Description of Historic Place
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is located on a promontory overlooking the Rideau Canal near the lock at Old Slys Lockstation, as part of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada. Built of rough-faced masonry blocks, it is a compact, functional structure of square plan with a hipped roof. The front façade is symmetrical, with a central single doorway flanked by casement windows. A closed, gable-fronted porch protects the front 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 very good example of a building associated with the Rideau Canal and its maintenance, and as such, it played an important role in the transportation of military traffic on the canal during the 19th century as part of the military defence strategy for Canada. The Defensible Lockmaster's House at Old Slys Lockstation was built as a defensible residence in support of the military defence role of the Rideau Canal. The construction of the Old Slys lockstation prompted the development of several mills and a small community in the vicinity.
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is valued for its good aesthetic design and is one of the few defensible lockmasters' houses retaining the simple defensible design. Amongst the earliest of its type constructed on the Rideau Canal, the house represents the canal’s formative period. The interior plan reflects good functional design of this type of dwelling, as designed by the British military. Good craftsmanship can be seen in the handling of the stonework, which reflects the careful craftsmanship of the Royal Engineers.
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House reinforces the historic character of its park-like setting at Old Slys Lockstation and is a familiar local landmark.
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, Old Slys Lockstation, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 91-075.
The character-defining elements of the Defensible Lockmaster’s House should be respected.
Its good aesthetic, functional design and quality craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the simple compact, one-storey massing;
- the hipped roof, the original roof framing and the chimney;
- the exterior thick limestone walls, constructed of rough-faced masonry blocks, the placement of doors and windows;
- the configuration of the interior.
The manner in which the Defensible Lockmaster’s House reinforces the historic character of Old Slys Lockstation and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
- its simple design and stone masonry walls that complement the lockstation;
- its role as a prominent component of the lockstation that makes it a local landmark.