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About the Rideau

locksWhat sets the Rideau apart from other lakes and river systems is its rich history. The oldest continuously operated canal in North America, the locks work today much as they did when first opened in 1832. Back then, the Rideau was a wilderness of lakes, rivers and swamps. In the middle of this wilderness, with many men dying from malaria, an engineering marvel was created: the Rideau Canal.


Link to the 2015 Rideau Canal Hours of Operation and Fees in...

                                English                           French              


Click here for the Rideau Canal Brochure and Map in PDF format


Rideau Canal Fast Facts

Number of locks:  47
Number of lock stations:  24
Length of canal:  202 km (125 miles)
First official opening:  Summer of 1832
Estimated travel time (one way):  3 to 5 days (motor boat), 6 to 10 days (paddling)
Season of operation:  Mid May to late October
Number of land based visitors:  1 - 1.4 million annually
Most utilized locks (by boat):  Narrows (6921 in 2005), Newboro (6456 in 2005)
Services:  Most lockstations provide washrooms, parking for bicycles, first-aid, overnight dockage and picnic facilities, including tables, benches and barbecue grills.

Places to learn more about the canal:

  • Rideau Canal Visitor Center (Smiths Falls)
  • Heritage House Museum (Smiths Falls)
  • Merrickville Blockhouse Museum (Merrickville)
  • Rideau District Museum (Westport)
  • Lockmasters House Museum (Chaffey's Lock)
  • Old Stone Mill (Delta)
  • Bytown Museum (Ottawa)
  • Blacksmith Shop, Sweeney House (Jones Falls)
  • Fort Henry (Kingston)


Click here to take a Rideau boat trip.

Click here to learn about the past, present and future of the Rideau at Jones Falls.