Europe’s Le Boat granted Licence to Operate on Rideau Canal National Historic Site in 2018

News Release

June 27, 2017                                       Smiths Falls, Ontario                                      Parks Canada Agency


Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural heritage areas in the world. 

Parks Canada announced today that European inland waterway boating company, Le Boat, has been granted a licence to operate along the Rideau Canal National Historic Site beginning in the 2018 navigation season. 

Representatives from Le Boat and Parks Canada signed the agreement today at the Rideau Canal headquarters and discussed plans for the upcoming launch of this new, unique visitor experience on the Rideau Canal. 

Le Boat offers high-end, self-hire cabin cruiser boats equipped with a modern kitchen and sleeping quarters with en-suite bathrooms for multi-day cruising experiences. Le Boat will be bringing 16 such boats in 2018 with a goal of at least 32 boats in the next 5 years. Self-hire boating is popular in Europe and it is expected that offering a similar experience on the Rideau Canal will result in an increase in visitors to Ontario. 

Parks Canada is committed to the protection, conservation and presentation of the Rideau Canal. The Agency actively works with businesses, municipal governments and interested stakeholders along the Rideau to develop new and innovative programs and services to allow more Canadians, including youth and newcomers, to experience the outdoors and learn about our environment and history. 

Parks Canada is encouraging visitors to plan their trips and discover new and exciting destinations, like the Rideau Canal, by consulting Parks Canada’s website or downloading the NEW Parks Canada Mobile App, for a list of hidden gems and other unique and memorable ways to celebrate Canada 150.


“As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, our government is committed to providing visitors with high-quality and meaningful visitor experiences at Canada’s most treasured places. Initiatives such as self-hire canal boat operations will encourage economic development and support job creation along the Rideau Canal as well as create further opportunities for visitors who do not own boats to experience the history and beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site from the water. I look forward to seeing Le Boat operations next season.” 

The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and minister responsible for Parks Canada

“We are extremely excited about establishing our footprint in North America, and especially pleased to be launching our new venture in the beautiful province of Ontario, Canada. The picturesque Rideau Canal is a vacationer’s dream and the place to be next summer. With endless land and water activities along the route from fishing, paddle boating, canoeing to hiking, biking and bird-watching, this will be an experience our customers will never forget.” 

Cheryl Brown, Managing Director of Le Boat

Quick Facts

  • Le Boat presently operates in eight European countries.

  • Le Boat clients tend to be groups and couples aged 55+ and families with children aged 8+.  They are well-travelled and loyal customers (30% repeat visitation) with a large percentage from France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.

  • Le Boat holiday experiences allow renters to be the captains, provided they hold a valid Pleasure Craft Operator Card and complete an orientation course with Le Boat.

  • Le Boat boats are safe and easy to drive and will meet all government regulations. All boats will be equipped with bow and stern thrusters for manoeuvring into and out of locks. They are also completely bumpered for safety and have a capped speed of 10 km an hour for the Rideau.

  • Le Boat North American Headquarters and operations will be based in Smiths Falls, Ontario.

  • The Rideau Canal was designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in 2007.

  • The Rideau Canal is a recreational paradise, attracting visitors from across North America and beyond to travel its 202 km length and explore its historic engineering and military feats at 24 unique lockstations. 

Associated Links


Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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