Like Versailles in France, the Acropolis in Greece and Machu Picchu in Peru, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) considers the Rideau Canal to have universal value. It is one of Canada’s 19 World Heritage Sites, and the only one in Ontario. 

The Rideau Canal is North America’s best-preserved “slackwater” canal, and the only canal from the great 19th-century canal-building era that still operates along its original route and with most of its original structures intact. This engineering marvel and the fortifications built at Kingston to protect it were constructed at a time when Great Britain and the United States vied for control.