3 Major Rivers


Ottawa River
– The Ottawa River is a river in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. For most of its length, it now defines the border between these two provinces. The river rises from its source in Lake Capimitchigama, in the Laurentian Mountains of central Quebec, and flows west to Lake Timiskaming. From there its route has been used to define inter provincial border with Ontario. The Ottawa River drains into the Lake of Two Mountains and the St. Lawrence River at Montreal. The total length of the river is 1,271 kilometer; it drains an area of 146,300 km2, 65% in Quebec and the rest in Ontario, with a mean discharge of 1950 m3/s.
It is the 2nd longest river in Canada, after the St. Lawrence, to flow to the Atlantic Ocean. We know that it begins deep within the province of Quebec and scribbles its way west through a chain of lakes to Timiskaming before turning south and southeast toward its St. Lawrence confluence. We know that it gave life to the ancient Algonquin tribes that lived on its banks and tributaries - and that it gave birth to a nation's capital. On today's Ottawa River, the songs of lumberjacks have been replaced by the shouts of thrill-seeking river runners. Birch bark canoes have given way to pleasure boats, cruises the 500 kilometer course of the Timiskawa Waterway. The rocky, brush-strewn footpaths of portaging fur traders have been turned into riverside trails and parks, and the bays and inlets of aboriginal campsites have become waterfront centers and modern marinas.
Rideau River
– The Rideau River is a Southern Ontario river which flows north from Upper Rideau Lake and empties into the Ottawa River at Rideau Falls in Ottawa, Ontario. Its length is 146 km. The river was given the French name "Rideau" (curtain) after the appearance of this waterfall. The Rideau Canal, which allows travel from Ottawa to the city of Kingston, Ontario on Lake Ontario, was formed by joining the Rideau River with the Cataraqui River. The river diverges from the Canal at Hog's Back Falls in Ottawa.
In early spring, to reduce flooding on the lower section of the river, workers from the city of Ottawa use ice blasting to clear the ice which covers the river from Billings Bridge to Rideau Falls by cutting "keys" through the ice and using explosives to break off large sheets of ice. This practice has been going on for more than 100 years. The Rideau River was used as a transportation route between the Ottawa and St Lawrence rivers. The fertile lands along its banks attracted loyalist settlers looking for good farmland, and settlements grew in Merrickville and Burritts Rapids before the turn of the 18th century. After the War of 1812, the vulnerability of the St Lawrence River to attack by the Americans made the search for an alternate transportation route linking Kingston- the naval stronghold for Upper Canada – and Montreal, in Lower Canada, a priority. The Rideau was the obvious choice and the waterway was designed and built by Lieutenant-Colonel John By.
Gatineau River
– The Gatineau River is a river in western Quebec, Canada, which rises in lakes north of the Baskatong Reservoir and flows south to join the Ottawa River at the city of Gatineau, Quebec. The river is 386 km long and drains an area of 23,700 km². While it has been said that the river's name comes from Nicolas Gatineau, a fur trader who is said to have drowned in the river in 1683, the local Indian tribe, the Algonquin Anicinabek, assert that the name comes from their language.
The geography of the area was altered with the construction of the Baskatong Reservoir, and it is still possible to travel upstream on the Gatineau and reach a point where a small portage will bring you to the headwaters of the Ottawa River. The Ottawa River then flows northwest and turns south where it eventually flow more easterly and connects with the Gatineau. In more recent times, with declining quality in the forests of the region, logs are used for pulp and paper. This river was an important transportation corridor for native people of the region and early explorers. Later, roads and railways followed the river valley. The river has been extensively dammed and is an important source of hydroelectric power.
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