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Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/03/15

View of the Blockhouse, showing the square, two-storey massing with pyramidal roof, 1989.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 1989.
Side view
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Other Name(s)

Kingston Mills Lockstation

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1832/01/01 to 1833/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/12/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Blockhouse is situated on an open site that overlooks the Rideau Canal at Kingston Mills Lockstation. Of solid appearance, it is an imposing, defensive structure with an overhanging second storey. Square in plan with a pyramidal roof, thick limestone walls protect the ground floor while the upper storey is built of squared timbers and covered with clapboard. Defence features include loopholes and machicolations and the second floor entrance accessed by an exterior stairway. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

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

Historical Value
The Blockhouse is associated with the defence of British North America against American privateers. Military blockhouses were built in support of the Rideau Canal's defence function. Since Kingston Mills Lockstation is located at the southern entrance to the canal system, its blockhouse was a key defensive structure for the whole canal, and was one of the first constructed. It was designed to accommodate regular troops and militia assigned to protect the lockstation.

Architectural Value
The Blockhouse is a good example of a functional 19th-century military defence design and is a rare example of a period blockhouse that retains many of the elements of the original design, particularly with respect to functional design and use of materials. Its defensive details include loopholes and an overhanging second floor. Very good functional design is seen in the interior layout, which was an open, undivided space, used as a barracks room. The defensive features illustrate very good craftsmanship as evidenced in the execution of its construction.

Environmental Value
The Blockhouse reinforces the character of its lockstation setting and is a familiar regional landmark to local inhabitants and visitors to the Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada.

Sources: Shannon Ricketts, Kingston Mills Lockstation (Four Buildings), Kingston Mills, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 89-011; Blockhouse, Kingston Mills Lockstation, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 98-011.

Character-Defining Elements

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

Its good aesthetics, very good functional design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the square, two-storey massing with pyramidal roof;
- the ground floor with three-foot (0.9 meters) thick limestone walls and the upper storey of squared timbers covered with clapboard;
- the defence-related elements such as the loopholes and the machicolations in the overhang;
- the tin roofing and masonry infill between the floors to provide bomb proofing;
- the open plan interior of the second floor, and the second floor entrance accessed by an exterior stairway.

The manner in which the Blockhouse reinforces the historic character of the lock station setting above the canal and acts as a local and regional landmark as evidenced by:
- its simple design and materials that harmonize with the Rideau Canal and the Cataraqui River gorge;
- its size and profile that rise from the outcrop of rock and make it a prominent feature of the lockstation visible from both the canal and the road.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Military Defence Installation

Architect / Designer

Colonel John By



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




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Aerial view of the canal

Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada

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