A century +1

Parks Canada celebrates 101 years of navigation on the Trent-Severn Waterway with a number of different events.

by Gale Beeby

The iconic Peterborough Lift Lock – the awe-inspiring giant of the waterway – which, at 20m, was for many years the highest hydraulic boat lift in the world.

It was in 1920 that a ship named Irene left Lake Ontario at Trenton to begin her 17-day, 386-km voyage north to Georgian Bay. During her journey, Irene passed through all 45 locks of the Trent-Severn Waterway and became the first ship to complete the journey from end to end.

This year, marking the waterway’s 100 +1 anniversary, Parks Canada is celebrating with a number of different events.

Visit Trail Town communities and sample food inspired by their connection to the waterway. Local bakeries, breweries and restaurants have stepped up with special culinary creations designed to celebrate the milestone occasion (TSWTrailTowns.ca).

The virtual flyover of the lock stations on Google Earth is amazing. Using Google’s satellite technology, you can “stop by” each lock, read a brief history of its construction and get to know the challenges faced lock builders in the various environments from Trenton to Georgian Bay.

You can also share your photos, memories and treasured family stories on social media using the hashtag #TSW101.

This season, as you lock through in your boat, camp beside the water, or paddle through the many lakes and rivers, you can reflect on a century of history, and become a part of the next 100 years.

Quick Facts

• There are 37 conventional locks, two sets of flight locks, two of the world’s highest hydraulic lift locks (Peterborough and Kirkfield) and a marine railway at Big Chute.

• The waterway also includes 39 swing bridges and more than 130 dams and control structures that manage the water levels for flood control and navigation.

• The total length of the waterway is 386km with roughly 50km of man-made channels.

• By the time the route was completed, commercial ships had grown too big for the canal to handle and the railways took most of its freight.

• Boaters may embark from many of the communities, marinas and remote access points along the waterway.

• The introduction of motorboats led to the Trent–Severn’s emergence as a pleasure boating route and is now one of Ontario’s major tourist attractions, drawing thousands of visitors every year.

• It takes just over seven days to complete the journey from end-to-end.

• The entire system passes through nine different watersheds and its major natural waterways include the Trent River, Otonabee River, Kawartha Lakes, Lake Simcoe, Lake Couchiching and the Severn River.

• The Trent-Severn Waterway is officially a National Historic Site of Canada linear park operated by Parks Canada.

Source: Parks Canada

You can find more information at www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/on/trentsevern


The Kirkfield Lift Lock is at the highest point of the Trent-Severn Waterway.