Fort Henry, Queens University, and the Ingenuity of the Rideau Waterway

Tour Description:

The Rideau Canal, also known unofficially as the Rideau Waterway, connects the capital city Ottawa, on the Ottawa River, to Kingston on Lake Ontario.  The canal is 102 km long.  In 2007 it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site recognising it as a work of human creative genius.  The canal opened in 1832, and is the oldest continually operated canal in North America.  There are a total of 45 locks and 23 lockstations along its length.  The tour will take visitors to Old Sly to review the condition of a lock prior to rehabilitation and to Upper Brewers to review a recently preserved lock.

Fort Henry National Historic Site is a nineteenth century stone fortification overlooking Lake Ontario at the southern end of the Rideau Canal. The current fort was built in 1832-43 by British military engineers to protect the newly built canal, and rebuilt in the 1930s to serve as a provincial museum and tourist attraction. In between, it was used as a military garrison, a prison, and an internment camp. Today, the Fort Henry Guard interpret the fort, providing an authentic military experience for visitors. Documentation and rehabilitation work is ongoing at the Fort under the supervision of Parks Canada, a federal agency.

Queens University was founded in 1841 via a Royal Charter issued by Queen Victoria.  It currently enrolls over 22,000 students in Graduate and Post-Graduate studies.  Gordon Hall was completed in 1911.  The building was a gift of the Government of Ontario.  It was the home of the Department of Chemistry for 90 years.  The Frost Wing Annex was constructed in 1949.  An entire floor was added in 1964.  The building was extensively renovated and restored in the early 2000’s, and it became the home of the University Registrar, Career Services and the School of Graduate Studies.  Richardson Hall was completed in 1954, as an administration building.  It was renovated in 2008.  It houses the offices of the Principal’s office, several Vice-Principles and the University Secretariat.  The tour will focus on the rehabilitation of these two historic buildings, followed by a self-guided walking tour of the University.

General Itinerary:

  • 8:00 a.m. Departure from Carleton University
  • 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. Old Sly Lockstation 26-27, Smiths Falls
  • 10:15 – 10:45 a.m. Upper Brewer’s Lockstation 43-44, Seeley’s Bay
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Guided tour of Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada
  • 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch – picnic on hill overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Boxed lunches will be provided for all participants
  • 1:30 – 2:00 p.m. Self-guided walking tour around Fort Henry site
  • 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Walking tour of Queen’s University campus, with specific emphasis on Gordon Hall and Richardson Hall
  • 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Bus ride back to Carleton University

Tour Leaders:

John Cooke, P. Eng., RSW, FCSC, CAHP Senior Conservation Engineer

John Cooke became a Partner and President of John G. Cooke & Associates Ltd. in 1992.  Prior to that, his career has taken him from Ireland to Calgary and later to Toronto.  He has extensive experience with building envelope conservation, historic structure rehabilitation and educational facility conventions.  His organizational and managerial competency can be demonstrated by his ability to keep past projects within budget, complete them on time and to the satisfaction of the client.  His career has been distinguished by numerous awards and honorary appointments including the presidency of Construction Specifications Canada in 2006/07. John collaborated with CSA A179 sub-committee to expand Annex A and D to better address the issue of Historic Mortars.He is a Past President of Construction Specifications Canada, and has been conferred with a Fellowship in 2008.  He shares his knowledge with the faculty of the Azrieli School of Architecture at Carleton University, Ottawa, where he has taught a post graduate course on Historic Masonry Conservation.In 2008, he was the private sector engineer chosen to carry out a review of the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, 2nd ed., as published by Parks Canada.