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Lock Office

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/02/12

View of the principal entrance of the Lock Office, showing its Romanesque Revival elements, such as thick voussoirs and a large semi-circular arch, 2002.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, A. Guindon, 2002.
Façade
View of the exterior of the Lock Office, showing its asymmetrical one-and-a-half storey form, 1992.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Armstrong-Reynolds, 1992.
Rear view
General view of the Lock Office, showing its prominent location at the west side of the northern entry to the Rideau Canal, 2002.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, A. Guindon, 2002.
Exterior view

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1884/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/02/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Lock Office is located on the Rideau Canal below the Parliament Buildings at the upper end of the Ottawa lock station near the Rideau River. It is an asymmetrical, one-and-a-half storey building of random coursed stonework surmounted by a hipped roof clad in slate. Features include large arched windows, an enclosed porch and a shuttered bay window. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Lock Office is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
The Lock Office is a very good example of a building associated with the construction and operation of the Rideau Canal. The Office illustrates the theme of military defence strategy for Upper and Lower Canada in the second quarter of the 19th century, and the evolution and transformation of the waterway as a federal public work. It also illustrates the development and maintenance of regional canal systems by the federal government in the post-Confederation era. It is associated with major changes at the Ottawa Lockstation during the late 19th century, such as the beautification of the site following the establishment of the adjacent Major’s Hill Park.

Architectural Value
The Lock Office at the Ottawa Lockstation is the most architecturally distinguished of the several lock offices along the Rideau Canal, and the only extant one that was constructed of masonry in the 19th century. The solid composition and eclectic architectural expression exemplifies the combination of different styles that typified the work of the Department of Public Works under the direction of Chief Architect Thomas Fuller. The building underwent extensive interior alterations in 1973, and its exterior was restored in 1980. Good craftsmanship can be seen in the exterior stonework.

Environmental Value
The Lock Office reinforces the historic character of the Ottawa Lockstation and is a familiar landmark to local residents and visitors.

Sources: Marilyn E. Armstrong-Reynolds, Eleven Buildings, Northern Area, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report 91-131 to 91-134 and 91-175; Lock Office, Davies Lockstation, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 91-134.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Lock Office should be respected.

Its ongoing role as a key component in both the Ottawa Lockstation and the regional canal system, for example:
- its ongoing function as the lock office and one of the key public buildings of the Ottawa Lockstation;
- its prominent location at the west side of the northern entry to the Rideau Canal, a key section within the regional canal system.

Its distinctive architectural styling and high-quality construction, as evidenced by:
- its stylistic eclecticism and attention to detail, features that characterize many buildings designed under the direction of Chief Architect Thomas Fuller, as exemplified by the following carefully designed elements;
- its asymmetrical one-and-a-half storey form, enclosed by random-coursed stonework and ornamented with ashlar trim, and surmounted by a complex slate tile roof;
- its Romanesque Revival elements, such as thick voussoirs and a large semi-circular arch, which are combined with more traditional Victorian elements like segmented arches.

Its spatial and functional relationships to its immediate context and the canal landscape, as evidenced by:
- its original physical and functional relationships with the nearby Commissariat Building and locks, which remain legible;
- its comfortable rapport with the Parliament Buildings and Château Laurier Hotel;
- its status as a well known landmark that is used by local residents and visitors from both land and water.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date

1994/02/12

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Transport-Water
Canal or Canal Works

Architect / Designer

Thomas Fuller

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

5300

Status

Published

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