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Paddling Through Ottawa’s History with Voyageur Canoe Guided Tours

Did you know that the Rideau Canal is Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage site? There is more to this site than it being known as the world’s longest skating rink. The summer is a great time to venture along this canal and learn its history. Many residents run, stroll and bike on the paths beside this canal. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel along this waterway? Parks Canada allows you to Paddle Through Ottawa’s History with Voyageur Canoe Guided Tours. You can take a trip along the Canal and learn more about its history.

Paddling Through History with into History with Voyageur Canoe Guided Tours #ParksCanadaPin
Tara sharing information about Dow’s Lake.

Pre-paddle talk

I have not been in a self-propelled boat in a very long time, so I was really excited to paddle along the Canal. Liam and Tara were our guides for this journey. They taught us so much about the Hartwell Locks, the construction of the Canal, and interesting stories about Canada’s history.

Paddling Through History with into History with Voyageur Canoe Guided Tours #ParksCanadaPin
Rideau Canal Hartwell Locks.

Before we hit the water, we were given instructions as how to put on our floatation devices, how to paddle and what to expect on this journey.

…and away we go!

Next, it was time to hop into our canoe. Once we were all aboard, we experienced what it is like to be in a boat going through the locks at Hartwell Lockstation. It was so much fun to feel yourself being lowered as the water left the chamber we were in before entering the Canal. Have you ever seen a boat go through the locks? Take look here to watch a Parks Canada canoe go from one lock to another.

We learned that the stones that lined the locks were the original ones from when the Canal was built. There are also several layers of stones to these beautiful walls.

Once out of the Locks, we paddled along this section of the Canal. We could not have asked for a better day to be on the water. Every inch of the scenery is picturesque. All I wanted to do was take pictures of all of the sites around me.

Paddling Through History with into History with Voyageur Canoe Guided Tours #ParksCanadaPin
L: Canoe along Rideau Canal; M: Woman wearing a life jacket; R: Shoreline along the Rideau Canal.

One of our stops was by the Dominion Arboretum. It was a few minutes paddle from the Hartwell Locks, and it is truly a hidden gem along the Canal. As we glided under a foot bridge, it was as if we had entered another world. It was full of lush greenery, and the sounds of birds chirping in the distance.

Paddling Through History with into History with Voyageur Canoe Guided Tours #ParksCanadaPin
Paddling into the Dominion Arboretum.

We learned about some of the history of the Canal and of the people who helped build the Canal as well as some of the notable figures that have helped to propel not only the history of this historic site, but of our country as well.

A man-made beauty

A few minute later, we reached Dow’s Lake. Once more of a swamp, it has been made into a beautiful location for boaters and pedestrians alike to visit. Did you know that the remnants of a causeway are hidden beneath the waters of Dow’s Lake and that Dow’s Lake was pivotal in stopping the Great Fire of 1870?

Paddling Through History with into History with Voyageur Canoe Guided Tours #ParksCanadaPin
Dow’s Lake Pavilion and buildings along Dow’s Lake.

Our guides also shared the story behind the “Man with Two Hats” monument. A gift from the Netherlands to Canada, it is a replica of a statue in the Netherlands that demonstrates the strong friendship these two countries formed during World War II by helping to liberate Th Netherlands during this conflict. It is a popular fixture in Commissioners Park and is a beautiful feature to visit by boat on Dow’s Lake.

An experience to remember

We had an amazing time on our adventure with Voyageur Canoe Guided Tours. Not only did I learn about all of the history of Canada and of the Rideau Canal, I was also able to take in the natural beauty of this part of Canada’s capital from a new point of view. This experience is a great one for families, friends, and groups to enjoy! It is one of the best ways to learn more about this part of Ottawa and Canada while having fun! It is an experience I will not soon forget!

Paddling Through History with into History with Voyageur Canoe Guided Tours #ParksCanadaPin
Paddling Through History with into History with Voyageur Canoe Guided Tours #ParksCanada

Are you curious to learn more about what the Voyageur Canoe Guided Tours has to offer? You can check them out on Parks Canada’s website. We also connected with Parks Canada on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube pages!

Which part of the Rideau Canal would want to visit while in a canoe?

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Comments

  1. This does sound so fun! Very pretty, too, the Rideau Canal. I haven’t been on a canoe since a kid, but I have been on small boats you can paddle and they are so much fun. I like this company’s emphasis on safety.

  2. I would like to go through the full tour one day ! What I would most like to see is the city of Ottawa from the water & learn some history.

  3. This would be an amazing experience! I have skated on the canal and we rode bike along the canal but never canoed it.

  4. I am trying to arrange a canoe adventure from Hartwell locks in Ottawa on the Rideau Canal. It is urgent that I get some pricing information please as we need to have this arranged by the 25th of June at the very latest. There would be 20 of us.
    I am with the Friendship Force of Ottawa and we are expecting some members of The Friendship Force of Edmonton to join us in September. We are looking at the date of September 14th in the afternoon. We may be able to be flexible on the date.
    Thank you for the information.

    Barb

    • Thank you for reaching out Barb! We just wrote our experiences with the Voyageur Canoe Guided Tours. Please contact them directly for booking. Enjoy your stay in Ottawa!

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