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Upper Nicholsons Earth Dam Rehabilitation Nearing Completion

March 10, 2017 –The project to rehabilitate the Earth Dam at Upper Nicholsons is now in its final stages. This project, which began in November 2016, undertook to stabilize the earth dam and repair the historic masonry that makes up the dam’s retaining walls.

In recent weeks all of the remaining repair and construction work contained in the project was completed. The historic masonry that abuts the dam and the wing wall that leads to the lock have both been repaired and rehabilitated. The earth dam at this location has been repaired and stabilized. The crest of the embankment along the western shoreline has been raised in order to increase its ability to hold back water and to reduce the risk of flooding.

This work will further extend the life of these structures, preserving their heritage value for future generations, while ensuring the dam’s continued ability to protect public safety and manage water flow in the area.

As part of the ongoing work to prepare the area for the upcoming navigation season the temporary cofferdam at the worksite has been removed. While some additional work will be done this month to re-beautify the site following construction, the balance of this work will take place beginning in April when warmer temperatures permit activities like re-planting, seeding, and sodding.

The project is on schedule to finish in advance of the opening of our 2017 navigation season on Victoria Day weekend. This year, celebrate with us as we commemorate Canada's 150th anniversary with free lockage!

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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