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Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada

What's New

End of Season Operations on the Rideau Canal

Important safety information

October 13, 2015 - Smiths Falls, Ontario - Parks Canada

Parks Canada is advising the public that the Rideau Canal’s 24 lockstations located between Ottawa and Kingston closed for the season on October 12, 2015, following the Thanksgiving long weekend.

Parks Canada encourages the public to use caution in and around canal structures and channels over the winter months. From mid-October to the end of May, the canal’s lock stations are closed and use of the canal is at one’s own risk. Unmarked hazards may exist. Wet leaves, ice, and snow may remain on stairs and walkways, and ice conditions on the waterway can vary. Boaters are advised that during the non-navigation season, aids to navigation may be missing, off-station, or inoperable until next spring.

From mid-October until mid-November, water levels in the Rideau Canal system, between Ottawa Locks and Burritt’s Rapids, will be decreased to winter storage levels by adjusting dams and spillways in the Lower Rideau Watershed in order to prepare for freeze up and to reduce the possibility of spring flooding. The following Rideau Canal sections will be affected:

  • Water levels will be decreased in the sections below Hog's Back, including Dow's Lake, beginning Tuesday, October 13 and will remain at their lowest level until Monday, November 16, after which the water level will then be raised approximately one metre between Hartwells and Ottawa lockstations to prepare for the Skateway. 
  • Water levels will be lowered between Hog's Back to Black Rapids beginning Monday, October 19, 2015. 
  • Water levels will be lowered between Long Island to Black Rapids beginning Monday, October 26, 2015. 
  • Water levels will be lowered between Burritt's Rapids to Long Island beginning Monday, November 2, 2015.

We would like to thank all visitors and look forward to welcoming you again in 2016. Lockage and mooring permits for 2016 will soon be available for purchase on the Parks Canada website.

Celebrate the Long Weekend on Ontario’s Historic Canals!

Ontario's Historic Canals officially open on Friday, May 15, 2015. The historic canals, an important part of Canada’s built and natural heritage, and are steeped in both beauty and excitement. Parks Canada remains committed to providing activity opportunities and services for visitors from all walks of life to experience canals.

New activities mark a renewal for the Rideau Canal. The following services and activities have been added for the 2015 season:

Stay Along the Waterway With oTENTik

Parks Canada has introduced oTENTik accommodations at Beveridges lock station on the Rideau Canal. A cross between a rustic cabin and a tent, the Parks Canada oTENTik is a relaxing, easier way to experience camping and provide an ideal base camp for exploring historic canals in Ontario. To reserve one of Parks Canada oTENTik tents, future campers can go through Parks Canada online reservation service or by phone at 1­-877­-737­-3783.


Red Chairs along the Rideau Canal. Can you find them all?
© Parks Canada

Red chairs have been placed in scenic locales throughout the Rideau Canal, signifying a moment to stop and connect with the beautiful and enchanting surroundings that Parks Canada has to offer. Red chairs provide a moment to connect with nature and history in Canada’s most treasured places. There are not many better places to do so than in these spectacular settings.

The bustle of Ottawa Locks on the Rideau Canal has grown with the addition of a new Parks Canada merchandise retail outlet and the opportunity for visitors to go on a canoe tour. Operated by certified Parks Canada staff, the beautiful voyager canoe will seat 10 and operate several guided one hour tours per day, including a two hour sunset cruise. Tours will be available at the end of May.

The historic canals are exceptional locations to participate in some of our country’s living history. New and improved opportunities mark a turning point in our history, and we invite Canadians and international visitors to join us this summer, beginning on May 15, to see what a combined 279 years of a world-class experience looks like on the Trent-Severn Waterway and Rideau Canal. 

Extended Hours Announced for Rideau Canal

Enhanced Parks Canada visitor service help Canadians connect with incredible experiences along heritage waterway

June 23, 2014 - Smith Falls, Ontario - Parks Canada is enhancing visitor service on the Rideau Canal with extended operating hours to support tourism, economic development and help Canadians create memories, meaningful experiences and better connect with nature.

Beginning in time for the busy summer visitor season, the 2014 Hours of Operation are as follows:

June 27 to Sept. 1, 2014
Monday to Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday to Sunday; Canada Day, August Civic Holiday and Labour Day: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Sept. 2 to Oct. 13, 2014
Monday to Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday to Sunday; and Thanksgiving: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In the fall shoulder season, the Beveridges lock station will provide "upon arrival" service and will operate under the same hours as the rest of the canal for the entire season.

Through initiatives like these, Parks Canada is supporting Canada's National Conservation Plan (NCP) by taking practical action to connect Canadians to nature. In addition, the ongoing work of Parks Canada and programs – like the Xplorers program, Learn-to Camp and special events and exciting new activities and programs across the country – are enhancing visitor experience and facilitating personal connections with Parks Canada places.

Ensuring the Durability of Historic Canadian Infrastructure

AECOM obtains contract for the rehabilitation of the Poonamalie Earth Dam in Ontario

May 5, 2014 – Smiths Falls, ON - Parks Canada Agency

AECOM's energy group in Montreal has been awarded a new contract with Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and Parks Canada to rehabilitate the Poonamalie Earth Dam near Smiths Falls, Ontario.

The Poonamalie Earth Dam and lock station were built in 1832 and form part of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parks Canada continues to make significant investments on Canada's historic canals for essential water management infrastructure improvements. This $4.3 million project will rehabilitate the dam as part of Parks Canada's capital investment on Ontario's historic canals to support communities and bordering businesses. It will improve stability, enhance a service vehicle lane, and improve public safety with a new deck railing system. Reconstructed canal cut walls will reuse stone salvaged from the existing wall. AECOM will manage the construction and contract administration services for this project and have a resident engineer on-site to inspect, coordinate and monitor all aspects of the work during the construction.

Parks Canada plans to invest $3.2 million over the next two years on the Rideau Canal for preventative maintenance projects and visitor facilities. This is in addition to the $391.5 million of planned funding in the 2014 Economic Action Plan for highways, bridges and dams in national parks and along historic canals. Details on this funding will come later.

Quick Facts

  • The Parks Canada Agency is responsible for the administration of the Trent-Severn Waterway and Rideau Canal national historic sites of Canada. It supports the sustainability of historic canals and quality tourism opportunities with responsible fiscal management and wise investment of taxpayer dollars.
  • The Poonamalie Dam, in the Rideau Lakes Township near Smiths Falls, has been continuously maintained and monitored since the 19th century. Parks Canada identified the dam for rehabilitation as part of its ongoing asset monitoring and recapitalization program on the Rideau Canal.
  • The work will be completed by April 2017 and will not affect vessel traffic during the Rideau Canal's navigation season.
  • The reconstruction of the canal cut walls at Minnow Creek Waste Weir will reuse stone facing salvaged from the existing wall to correspond with the current aesthetic look.
  • The Poonamalie Earth Dam retains water from the Big Rideau and Lower Rideau Lakes and contributes to Parks Canada management of the water heading north from Poonamalie Lockstation to Ottawa Locks. 

Additional links:

Visitor Experience Opportunities Report for the Rideau Corridor Released

Tourism vision for Rideau represents a coordinated approach for future economic sustainability

Smith Falls, Ontario, January 31, 2014 - On Friday January 31, 2014, at the Rideau Canal Headquarters in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Parks Canada hosted community leaders and Rideau Canal stakeholders at the unveiling of the Rideau Canal Visitor Experience Opportunities Concept (VEOC).

The Rideau Canal VEOC represents a consolidation of potential tourism experience opportunities and innovations for the Rideau Corridor collected through discussions sessions held with Rideau Canal stakeholders throughout the fall of 2013. This collaborative initiative aims to inspire movement towards an improved model for revenue generation and economic sustainability in the Rideau Corridor. Learn more...

Visual Preference Survey Captures Values of the Rideau Corridor

Smiths Falls, Ontario, September 7, 2012 – Building on the successful first round of public consultation sessions in March and field work this summer, a final round of public consultation sessions was held the week of August 13, 2012. Parks Canada extends a very big thank you to all who attended the workshops, held in five communities along the Rideau Corridor, and to those who completed the online version of the visual preference survey. The visual preference survey highlighted that the Rideau Corridor landscape is valued for many different qualities and characteristics. It also encouraged some great discussions, and helped gather invaluable feedback about how the Rideau Corridor should be managed and protected in the future.

This fall represents the final phase of the project comprising the landscape character assessment final report and recommendations. The recommendations will inform strategic and land use planning by Parks Canada, conservation authorities, municipalities and others as part of a broader Rideau Corridor Landscape Strategy.

Anyone interested in providing input is also encouraged to contribute to the online photographic library of the Rideau Corridor's landscapes. For those who were unable to attend the workshops, the presentation, maps and comment sheet are all available, including information about participating in these opportunities and about the project itself, on the website

Follow us on Twitter at @RideauCLS.

The Rideau Canal is a National Historic Site, Canadian Heritage River, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As part of the 2007 World Heritage Site designation, the World Heritage Committee recommended that the Rideau Canal's visual protection be strengthened outside of the established buffer zone to ensure the visual values of the setting are protected alongside environmental values.

As part of its commitment to the Rideau Corridor Landscape Strategy, Parks Canada is facilitating a Landscape Character Assessment to identify key features and values of the Rideau Corridor in order to support more effective planning and management of the Rideau Corridor's landscape into the future.

For further information on the Landscape Character Assessment project, please contact Parks Canada at or 613-283-5170.

For further information on the Rideau Corridor Landscape Strategy, please contact Doug Struthers, Chair, Rideau Corridor Landscape Strategy, at or 613-269-4791.

Google World Wonders Project
The Rideau Canal is one of three Canadian sites included in the Google World Wonders Project, which is making world heritage sites available to Internet users across the globe.
© Google

Google World Wonders Project includes Rideau Canal

Online wander of world wonder

Smiths Falls, Ontario, July 25, 2012 – Once again the Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada has been highlighted as an amazing wonder of the world. The Rideau Canal is one of three Canadian sites included in the Google World Wonders Project, which is making world heritage sites available to Internet users across the globe.

Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal is a treasured national resource that connects the towns and cities of Eastern Ontario. It provides opportunities for land and water-based recreation and preserves a rare combination of historical and ecological characteristics for a unique and complete cultural experience.

The Parks Canada Agency is delighted to have the Rideau Canal included as a wonder in the Google Wonders Project. Tourists from Canada and all over the world are drawn to the Rideau Canal because Parks Canada manages the canal in a way that preserves traditions of the site while offering visitors incredible opportunities to enjoy the cultural and natural beauty of the canal to build memorable experiences with their loved ones.

Now, countless people around the world can get an initial taste of the Rideau Canal from their Internet connected devices, which will raise the profile of the canal as a world must-see destination.

View the Rideau Canal World Wonders Project page.