Rideau Canal


The Rideau Canal, also known as the Rideau Waterway, connects the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on the Ottawa River to the city of Kingston, Ontario on Lake Ontario. The canal was opened in 1832 as a precaution in case of war with the United States and is still in use today, with most of its original structures intact. The canal system uses sections of major rivers, including the Rideau and the Cataraqui, as well as some lakes. It is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America, and in 2007, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is operated today by Parks Canada as a recreational waterway. The locks on the system open for navigation in mid-May and close in mid-October. The initial purpose of the Rideau Canal was military, as it was intended to provide a secure supply and communications route between Montreal and the British naval base in Kingston, Ontario. Westward from Montreal, travel would proceed along the Ottawa River to Bytown, then southwest via the canal to Kingston and out into Lake Ontario. The objective was to bypass the stretch of the St. Lawrence River bordering New York State; a route which would have left British supply ships vulnerable to an attack, or a blockade of the St. Lawrence.
In 1925 the Rideau Canal was designated a National Historic Site of Canada. In 2000 the Rideau Waterway was designated a Canadian Heritage River in recognition of its outstanding historical and recreational values. In 2007 it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognizing it as a work of human creative genius. The Rideau Canal was recognized as the best preserved example of a slack water canal in North America demonstrating the use of European slack water technology in North America on a large scale. It is the only canal dating from the great North American canal-building era of the early 19th century that remains operational along its original line with most of its original structures intact. It was also recognized as an extensive, well preserved and significant example of a canal which was used for military purposes linked to a significant stage in human history - that of the fight to control the north of the American continent.
A plaque was erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board at Jones Falls Lock station commemorating Lieutenant Colonel John By, Royal Engineer, and the superintending engineer in charge of the construction of the Rideau Canal. The plaque notes that the 123-mile long Rideau Canal built as a military route and incorporating 47 locks, 16 lakes, two rivers, and a 360-foot-long, 60-foot-high dam at Jones Falls, was completed in 1832.
How to Reach:
 Ottawa, ON, Canada
Website:
  http://www.rideau-info.com/canal
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