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How to Discovery Historic Rideau Canal in Ottawa in The Best Way?

How to enjoy Rideau Canal National Historic Site trip at its fullest? From Rideau Canal Skating to Kayak Rideau Canal, don’t worry, we have them all here. All you need to do is pick up your Rideau Canal map, and we’ll take care of the rest ’cause we know Canada backward and forward.

Rideau Canal National Historic Site Facts


This Canadian man-made structure is a 200 km waterway flowing from the Ottawa River to Lake Ontario. It was constructed in the middle of the 19th century. During this period, the Rideau Canal is the best model of North America’s prominent canal-building era.

It is one of the most aging canals that is still functioning in North America. It has 24 hand-operated lock stations. In 2007, UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site.

Lieutenant-Colonel John By designed the canal based on a system called “slack water”. This system connected rivers and lakes on an unprecedented scale in North America. The outstanding idea had led to a prominent result. Rideau Canal was one of the first canals made for steam-powered vessels in the world.

Hundreds of workers died while building the canal each year. According to statistics, about 5,000 workers, mostly French Canadians and Irish immigrants labored under the Royal Engineer’s supervision. They had to risk their lives since the working conditions were extremely difficult and unsafe conditions.

You can learn more about the history of Rideau Canal or buy some beautiful canvas here:

Rideau Canal National Historic Site – The Best Things To Do

From the land to the water, and even the ice, Rideau Canal can satisfy your adventure-burning heart. So, let us show you the way to make the most of your trip to Rideau Canal.

First, let’s take a look at some by-land destinations. Then, the water sports such as kayaking. And finally, Rideau Canal skating!

Rideau Canal Pathways


Along both sides of the Rideau Canal are the multi-use pathways. People come here to take a walk, cycle and run. During wintertime, there are even snow activities.

The pathways are near Fairmont Château Laurier, the Plaza Bridge, and many other tourist attractions. If you want to rent a bike, head to RentABike or Escape Bicycle Tours & Rentals. These sites provide guided tours with all biking levels. You can choose either the group or personal tour.

As you enjoy the pathways, look out for outdoor displays highlighting the canal’s cultural and historical value.

Ottawa Locks


Do you know that the massive lock system that connects Rideau Canal and Ottawa River is still working manually? And not just one, there are 8 locks overall. So, don’t skip the chance to see how this 1830s system works. 

Bytown Museum


You should certainly come to Bytown Museum for a clear overview of Ottawa’s history. This site provides precise information from how Ottawa became Canada’s capital to the canal’s building.

The museum sits in the oldest stone building in Ottawa. This building was once a storehouse and treasury during the canal’s construction.

Rideau Canal Skating


This place has the largest skating rink in the world, Rideau Canal Skateway. 

The surface of the canal is nicely frozen from early January to early March every year. There will be a nearly 5-mile-long frozen runway to enjoy this great outdoor activity. It means that you can skate from Ottawa downtown all the way down through Dows Lake to Carleton University. 

So, remember to add “Rideau Canal Skating” to your bucket list when planning for your trip! Already have ice skates? Prepare yourself a pair to enjoy winter in the best way!

Kayak Rideau Canal


Besides skating, there are a lot of people searching for “Kayak Rideau Canal” as well. It’s because this is a great soothing urban experience to calm your mind. All you need to do is rent a canoe, kayak, standup paddleboard, etc at Marina at Dows Lake Pavilion.

Now, let’s paddle around and enjoy the canal’s romantic nooks along with the dazzling city views. And believe us, this “Kayak Rideau Canal” won’t disappoint you.

Rideau Canal Map


The Ottawa government is so thoughtful that they have a detailed guide for visitors to discover this site. You can go check on their official website to have the most precise information. 

The guide includes 77 pages and is divided into parts. It even has the Rideau Canal map in it. Choose the parts that are needed for your Rideau trip and print them out. Others are accessible online so you can save space for other supplies.

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Maris Lopez
Maris Lopezhttp:////my-lifestyle.co
Hey there! I'm Maris, an American girl who is passionate about adventure, the outdoors and all things travel!


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