Have you heard of the Rideau Canal? We believe that it is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the city because you can enjoy it in every season. In the summer months you can bike or walk along the paths and in the winter months you can skate on it.
The 202-kilometre Rideau Canal Waterway stretches all the way from the head of Lake Ontario in Kingston to downtown Ottawa. It connects rivers and lakes by different locks and canals. A lot of the locks are even still operated by hand. It is amazing to see. Sit back and watch how they operate. The main lockstations in Ottawa are the Ottawa Locks, Hartwell Locks and Hog’s Back. The picture to the right is of the Ottawa locks that are located in downtown Ottawa. In the background you can see the beautiful and historical Chateau Laurier hotel (one of our favourites).
The Rideau Canal in the winter is so amazing. In 2005 it was officially named the world’s longest skating rink by the Guiness Book of Records! Imagine thousands of people skating (and walking) on a 7-kilometre stretch. It is groomed and maintained on a regular basis to make the skating optimal. We have to admit that we don’t skate on it but we do go there each winter a few times to walk along it. You can walk on the ice itself (keep to the side so you aren’t in the way of the skaters) or you can walk on the path. If you want to try skating and you don’t own skates, don’t worry because you can rent them there. If you want to find out about the ice skating conditions in the winter, there is a section on the National Capital Commission’s website that has up to date information. You can keep up to date on the ice skating conditions by checking out the National Capital Commission’s website.
The Rideau Canal in the summer is also very enjoyable. We used to bike along it regularly because the paths went on forever and you could bike along either side to get a different view. If you are interested in biking and you don’t have a bike with you, you can rent one at Dow’s Lake Pavilion. Besides biking you can also walk, rollerblade or jog along the paths.
If you are here in the summer and you want to do something on the water you can take a tour along the Canal on a boat. There are a few different tour operators who will be more than happy to take you and give you a tour of our city.
Have you ever been in a paddle boat? They are so much fun! You can rent them at Dow’s Lake Pavilion. Just hop on and paddle yourself around the canal. Make sure you bring a hat and sunscreen because it can get pretty sunny out there on the water.
No matter what you end up doing in Ottawa you are probably going to see the Canal at some point during your stay. We hope you love it as much as we do.