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Peterborough Lift Lock

National Historic Site of Canada
image of locks surrounded by trees


353 Hunter Street East
Peterborough, Ontario
K9H 7B5


  • Motor Coach Friendly
  • Store or Gift Shop
  • Washrooms Available

The Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site of Canada is located on the Otonabee River section of the Trent Canal in the City of Peterborough, Ontario. It is a large concrete structure along the Trent-Severn Waterway designed to lift boats 19.8 metres. The lock operates on a balance system, whereby water is let into the upper chamber, a connecting valve is opened and the heavier chamber automatically descends, forcing up the lower chamber to start a new cycle. The lift lock continues to function as part of the Trent–Severn Waterway National Historic Site of Canada under the management of Parks Canada. Official recognition refers to the lift lock, including the immediate upper and lower canal cuts, embankments and underground works associated with the function of the lock at the time of designation.

Take a mini-vacation to the Trent-Severn Waterway and drive into history. Your destination: the engineering marvel of the Peterborough Lift Lock, the highest lift lock in the world when it opened to great fanfare in 1904. Powered by gravity, the Peterborough Lift Lock towers almost 20 m (65 ft) above the Trent Canal, enabling lifts in two counter-balanced, bathtub-like chambers over an elevation that once would have required several locks to conquer. Stop into the Visitor Centre and learn about Trent Canal Superintending Engineer R.B. Rogers, the Canadian expert who studied smaller locks in Europe before leading a team that built the giant lift lock over eight years starting in 1896.

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