Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Jones Falls locks and museums

The lockmaster's house 
We followed the South Wind Canada 150 Brigade as it came up the Rideau Canal the week before Canada Day, July 1st. (South Wind Brigades PART 1 –arriving @Jones Falls.)

We took an extensive visit around the Jones Falls locks as we waited for them to paddle up from Kingston. They are quite interesting, the 220 km canal being a UNESCO World Heritage site. They have several displays, in several museum original buildings, with park interpreters in costume.

The Rideau Canal system is a testament to the hard work of long-dead labourers, as well as Colonel By who led the project. People who helped build what was to be a major transportation system for military defense and weapons.  We visited the Chaffeys Lock Cemetery and Clear Lake Cemetery. Jones Falls had a burial site, as well, discovered accidentally.

History of the Rideau Canal
A Grave Revealing: We know from the records of A.J. Christie (hired by John By to look 
after the medical needs of the workforce in 1826 & 1827) that, in 1827, the first full year of construction, a total of 17 men died - 10 of disease and 7 from accidents. In that year 6 women and 38 children also died along the canal.  (Families accompanied the workers, 54 births were recorded, as well as deaths. Most died from malaria, but also TB, dysentery, syphilis, hepatitis, and other digestive issues plagued them.) 
The Rideau Canal, opened in 1832, is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America. The word rideau is French for curtain. This was the appearance of the twin falls of the Rideau River, where it meets the Ottawa River, to Samuel de Champlain who travelled up the Ottawa River in 1613. The name Rivière du Rideau first appeared on maps in about 1694. (Read more here...)
What struck me is that having cleared the land during construction of the locks, the foliage is now grown back, rich and lush.
Jones Falls 1841
Jones Falls 1841
During the building of the locks and dam, the houses shown in this image, on the top of the hill, were part of the construction camp for the dam. It was known at the time as "Esthertown" (after Colonel By's wife Esther). After completion of the dam, these buildings became the nucleus for the small community of Jones Falls. “The Great dam at Jones’ Falls; from the West end, 1841” by Thomas Burrowes, 1841, Archives of Ontario, C 1-0-0-0-53.
Lieutenant Colonel John By got in trouble with parliament, as he went over budget. The final figure of £ 822,804 as of January 1834 was mostly due to the cost of land acquisition settlements. Land acquisition settlements were made according to the Rideau Canal Act (1827) which stated that non-voluntary settlements were to be made by arbitration or by jury, a process that took some time.

Of course, I found some poison ivy!

They just rebuilt the pathway in the spring, when we visited in May: Jones Pipes, which is what hubby called it. You can't really see much of the falls, as the water goes down a pair of pipes, to harness the power.

This is the view from the guard tower. Amazing!

The Diary of Lockmaster Peter Sweeney, 1839 - 1850

It's a pretty gruesome gig. Bugs, loneliness, getting in supplies.


Anvilcloud said...

I want to go back to this place ... that I misplaced.

Olga Hebert said...

Such a nice way to learn about history. Taking these kinds of tours, I learn more than I did in classes.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, wonderful tour and photos. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day and the week ahead.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Thanks for taking us along with you; fascinating trip... and thanks for 'taking' the poison ivy on our behalf! I kid you... sorry to read that you got 'bit' again. Other than that, it looked to be a grand outing! YAM xx

Cloudia said...

Thank you! I transited from Ottawa to Montreal on a small boat many years ago!

William Kendall said...

Ultimately Colonel By's decisions were spot-on and right. Too bad he couldn't see himself vindicated.

Red said...

The Rideau canal was a major achievement with the technology they had at the time.

Hootin' ♥ Anni said...

Wow...I am sure happy you took us along. How interesting! Wonderful reading & experiencing each step. And beautiful to boot.

Powell River Books said...

I remember seeing the Erie Canal when I went with Wayne to visit his hometown of Rome, New York. At the time his mother was still living there. When she couldn't live on her own any more she came to California to live in a nursing home near us. - Margy