Rideau Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site
An historic waterway filled with boaters spring through fall and the world's largest naturally frozen skating rink in winter – the Rideau Canal winds through the heart of Ottawa before connecting with the Ottawa River through dramatic stepped locks right next to Parliament Hill.
- The Rideau Canal stretches from Ottawa and the Ottawa River 202 kilometres south to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River at Kingston, connecting beautiful lakes and rivers through a series of 45 locks.
- The Ottawa portion of the Canal starts at Mooney's Bay in the south end of the city and continues through the city, flanked on each side by scenic parkways, cycling paths and gardens.
- Built under the direction of Lieutenant-Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers, the Canal opened in 1832 and is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America.
- The Canal is both a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- May through early October, the Canal is open to sightseeing cruises, pleasure craft, canoeist, and kayakers; paddleboats, canoes and kayaks can be rented at the Dow's Lake Pavilion.
- During winter months, the Ottawa portion of the Canal is turned into the Rideau Canal Skateway, and is opened to skaters free of charge each day – weather permitting.