After a three-year absence due to the pandemic, the fifth annual Lock & Paddle event returns to the Peterborough Lift Lock on Saturday (August 26), when paddlers will fill the two tubs at the world’s tallest hydraulic lift lock and get lifted 65 feet (20 metres) into the air.
Organized by Parks Canada to celebrate the national historical site, the free event is open to all ages. Unlike previous events held from 2016 to 2019, registration is not required.
The theme for this year’s Lock & Paddle is “Lift Your Spirits,” and Parks Canada is encouraging all participants to decorate their vessels and wear costumes for the event.
This is a smoke-free and alcohol-free event that will happen rain or shine, so dress appropriately for the weather.
While the first lockage begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday (with additional lockages to follow if required), paddlers should be in their vessels and ready to load at the bottom at the Peterborough Lift Lock at 2:30 p.m.
The Peterborough Lift Lock Visitors Centre and grounds will open at 1 p.m., but parking at the Visitors Centre is reserved for accessible permit holders (additional parking options are listed below).
Gear and rental options
If you don’t have your own canoe or kayak or gear, local rental options are available.
- Kawartha Outfitters (Millennium Park near the Silver Bean, 1 King Street, Peterborough)
- Wild Rock Outfitters (169 Charlotte Street, Peterborough)
- Liftlock Paddle Co. (online registration only at www.liftlockpaddleco.ca)
- Beavermead Campground (2011 Ashburnham Drive, Peterborough)
- Adventure Outfitters (1828 8th Line, Lakefield)
- Cottage Toys (37 Concession Street, Lakefield)
Parking at the Peterborough Lift Lock Visitors Centre is only available for accessible permit holders, but here are locations where you can park that are within walking (and paddling) distance to the Peterborough Lift Lock:
- Trent-Severn Waterway Headquarters – 2155 Ashburnham Drive, Peterborough
- Eastgate Memorial Park – 2150 Ashburnham Drive, Peterborough
- Beavermead Campground – 2011 Ashburnham Drive, Peterborough
- Rogers Cove – 131 Maria Street, Peterborough
Paddling to the Peterborough Lift Lock
Here are put-in locations if you plan to paddle to the Peterborough Lift Lock. Note that if you are going through Lock 20 – Ashburhnam, you need to allow an extra 45 to 60 minutes to transfer and paddle to the Peterborough Lift Lock.
- Beavermead Campground (2011 Ashburnham Dr.) – 5-minute paddle to Lock 20, 45-60 minutes to transfer and paddle to Peterborough Lift Lock
- Rogers Cove (131 Maria St.) – 5-minute paddle to Lock 20, 45-60 minutes to transfer and paddle to Peterborough Lift Lock
- Millennium Park (130 King St.) – 20-minute paddle to Lock 20, 45-60 minutes to transfer and paddle to Peterborough Lift Lock
- Del Crary Park (100 George St.) – 35-minute paddle to Lock 20, 45-60 minutes to transfer and paddle to Peterborough Lift Lock
- Warsaw Swing Bridge (Parkhill Rd, E. and Canal Rd.) – 20-minute paddle to Peterborough Lift Lock
- McFarlane Bridge (McFarlane St. & Ashburnham Dr.) – 10-minute paddle to Peterborough Lift Lock
- Trent-Severn Waterway Headquarters (2155 Ashburnham Dr.) – 5-minute portage to launch at the top and west side of Lock 20, 20-minute paddle to Peterborough Lift Lock.
In addition to a canoe or kayak (standup paddle boards are not permitted for safety reasons), all participating paddlers need the following gear: a PFD for each paddler (which must be worn), a sound signalling device, a buoyant heaving line, a bailer for each boat.
Bring a sunscreen and a hat if the weather forecast is for sun, and a raincoat or umbrella if it’s going to rain.
For more information, visit parks.canada.ca/lhn-nhs/on/trentsevern/activ/eclusez-pagayez-lock-paddle. You can also join the Facebook event page for updates.
VIDEO: Lock & Paddle 2017 at the Peterborough Lift Lock