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The Ghost Locks

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

You currently stand in front of the ghost locks- the failed canal that Sir William Mulock tried so hard to build over 100 years ago. The early 19th century brought about a canal-craze inspired by the success of the Erie Canal in New York State. There was a proposed canal to link Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe for over 100 years, but it wasn’t until 1906 that the ambitions of Sir William Mulock lead to the construction of the canal. He was so eager to have his project come to fruition that he ignored the warnings of the engineers telling him that there simply wasn’t enough water for the canal to operate. By the time the canal was two-thirds complete, the First World War hit and the project was halted when Prime Minister Robert Borden discovered that the engineers had been right all along- the canal would not run. Today, the three lift locks, three swing bridges, and the turning basin have all been abandoned, and remain as memories of Mulocks failed canal. The locks you see here are the best-preserved part of the canal, but you can also spot some locks at the head of the trail at Old Yonge, and a swing bridge farther down the trail at Green Lane.


Photo of water in locks with stairs leading to the top of a brick wall.

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