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Defensible Lockmaster's House

Chaffeys Lockstation / Poste d’éclusage de Chaffeys, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/08/16

Exterior photo; CIHB/IBHC, Parcs Canada/Parks Canada, 1989
Exterior photo
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Other Name(s)

Defensible Lockmaster's House
Defensible Lockmaster's House
Maison défendable du maître-éclusier

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1844/01/01 to 1848/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/04/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is situated on a rise that overlooks the Rideau Canal and the area around Chaffey’s Lockstation. It is a two storey, cube-shaped building with a pyramidal-shaped roof and symmetrical front and rear façades. A rough-faced stone ground floor contrasts with a weatherboard faced upper floor. The main entrance consists of a stone porch with a second floor balcony. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is a very good example of a building associated with the construction and operation of the Rideau Canal which illustrates the theme of military defence for the Canadas in the second quarter of the 19th century and the evolution and transformation of the waterway as a federal public work. It is one of the last defensible lockmaster's houses to be built and exemplifies the change in the role of the Rideau Canal from a military function to that of transportation. Currently, the house is a locally operated museum interpreting the historic role of the canal in the area.

Architectural Value:
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is valued for its good aesthetic design characteristic of a late 19th century residence. The house retains elements of its original military form as well as those added features. Good functional design is evidenced in the interior layout. Good craftsmanship can be seen in the ground floor stonework. The regularly coursed stone masonry of the lower storey and defensible porch represent the craftsmanship of the Royal Engineers.

Environmental Value:
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House reinforces the historic character of its park-like setting at Chaffey’s Lockstation and is a familiar landmark to local residents and to visitors.

James De Jonge, Fifteen buildings, Southern Area, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Reports 89-155, 89-156, 89-157, 89-158,89-159, and 89-160

Defensible Lockmaster’s House, Chaffey’s Lockstation, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 89-158

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Defensible Lockmaster’s House should be respected, for example:

Its very good aesthetic, good functional design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:

-The two-storey massing;
-The pyramidal roof, and the chimney;
-The exterior walls, the ground floor constructed of rough-faced masonry blocks, and the frame second floor clad in weatherboard;
-The placement of the windows and doors;
-The interior configuration.

The manner in which the Defensible Lockmaster’s House reinforces the historic character of its park-like setting at Chaffey’s Lockstation and is a familiar local landmark, as evidenced by:

-Its overall scale, design and materials which harmonize with the green spaces around at the lock station;
-Its visibility due to its prominent location adjacent to the canal, which makes it a local landmark;
-Its role as a historic museum which makes it well-known in the area.




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



Architect / Designer




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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