Poonamalie Lock 32 / Final Phase of Historic Masonry Complete


Parks Canada Update:

The final phase of historic stone masonry repairs at Poonamalie Lock 32 are now finished. The contractor is currently completing landscaping and site restoration to welcome visitors for the 2019 navigation season. 


Since last November, the contractor has completed repairs on all wing walls and approach walls, the monoliths, upper breast wall, gate sill and recess floor, as well as the lock chamber walls. This work included repointing, grouting and stone replacement. As part of this project, the team replaced old concrete repairs, which had been completed 30 to 40 years ago, with heritage stone. This realigned the east wall, which increased its stability, improved its aesthetic, and extended its lifespan.

This project is part of Parks Canada’s unprecedented $3 billion dollar investment over 5 years to support infrastructure work to heritage, visitor, waterway and highway assets located within national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas across Canada. These historic investments will mitigate health and safety risks, halt the loss of nationally significant built heritage and stimulate the economy in communities across the country.

 A Brief History of Poonamalie Lock 32

The Poonamalie site’s original name was First Rapids, as it is the first lockstation encountered in the descent toward Ottawa on the Rideau system. According to local folklore, the name Poonamalie was derived from a town in India named Poovirundavalli where the British Army stationed a garrison in the early 19th century.  An officer of the Royal Engineers felt the cedar-lined roads at First Rapids were reminiscent of those he had seen while serving in India. 

The channel in this section of the Rideau Canal is nearly 2.5km and bypasses the original rapids in the Rideau River. In addition to the lock, earth dam, and weir, a defensible lock master’s house can also be found at this site. This building was originally built in 1842 and remains in use to this day.

For More Information:

For up-to-date news on infrastructure work along the Rideau Canal, please visit www.pc.gc.ca/rcInfrastructure. For questions regarding this project, please email RideauCanal.info@pc.gc.ca and include “Poonamalie Lock” in the subject line.