AAA Editor Notes
Rideau Canal promenade runs for 8 km (5 mi.) from downtown along Colonel By Dr. to the Hartwell Locks at Carleton University. The entire canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Site of Canada, runs for more than 200 km (124 mi.) connecting the Ottawa River in Ottawa with Lake Ontario in Kingston. Built 1826-32 under the supervision of Lt. Col. John By, the canal's original purpose was as a safe supply route between Montréal and Kingston.
The canal today appears much as it did in the mid-19th century, retaining its limestone locks, hand-operated cranks, wooden lockmaster houses and stone supply buildings. Nineteen illustrated panels along the canal's promenade explain the interlocking history of the canal and the city of Ottawa.
Canoes and motorboats utilize the canal in summer, with walkers, joggers, picnickers and bicyclists taking advantage of the recreational pathways along the sides of the canal. In winter the frozen canal becomes the Rideau Canal Skateway, “the world's largest skating rink” and is a popular means of getting to work. Sleigh rentals also are available, as are refreshments along the way.
Allow 30 minutes minimum to drive the promenade.