Rideau Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site
Built during a time when Canada feared a potential attack from the United States, the Rideau Canal has become a defining landmark in Ottawa. The 202-kilometre (126-mile) canal, which travels south to Lake Ontario, first opened in 1832. Its 47 locks and interconnectedness with lakes and rivers is a true engineering marvel, leading to its designation as a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parks and trails line the Canal as its travels through Ottawa, perfect for a scenic picnic and bike ride.From May to early October the Canal becomes a popular spot for cruises, canoes, and kayaks. And during the winter it turns into the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink.
- The Rideau Canal stretches from Ottawa and the Ottawa River 202 kilometres south to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River at Kingston, connecting beautiful lakes and rivers through a series of 45 locks.
- The Ottawa portion of the Canal starts at Mooney's Bay in the south end of the city and continues through the city, flanked on each side by scenic parkways, cycling paths and gardens.
- Built under the direction of Lieutenant-Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers, the Canal opened in 1832 and is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America.
- The Canal is both a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- May through early October, the Canal is open to sightseeing cruises, pleasure craft, canoeist, and kayakers; paddleboats, canoes and kayaks can be rented at the Dow's Lake Pavilion.
- During winter months, the Ottawa portion of the Canal is turned into the Rideau Canal Skateway, and is opened to skaters free of charge each day – weather permitting.