Due To Unsafe Boating Conditions Parks Canada Is Delaying Start Of Navigation Season

Due to unsafe boating conditions, Parks Canada is delaying the start of the 2019 navigation season for the Trent-Severn Waterway until Friday, May 24th.

Above normal snowpack in some areas and significant precipitation system-wide have resulted in extreme high water levels and flows throughout the Trent-Severn Waterway, which causes unsafe boating conditions.

Picture courtesy parks canada

Picture courtesy parks canada

Until then, the Trent-Severn Waterway will remain closed to all boat traffic and all forms of water-based activities are discouraged. This closure will ensure boater safety, and help to mitigate shoreline erosion and property damage experienced by local residents and businesses.

During this week, Parks Canada will diligently continue to make adjustments to water flows in order to restore safe conditions in preparation for the navigation season.

The public are welcome to continue to enjoy the canals' lock stations, which will be fully open to land-based visitors starting May 17th, and lock staff will be on hand to welcome them. 

Visitors are encouraged to always exercise caution around water. This is especially important now with elevated water levels and flows.

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The Dam At Scotts Mills Lock 19 Is Being Replaced, Construction Starting In Spring

Following an in-depth planning and design process, Parks Canada and partners at Public Service and Procurement Canada will move forward with construction to replace the dam at Scotts Mills Lock 19 this spring.

This project is part of a $125 million investment in Parks Canada assets in the City of Peterborough, through a five year program of infrastructure work across Parks Canada sites. Engineering inspections have demonstrated that the current dam at Lock 19 is nearing the end of its useful life. 

Photo of Lock 19 courtesy Parks Canada

Photo of Lock 19 courtesy Parks Canada

The Scotts Mills Dam at Lock 19 will be fully replaced with a new dam that respects the historic look of the site and has a life expectancy of more than 80 years. The new dam will optimize hydraulic capacity, increase the safety of water management operations, and be constructed in a way that allows improved access for maintenance activities.

The replacement of the dam at Lock 19 holds logistical challenges due to its location in an urban area. To manage this challenge, Parks Canada purchased four properties adjacent to the dam on the east side to use for construction staging. During the project, this space may be used to store materials, manoeuvre machinery and access the construction site.

Unique to many construction projects on the Trent-Severn Waterway, Parks Canada must maintain an ability to manage water through the dam during construction to mitigate the risk of flooding upstream and downstream of the dam, and within the City of Peterborough. For this reason, the dam will be constructed in phases, and construction will be scheduled to maximize flow capacity during the spring melt.

Residents can expect construction noise and increased construction traffic during the project.

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Here Are Updates On Peterborough Earth Dams

Parks Canada has been rehabilitating the earth dams along the Trent-Severn Waterway in Peterborough. Earth dams are vital for flood mitigation and therefore the safety of visitors, residents and property. These investments will further reduce the risk of flood damage along the canal corridor.

After beginning work in the fall of 2015, it has reached the active heavy construction phase this past spring. Below are updates for specific areas.

Work continues along the Earth Dam south of Parkhilll road in Peterborough

Work continues along the Earth Dam south of Parkhilll road in Peterborough


This was the first to reach the construction phase and is now nearing the final stages of work. At this location, all vegetation has been removed, the dam strengthened, and the new earthen material compacted into place. The water facing side of the dam has also been repaired and armoured with rock. The final stages of work will see additional top soil added to the berm followed by a re-greening of the surface using a specially developed seed mix of tall grasses. The work is slated to completed by mid- to late-September.


At these locations along the western shoreline north of Parkhill Road and the eastern and western shorelines south of Parkhill Road, the contractor continues to remove vegetation—particularly tree roots—which posed a threat to the long term reliability of the earth dams. Work along the dry surfaces will continue late into the fall with the in water work occurring after the close of the Trent-Severn Waterway’s navigation season. 

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Large sections of Trent-Severn Waterway shoreline within the City of Peterborough are engineered structures designed to keep water inside the canal and out of adjoining neighbourhoods. In 2015, Parks Canada announced a project to rehabilitate more than 2 km of these earth dams.

The major repairs to the Earth dams throughout Peterborough began in November 2015 and are estimated to continue until Summer 2019. In order to rehabilitate and strengthen these dams, washouts will be repaired, dam height will be increased where necessary and vegetation will be removed. 


Following the completion of repairs, the dams will be green-scaped with beneficial plants like milkweed, wildflowers and tall grasses. Recognizing the part the earth dams play as public green spaces, Parks Canada will be formalizing the walking trails at these sites at the end of the project so that they can be better enjoyed by members of the community.

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Happy 50th Anniversary Of The National Flag Of Canada

Today (February 15th) marks the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag. Parks Canada employees at the Trent-Severn Waterway—along with volunteers from the Peteborough community—celebrated it by recently painting the Canadian flag on the ice in front of the Historic Lift Lock...


Watch the full video here of the flag being painted...

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