makes it well known in the area.