The Rideau Canal Promenade

One of the most important historical developments in Ottawa was the creation of the Rideau Canal, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You are invited to bike, jog or walk and explore seven outdoor exhibit sites installed along the pathway that highlight the historic, symbolic and cultural importance of the Rideau Canal.

Discover the seven exhibits on the Rideau Canal Pathway

1. Ottawa Locks

The first step in your exploration of the Rideau Canal! Experience the fantastic vista of the Kìchì Sìbì (Ottawa River) which defines traditional Algonquin Anishinaabe territory. These waters have been navigated since time immemorial and remain important to the Algonquin Anishinaabe way of life.

2. Shaw Centre Esplanade (Ottawa Convention Centre)

Visit Ottawa’s former railway lands, when the locomotive was king! In the early 19th century trains moved people and goods into the Capital. This relieved the Canal of its role as a vital commercial waterway, opening it up for more recreational activities.

3. Pretoria Bridge

Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of a boat passing through this vertical-lift bridge! The Canal was once a busy conduit for commercial activities; however, the need to connect the communities of Centretown and Old Ottawa East could not be ignored. The solution? A bridge for pedestrians and drivers alike that could also be raised to allow boats to pass beneath.

4. Lansdowne Park

Visit Lansdowne Park, a prominent fixture adjacent to the Canal since the 1860s. From its inception until today, Lansdowne has been the site of national celebrations, military training, agricultural fairs, sporting and cultural events, and where scientific innovations were unveiled. This urban park now features an array of shops and restaurants, as well as sports and exhibition spaces.

5. Dows Lake

It is hard to imagine that this beautiful lake — created out of the wilderness by Lieutenant-Colonel John By and his men — used to be a swamp. It is now a vibrant hub for a wide number of recreational and cultural activities in the Capital.

6. Central Experimental Farm

Yes: there is a working farm in the middle of the Capital! Since 1886, fields at the Central Experimental Farm have been used for scientific agricultural research and experiments that benefit farmers and Canadians alike. Visit the beautiful Dominion Arboretum, which was created to test the hardiness of trees and shrubs new to the Canadian climate.

7. Hartwells Lockstation

The beginning or the end? These locks are a gateway that allow boats access to the Rideau Canal system that stretches over 202 kilometers between Lake Ontario and the Ottawa River. The Canal is now a jewel in Canada’s Capital — a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A mobile app to explore the canal’s history

You may also learn more about the Rideau Canal’s history by using the Parks Canada Self-Guided Tours mobile app. Three GPS-triggered Rideau Canal tours are available: the Central Experimental Farm, Dows Lake and Downtown Ottawa.

This free mobile app is available for download through the App Store or Google Play. For more information, visit the Parks Canada website.

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