MacKenzie King Bridge: Modernization of the district energy system (DES)

In the National Capital Region there are several buildings on the district energy system (DES) that connect to central heating and cooling plants using over 14km of underground piping to provide heating by steam and cooling by chilled water. This system was built between 50-100 years ago. The infrastructure is reaching the end of its useful life and the technology in use is inefficient and expensive to maintain.

The Energy Services Acquisition Program, also known as ESAP, is the modernization of this district energy system (DES). It includes the conversion of the system to use low temperature hot water for heating and electric chillers for cooling. The objectives of this modernization are to build a more efficient, safe, and reliable system. The proposed project would partially take place on leased National Capital Commission (NCC) lands and is subject to a federal land use, design, and real estate transaction approval under the National Capital Act.

The conversion to the new system involves the construction of distribution networks that deliver heating and cooling to buildings through a series of underground tunnels, direct buried piping, and bridge crossings.

Two buildings located on the east side of the Rideau Canal are connected to the network via steam piping that is fixed to the underside of the MacKenzie King Bridge. This steam piping needs to be removed and replaced with low temperature hot water piping as part of the ESAP program. New piping is required because the system is being converted to a different type of heating.  

The means and methods used for accessing this pipe will be through the erection of a temporary work platform to facilitate all construction activities required to safely remove and replace the piping. This work platform will span the length of the bridge from the NAC Bridge Abutment across the Canal to the Shaw Centre Bridge Abutment. Measures will be put in place to mitigate impacts to the Rideau Canal Skateway and its operations during the winter season.


The overall project schedule for the bridge crossing will occur between July 1st 2024 – May 31st 2025

The project work will occur in 4 phases:  

Phase 1: Shaw Centre Abutment and Viaduct Access

Schedule: July 1st 2024 - May 31st 2025

Scope: A scaffolding platform will be constructed between the Shaw Centre loading dock exit and the MacKenzie King bridge to facilitate access to the bridge abutment and piping. A laydown and staging area will be fenced in along Colonel By drive just south of the Shaw loading dock exit. There will be no sidewalk closures required for this scope of work.

Phase 2: Colonel By Drive Crossing

Schedule: August 1st 2024 - May 31st 2025

Scope: The scaffolding structure over Colonel By Drive will require a sidewalk closure on the east side of the road. Pedestrian traffic will be directed to the West side of the road to the pathways that run alongside the canal. A temporary road closure will be required to erect and dismantle the scaffolding. These closures will take place over the course of one weekend each, the road will only be closed when work is being performed. The first closure will take place near the start of the project to erect the scaffolding and the other closure will take place when we dismantle the scaffolding. Detours will be in place to reroute traffic during these times.

Phase 3: Lawrence Frieman Lane Crossing

Schedule: September 1st 2024 – May 31st 2025

Scope: A pedestrian pathway will be accessible on the west side of the canal along Queen Elizabeth and Lawrence Frieman Lane. Two lanes will be accessible on the roadway.

Phase 4: Rideau Canal Crossing

Schedule: October 14th 2024 – May 15th 2025

Scope: The scaffolding structure over the Rideau Canal will be mobilized and demobilized outside of the navigable water season between Thanksgiving Weekend and Victoria Day weekend to not impact the use of the canal during the navigation season. Measures will be put in place to mitigate impacts to the Skateway during the winter season.


Latest update

June 30, 2024 – The public comment period on the project is closed. The authorities are considering comments received to help inform the determination on whether the carrying out of the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.


Key documents

Key documents
Document Number Document Title File Date
1 MacKenzie King Bridge: Modernization of the district energy system (DES) - May 28, 2024


Environment, Health and Safety
Public Services and Procurement Canada
11 Laurier Street
Portage III, Place du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0S5

  • Location

    • MacKenzie King Bridge (Ontario)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Other, not otherwise specified
  • Assessment Status

    In progress
  • Start Date

  • Proponent

  • Authorities

    • National Capital Commission
    • Parks Canada Agency
    • Public Services and Procurement Canada
    • Transport Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.


Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
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