Jul 262012

Oh yeah, we completed the Rideau Canal.  That is a big check mark.

It rained all day today.  Soaked but enjoying the last few hours of this experience we trudged our way through the last 10 locks.  I was not upset to see that last set of tri-locks in Kingston.  Although on the good side of things this is our first real day of rain and the first rain in these parts in over 2 months.

Now to bore you with some history on the Canal.  We have learned so much.  The route the canal follows has been in use since the beginning of recorded history.  The Natives used this route to get from the Ottawa River to Lake Ontario, even before Champlain traced the route in 1615.  Over the years, forts and trading posts were built along this route.  In the War of 1812 Kingston was an important British Naval Base.  The hostilities between England and the Americans made the British more concerned about a secure route for their military forces and supplies from Lake Ontario to Quebec.  The first part of the journey at that time ran along the St. Lawrence River adjacent to the United States.  It was feared by the British that in time of war they might not be able to ship supplies or reinforcement to or from Kingston to Quebec.

A route was surveyed between Kingston and Ottawa. An engineer from England was sent to Upper Canada to oversee the construction.  Lt Colonel John By was the lead.  Eventually a city in his name was formed.  By Town it was called.  Today you know it as our nation’s capital, Ottawa.  Constructon of the Rideau Canal began in 1827 and was completed in 1832.  Along the entire length of the canal small fortifications were built to help defend this vital waterway should war with the US occur again.  The canal was never needed for use by the military but was an immediate economic success.  Freight of all sorts was shipped by this waterway and towns and villages sprang up all along the route.  Around 1860, freight shipments peaked as railroads began to make inroads into the canal shipping business.  Freight business continued its slow decline, but coal barges were still shipped on the Rideau Canal until 1920. 

Use of the Rideau Canal by pleasuer craft has steadily increased over the years and today is the major use of the canal.  The original Rideau Cnanal is still inuse today and is over 166 years old.  Most of the locks and bridges are operated manually.


The canal is 126 miles.

14 locks raise the boater 165 feet from 243 feet above sea leavel at Kingston to 408 ft above sea leavel at Upper Rideau Lake. 

32 additional locks then lower the boater 274 ft from the Upper Rideau Lake to the Ottawa River at 134 ft above sea level. 

Locks are numbered 1 to 49

The locks have tapered walls.  The locks are 2 ft narrower than at bottom than at the top. 

There are a flight of 8 locks in Ottawa.


 Posted by at 2:04 PM