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Upper Nicholsons Earth Dam Rehabilitation Progressing Well

In November 2016, Parks Canada began the rehabilitation of Upper Nicholsons Earth Dam on the Rideau Canal National Historic Site (west of Burritts Rapids). Construction crews have been stabilizing the dam as well as repairing the historic masonry that makes up the dams retaining walls. This work will further extend the life of these structures, preserving their heritage value, while ensuring the dam’s continued ability to protect public safety and manage water flow in the area.

The work on this project is progressing well. Repairs to the west embankment upstream of the spillway and back filling along the retaining wall leading up to the lock are now complete. The contractor has completed approximately 50% of the historic masonry repairs to the dam’s retaining walls. The project is on schedule to finish in advance of the opening of our 2017 navigation season on Victoria Day weekend, in celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary.

Upper Nicholsons Earth Dam rehabilitation 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.

About Upper Nicholsons
In the mid-1820s Colonel By made plans to construct a dam, lock and embankment at Nicholson’s Rapids. The plan had the dam bypass the rapids with a canal cut along the east bank. Work was completed by contractor H.C. Steven and Co. who worked diligently on the canal cut and lock construction. Local stone from Clowes’ Quarry was used to build the locks and dam.

For More Information:
For up-to-date news on infrastructure work along the Rideau Canal, please visit our website: www.pc.gc.ca/rcInfrastructure. If you would like to be added to our community engagement list and receive updates on this project, please e-mail  and include “Upper Nicholsons Earth Dam” in the subject heading.

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