Description of Historic Place
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is located in a prominent position overlooking the Rideau Canal and the area around Nicholsons Lockstation, in the Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada. It is a two-storey building with a truncated hipped roof containing a central dormer window on the main façade and symmetrically placed doors and windows. A set back, clapboarded summer kitchen extends laterally to the south. The first-storey exterior walls of stone contrast with the clapboard faced second-storey. 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 construction and operation of the Rideau Canal. The house illustrates the theme of military defence for Upper and Lower Canada in the second quarter of the 19th century and exemplifies the Rideau Canal’s change from having a military function to that of transportation. This building, among the earliest of its type constructed, represents the canal’s formative period, and that of the local farming community. The building continues its historic function as a residence for canal staff.
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 interior layout reflect 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 functional design can be seen in the interior layout. Very good craftsmanship can be seen in the thick, ground floor masonry and the interior woodwork.
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House reinforces the historic character of its park-like setting at Nicholsons 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, Nicholsons Lockstation, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 91-080.
The character-defining elements of the Defensible Lockmaster’s House should be respected.
Its good aesthetic, good functional design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the two-storey massing;
- the truncated hipped roof, and the chimney;
- the exterior walls, the thick ground-floor walls constructed of limestone masonry, and the frame second-floor clad in clapboard;
- the placement of the windows and doors on both floors;
- the heavy timber joists and the stone base of the hearth;
- the clapboard clad, single-storey summer kitchen appended to the main structure;
- the interior configuration, the woodwork, including the balustraded staircase.
The manner in which the Defensible Lockmaster’s House reinforces the historic character of its park-like setting at Nicholsons Lockstation and is a familiar local landmark, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, design and materials, which harmonize with the surrounding green spaces at the lockstation;
- its visibility due to its prominent location adjacent to the canal, which makes it a local landmark.