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Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada

Visitor Information Centre
Housed in a 19th century stone mill, our Visitor Information Centre features four-floors of exhibits and a 15 minute video presentation.
© Parks Canada

Rideau Canal Visitor Centre

The Rideau Canal Visitor Centre is the flagship interpretation centre for the historic Rideau Canal system - a National Historic Site of Canada, a designated Canadian Heritage River, and a UNESCO World Heritage destination. Housed in a 19th century stone mill, our Visitor Information Centre features four floors of exhibits and a 15 minute video presentation.  

Inside, exhibits bring to life the history of the canal – its construction from 1826-1831, its role throughout history, as well as the distinct lifestyle associated with the Rideau Waterway.

Near the Visitor Information Centre, you’ll find the impressive modern hydraulic system at the Smiths Falls Combined Locks as well as the original 3-lift manual system built by Lt. Col. By in 1829.

Location: 34 Beckwith St. South, in town (Smith Falls), at the foot of Beckwith St.
Season: May 16 to September 1, daily 9 am-4:30pm.
Admission: By Donation (Self Guided)
Groups: Tour groups welcome with advance notice. School Groups $1.90 per person Adult/Senior Groups $3.40 per person. Outdoor guided tour of the Smith Falls Combined locks available for an additional charge.
Facilities: Wheelchair accessible, including washrooms. Bilingual displays and seasonal exhibits. Children’s area. Auditorium available for rental. Bus parking on site, please call ahead.

Rideau Canal Visitor Centre 
34 Beckwith St. South
Smiths Falls, Ontario K7A 2A8

Tel/Fax: 613-283-5170

Free activities at the Rideau Canal Visitor Information Centre

Doors Open Smith's Falls

On June 8, 2014 the Rideau Canal’s Visitor Information Centre invites you to learn more about the stories and citizens of Smith’s Falls as part of Doors Open Ontario. We will be offering tours of our centre, housed in an 1840s era water-driven mill, the adjacent Combined Lockstation, as well as showing curious visitors some of the hidden secrets of Smith’s Falls early history. We’ll have temporary Parks-themed tattooing and fun photo opportunities on site, so we invite visitors of all ages to come visit our sites and learn about the Canal and its role in the founding of Smith’s Falls.

Listen to the Night: Bats of Ontario – July 8- Aug. 31

If you’ve ever spent a summer evening next to the Rideau Canal, odds are you’ve looked up and seen a bat silhouetted against the sky as it begins its nightly hunt. These secretive and often misunderstood creatures are essential part of Ontario’s ecosystem, but how much do you really know about them? This exciting exhibit on loan from the Royal Ontario Museum introduces visitors to the bats that patrol Ontario’s night sky, their habits and unique physiology, as well as explaining the role they play in Ontario’s ecosystem. Come out and learn more about these fascinating creatures!


Calling all adventurers ages 3-6! Join Parka, the Parks Canada beaver as she explores the sights, sounds and stories of our National Parks and Historic sites. Club Parka’s games, activities and prizes encourage young visitors to take a fun, hands-on approach to learning about the natural world and the stories from our past.

Parks Canada Xplorers

The Rideau Canal invites young visitors to join our Parks Canada Xplorers program. This interactive booklet guides visitors aged 6-11 through the history of the Canal and the stories of the people who built it and made the Rideau Canal their home. Participants search for clues, participate in activities, and investigate the Visitor Centre and Combined Lockstation. After they’ve completed the booklet, Xplorers receive an official Parks Canada souvenir to commemorate their visit to the Rideau Canal.