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Lansdowne Iron Works National Historic Site of Canada

County Rd. 33 - 50 m west of Lyndhurst Bridge at Cook Street, Lyndhurst, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1932/05/30

View of the east bank of the Gananoque River from the bridge. The designated place lies in the treed area in the centre of the photo; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2005, (Heritage Research Associates Inc.)
General View
Close-up of the plaque text; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parks Canada, 2004
Close-up of the plaque text
Image of the plaque site; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parks Canada, 2005 (Dan Pagé)
Image of the plaque site

Other Name(s)

Lansdowne Iron Works National Historic Site of Canada
Lansdowne Iron Works
Forges de Lansdowne

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1801/01/01 to 1812/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2012/07/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Lansdowne Iron Works National Historic Site of Canada is a foundry located on the eastern banks of the Gananoque River, just below the falls, in the village of Lyndhurst, Ontario. The few visible remains of the iron works include partial sections of its foundations and fragments of scattered slag. It is an archaeological site that includes remains of a furnace, a sawmill and associated works constructed by Wallis Sunderlin in 1801. When established, Lansdowne Iron Works was the first iron works in Upper Canada. The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada erected a plaque and cairn to mark the site. Official recognition refers to two lots in the village of Lyndhurst, Ontario.

Heritage Value

Lansdowne Iron Works was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1932 because:
- it is the site of the first iron works in Upper Canada.

The heritage value of Lansdowne Iron Works resides in its historical associations with the iron manufacturing industry in Upper Canada. While the existence of local ore was well-known and various petitions had been made to the government for the right to erect a foundry, it was not until 1801 that Wallis Sunderlin, a Vermont iron manufacturer, established the first iron works in Upper Canada at Furnace Falls. Sunderlin saw opportunity in the 7.3 metre natural waterfall, “Furnace Falls,” on the Ganonoque River and in the abundance of local iron ore. The works included a sawmill, a furnace stack 7.62 metres (25 feet) high, and a frame structure surrounding the furnace stack and a forge. The works, with a furnace for the production of cast iron and a forge for the manufacture of wrought iron goods was required by the area’s settlers. It was operated with limited success by Sunderlin and his associates until it was destroyed by fire in 1811. Sunderlin died during the War of 1812. Attempts in 1815-1816 to re-establish the works to supply the Kingston dockyard were ended with the agreement to limit armaments on the Great Lakes. The brick ruins visible on the site today are from the later Harvey gristmill (1881).

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include: - its location in the village of Lyndhurst, Ontario; - its siting on the forested banks of the Gananoque River; - the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains which may be found within the site in their original placement and extent, including any remains from the furnace, sawmill, manufacturing equipment and iron goods, and from the smelting process; - viewscapes from the site toward the Gananoque River.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Extraction and Production

Function - Category and Type



Metal Products Manufacturing Facility

Architect / Designer



Wallis Sunderlin

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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