When I was younger my parents had stopped by the Kirkfield Lift Lock for us to see the boats. I am often reminded it exists when driving to and from the cottage but I had not returned again until this past weekend with my family.
It is a magnificent feat of engineering and is definitely worth the quick drive up from the town of Kirkfield. It takes about 5 minutes when driving north off of the Hwy. There is a $2 dollar fee to park and plenty of picnic tables to eat at along the water if you pack a lunch. In addition, there are plenty of signs around the site that tell an interesting story of the history and how the Lift Locks work. What I found fascinating was just how fast the locks went up and down working as a hydraulic lift.
By water, Kirkfield is Lock 36 of the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Interestingly, construction began in the early 1900’s. It was actually the second one of it’s kind built. Peterborough has the original Lift Lock that was designed by Richard Birdsall Rogers who was a Canadian engineer. In the later 1960’s the Kirkfield Lift Locks underwent renovations to bring it up to speed with the times and help it work quicker and more efficient. Today the locks are used mostly for pleasure boating but at one time they did much more.
If you are looking for a longer visit in Kirkfield, there is also a sales market across from the Lift Lock parking and a few antique shops in town as well. As for now, I am planning a boat trip to try it from the water! That will be another story though.