The ceremonial first stone of the Rideau Canal project was laid on August 16, 1826, by famous Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. Due to ongoing difficulties surveying and planning the project, however, land clearing did not officially commence for several weeks. On September 21, 1826, Lady Dalhousie was given the honour of turning the first sod at Entrance Valley, and the task of clearing the densely forested land in preparation for the Bytown locks was officially underway. While it would be another year before the Governor General was invited to see the first foundations put into place – a two-tonne slab marking the beginnings of the construction of the Bytown Locks – the atmosphere was full of anticipation and good cheer. Makeshift fireworks were set off in the form of small dynamite explosions, and festive parties were held to mark the start of what would become one of Canada’s earliest and most ambitious architectural endeavours.