June 17, 2014

Day 276 - June 17, 2014: Peterborough, ON

We arose, got the first lock-through at lock 19, crossed Little Lake with its intriguing fountain, and docked at the Peterborough Marina in the heart of the city. It was only 11:00 a.m., and we had some chores to do. I washed the boat while Anne did laundry, and we both very much appreciated the strong and secure wifi signal from this very modern marina.

Intriguing Fountain in Little Lake
Peterborough Marina

By mid-afternoon we decided to bike over to the Peterborough Lock, which I find the most unique and interesting lock on the entire Great Loop. This lock, finished in 1904, was the brainchild of Richard B. Rogers, and it is the world's highest dual hydraulic lift lock, rising 65 feet in height. Rogers believed that fast passage was essential for the Trent-Severn to become a successful commercial passage to the Great Lakes. Thus, he conceived of a single lock that would bring boats both up and down this great height rapidly at the same time.

The Peterborough 65 ft. hydraulic lock
One tub up, the other down
Think of this lock as two 140 by 33 ft. bathtubs, each sitting on a large hydraulic plunger. When one is up letting the boats out and others in, the other is down doing the same. Water is added to the tub that is up in order for it to be heavy enough to push the other tub back up, and then the additional water is discharged while it is at the bottom. The cycle continues when the other tub is up.

In 1904, this lock was one of the world's largest structures constructed entirely of cement, as use of steel was still viewed with professional scepticism. The tubs and hydraulic rams were steel and are still in use today, modified only with some welding and zinc coating.

It will be quite interesting to go through this lock tomorrow, and the views out over the countryside should be spectacular.

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