A Winter Wonderland

Living History since 1832


Paddling The Rideau

Watson's Paddling Guide to the Rideau


Friends of the Rideau


Promoting & Conserving the Heritage and Charm of the Rideau Canal Waterway

Management Plan

Parks Canada has released a draft management plan, now at least 6 years overdue. Read more about it, and why it’s woefully inadequate.

Rideau Paddling Guide

Looking to paddle the Rideau?  Download Ken Watson’s Paddling Guide here

Visit The Merrickville Depot

The Depot in Merrickville is our Rideau visitor and interpretive centre. Come visit us!  We’re open Thursday to Monday, in July and August.

Maps of the Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal stretches over 202 km from Ottawa in the North to Kingston in the South.  See the Map here.

History of the Rideau Canal

The canal has a fascinating history.  From its original concept as a military supply route to its present day status as a world-class tourist destination.  Read more about it here.

Get Involved – Become a Member

Friends of the Rideau is a volunteer-based organization.  If you are a fan of the Canal, consider becoming a member.

Welcome to the Rideau Canal

Small map of the Rideau Canal

Click for the full map

The Rideau Canal Waterway is a popular vacation spot for boating, fishing, outdoor recreation, tourism, and Canadian heritage appreciation.  Since its opening in 1832, the Rideau Canal and its historic locks have connected the cities of Ottawa and Kingston through a series of beautiful lakes and rivers.

The Canal’s outstanding beauty and historic significance have been widely recognized:

  • In 1925, it was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
  • In 2000, the Rideau Canal was declared a Canadian Heritage River, in recognition of its outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values. The designation also celebrates the role of the Rideau Waterway in Canada’s history, including the founding of our nation’s capital, Ottawa.
  • In 2007 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, highlighting the canal as a masterpiece of human creative genius.

Living History

The Rideau extends 202 kilometres from Kingston to Ottawa, and is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America. Most of the locks at its 24 lockstations are still hand-operated, much as they were when the canal first opened in 1832.

The Rideau Canal is living history, each of the historic lockstations is a fascinating place to explore.

In the summer, drop by the Depot run by the Friends of the Rideau at Merrickville, near the blockhouse, right beside the Canal.

The waters teem with panfish – bluegills, pumpkinseed, black crappie – while the back bays, weedbeds, and shorelines are home to smallmouth and largemouth bass. Some of the Rideau lakes boast lake trout. Pike are plentiful, and the waters of the Long Reach are famous for muskellunge. Bring your boat or rent one at the many marinas in the Rideau Corridor.

For those driving, explore the Rideau Heritage Route from Kingston to Ottawa.  It passes through many interesting local communities and provides access to the lockstations which are well worth a visit.

Length in km
Year Completed
Original Cost to Build