The New York Canal (now the Erie Canal) was first proposed in the New York Legislature in 1808 and eventually constructed from 1817 to 1825 through New York State to join Lake Erie and New York City. The Rideau Canal was proposed in 1816 and built from 1826 to 1832 to join the Ottawa River and Lake Ontario to facilitate transportation in Upper Canada (now the Province of Ontario, Canada). The compiled reports of the New York Canal Commissioners are compared with Upper Canada and British Parliamentary Papers to identify common challenges faced by engineers responsible for building the two canals. These challenges were natural, technical, social and managerial. The official reports for the canals reflect how these challenges were met - often in very similar ways - by the engineers engaged to survey, design and build the canals. Comparing these two canals provides insight into the challenges faced by all North American canal builders.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Challenges, Construction, Erie Canal, New York Canal, Rideau Canal
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1179/1758120613Z.00000000035
Journal International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology
Citation
Bujaki, M. (2014). Parallel challenges building the New York and Rideau Canals. International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology, 84(1), 30–51. doi:10.1179/1758120613Z.00000000035