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Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site of Canada

220 Hunter Street East, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1979/05/21

View (lower level) of the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site of Canada, 2012.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view
View of the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site of Canada, 2012.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2012.
View from upper level
Detail view of the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site of Canada, showing a tower and railings, 2012.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2012.
Detail view

Other Name(s)

Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site of Canada
Peterborough Lift Lock
Écluse Ascenseur de Peterborough

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1896/01/01 to 1904/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/02/27

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site of Canada is located on the Otonabee River section of the Trent Canal in the City of Peterborough, Ontario. It is a large concrete structure along the Trent-Severn Waterway designed to lift boats 19.8 metres. The lock operates on a balance system, whereby water is let into the upper chamber, a connecting valve is opened and the heavier chamber automatically descends, forcing up the lower chamber to start a new cycle. The lift lock continues to function as part of the Trent–Severn Waterway National Historic Site of Canada under the management of Parks Canada. Official recognition refers to the lift lock, including the immediate upper and lower canal cuts, embankments and underground works associated with the function of the lock at the time of designation.

Heritage Value

The Peterborough Lift Lock was designated a national historic site of Canada because:
- it is the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world.

The heritage value of this site resides in its surviving physical attributes, and the fact that it was, and remains, an engineering achievement of national and international renown. When completed in 1904, it was the highest hydraulic lift lock ever built, with a vertical lift of nearly 20 metres (65 feet) and was reputed to be the largest unreinforced concrete structure in the world. Its engineering features include the immediate upper and lower canal cuts and the embankments, which are integral components of the lock design and operation.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, May 1979; The Trent-Severn Waterway Commemorative Integrity Statement, 2000.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
- its ongoing function as a lift lock integral to the Trent-Severn Waterway;
- the structure itself, namely the concrete and steel construction, the towers, caisson pits and breastworks, the two chambers, and the mechanical works both visible and below ground which enable the lock to function;
- the immediate upper and lower canal cuts and the embankments;
- the architectural detailing, including the pilasters, string courses and cornices on the towers, breastworks and lockmaster’s cabin, the interior detailing and finishes of the lockmaster’s cabin, and the ornamental railings;
- viewscapes of the lock from the surrounding landscape and waterway, and views from the lock facility to the surrounding area.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1979/05/21

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering
Developing Economies
Labour
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Architect / Designer

n/a

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

486

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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