The Rideau Canal and the Rideau Heritage Route

Entering Chaffey's Lock on the Rideau Canal

This is North America's oldest, continuously-operated canal with lock stations operating much the same way they did when the canal first opened in 1832. It's an engineering marvel which has transformed a wilderness of rivers, lakes and swampland into a scenic waterway from Kingston (at the head of Lake Ontario) to Ottawa, the nation's capital.

The Rideau Canal is considered the most outstanding slackwater canal system in the world and one of the first designed for steam-powered vessels. There are plenty of adventures and diversions along the famous canal's route. Visit the Rideau Heritage Route's extensive website at where you can learn more about the canal and activities from cultural adventures to trails and lookouts, fishing hotspots and cruising or paddling the canal.

The Rideau Canal is on the World Heritage list because of its universal value. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) encourages the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and heritage sites. The Rideau Canal offers both natural splendour and a rich heritage.Photo of family fishing

Fast facts:

Number of locks: 47

Number of lock stations: 24

Length of Canal: 202 km (125 miles)

Estimated travel time (one way) 3-5 days by power boat, 6 to 10 by paddle boat

First official opening: 1832