Rideau Canal, Ottawa

4.5 out of 5 stars 27 Reviews

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  • Rideau Canal
    by davidjo
  • Hartwell Locks
    Hartwell Locks
    by GrumpyDiver
  • Ottawa Locks looking north towards the Ottawa Rvr
    Ottawa Locks looking north towards the...
    by GrumpyDiver
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    by davidjo Written Jul 22, 2014

    Rideau Canal connects Ottawa with Kingston, 200 kms away, and is the oldest lock system in North America, which was opened in 1832 and the lock system is still open between from mid-May to mid November.

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    Visit the Rideau Canal in Ottawa

    by GrumpyDiver Written Oct 17, 2011

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    A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal starts (or ends) at the Ottawa River, between the East Block of the Parliament Buildings and the Chateau Laurier Hotel. It's a pleasant stroll in the summer or an envigorating skate in the winter, or just another place to enjoy the fall folliage.

    The first set of locks are the Ottawa Locks, then Hartwell's Locks and Hog's Back Locks, which are the last set of locks in the City of Ottawa proper.

    Ottawa Locks looking north towards the Ottawa Rvr Looking south from the Rideau St Bridge Inlet on Dow Hartwell Locks Fisheye view of one of the Hog
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    Cruise the Rideau Canal

    by jamiesno Updated Feb 24, 2010

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    One of the most scenic things you will do in Ottawa is enjoy the Rideau Canal and get some different views of the city and it is beautiful from the canal.

    I don't remember the name of the company I specifically used but there are a lot of different opportunities.

    I was approached in the canal area by people selling tickets and I am sure at your hotel it can be arranged but I highly recommend you do this while you are in Ottawa.

    Please visit my travelogue as well :-).

    River Boat

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    The Rideau Canal

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Aug 4, 2009

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    The the War of 1812 was the main reason to construct a navigable waterway between Lake Ontario and the Ottawa River. A secure supply route from Montréal to Kingston was needed, to avoid travel via the vulnerable St. Lawrence River.

    The Rideau route was only known to natives who used portions of it to travel from Lake Ontario to the Ottawa River. The last part was unnavigable due to the rapids and the twin falls at the Ottawa River.

    In 1826 Lieutenant Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers became supervisor of the canal construction. The first construction works were those to clear the area for the Ottawa locks in the fall of 1826. Major construction on the rest of the route started in 1827. Royal Engineers supervised the work of 2000 men on average (60% Irish and 40% French Canadian). Lobour was hard as provisions had to come from as far away as Montreal. Also malaria was one of the diseases the workers were faced with.
    in November 1831 the first construction was completed with 47 masonry locks and 52 dams creating a 202 km (125 mile) waterway. On May 24, 1832, Colonel By, his family and some fellow officers boarded the vessel Pumper, temporarily renamed Rideau, in Kingston for the grand opening voyage.

    The canal through Ottawa has seen many other changes over the years. The railway yards along the side of the canal have been removed, scenic drives and bicycle paths have been established, and thousands of tulips, given to Canada by the Netherlands, have been planted in gardens around Dows Lake and beside the canal. .

    The Rideau Canal (Upper Ottawa Lock) The Rideau Canal (Plaza Bridge) The Rideau Canal The Laurier Bridge - The Rideau Canal The Rideau Canal
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    boat tour

    by marielexoteria Updated Oct 3, 2008

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    I took a boat tour with Paul's boat lines. The tour guide combined the history of Ottawa, the canal and some of the sights with hilarious, Seinfeld-like jokes. If you take this tour, you won't be disappointed. The tour takes about 1,5 hours and goes in the direction Ottawa-Kingston and back.

    A bridge on the Rideau canal Beautiful red colors with buildings in the back Building by the canal Beautiful autumn colors by the canal
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    Rideau Canal - Locks/World Heritage Site

    by yooperprof Written Jul 5, 2008

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    The Rideau Canal that traverses Ottawa on its way to Kingston is both a World Heritage Site and a Canadian National Historic Site. It's also exceptional in being a functional canal - still operated in much the same (manual) way as when it opened 175 years ago. During the summer months, the canal is used by recreational boaters who explore and celebrate Canadian's past while definitely being part of its present.

    When I was in Ottawa, I thought it was very interesting to visit the section of the canal adjacent to the Carleton University, to tour a few of the original buildings, and to observe the lock being opened and closed using the same methods as those of the early 19th century.

    What goes down, must come up the old-fashioned way lock and load lock-keeper's house heave!
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    The Rideau Canal - Grand Scheme

    by Mikebb Written Jul 3, 2008

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    The history of this canal construction is exceptional and its outcome totally different to the purpose of construction.

    Designed for military purposes and opened in 1832 this 202 kilometre canal route linking the Ottawa River and Lake Ontario through a system of lakes and rivers, connected and made navigable by the channels, locks and dams that the workers constructed.

    The canal construction brought thousands of people to the district and Ottawa. It is now a National Historic Site.

    Section Of Rideau Canal Notice re Rideau Canal & History
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    Lock it up!!

    by heitzenrater Written Dec 8, 2006

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    So here is what you need to know.

    The magnificent flight of eight locks, once a dominant landmark in Ottawa are now dwarfed by the Parliament Buildings (Canada's seat of government) and the Chateau Laurier Hotel. The Bytown Museum is housed in the oldest building in Ottawa, the former Commissariat building for the Rideau Canal, built in 1827. The Museum is located next to the water between the hotel and Parliament. Make sure you enjoy this historic location. People gather to watch the boats as they go threw the locks. I am by no means a boat enthuses, but id was worth watching.

    If you go to the website I listed you will receive more information than you can shake a stick at..

    Number of locks: 8
    Total Lift: 24.1m ( 79 ft.)
    Lock Through Time: 1.5 hours


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    The Old-Fashioned Way

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Nov 3, 2006

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    Continuing past the Chateau Laurier hotel brought us to the bridge over the Rideau Canal, which gave us this great view down over its first seven locks leading up from the Ottawa River (the structures on the right are part of the hotel promenade decks). The origins of both Ottawa and the Canal arose from British concerns over the American attitude that the Canadian colonies would be the next to fall following their successful Revolutionary War (1776-1783). Sure enough, the capital city of York (present-day Toronto) was burned by attacking American forces during the War of 1812-14 but combined British, Canadian and native Indian forces were able to repel the invaders. This led to the removal of the capital to Ottawa, further away from the border, and to the planning of a military supply route also at more distance than the exposed St. Lawrence River system.

    It took a while to get political support lined-up and the survey work completed, with canal construction beginning in 1827. The route chosen included the Rideau River as part of a 200-km (125-mile) waterway of linked rivers, lakes and canals between Ottawa and Kingston, where the Great Lakes empty into the St. Lawrence River. By 1832, the canal was officially opened upon completion of the 47 locks needed to join these various bits of water.

    We walked down to the canal itself for a closer look at the actual operation of the locks as three pleasure boats were waiting for the next 'lift' in this series of short locks rising up from the Ottawa River (2nd pic). It was interesting to watch the canal workers using the old hand-cranks to open the lock gates once the water had reached the correct level, letting the first boat through to the next stage (3rd pic). As each boat entered the new lock, they used on-board grappling hooks to attach themselves to thick steel mooring cables as they waited for the other boats to enter (4th pic - note the smart dog at the controls!). The canal is now operated by Parks Canada and is a National Historic site.

    Rideau Canal locks connect to the Ottawa River Boats queue as the water level is raised Gates have been cranked open, boat advances Grappling the mooring cables for the next 'lift'
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    Rideau Canal

    by victorwkf Written Apr 29, 2006

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    The Rideau Canal starts at the Ottawa Locks just next to Parliament Hill and stretches for about 200km. During winter when it freezes, this canal becomes the longest and largest skating rink in the world for both locals and tourists. You can rent the skating equipment at one of the shops located along the canal during wintertime.

    Rideau Canal at Ottawa, Canada
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    Canal in the Summer!

    by luke82 Written Feb 24, 2006

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    The Canal is almost as busy in the summer as it is in the winter! Except in the summer it is filled with motorboats, kayaks and boats instead of skaters. Various tour companies offer great boat tours that take you down the canal. Make sure to jump on one if you have any time:)

    Or just walk down, bring a picnic and enjoy the summer day. Check out the site below for information about some canal tours.

    Canal in the summer / thx jay
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    Rideau Canal Boat Tour

    by cfuentesm Written Oct 15, 2005

    Another not to miss boat tour is along the Rideau Canal. You'll be amazed by the beauty and calm of the canal and its amazing houses and cottages along the way. People skating, fishing, canoening... Beautiful.

    Rideau Canal Rideau Canal Rideau Canal Bridges Rideau Canal Tours
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    Rideau Canal Waterway

    by Gerrem Written Aug 16, 2005

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    The Rideau Canal Waterway, which links the lakes and rivers between Ottawa and Kingston, is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America. The locks are operated today much as they were when first opened in 1832. Each lock is unique and the lock staff are always ready to offer the tourist any assistance they can. Most locks provide washrooms, overnight mooring and picnic facilities, including tables, benches and barbecue grills.

    You can visit the Rideau in a number of ways. A boat is of course best to get the full ambiance of the region. You can pilot your own boat to the Rideau, trailer it here, or rent a boat on-site. Many people also enjoy the Rideau by staying at an Inn, Bed & Breakfast, Lodge, or cabin. The Rideau also makes for a wonderful driving trip, with many scenic roads winding their way through the heart of Old Ontario. So, whatever your vacation preference, the Rideau Canal Waterway has something for you.

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    The Locks on the Rideau Canal

    by joanj Updated Jun 22, 2005

    The Rideau Canal is a National Historic Site of Canada.

    The Rideau Canal is a chain of lakes, rivers, and canal cuts winding 202 km from Kingston, at the head of Lake Ontario, to Ottawa., Canada's capital city.

    The Rideau Canal was conceived in the wake of the War of 1812, and it was to be a war-time supply route to Kingston and the Great Lakes because the international boundary along the St. Lawrence was vulnerable to attack. The canal provided a secure water route for troops and supplies from Montreal to reach the settlements of Upper Canada and the strategic naval dockyard at Kingston.

    In 1826, England sent Lieutenant Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers to supervise the canal construction. Thousands of Irish immigrants, French Canadians and Scottish stonemasons were among the labourers who helped push the canal through the rough bush, swamps and rocky wilderness of Eastern Ontario.

    The canal was completed in 1832 and was one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century. When the fear of war passed, the canal became a major artery for regional commerce. This role began to decline with the completion of the St.Lawrence canal system and the introduction of the railway in the 1850's

    In Wintertime the canal is frozen for skating. People even skate to work along the canal, and in the summertime, bikers and walkers enjoy the pathways along the side of the canal.


    Rideau Canal Locks

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    the multi-purpose Rideau Canal

    by rwlittle Written Jan 22, 2005

    The Rideau Canal forms the water-based artery of the city.

    The canal was originally built to provide an alternate waterway to Ottawa from the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River area. Mostly, as described, it plays a tourism and recreational role only.

    In the summertime, boats go up and down the canal, through the locks and out onto the Ottawa River. In the wintertime, the canal freezes over, and there's free public skating, which is highly popular.

    Rideau Canal, Ottawa, 1992

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