Monday, 26 September 2016

Rideau Canal. Hanging around Newboro, Ontario. September 1, 2016

September 1, 2016.
Newboro Lock #36.  Lock gate is ajar.
This lock is built at a point originally known as the Isthmus.  In the pre-canal era it separated the Rideau and Gananoque watershed.

Rideau Lakes is a township located within Leeds and Grenville United Counties in Eastern Ontario, Canada.  The township was incorporated in 1998 by amalgamating the former townships
of North and South Crosby, Bastard (seriously), South Burgess and South Elmsley
with the village of Newboro.

The mill dam at Morton (c.1805), later replaced by a canal water control weir (1831), switched the flow from the Gananoque River to the Cataraqui River.

Long-lost paddlers left their canoe behind.
In the pre-canal era, a 2,400 m (8,000 ft) portage connected Rideau Lake with Mud Lake.

The original building plan in this area had to be changed.  John MacTaggart would regret on of the statements he made in his 1827 survey report, to whit:  "Throughout this line of proposed cutting, little rock is expected to be met with,..."

The story of the Isthmus is one of malaria and bedrock.  For more detail please visit:

Best Laid Plans, as it were.
Shortened form of "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry",
translated from Scots "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, / Gang aft agley,"
from To a Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough, by Robert Burns.

 Old Chaffey's Mill, built in 1872.  It used the flow of water from the canal weir to power its operation.  Today it is privately owned and is used as an art and historical display centre.

If you look closely at these photos you can see the opening in the foundation
to allow the water to run through.

Video of mill race.

What grows alongside the mill race.

Lockmaster's House Museum.
Operated by the Chaffey's Lock and Area Historical Society, it houses interesting photos and exhibits.  It is well worth a visit.

The two of us working without a Selfie-Stick.

Displays you may find in the museum.
The Chaffey's Lock and Area Heritage Society was formed in 1980 to oversee the development of the Lockmaster's House Museum and to preserve the heritage of the village and surrounding area.

The museum is open through the summer months.
Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted.  

More at:

As with many parts of Canada a great number of wealthy Americans used to visit regularly.
Get away from the rat-race, I suppose.
In this case William Taft used to visit this area and, as the poster says, 
brought his own bath-tub because he was a rather large man.

Sheet Music for Moonlight on the Rideau
Moonlight on the Rideau coverMoonlight on the Rideau first page
The song Moonlight on the Rideau was composed for the Perth Citizens' Band
by W. R. Spence in 1936.

1.  A small accordion of German origin, played especially by folk musicians.
2.  A small organ popular in the 19th century, similar to a Harmonium.

A type of reed organ, a freestanding keyboard instrument in which air is forced by manual or volutary means over a set of free floating reeds by bellows.  Its free floating reeds are placed in slits in a windchest, whose valves are directly activated by the keys from a traditional organ-like keyboard via a set of pushrods and / or pull rods.

A folk rock / prog rock group from Quebec in the 70's.
The group toured the country all the way to Vancouver.
They also performed in California;
and in Europe opened for Supertramp.
They returned to Canada to a sold out show at Toronto's Massey Hall.  
And here I thought I was the only person in English Canada who knew about Harmonium. 

Back in the museum, a little tapestry of sights around the area.

And a model of the community as it existed back in the day.

The Opinicon Resort in Newboro.
The young couple who own and operate
have purchased and are refurbishing the Opinicon Resort;
one of the Grand Old Hotels.
I went for a walk around Opinicon Resort and found this cool plaything.  Each level has a dam that you can open or close, and boats to float downstream, and two branches of the river.  In order to get water into the system you have to use the hand-pump at the very top.

Video of Louise filling the system.

"Back in my day," said the elderly gentleman to his friend, "this is how we got water.
And, we had to walk uphill, both ways, to school and back home, in 5 feet of snow - in September!"

Video of a small zip-line suitable for kids.

The swing bridge and the rails it runs on.

Above:  I'll bet even the kids know what this is.
Below:  Duck decoy?

Construction on the Newboro blockhouse began in 1831.  It is one of four constructed on the Rideau Canal.  Its architecture is a typical design utilized throughout British North America.

It's about 24-foot square with 3-foot walls, strong enough to withstand small cannon fire with a pyramidal tin-sheathed roof to withstand torching.

The upper level, derived from medieval fortifications, allows for machicolated defence (holes cut in the overhang allowing for downward fire on an enemy).  The loopholes cut in each hewn square timber wall are long and narrow but tapered within allowing the defender a greater angle of fire.

The original plan was to have 22 large blockhouses built to protect against the Americans, but the English government rejected that idea because of the exorbitant costs.  There weren't enough people in British North America to pay enough taxes for this.

Lt-Col By, the Royal Engineer in charge of construction of the Rideau Canal, started construction of his own accord of the four smaller ones that were built.
Lockmaster's House, 1930Blockhouse, 1999
Lockmaster's House (Blockhouse) as it looked in 1930 and as it looks today
Can you see the original building in the old photo?

Above:  This was the end of a line of identical boat barns below the resort.
Below:  One of the lodges in the town of Newboro.
Below:  The view from our dining room table.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Rideau Canal, the adventure continues - August 31, 2016

We are now heading back toward Portland, Ontario to return our rental.  Still no hurry. 
Back at Jones Falls Locks we had to wait for a host of downbounders to clear the flight locks before we could enter and move up.

Video of Lock full to overflowing.  Notice the large houseboat at top right.

This one popped out.  Rumour has it that it has over 1,000 square feet of deck space.
Geez, I grew up in a house smaller than that!

Video of same.


 This bunch decided to make the portage instead of using the locks.  There were 3 or 4 of these craft that were carried down the hill and put into the lake to continue their tour.  It was a European agency that arranged the paddle; many nationalities were involved.


Lock is filling, which gives the staff a chance to discuss their plans for the upcoming university year.

Video of Lock being dumped.

 One of the loudest things found on the lake was the loons.  Mid-week and late in the summer there were not many power boats around to destroy the serenity.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Welland Canal. August 23, 2016

Algowood below Lock 2.
Algoma house flag & Ontario provincial flag.

Ontario Arms granted by Queen Victoria 1868.  
Crest, Supporters and Motto by King Edward VII, 1909.
Arms:  The maple leaf has been an important emblem of the province since the early 19th century.  The Cross of St George denotes English heritage.

Crest:  The black bear is widespread throughout the province.  The crest does not have a helmet to rest on.  It was omitted in the original drawing accompanying the grant, probably by mistake.

Supporters:  The moose and the white-tailed deer are provincial animals.

Motto:  ut incepit fidelis sic permanent, Latin for "Loyal it began, loyal it remains" refers to the Loyalist origins of the province.

G3 Marquis above Lock 1.
G3 Canada Limited's logistics assets include this ship as well as a fleet of grain hopper rail cars.
This ship is an Equinox class; it can haul up to 30,000 tonnes, while consuming less fuel than older lakers.
It was built in China for the Canadian Wheat Board which had handled all farmer's wheat for many decades.  CWB's monopoly was ended in 2012 and sold to a US agrifood company and an investment firm owned by Saudi Arabia.

US-flagged John J Boland leaves Lock 2 on her first trip through the Welland Canal.  Once in a while a US laker will go through the canal, usually they stay on Lake Erie and the upper lakes.
The Boland was built in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, USA and was launched March 10, 1973 for the American Steamship Co. of Buffalo NY.  Her original name was Charles E Wilson.
In January 2000 the ship was renamed John J Boland.  The name change followed the sale of an older ship that was named John J Boland to Lower Lakes Towing.  This older ship now sails as the Saginaw.
Power:  2 x 3,600 hp GM diesels.
Speed:  13 knots.
Bow & stern thrusters.
Carrying capacity:  33,800 tons at maximum mid-summer draft of 30'-6".
Self-unloading boom can be swung left or right a maximum of 105 degrees.
On the way to Lock 1.

Songa Opal and Algowood pass above Lock 1.

IMO #:  9473913
Date delivered:  May 22, 2009
Port of Registry:  Majuro, Marshall Island
Type:  Oil / Chemical Tanker
Length:  144 m
Beam:  22.6 m
Moulded Depth::  12.5 m
Summer Deadweight:  17,588 tonnes
Summer Displacement:  23,146 tonnes

St Mary's Cement II.  Frequent visitor to the canal; less than attractive but very functional.  The cement company was founded 104 years ago by two people in St Mary's, Ontario.  They led a small group of investors in building a 2-kiln, 180 tonne per day cement plant at the then outrageous cost of $250,000.  Their barges are pushed by tugs which are managed by Fettes Shipping.  Both the barge and the pusher tug, Sea Eagle II, are registered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Originally built for service in the Arctic for Dome Petroleum.  Dome registered most of their Arctic ships in Edmonton.  It was converted to a cement carrier about 1990 when it was sold by Dome and taken out of the Arctic.

Whitefish Bay upbound above Lock 1.  Paul's on the wrong side of the canal for the morning sun.  The other side is loaded with Ticks, so no reason to go there and no need for fences, either.
Blacklegged / Deer Tick
  • Can carry and transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease
  • Usually found in forested areas
  • Very small and can be hard to see
  • Active in early spring and late fall
  • Blacklegged ticks have no white markings on the large part of their bodies

American Dog Tick
  • The most common tick found in the Niagara region
  • Does not carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (but they look icky when stuck in you!)
  • Usually found in areas with long grass and tree cover
  • About the size of an apple seed and reddish brown in colour
  • Active in the spring and summer
  • Dog ticks usually have white markings or silver-coloured spots
  • They like Cats, too.

American Dog Tick - Engorged