Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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.
The Lock Office is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Government of Canada
Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy
Recognized Federal Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Canal or Canal Works
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection