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The Big Chute Marine Railway is a boat lift on the Trent-Severn Waterway between Lake Ontario traversing southern-southeastern Ontario up to Georgian Bay (Lake Huron). Technically it is known as Lock 44. It is just what its described - a flatbed railway car that brings the boats up the steep 60 ft incline, and is the only working marine railway in North America, of its kind. Built initially in 1917, and at that time only able to bring boats up to 35 feet long, it prevented commercial vehicle use. There were plans over the years made to build a traditional lock, but the final reason against it was to keep the lamprey eels out of the Severn Watersystem that had reached Gloucester Pool. They cannot survive out of water so cannot make the voyage. The eels are not native to these waters and it is the only way to keep them out.
My friend and I went in by car to see the railway - as a child I used to go by boat but wanted to see it again. We took Hwy 400 north of Barrie and exited at White Falls Road. Turn right at the first corner and the road becomes Upper Big Chute Road. There is a parking lot just before the Marine Railway on the right - a marina on the left.
Written Sep 1, 2011