Rideau Heritage Route

The Rideau is a paddlers’ paradise offering excellent flatwater paddling

Access is very easy at any of over 30 launch ramps and most lockstations. Those traveling the length of the canal have the option of “locking through” the locks or portaging past them. Those camping will find it convenient at the many campgrounds or at the lockstations. Those wishing to enjoy a more decadent trip may wish to stay in B&Bs along the route. With over 1,091 km (675 miles) of shoreline on the Rideau, there’s so much to explore.

Interesting Historical Fact

Paddling has been an integral part of many indigenous cultures across Canada for centuries, used for transportation, hunting, and fishing. But it has also had a central role in entertainment and gambling activities. Canoe racing has long been a popular form of competitive entertainment, with different communities facing off to see whose paddlers were the swiftest. Wagers would be commonly placed on these races, raising the stakes and adding to the excitement as spectators watched eagerly to see if their team would emerge victorious. Even today, many local summer festivals feature canoe races that stir up friendly rivalries between communities.

The spirit of competition and gambling also thrives in modern paddling through fundraising efforts, where Canadian charities raffle off high-quality canoes and kayaks. This tradition merges the excitement of potentially winning a great prize with the love for paddling, continuing the long-standing connection between these activities. Gain more insight into this fascinating aspect and discover expert strategies on the Mastering Online Casino Gaming page, a guide to the world of competitive entertainment enriched with elements of luck and thrill.

Best Time to Paddle

The shoulder seasons, May/June and September/October are typically the best times to paddle the Rideau. During these months, paddlers will encounter fewer powerboats on the water and more moderate temperatures in the region. Fewer visitors also means more availability (and sometimes better prices) when it comes to accommodation along the route.

If you wish to paddle during the height of powerboat season (July and August), the trip can still be fantastic. Unlike powerboats, canoes and kayaks do not have to follow the channel. In fact most paddlers prefer to follow the shoreline and take a less direct route from one lock to another, away from the noise and wake of powerboats, and closer to interesting sights on shore. You may even decide to portage into one or more of the canals numerous feeder lakes and rivers.

Best Direction to Paddle

If you wish to travel the Rideau in its entirety or to paddle a large section, the best direction to go is from Kingston to Ottawa for two reasons. First, the prevailing southwest winds blow in that general direction. There is nothing worse than tackling a large lake such as the Big Rideau and paddling for miles into a stiff, rough south wind. Second, as you approach Ottawa, the current becomes a factor to a small extent.

The Rideau Heritage Route Tourism Association (RHRTA)

The Rideau Heritage Route Tourism Association (RHRTA) is a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) mandated to promote the Rideau Heritage Route (RHR) by developing marketing and promotional programs. The RHR, comprised of the Rideau Canal, its adjoining towns, villages and the Cities of Ottawa and Kingston, offers a variety of world-class heritage experiences.

Rideau Canal
Rideau Canal

The overall goal is to position the entire RHR Corridor as a tourism destination by promoting the region’s authentic, arts, cuisine and natural history experiences.