Following the War of 1812-1814, England realized that it needed a protected route between Montreal in Lower Canada and York (Tornto) in Upper Canada. The 206 kilometre long Rideau Canal connected Kingston and Ottawa, using the Cataraqui River from Kingston, and the Rideau River from Ottawa. The canal used 47 locks and 24 dams to climb 49 metres (160 feet) above Lake Ontario, and then fall 84 metres (275 ft) back down to the Ottawa River.
Today, the waterway is used primarily by recreational boaters, and passes through many quaint towns and villages, with plenty of shopping, dining and accommodation along the way. Each Winter, the last 8 kilometres of the canal becomes the "world's longest skating rink", and home to the Winterlude winter carnival.
You can learn about the canal's history at museums in Ottawa and Smiths Falls, and at historic lock houses along its length (Kingston Mills, Jones Falls, and Merrickville.
The canal is open from Victoria Day (late May) to Thanksgiving (mid October). Boats are charged lockage and mooring fees per foot of vessel., ranging from one lock for one day, or a season pass.