The 202 km-Rideau Canal waterway is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and is an inviting destination for guests year-round.
In the winter, the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa is renowned for being the world’s largest skating rink. And from May to October, boaters cruise the waterway and its locks system for an excursion unlike any other.
With many towns and communities situated along the Rideau Canal, discovering unique activities or delicious local bites along the way is easy.
Here are just some of the stops that you can make by boat.
The Rideau Canal runs right through Ottawa’s downtown core and is the perfect place to begin your journey. Grab a quick snack in the ByWard Market and shop the outdoor market, which is open seven days a week. Walk to the National Gallery of Canada for the latest exhibit before watching the sunset at La Terrasse, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier’s rooftop patio.
As you make your way out of the city, stop at the village of Manotick. Visit Watson’s Mill and Dickinson House; an operational flour mill from the 1860s. Step up your footwear with a shopping trip to Mansfield’s Shoes, or find the perfect gift to take home at Lasting Impressions Gifts. Don’t miss the donuts at Mimi’s Donuts.
About halfway along your journey, you’ll cruise into Merrickville, the “Jewel of the Rideau.” This quaint town blends the present with the past. Something old can be new to you at Whistle Post Antiques or browse for household décor at Country Bumpkins (don’t leave without getting some fudge) before stopping to eat at the Yellow Canoe Café.
4. Smiths Falls
Your next stop can be in Smiths Falls to take in historic sites such as the Smiths Falls Heritage House Museum or the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario. Get your tickets to one of the upcoming Station Theatre performances. Grab a Beaver Tail or visit one of the many local restaurants.
Complete your boating adventure on the Rideau Canal with a stop in Kingston. Learn about 19th century military life with a visit to Fort Henry National Historic Site. End your trip by taking a haunted walk through various parts of the city and surrounding areas (don’t worry if the kids are with you, this is for all ages).