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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 16, 2014 - Smiths Falls, Ontario - Parks Canada - Parks Canada would like to advise the public that the Rideau Canal’s 24 lock stations between Ottawa and Kingston have closed for another year.

Parks Canada encourages the public to use caution in and around canal structures and channels. From mid-October to the end of May, the canal’s lock stations are closed and their use 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. Over 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 14 and will remain at their lowest level until Monday, November 3, 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 20, 2014. 
  • Water levels will be lowered between Long Island to Black Rapids beginning Monday, October 27, 2014. 
  • Water levels will be lowered between Burritt's Rapids to Long Island beginning Monday, November 3, 2014.

We would like to thank everyone who visited by boat, bike, car or foot and look forward to welcoming you, your families and your friends again in 2015. We would like to remind you that lockage and mooring permits for 2015 will soon be available for purchase online.

Red Chairs Experience Program

Photo Courtesy of Jasper National Park, Parks Canada
© Parks Canada

The Red Chairs are here and Parks Canada wants your input to determine where they could go!

Parks Canada is pleased to bring the Red Chairs Experience Program, a cross-Canada initiative, to the Rideau Canal National Historic Site and its surrounding communities.

The Red Chairs Experience Program:

The Red Chairs Experience Program is intended to provide opportunities to connect with nature, and to experience the most unique and treasured places within Canada. Visitors are encouraged to seek out the “Red Chairs” to enjoy these special places and to share their experience through social media and other communication channels. At Parks Canada we believe that when visitors can connect to a place personally and emotionally, they will want to come back again and again, and share these unique moments with friends and relatives.

Red Chairs on the Rideau:

Over the next year from October 2014 until May 2015, Parks Canada will be installing 10 pairs of Red Chairs throughout the Rideau Corridor. Parks Canada invites you and your community to suggest ideal locations to place the Red Chairs that will highlight the most surprising and most visually enjoyable sites on the Rideau. Parks Canada will be placing some chairs on Parks Canada property based on some of your recommendations, but we would also like to partner with municipalities along the corridor to find other perfect spots that could bring visitors to your communities and show off the fantastic Rideau vistas that your community has to offer.

Next Steps:

  1. Review the Guidelines for Choosing Locations for the Red Chairs.
  2. Start sending your ideas NOW to Annie Laurie at Parks Canada for Red Chair suggested locations – annie.laurie@pc.gc.ca. (If you can be specific or can send photos from that vantage point, even better!)
  3. Share this information with your friends, colleagues, council, and communities.
  4. Like Parks Canada's Rideau Canal Facebook page for Red Chair input and updates. https://www.facebook.com/RideauCanalNHS
  5. Follow Parks Canada's Rideau Canal Twitter feed for Red Chair input and updates. @RideauCanalNHS
  6. Once we have determined potential locations, we hope to work with our municipal partners to bring the Red Chairs to locations near you.

Bats, boats and booms on the Rideau Canal

A summer of possibilities on the waterway

July 23, 2014      Smiths Falls, ON    Parks Canada Agency

Parks Canada welcomes families and friends to visit the Rideau Canal for some summer fun. There’s no better time to discover why it’s one of the most visited national historic sites in Canada.

Through initiatives like these, Parks Canada is supporting Canada's National Conservation Plan by taking concrete action to connect Canadians to nature. Parks Canada’s work is enhancing visitor experience and facilitating personal connections with Parks Canada places.

Quick Facts

  • Ever seen a bat flying over the Rideau Canal? If so, be sure to visit the Rideau Canal’s Visitor Information Centre in Smiths Falls for “Listen to the Night: Bats of Ontario,” a touring exhibit from the Royal Ontario Museum that introduces visitors to bats, the mysterious hunters who patrol the night skies.
  • If you love fireworks, come to Ottawa on August 6. Parks Canada and Bytown Museum invite the public to Ottawa Locks to watch a Canadian team compete at the Sound of Light pyromusical fireworks competition on the Ottawa River! Come experience fireworks like never before! Only 200 tickets available!
  • Paddlers will want to be in Smiths Falls on August 14 & 15 when we will host the Reel Paddling Film Festival at the Rideau Canal’s Visitor Information Centre. This showcase of the world's best paddling films is sure to get you inspired to explore rivers, lakes and oceans, push physical and emotional extremes and appreciate the heritage of the wild places we paddle.
  • For more information on these and other activities or to book your own event on the Rideau Canal, please visit our website at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/rideaucanal.

Quote

“Summer is the best time to experience the Rideau Canal – Ontario's only UNESCO World Heritage site. With great activities, close to the city, there are countless opportunities for your family to unwind, explore, and have a lifetime of memories together. Parks Canada is proud of the unique experiences offered on Canada's historic canals and our team looks forward to welcoming boaters and canal users as they discover one of the finest interconnected systems of navigation in the world.”
Jewel Cunningham, Director of Ontario Waterways

Harper Government announces expanded service on Rideau Canal

Enhanced visitor service will help families create memories, meaningful experiences and better connect with nature

June 23, 2014 - Smiths Falls, Ontario - Office of the Minister of the Environment, Parks Canada - Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada, today announced enhanced visitor service on the Rideau Canal with extended operating hours to support tourism, economic development and help Canadians connect with the incredible experiences along this heritage waterway.

Enhancing service through extended hours on the Rideau Canal supports the recently launched National Conservation Plan (NCP) by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The NCP will provide a shared and coherent vision to advance conservation efforts across the country. It will enable Canadians across the country to conserve and restore lands and waters, and enhance the connections between citizens and natural spaces.

Beginning in time for the busy Canada Day long weekend, the Rideau Canal lock stations will operate from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m, Fridays through Sundays and holidays during the summer months. In addition, Parks Canada will now be providing “upon arrival” service all season at Beveridges lock station and operate under the same hours as the rest of the canal for the entire season.

In total, Parks Canada will add 112 hours to the navigation schedule over the entire boating season. Full hours of operation are available at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/rideau.

Today’s announcement builds on other recent Government of Canada actions to enhance visitor experiences along Ontario’s heritage canals. Some recent actions include: 

  • A collaborative and innovative Visitor Experience Opportunities Concept project to foster recreation, tourism and economic development throughout the Rideau Canal corridor; 
  • A new collaborative relationship between Parks Canada and Ontario Waterpower Association to manage and develop the hydroelectric potential of national historic canal systems in Ontario, foster new infrastructure investment, encourage clean hydroelectric energy and support the long-term sustainability of the Trent-Severn Waterway and Rideau Canal; 
  • Establishing a new structure to support the Waterways on business development; 
  • A collaborative relationship between Parks Canada and the Boating Ontario Association to better understand our canal boaters in Ontario; and, 
  • Parks Canada is also considering new land and water based visitor opportunities, all while maintaining support for our tourism operators and industry.

Quick Facts 

  • In March 2014, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $7.5 million over the next two years to rehabilitate the Poonamalie Dam and for ongoing preventative maintenance projects and visitor facilities across the Rideau Canal system. 
  • The Rideau Canal is a defining feature of Eastern Ontario, and provides our region with beauty, recreation and a unique sense of history. 
  • In addition to being a working waterway, the Rideau Canal is a national historic site and, in 2007, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Rideau Canal welcomes over 900,000 visitors annually. 
  • Through initiatives like these, Canada's National Conservation Plan is taking concrete 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.

Quotes

“Our Government has made record investments in canals and we continue working with our partners and communities to allow canals to be premier tourism destinations, generate revenue, foster recreation and economic development, and ultimately build strong communities and support Canadian families.”

Gord Brown
Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville

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.

Quotes

"Our Government has made record investments to canals and we continue to work with our partners and communities to maintain the Rideau Canal as a navigable waterway, providing world-class experiences to visitors, which benefits communities and local businesses. These investments are integral in supporting economic development and families in the region."

Mr. Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville

"This contract highlights the integrated team effort and the expertise of our engineering professionals in Montreal. PWGSC is a key AECOM client, and the win positions our company as a major player in the rehabilitation of historic Canadian infrastructure to ensure their durability for future generations."

Damien Tholomier, AECOM's energy lead in Canada

Additional links:

Parks Canada: on the job, managing water for you

Flood watches and warnings have been issued for multiple jurisdictions in Ontario, and the women and men of Parks Canada are going above and beyond the call of duty to respond quickly to the water level increases. In addition, Parks Canada has allocated additional team members to assist in dam operations and inspections, and communications with all responsible jurisdictions.


Staff at Narrows lock conducting dam operations.
© Parks Canada

Last year and this year, flooding in Ontario has gone well beyond the waters managed by Parks Canada. Our priority in times like this is to be out on the ground, and we redouble our year-round efforts during the spring freshet which can see increased flows in the canals due to snow melt and spring rains.

Parks Canada has a proven track record in managing water. In fact, last year an independent study which reviewed the actions taken by Parks Canada in relation to the flooding in the Minden Hills area concluded: "The management staff at the Trent-Severn Waterway did an exemplary job. Other alternative water management decisions would not have led to a reduced overall flooding."

Again this year, managed water systems along the canals are being aggressively controlled and monitored in order to move tremendous amounts of water through the system to mitigate effects from the colossal amount of water travelling throughout Ontario at this time. Reservoir lakes are being filled as necessary, dam operations are happening daily, and over the course of the next few weeks, levels will begin to stabilize.

We will continue to work collaboratively with officials in municipalities, conservation authorities, and the Ministry of Natural Resources. Parks Canada manages water in its jurisdiction year round, similar to how water is also actively managed around us by Conservation Authorities, the Province and even Hydro operators in Ontario's interconnected system of lakes and rivers.

Parks Canada, with 100% federal funding, makes significant investments in the Trent Severn Waterway's water management infrastructure and personnel. Parks Canada is committed to work in partnership with others to ensure Canada's historic canal waterways meet their potential as world class sites, vibrant and animated.
Our partners in municipalities and the Province are responsible for flood preparedness and education, declaring states of public emergency, and supplying provisions for emergency situations. We support them by providing information related to our water management activities.

The Government of Canada has made record investments to essential waterways infrastructure like dam replacements, bridge and lock repairs, so that visitors can continue to enjoy Parks Canada sites safely.

Our teams are working hard for the benefit of all living on and around Ontario's Heritage Waterways.

Parks Canada and Ontario Waterpower Industry Collaborate on a Strategic Framework

New framework supports clean energy, safe infrastructure and sustainable canal operations

March 21, 2014 - Peterborough, ON - Parks Canada and Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) are collaborating to manage and develop the hydroelectric potential of national historic canal systems in Ontario. The new framework is expected to foster new infrastructure investment, encourage clean hydroelectric energy and support the long-term sustainability of the Trent-Severn Waterway and Rideau Canal.

Today, the two organisations announced the release of a report on waterpower management in national historic canal systems in Ontario. The report and its recommendations are a collaborative effort that addresses the shared desire of the waterpower industry and federal government for clear, consistent policy and procedures that encourage investment in waterpower infrastructure and help Parks Canada to realise the revenue potential of hydro generation.

All revenues generated by Parks Canada canal operations are reinvested back into the canals. The financial sustainability of canals and communities requires a combined effort with Parks Canada, provincial and local governments and the many business interests along the canal. Parks Canada remains committed to the recapitalisation and maintenance of very complex historical and contemporary canals infrastructure, including dams, locks and bridges, many of which are integral to the ongoing operation of generating stations along the waterway. These investments connect communities and ensure this infrastructure is available to those who need it.

The full report, Towards a New Business Relationship: Waterpower on Parks Canada Agency Waterways, is available on the OWA website at www.owa.ca.

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.
  • More than two-dozen waterpower facilities on the Trent-Severn Waterway and the Rideau Canal systems represent nearly 100 MW of installed capacity and produce, on average, approximately 500 GWh of clean, renewable energy.
  • On average, waterpower facilities provide $1.3 million in annual revenue to Parks Canada's historic canals in Ontario. All revenues generated by Parks Canada canal operations are reinvested back into the canals.
  • The Government of Canada invests in repairs or replacements of essential infrastructure like dams, bridges, and locks so that visitors can continue to enjoy sites safely.
  • Parks Canada continues to work with partners and communities to ensure the historic canals are premier tourism destinations, generate revenue, foster recreation and economic development, build strong communities and support Canadian families.

Quotes

"Our Government is committed to the financial sustainability of Canada's historic canals and the communities along them. This framework shows how governments and private industry can work together to streamline processes and support the national historic canals' infrastructure for the benefit of all Canadians."

Rick Norlock, Member of Parliament for Northumberland-Quinte West

"This report will serve as the foundation for a new business relationship. Our participation in this joint effort has itself provided for improved communication and cooperation."

Paul Norris, President, Ontario Waterpower Association

Parks Canada Investing in Future of Historic Rideau Canal

Rehabilitation of Poonamalie Dam to support continued animation of historic infrastructure

Smiths Falls, ON, March 20, 2014 - Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville, on behalf of Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced today that Parks Canada is supporting communities and businesses along the Rideau Canada by investing up to $7.5 million over the next two years to rehabilitate the Poonamalie Dam and for ongoing preventative maintenance projects and visitor facilities across the Rideau Canal system.

For the Poonamalie project, Parks Canada is investing $4.3 million to rehabilitate the existing earth dam and reconstruct a waste weir to improve dam stability, visitor safety, and improve a service vehicle lane. Up to $3.2 million will also be invested over the next two years across the Rideau Canal for preventative maintenance projects and visitor facilities. The funding announced today is in addition to the 2014 Economic Action Plan to invest $391.5 million in funding for highways, bridges and dams in national parks and along historic canals. Details on this funding will come later.

These investments connect communities and ensure the infrastructure is safe and available to those who need it.

Quick Facts

  • Planning for the Poonamalie Dam Rehabilitation Project has now begun. A contract for the design of this project will be awarded shortly.
  • 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.
  • Parks Canada is gearing up for a new summer season along its historic canals by offering boaters early bird special rates for their permits, which they can buy on-line until March 31, 2014, at www.parkscanada.gc.ca.

Quotes

"Our Government has made record investments to canals and we continue to work with our partners and communities to maintain the Rideau Canal as a navigable waterway, providing world-class experiences to visitors, which benefits communities and local businesses. These investments are integral in supporting economic development and families in the region."

Mr. Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville

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...

Parks Canada Announces Partnership to Enhance the Financial Sustainability of the Rideau Canal

Ottawa, Ontario, September 4, 2013 -- Mr. Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds—Grenville, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, is pleased to launch a collaborative and innovative project to foster recreation, tourism and economic development throughout the Rideau Canal corridor.

"This partnering project reflects our Government's desire to engage key stakeholders in a conversation about the future sustainability of the Rideau Canal," said Mr. Brown. "I'm excited to start working on this common vision for the benefit of all communities along this World Heritage Site."

The Living and Visiting the Rideau UNESCO World Heritage Site project will help identify innovative new ways to ensure the Rideau Canal meets its potential as a vibrant and animated world-class site that contributes to local economies. This initiative will be managed through the collaborative efforts of Parks Canada, the Rideau Roundtable, the Rideau Heritage Route Tourism Association, the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Lanark County, the Town of Smiths Falls, and the Valley Heartland Community Futures Development Corporation.

Together, these groups will engage in a proactive dialogue that will identify new experience concepts, innovations and enhancements to make these experiences as memorable as possible.

Parks Canada is proud of the unique experience opportunities offered on Canada's historic canals. Each year our team welcomes boaters and canal users as they discover one of the finest interconnected systems of navigation in the world.

For more information on the Rideau Canal please visit www.parkscanada.gc.ca.

Backgrounder associated with this News Release.

Realizing the Uncommon Potential of the Rideau Canal Heritage Corridor

Progress Continues for the Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge

No Delays for Boaters Expected

Smiths Falls, Ontario, August 6, 2013 – Over the next few weeks, boaters, visitors and residents travelling near or along the Rideau Canal National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site will have a chance to see the installation of a new bridge between River Road and Prince of Wales Drive and between Black Rapids and Long Island lockstations. You can see live photos of the bridge's launch and construction at www.sabridge.net.

Once complete, the four-lane Bridge will provide a critical link in Ottawa's south end, improving access and travel options for motorists, transit users, cyclists and pedestrians.

The launching of the Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge across the Rideau River was completed successfully on July 12, 2013 and no delays to mariners occurred. The next phase involves the removal of the temporary works, and once again boat traffic will be able to safely navigate through the passage way without disruption or delay. Detailed information will be posted on the City's website.

The launching of the Strandherd Armstrong Bridge is a key milestone in this construction project. The timing will ensure that the bridge is in place over the river this summer with sufficient time for key work to be completed prior to the cold weather and the bridge being opened in September 2014. Information on the timing and construction details will be provided on the City's and the Rideau Canal's web sites, Twitter (@OttawaCity & @RideauCanalNHS), in the media and directly to anyone interested.

National Historic canals are a defining feature of Canada and provide communities and visitors with beauty, recreation and a unique sense of history. Parks Canada has played a leadership role in the protection of these places, including leading the work towards to the World Heritage Site designation of the Rideau Canal.

Parks Canada is proud of the unique experience opportunities offered on Canada's historic canals. Our team looks forward to welcoming for another season, boaters and canal users as they discover one of the finest interconnected systems of navigation in the world.

Government of Canada Commemorates the Contributions of the Rideau Canal Construction Workers

Ottawa, Ontario, June 20, 2013 – Today, the Honourable Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and Mr. Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orléans, unveiled a plaque that marks the expansion of the reasons for designation of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site to include the contributions of the construction workers whose work carried this monumental feat through to completion.

"The Government of Canada is proud to recognize the contributions of the construction workers who made the Rideau Canal a reality," said Mr. Galipeau. "These workers, the majority of whom were Irish immigrants or French Canadians, worked in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions and hundreds paid with the ultimate sacrifice – their lives. Their role in Canadian history is now recognized for the benefit of future generations of Canadians."

With this recognition, the Rideau Canal construction workers are now commemorated within Canada's family of national historic sites, persons and events, designated on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC). Parks Canada will soon install two larger-than-usual plaques, along with interpretive panels, at two prominent locations. The plaques and panels will help visitors understand the Rideau Canal's history, including the noteworthy contributions of the construction workers. Ottawa and Jones Falls lockstations, two challenging labour intensive locations at the time of construction, were selected as the plaque locations.

"National historic canals are a defining feature of Canada's environment and history, and provide communities and visitors with beauty, recreation and a unique sense of historical pride," said Minister Kent. "Parks Canada has played a leadership role in the protection of these places, including leading the work towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation of the Rideau Canal."

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada was established in 1919 and is supported by Parks Canada. It advises the Minister of the Environment regarding the national significance of places, persons and events that have marked Canada's history. On behalf of the people of Canada, Parks Canada manages a nationwide network that makes up a rich tapestry of Canada's historical heritage and offers the public opportunities for real and inspiring discoveries.

For additional information, please see the accompanying backgrounder at www.parkscanada.gc.ca under Media Room.

Government of Canada Announces the Completion of Two Infrastructure Investments Along the Rideau Canal National Historic Site

Two projects prepare the Rideau Canal for the 2013 season and years to come

Rideau Lakes, Ontario, May 17, 2013 – On behalf of the Honourable Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Mr. Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds–Grenville, today announced the completion of two infrastructure projects on the Rideau Canal National Historic Site.

"I am pleased to see the continued commitment to the revitalization of infrastructure along the Rideau Canal," said Mr. Brown. "The recent investment of $1.1 million will ensure that this treasured location continues to engage Canadians while generating important economic benefits for the local community."

Parks Canada's canal infrastructure presents complex challenges and opportunities to address historic accuracy while ensuring the continued safety of visitors and balancing a financially responsible budget. Projects at Chaffey's and Jones Falls lockstations were identified as priorities in the canal asset management plan.

Chaffey's Lockstation underwent masonry repairs in addition to the reconstruction of sluice gates and their frames. The cost for the Chaffey's Lockstation project was $520,000.

The right wall of Lock 40 at Jones Falls Lockstation underwent repairs that involved a range of excavation, drilling, grouting and masonry and marked the first time the outside of the wall had been excavated since the Rideau Canal opened in 1832 – a testament to the craftsmanship of the original construction workers who built the locks. The cost of the Jones Falls Lockstation project was $630,000.

Final touches to help preserve and present the 181 year old Rideau Canal National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site are now complete, in time for the opening of this year's navigation season which is today, May 17, 2013.

"Our Government is a leader in the protection of Canada's national historic sites and recognizes the importance of these locations to the economy," said Minister Kent. "These investments in infrastructure reflect our government's commitment to economic growth as well as to the physical integrity of these historic canals and the sustainability of the communities along it."

Following extensive comments and ideas on the proposed canal lockage fee, Minister Kent – in consultation and with suggestions from canal Government MPs – announced on May 14 that Parks Canada will freeze lockage fees along Canada's historic canals for three years at 2008 levels. During this time, Parks Canada will work with local Members of Parliament, community leaders and the tourism industry to develop and implement an improved operating model to ensure the long term financial sustainability of the canals operations.

Parks Canada is proud of the unique experience offered on Canada's historic canals. The Parks Canada team looks forward to welcoming for another season, boaters and canal users as they discover one of the finest interconnected systems of navigation in the world.

Parks Canada is the largest provider of historic and natural heritage tourism in Canada. Through a network of 44 national parks, 167 national historic sites, and four national marine conservation areas, Parks Canada sets the stage and invites Canadians, as well as people from around the world, to engage in personal moments of inspiring discovery of our treasured natural and historic places.

For additional information, please see the accompanying backgrounder at www.parkscanada.gc.ca under Media Room.

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 www.rcls-sacr.ca.

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 rideaucanal-info@pc.gc.ca or 613-283-5170.

For further information on the Rideau Corridor Landscape Strategy, please contact Doug Struthers, Chair, Rideau Corridor Landscape Strategy, at mayor@merrickville-wolford.ca 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.