Peterborough Lift Lock | Ontario | Canada

Peterborough Lift Lock – – 2320 Ashburnham Dr, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada – MAP

History of the Peterborough Lift Lock

The Peterborough Lift Lock is a large gate which uses a staircase design to raise and lower ships traveling through the canal.

Built by Richard Rogers, a man with a movie star’s name and who was connected to the failing Conservative Party of the 1890’s.  The party fell in 1896, but lucky for Rogers it was just after the Lock was approved.

Rogers deviously remained the main designer under the new leadership by releasing just pieces of the design which forced the new Liberal Party to keep him employed.

Peterborough Lift Lock in Ontario, Canada
Historic photo of the Peterborough Lift Lock

Good thing they did, because the Peterborough Lift Lock became a technical wonder and the first of its kind in all of Canada.  It needed no power, working off gravity and water flow.

Richard Birdsall Rogers, builder of the Peterborough Lift Lock, graduating in 1878
Richard Birdsall Rogers – – builder of the Lift Lock, here graduating in 1878


The Lock is located at Armour Hill, the largest peak in Peterborough.  Local legend says in the 1840’s a woman was tied to a post on Armour Hill and burned at the stake for being a witch.

Peterborough Lift Lock - Front of the lift
Peterborough Lift Lock – Front of the lift

That her ghost roams the woods behind the Lift Lock, putting curses on those who disturb her.

An interesting legend, but as you may have guessed untrue.  There were no witches burned in Canada, and also in the United States!  A common misconception, the witches of Salem were never burned.  Tortured to death yes, but never burned.

Still a great story for locals, including a young writer named Alyssa Cooper who wrote “The Witches of Armour Hill

Danger building the Peterborough Lift Lock – –

During the construction, a worker fell over the side and into the wet concrete below.  As was common in the old days of construction, workers could only helplessly watch their friend be buried alive.

He’s seen from the walkways standing at the edge before vanishing.

To prove the ghosts are well known, see a quote from an history archivist named Diane Robnik, when she said to the Toronto Star,

“None of the ghosts have any sinister, malevolent feelings.  They just want to play little pranks.”
Peterborough Lift Lock - historical plaque on-site
Peterborough Lift Lock – historical plaque on-site

A Sad Fact – –

Note: This is meant to report and not glorify tragedy.  Sadly suicides are a big worry for local officials at the Peterborough Lift Lock.

Historically there’s an account of a depressed woman jumping to her death from the peak on Armour Hill.  Strangely, her son followed after word got out of his sadness and wish to follow her into heaven.

This is still an issue today.  For help, please talk to the experts.

A Video Walk-Up to the Peterborough Lift Lock

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