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Archaeology and World Heritage

Submerged Archaeological Resources : An important Component of the World Heritage Value of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site

Sites archéologiques
Location of archaeological sites in red along the waterway from Ottawa (top) to Kingston (bottom).
© Parks Canada

The Submerged Archaeological Resources (SARs) in the Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada are comprised of numerous man-made structures, buildings, wrecks, landscapes or parts there of, that are found underwater. Among the different types of underwater archaeological resources, some of the shipwrecks, including examples of barges, scows and steamers, have already been explored and documented. Old docks, wharves and bridges are scattered along the shores of the canal. Archaeologists have encountered vast tracts of land once covered by trees which were flooded when the canal was built. Engineering structures which were once part of the canal infrastructure, such as old dams, were also found underwater. Industrial sites, including mills and mines have left visible remains. In addition, pre-contact artefacts provide evidence of early occupation of the lands and waterways through which the canal now passes.

Vestiges d’un pont aux chutes Jones
Example of bridge remains
at Jones Falls
© Parks Canada

A total of approximately 150 confirmed submerged archaeological sites were located during a survey of the waterway and about an equal number of potential sites are encompassed by the Rideau Canal. Without a doubt, this total represents but a fraction of the actual number of Submerged Archaeological Resources within the Rideau Canal.

Epave d’un chaland
Loon Lake Wreck, a Rideau Canal barge
© Parks Canada

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