A description of the Trent Severn Canal must include some extensive focus on locks and the varied types of locks used to move boats either up or down in altitude. There are 44 locks on the canal, and since Last Dance's 2014 voyage included two transits of the canal, 88 lockings were experienced, more than enough to move the crew to expert status.
Some of the locks are most unusual. The one known as "The Big Chute" is a travel lift type device that picks boats up and carries them across a road from one body of water to the other. On the northerly passage, the boats are moved down a hill to a lower level lake.
This photo and the one above were taken on a phone, thus the less than normal quality for the blog. The Big Chute is a tourist attraction and one of the visitors took these photos and emailed them to us. It does give a different perspective for the crew, who must remain on the boat for this trip across the land.
The northbound trip through the Big Chute was taken early in the season on a weekday, with Last Dance the only boat in sight. On the southbound voyage, on a weekend day, the traffic was intense requiring a long wait to transit the lock. A visual example of why Last Dance often stays at anchor or in port on weekends.
The ride up the hill was with four other boats, the two runabouts on the front of the lift, and two inflatables just under Last Dance's bow. Two guys on the starboard side can easily be seen in the photo; the crew on the port side can be seen with only one hand reaching for the money can being lowered by the lockmaster. Boats paying passage on a per lock or daily basis can pay in cash, transferred to the staff in a can lowered on a pole.
The Kirkfield lock includes a viaduct, where the waterway passes over a roadway. A northbound boat passes over the road and into the large steel pan seen on the right. The pan is lowered 50 feet down to the lower water body.
Last Dance tied to the Kirkfield Lock wall near the viaduct, the lock mechanism in the background. This is a peaceful place to spend a night.
Northbound, the boats enter the lock pan in the up position, where the water in the pan is 50 feet above the water in the lower canal. Looking out over the bow at the water ending a few feet forward, with a huge drop ahead, can be a bit disconcerting.
Most of the locks on the Trent Severn are the traditional pools that lift or lower boats by filling/emptying the lock chamber. The Campbellford lock differs in that it is a step lock, lifting boats in two steps.
Last Dance leaving the last lock on the Trent at Port Severn, entering Georgian Bay. This is the smallest lock in the system and one where all boaters let out a sigh of relief. This is another cellphone photo shared by a tourist watching the locking process.
The canal is much more than a series of locks carrying boats over a ridge in the Canadian shield. There are towns and lakes and anchorages and bike trails. Peterborough is the largest city along the waterway and has many attractive aspects, including multiple restaurants featuring the Canadian national dish, poutine. The blogger will allow the reader to research this dish on their own.
Peterborough is large enough that the land transportation has to be offloaded from the boat.
The land transport is required to make the trek to the Peterborough farmers market, the best market encountered on the Great Loop, in size and variety of food and craft items offered. The schedule on the return trip through the canal was planned so that the crew would arrive for this Saturday event.
Campbellford is another town most worthy of a stop, as attested to by the wall full of boats at the city dock. A small town, however, one with a number of features that attract cruisers. Campbellford is home to the World's Finest Chocolate factory, with an outlet store, and an amazing bakery offering a wide array of baked goods.
While the photos have featured mechanical and constructed areas along the canal, there are vast areas of undeveloped countryside and farmland. As an ending to this post, and an example of the beauty of the wildlife along the scenic segments of the Trent Severn Canal, a mother Loon and her baby.