Tools and Trades
One of the first major tasks was to clear Entrance Valley so that work could commence on the Bytown Locks. Large timber was cleared using oxen, while their stumps and root systems were excavated from underneath using a technique known as “pooling in.” This was a dangerous task, which often involved the use of dynamite. To form the banks of the canal, a large amount of material – much of it limestone rock – required excavation. The Irish were thought better prepared for this kind of work, as many had experience building roads and canals before emigrating. Although expectations varied between work sites, the overseeing contractor typically provided larger tools like wheelbarrows, while workers were expected to supply their own picks and shovels.