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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Canada's Rideau Canal

Back in the early 1800's, Canada was fighting with those terrible southerners, AKA Americans. They were concerned that, in a later fight, that enemy would cut off their supply route.  So they decided to connect several lakes into a navigable passage way,  from Kingston, on the St. Lawrence River, up to the Ottawa River at Ottawa, some 125 miles north. This required 45 locks. 


Oh, the places I could go in my kayak!

Now the canal is a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been in operation since 1832, making it the longest continuously operated canal in North America. Today, it is mostly used by pleasure boats, canoes and kayaks in summer, and it is the world's longest skating rink in the winter, weather permitting. You can take a tour boat on part of it.  Always it has beautiful bike/hike baths along it so it can be enjoyed in many ways.  I would love to paddle it in its entirety. Here is information  on paddling it, if you would also like to dream about a trip on it. 


First view of the Rideau from a bridge over the Ottawa River

I fell in love with the Rideau Canal the first time I saw it in the beautiful evening light.  I took lots of pictures of it on different days and at different locations. I toyed with the idea of a day paddle on it, but decided not to antagonize my slowly healing ribs.  But I did enjoy walking along several parts of it. 

I also toured the museum of the Rideau Canal.   The canal was  designed and the building of it supervised by Lieutenant-Colonel John By and is a wonder of engineering.  The saddest part was that By was recalled in disgrace because of big overruns, even though he said it would cost much more than first predicted. While he was exonerated, he never received the credit he deserved in his lifetime.  Today his statue stands across from the Rideau Canal Museum where he can look down on his work.


Lieutenant-Colonel John By

Lieutenant-Colonel John By's view of the Rideau Museum, an 18th century mill

Tools used to build the canal

I was so excited to come out of the museum and see two boats coming up the locks from the Ottawa River to the Rideau Canal. The next pictures show that process. 

The water level  in two locks has to equalize before the gate opens

The gates are opened my hand cranking.


Coming up. 

This boat has been floated up until it is at the level of the next lock.

Ready to move

View of the Rideau on one of my walks


Same view in winter - from Ottawa Tourist Bureau

Rideau Locks at night