Fleet Street Pumping Station
Written by Bytown Museum
Built in 1874, the Fleet Street Pumping Station and Aqueduct, Ottawa's first waterworks, were designed by Thomas Coltrin Keefer, one of the continent's top hydraulic and civil engineers. The design incorporates a 750-metre-long aqueduct arcing through Lebreton Flats from an Ottawa River intake above Chaudière Falls and following a natural depression whose solid rock was further excavated for the purpose. Five stone-arch bridges were also built to carry roadways over the aqueduct.
Before the waterworks were built, the City of Ottawa's then-population of 22,000 people took their water from individual wells or from carriers who delivered water door-to-door. Fear of large-scale urban fires eventually propelled the city into approving the project, originally designed in 1859.
The station has proven its worth – it provides pumping for no energy cost and continues to serve as part of the region's water supply system.
An excerpt from an article by Mark Brand published in “Ottawa: a guide to heritage structures.”