Nowadays, the famous Rideau Canal is a very popular place in winter for the skating rink.
The Rideau Canal is a waterway that links Kingston, a city located some 200 km south in the Province of Ontario, to Ottawa, the Capital of Canada.
It was when Samuel de Champlain saw these falls that are 9 metres high, that he had the idea in 1613 to call this river “Rideau”, where Rideau River flows into the Ottawa River, just like a curtain whose French translation is “rideau”.
The Rideau Canal was built between 1826 and 1832 under Colonel John By's supervision (the same as the Byward Market) at a time when Great Britain, Canada's motherland, and the United States were in conflict.
The War of 1812 had brought to light the absolute necessity for Canada to have a secure axis for the supply of its cities, and especially, to move away from the border of the State of New York in the United States. The Rideau Canal was built for military purposes to allow supplies and communications between the cities of Montreal, Québec, and Kingston.
More than 1,000 workers died during the construction of the canal. Malaria and accidents took their toll on these workers, immigrants from Ireland, Asia, and Europe, but also from the First Nations. They were then buried along the banks.
In 1832, the Rideau Canal was completed, and no further conflict arose between the United States and Canada.
This majestic piece of architecture is 202 km long and features 45 locks along its route between Ottawa and Kingston. Eight locks are located in Ottawa.
This canal, built entirely of stone, was classified in 2007 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It represents a masterpiece of creativity and ingenuity. It is also the best-preserved example of a water canal in North America and a testament to the large-scale use of this European technology in North America.
Take time to stroll along the banks of the Canal, by bike, on foot, or even on the water in a canoe. You'll discover Ottawa from a majestic, romantic, and tranquil perspective.
A true break… from time.