This historic Brunel Lift Locks is definitely a Huntsville landmark you’ll want to explore. Located just south of Downtown Huntsville alongside Brunel Rd, the locks were originally constructed in the mid 1870’s to allow steamship passage from Fairy Lake to Mary Lake along the Muskoka River. At this time the site was also home to the Locks Mill, which was the longest operating water-powered sawmill in Muskoka, running from 1871-1954.
The beautifully landscaped and meticulously maintained park setting highlights the contours of the locks and allows visitors to explore this timeless method of boat travel. While closed for a period of time in the mid 1900’s, the Town of Huntsville reopened and has operated the locks seasonally since 1989. The opening and closing of the locks is done manually by the staff person who turns the turnstile to open each gate. Boats moor against the canal entrance on either side of the locks depending on their direction of travel. There is no rushing the process, it takes around 20 minutes for the locks to fill or empty before boats can continue to travel either up or downstream along the Muskoka River.
When not in use, visitors are welcome to access the far side of the park by walking across the lock gates. Once across there is a lovely shoreline to explore alongside the Muskoka River just downstream from the Huntsville Dam. A historical marker is located alongside the lock channel and provides detail on the construction and recorded navigation.
Address: 561 Brunel Rd, Huntsville, ON P1H 1S3, Canada
561 Brunel Rd, Huntsville, ON P1H 1S3, Canada