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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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?