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Under Water Dining at Lock 21 Experience Overview

canoe in locks


Detailed Overview

Your adventure begins at the Lock 20 on the Trent-Severn Waterway, a National Historic Site of Canada.  Here you’ll meet up with your “voyageur” guide and “Richard Birdsall Rogers” the man who engineered this magnificent structure, opened in 1904.

Throughout the tour, you can expect to hear stories of the voyageur life and learn the basic paddling strokes as you work together on this one-of-a-kind tour to paddle a 36’ voyageur canoe along the canal and into the world’s highest hydraulic lift lock chamber.

Once your canoe is tied, you will have time to chat with other marine travellers as boaters from around the world pass through the Trent-Severn Waterway.

boat in lift lock

Effortlessly your canoe begins to rise – a dramatic 19.81 metres (65 feet)…

As only he can, Richard B Rogers will share his stories of the history of the waterway, how the Peterborough Lift Lock(also a National Historic Site of Canada) was built, and how it operates. At the time of its construction, this lock was considered an engineering achievement of national and international renown.

You reach the upper level and paddle out of the chamber tying up on the sidelines to celebrate your journey with a voyageur “toast”. Join the Lockmaster in his booth as he explains the current day operations of the lock. You may be one of the lucky voyageurs to stay behind and operate the last lockage of the day before rejoining your fellow paddlers.

Back in the canoe you paddle into the chamber and prepare for your descent enjoying a spectacular countryside view. Once docked your group will make their way across the gated walkway to the bullnose. Enjoy the view and continue to chat with Richard and your Voyageur guides while you sip mocktails, enjoy hors-d’oeuvres, listen to local musicians and meet the Tres Hombres, local chefs celebrating epicurean life in Peterborough & the Kawarthas via secret gatherings in undisclosed locations.

Next prepare to follow the Lockmaster through a series of narrow tunnels, stairways and chambers as he explains the locking operation and the amazing water balancing act that takes place with each lockage. You’ll wind your way into the lower chamber where your dining room awaits. Seat yourself at your table, lovingly crafted from “stop logs” by a Trent-Severn Waterway staff member. The boat chamber now sitting above you is full of water weighing approximately 1,700 tons!

dining in lift lock

Tres Hombres Chefs will tantalize you with creative dishes inspired by the freshest local ingredients, sourced from local farmers and producers and paired with a tasting of specially selected wines or beer. Watch as the chefs prepare the dishes directly in front of you and chat with them about their passion for food and the region.

Save some room for dessert! The Trent-Severn Waterway team will lead you to the Turbine room for dessert and aperitifs and listen as the Lockmaster regales you with his encounters with the ghostly residents of the Peterborough Lift Lock.

As the evening draws to a close, the staff will see you off with a treasured memento of this amazing structure and your adventure.

Time to check another unique experience off your bucket list – you will have joined a group of fewer than 75 citizens of the world who will have experienced Under Water Dining at Lock 21.

Important Information about Under Water Dining at Lock 21:


$650.00  per couple (plus  13% HST), Tickets available in multiples of two

Maximum guests 16 per experience

Must be 19 years of age or older

Pre-registration and payment with credit card is required to confirm your seat.

Location:  Meet at Lock 20 – Ashburnham, 175 Maria St. Peterborough (Parking is available)

Dates TBD:


Dress is casual – you will be paddling, so comfy clothes are perfect. Since we never know what Mother Nature will be doing that day it is best to dress in layers.

Recommended to bring: hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray

Paddles and life jackets are provided.

The interior of the lock tends to be cooler (even on a hot summer day) and the floors may be wet in places.

Closed-toe shoes (definitely no heels) that you don’t mind getting wet, are recommended.


Our chefs are planning a culinary delight. There will be a mix of mocktails (non-alcoholic beverages) and wine/beer pairings throughout the evening.

The pre-set menu offered for each date will differ based on what is in season locally (see sample menu).

Allergies must be identified when purchasing tickets.

Water will be available throughout the event.

A few more things to note:

Please note that if you’re claustrophobic or afraid of heights, you will be walking through some very narrow (one doorway is 21″ clearance in width), damp corridors & stairwells at varying heights and views.

Previous paddling experience is not necessary.

The Peterborough Lift Lock was built in 1904 and remains unchanged. Since this experience takes you into areas that are not normally open to the public, it is not deemed an accessibility-friendly structure.

Nervous of the paranormal? Just so you are aware, there have been claims of ghost sightings in the Lift Lock, and you will hear stories about those paranormal experiences.

You will be required to sign 3 waivers/releases (Parks Canada/Trent-Severn Waterway, Canadian Canoe Museum and Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism) prior to beginning the experience.

Don’t forget a camera or cell phone to capture this amazing experience.

Personal belongings are the responsibility of the owner, and we cannot be responsible for lost, stolen or damaged items. A locked storage box will be available for items to be placed during the paddling experience.

Weather Policy: We will watch the weather forecasts in advance of the event and will be in touch with all the registered guests. In the event of light rain/drizzle the tours will take place as scheduled, however, the location of the first course may take place inside the structure. In the event of severe weather, we may be required to cancel and guests will be refunded the entire fee.

Cancellation Policy: Due to the advanced planning required to offer this experience, our cancellation policy requires at least 7 business days notice prior to the event. Cancellations received with less than 7 business days notice are subject to the full cost of the event plus HST.