The Man: His Work - Section Title

Overseer, Surveyor and Clerk


In 1826, Thomas Burrowes was appointed Assistant Overseer of Works for the Rideau Canal project. His first assignment was to help plan and construct the Union Bridge, the first span to cross a major river in Canada and to connect Upper and Lower Canada. The project seemed initially doomed to failure, and it represented a first taste of the difficulties that would face the canal-builders over the next five years.

Burrowes went on to survey the Sappers Bridge in what is now downtown Ottawa and to the harsh task of surveying the first few miles of the canal’s route, from the Entrance Locks to a point some 15 kilometres (9 miles) distant. In 1829, he was promoted and moved to Kingston Mills, at the other end of the Rideau Canal, near Lake Ontario.

An 1830 painting from Black Rapids shows the final stages of the lock’s construction.

Watercolour: Lock, Dam, &c at the Black Rapids – Men pumping Water out of the Lock,to hang the Gates &c, 1830

Click to see a larger image (313K)
Lock, Dam, &c at the Black Rapids – Men pumping Water out of the Lock,
to hang the Gates &c, 1830
Watercolour
Thomas Burrowes fonds
Reference Code: C 1-0-0-0-17
Archives of Ontario, I0002135