Thursday Doors – May 26, 2016

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time), by using the blue link-up button below. 

Rideau Canal Lock Doors – Ottawa

We headed over to Ottawa this past holiday weekend to visit their annual Tulip Festival. I’ll have a post on that sometime soon, but since we were there for three full days of course there was time for a few doorscursions 🙂

In the shadow of the Parliament buildings you’ll find an important national treasure and key piece of Canadian history the Rideau Canal.


Canals have locks, locks have doors – hence I get a door post out of it – whoohoo!


Awarded Unesco World Heritage Site status in 2007 the Canal was originally built for military purposes between 1826 and 1832. In reaction to the war of 1812 it was meant to provide a secure supply and communications route from Montréal, Québec to Kingston, Ontario taking boats on a detour away from the border with upstate New York, at the time considered a difficult route to defend.

The waterway stretches 202 kilometers (126 miles) from Kingston to Ottawa and contains 45 locks. Surprisingly only 19 kilometers of the canal had to be dug by hand. The rest simply consists of existing lakes and rivers.

It didn’t take long before the military function of the canal was deemed unnecessary. It saw commercial use for a while but as cargo ships plying the St. Lawrence seaway became larger, ways around some of the more treacherous rapids on the St. Lawrence were devised, and rail service to the interior of the continent came along, the canal gradually saw less and less use.

Today the canal is preserved and operated under the authority of our national parks service, Parks Canada and is open to pleasure boaters from Victoria Day weekend in May until our Thanksgiving weekend in October.


Come winter, Parks Canada turns the Ottawa portion of the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America over to the National Capitol Commission, who convert it as soon as it freezes in early January into one of the world’s biggest outdoor skating rinks.

While we were there we had the good fortune to watch a boat going through the locks.

The simple beauty of the engineering involved in taking a boat from one elevation to another, in steps through individual compartments called locks, is fascinating to observe.

In a nutshell a boat will enter and stop in one lock after which the door behind it is closed.

When going downhill as was the case here, an underwater valve in the lock is opened allowing water to spill down into the next lock.


This raises the water level in that lower lock enough to even out with the lock above – the one that the boat is in. The entire system is gravity-fed. There are no pumps or machinery involved.


With the water level even in both locks the doors can now be opened allowing the boat to move ahead into the next lock.


The whole process is then repeated with the boat going downhill, one step at a time until it clears the final lock.



Parks Canada staff told us that the lock doors are made of steel and are replaced roughly every ten to twelve years. A workshop is even maintained nearby for repairs and to keep the canal fed with replacement parts.


As always, I thank you for looking 🙂

Please don’t forget to click on this blue button to add the link to your own Thursday Doors post to this week’s list – Hint remember to link to your actual post NOT the homepage to your blog:

If you share your posts on Twitter and Instagram remember to use the #ThursdayDoors hashtag and please do take a few minutes to visit the Thursday Door posts shared by others.

About Norm 2.0

World’s youngest grumpy old man & heart failure wonder boy. Interests: writing, woodworking, photography, travel, tennis, wine, and I know a bit about power tools.
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61 Responses to Thursday Doors – May 26, 2016

  1. Vicky says:

    A very interesting post, what a wonderful preservation for everyone to use, great photos… not sure I would be getting too close, though, locks un-nerve me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post; I like canals and locks but really don’t see them other than in photos or films. Did, however, observe a tour boat go into a lock at the completion of it tour in Strasbourg; the gates closed and water filled in to float the boat to the pier walkway to let the passengers off so they could walk on land again. Thanks for sharing the pics and history.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These are so lovely Norm! I have yet to see it. Got to go back to Ottawa.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Helen Jones says:

    What a gorgeous location for a canal and locks, and a lovely day, too. The Grand Union canal runs along the bottom of the hill where we live, with several locks just in our section – however, it’s not quite as picturesque as the Rideau!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. pommepal says:

    This is such an interesting post Norm and the photo of the canal doors with the people standing on top and taking photos gives a great sense of perspective. I followed the link through to the biggest ice skating rink. What fun that would be. Have you ever been there in winter? I’m just the opposite this week as I am in the tropics.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. reocochran says:

    I liked this post and the building which looks like a castle, beside it, Norm. I enjoyed the Sault Ste. Marie locks in Michigan which I am unable to remember how to spell! I also appreciated your comment on my blog today about the gate and how I should just go ahead and call it a Thursday’s Doors post. I really must thank you for making me again feel welcome in this fine group of Door lovers! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Robin, you’re very welcome 🙂
      There are no strict rules for Thursday Doors because I want to keep it as inclusive as possible. Mind you if someone posts pictures of elephants or watermelons and calls it #ThursdayDoors I might have a word with them.
      BTW I’m pretty sure you got the spelling right for Sault Ste. Marie. Here to keep it simple we usually refer to the town phonetically as The Soo 😉


  7. Well, now there is a different kind of door! Did you get any good tulip photos? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Suvi says:

    What an interesting post about the locks. I hadn’t really given them another thought till I saw some at Little Venice in London. I have never experienced a lock, even though we are boaters.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. MythRider says:

    I like the first photo of the long view of the lock.
    I’ve canoed the Mississippi River and paddled through a lock a couple of different times. Fun.
    It was a bit different from what you saw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      I read somewhere that the parks service used to offer day-long group excursions in a Rabaska (big canoe that holds 12-14) down a stretch of the canal – including going through a number of locks. I’d love to try it sometime. If they ever decide to bring it back I’ll definitely go back.


      • MythRider says:

        Too bad the park stopped.
        First of all it would be a great day. Second they could charge a small fee of say $10 and make money for the park.
        If you ever come to Minneapolis, Minnesota, let me know. I’ll see to it that you do a Mississippi River lock trip. ;0) Phyllis

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Very interesting post, Norm. We have yet to go through a lock on our boat and I’m dreading it (would you call that dreadlocks? lol). Why wouldn’t a canal fit very well in a door post? They both have locks. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Cee Neuner says:

    Now Hugh, those are some real HUGE doors.
    Here is my entry for this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. jesh stg says:

    Yeah, I got it the second time seeing your posts – gates/canal are like doors for the water! Holland is full of these sleuces or canal locks as you call them, because once Holland was once 75% water, and when they kept gaining land, they put another sleuce in to manage the water level..
    Great captures Norm!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have been contemplating a vaca on a boat in a canal or a cruise! Then I read books about canal boats in France and Belgium. Seeing your door post helps me to understand how the locks work! I think I’ll go with the cruise since these canals have A LOT of locks to pass through no matter which canal you’re on!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. jan says:

    I was fortunate enough to watch locks in action – it is a mesmerizing sight. Wow, what a beautiful day – sky so blue! You captured it brilliantly.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. mariannegv says:

    Doorscursions? Certainly you are a very inventive person, Norm. It’s interesting to history facts about the canal. I’m joining today again with a post. Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. LindaGHill says:

    Great post, Norm! I lived in Gatineau for about 15 years, so I spent a lot of time wandering around the Rideau and the Byward Market. I’ve even skated on the canal! Beavertails!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Linda. You know I found out on this trip that my mom has never had a Beavertail! She had no idea what they were and when we showed her, she wasn’t really interested pfft.
      We’ve been wanting to skate on the canal for a while but the season keeps getting shorter each winter. Hopefully next year.
      To me it’s one of those iconic typically Canadian things to do, like seeing the Cabot Trail, attending a Grey Cup, the Québec Winter Carnaval, the Stampede, or paddling a canoe.
      Hmmm I’m getting an idea for a Canadian bucket list post for Canada Day.


  17. marianallen says:

    I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, which also has a series of locks to clear the Falls of the Ohio. They’re in constant use, so no skating rink for us! Every so often, the river freezes over, and some fool walks out and has to be rescued, but that’s about it. Thanks for the brilliant pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Marian. While we were there the Parks Canada staff were constantly reminding people to back up from the edge. Though I think I’d rather fall in in the summer. One guy told us they pull a 1/2 dozen people out the water every season.


  18. joey says:

    I seem to be the only person who’s staring at the photos in amazement, but maybe other people will come along and gawk, too. I had no idea. I mean, I have read about the terms of canals, channels, and locks, but this was the best educational doors post I’ve ever read. (And that’s coming from someone who only recently learned about The Great Fire of London from a doors post!)
    Your photos are brilliant as always, but I really enjoyed this post on another level. Fascinating..
    I love tulips, but I don’t know if even tulips will top this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Joey. I know how you feel; this blogging thing can be very edumacational at times. In the past 2+ years I’ve learned sooo much about so many different places….
      The tulips were awesome though. I’d highly recommend it, if you ever get the chance to go.


  19. Great minds! I was thinking of doors and what they represent — entries into differing areas — and I, too, thought of river locks!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. dimlamp says:

    We’ve been there, and watched workers open the locks.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. joannesisco says:

    A very clever interpretation of doors this week Norm! Kudos 🙂

    I find the whole concept of locks very interesting, but when I watched it in action was disappointed by how painfully slow the entire process took to complete. I guess I was expecting something much more dramatic.
    I really must get to Ottawa someday for another visit!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Joanne. No it’s not exactly a big excitement spectator sport. It takes about an hour for a boat to go through the 8 locks in that last stretch of the canal. But it is more interesting than watching paint dry or listening to golf on the radio 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  22. lumar1298 says:

    Interesting doors…

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Dymoon says:

    I sere you were wandering around downtown again….I’ve gone by there for years,it takes seeing it through someone else’s “eyes” to go… ah Ha didn;r know that…. if you come to Ottawa now, be aware there is construction everywhere, especially downtown

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      We were in the thick of the construction around Byward Market but a friend had dropped us off in the morning and we spent the day wandering around on foot. A LOT less stressful. Thanks for the tip.


  24. Several years ago, we were fortunate to spend a day with friends who have a barge/houseboat in France and got to see a lock work from the water level. Just one and much smaller, but still impressive. Your canal is certainly surrounded by some impressive buildings and walls!


    Liked by 1 person

  25. Nice, Norm. I’ve visited locks before, and they are truly fascinating. Love the first photo. 🙂 But, I have to admit my pulse is quickening waiting for the tulip post. I have thought about traveling to see them so I am looking forward to hearing all about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Dan Antion says:

    Fascinating. I love canals. The history of so many canals is “built for military/commerce and replaced in a few years by trains.” Of course, I love trains too, but I do like to see the canals being preserved. The simple engineering that allowed these locks to function, without power and relatively effortlessly is amazing when you consider that they were designed without computers and built without heavy equipment. I am glad you were able to see the lock functioning. Thanks for sharing some very cool photos Norm!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Impressive. A lock has gates so I guess they can pass as doors ( I have been through the Suez and the Panama Canals when I was a little girl so I enjoyed your post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Hehe, not that we are competing, but you win this round. 🙂 Water doors!

    Liked by 2 people

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