Township of Rideau Lakes
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Heritage of the Township
also see Newboro Ward

The history of Newboro, a separate ward, has been treated on a separate page. At the junction of canal, road and rail traffic, this community thrived as a meeting and commerce centre through the 19th century. Although it has suffered devastating fires, many of Newboro's heritage buildings have survived. Today they form the character of this village which continues to benefit from its location on the Rideau Canal and its reputation across North America as a mecca for recreational fishing.

Newboro Blockhouse
Newboro Blockhouse
photo by: Ken Watson
The channel and lock at Newboro serve as the link across the divide between Upper Rideau Lake and Newboro (once Mud) Lake. In the construction of the Rideau Canal, it was necessary to cut a channel one and one-half miles (approx. 2 km) across the Isthmus that separated the two lakes. This joined the navigable waters of the Rideau River System flowing northward to Ottawa and the Cataraqui flowing southward to Kingston. The cut at the Isthmus proved to be one of the most difficult works undertaken on the canal as it demanded excavation into a hard ridge of Canadian Shield granite hiding in the landscape. Many lives were lost to accidents and swamp fever (malaria); several contractors failed. Ultimately the work was completed by the 7th Company of Royal Sappers and Miners between 1829 and 1832.

This station was referred to originally as the Isthmus, but subsequently took the name of Newboro from the town which quickly grew up around the toll ferry and later the bridge over the rock cut. The blockhouse, originally built in 1832/33 was extensively restored in 1967. In the same year, the modem lockstation office was built and one of the early wooden lock buildings was moved into town where it now serves as a private residence The Newboro Lock is one of only three locks on the Rideau System which has hydraulically-operated steel gates.

Newboro - The Poplars
The Poplars, one of several charming resorts in Newboro
photo by: Ken Watson

Many of the historic homes located in Newboro now serve the tourist trade. The Stage Coach Inn, originally called the Ontario House has been in operation since 1826 and contains much of its original detail recalling the time when Newboro was an important staging point on the Brockville - Westport Road and the Canal. Its "sample room" once hosted many thriving trade shows. Stirling Lodge, previously called the Rideau Hotel, has been in operation since the late 19th century. Associated with it is an elegant and distinctive house built by Horace Legget in 1883. The Poplars, by the side of Newboro Lake manifests the shape and form of many resorts established in the late 19th century to cater to recreational fishing. Throughout the town, other historic homes have been converted to provide bed and breakfast accommodation.

Public buildings include the Court House (circa 1840) which has served as a public school, town hall and jail as well as the scene, of monthly court meetings and now houses the public library. The Newboro Bank, built in 1903 in a traditional "bank" style, is still in operation. St. Mary's Anglican Church with its priceless stained-glass windows was built 1849-50 and is the oldest surviving church in the community, churches having been particularly susceptible to fire. In 1895, the Anglicans bought an imposing home at the corner of New Street and Ledge Street to serve as a rectory. This large stone house, built in two stages in the 1830s and 1840s survives today as one of the grandest structures in the town. Its closest rival is the tall J.T. Gallagher House constructed in 1883, with many late 19th century flourishes and a distinctive ornate slate tiled roof on both the house and the garage. For more detail about the heritage buildings in Newboro, see the "Heritage Tour of Newboro."



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