The Rideau Canal traverses a wide range of terrain in downtown Ottawa, Ontario Canada and has done so since 1832 when the canal was completed.
Outside Ottawa, the Rideau Canada wanders 200 or so kilometers southwards to finally reach downtown Kingston, Ontario, where it empties into the Lake Ontario at the mouth of the world famous St. Lawrence River.
Ottawa Rideau Canal
In downtown Ottawa, the Rideau Canal empties into the Ottawa River right below and between the Canadian Parliament Buildings and the grand old Chateau Laurier Hotel.
The Rideau Canal drops steeply to the Ottawa River as can be seen in the next image taken from the Wellington Street bridge and looking towards the Ottawa River. In summer, the locks are very much a public place.
As you wander the junction of where Rideau Street, Wellington Street and Elgin Street meet, you are literally steps from Parliament, Canada’s War Memorial, the National Arts Center, close to Byward Market, the Rideau Center and a myriad of other sites that welcome the resident and visitor to the Nation’s Capital City.
In Ottawa the Rideau Canal is almost a four-season attraction. I say almost as, when the spring thaw happens, the skating on the canal comes to an end, and the canal awaits the filling to ready it for another summer of on-and-beside water recreation. The skater’s hut on the right in the canal looks a little forlorn, doesn’t it. It will soon be removed.
In spring, summer and fall, activities abound on the canal, and beside it. Ottawa’s bike paths are numerous, and, among many other locations, the bike patch travels along the entire stretch of the canal in Ottawa. This next image displays some of the many uses of the Rideau Canal.
As mentioned, the Rideau Canal flows north and south. Mid-way between Ottawa and Kingston, the water of the myriad of lakes that make up much of the Rideau chain either flow north towards Ottawa, or south towards Kingston.
In Smiths Falls visitors will find the Rideau Canal Visitor Information centre. If you are planning a trip to the canal in Smiths Falls, here is more information on the centre.
Visiting the entire length of the canal from Ottawa to Kingston or the reverse is a wonderful experience. You might even stay overnight at either end, or at one of the many of the boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts that dot the highways between Ottawa and Kingston, Ontario.
Kingston is the southern end of the chain of man-made canals, lakes and locks making up the Rideau Canal system that still allows marine vessels access from Lake Ontario to the nation’s capital in Ottawa for more than a century.
Here is one more look at the Rideau Canal where it exits into the Ottawa River. The photos on this page really cannot do the canal justice. You really need to come see for yourself.