Rideau Waterway Facts

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Ottawa to Kingston
From the Ottawa River at Ottawa, Ontario, the canal rises 84 metres (275 feet) to the Rideau Lakes, then descends 49 metres (161 feet) to Kingston, on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. You can continue east to the Atlantic, west to Lake Ontario, Quinte, Trent-Severn Waterway, and the Great Lakes, or south to the New York State Canal which leads to the Hudson River and New York City, and also south to the Erie Canal. In winter, the Ottawa part of the canal is lowered to create the longest skating rink in the world.

Boat Traffic:
Every year, 90,000 boats pass through its locks. Traffic is about 20% U.S. boats; about 10% sailboats. Numbers of canoes and kayaks is increasing. The Ottawa lockstation gets the most tourists, but the Narrows lockstation linking the two largest lakes has the most boat traffic.

Canoe in sunset

Charts for the Rideau Canal:
Charts needed are #1512 Ottawa to Smiths Falls and #1513 Smiths Falls to Kingston. It is mandatory to carry a copy of the Canal Regulations. These can be ordered from Canada's Hydrographic Chart Distribution Office (Government Directory).

Boat Ramps at Lockstations:
There are ramps at Edmonds, Smith Falls (detached), Poonamalie, Newboro and Lower Beveridges. Ramps are indicated on the Rideau Facts lockstation chart.

Winter:
In winter, the locks are drained; the Ottawa reach is lowered to create the longest skating rink in the world; Long Reach (Manotick to Burritts Rapids) is lowered to offset spring flooding.

Recognition:
The Rideau Canal & Waterway was designated a National Historic Site (1926) and Canadian Heritage River (2000), and a World Heritage Site (2007) by the United Nations, recognized for it's place in Canada'a history, its amazing engineering feats, as well its beauty and importance to the area's development, both commercial and recreational.

History:
After the War of 1812, in which the invading Americans were defeated, the Canadian government feared attack by Americans along the heavily fortified St. Lawrence River. The Rideau Canal, built between 1826 and 1832, provided a secure route between Kingston and Montreal. The hand-operated wooden lock doors and sluice gates were built in the same fashion as the locks in England -- except in Canada locks are operated by lock staff not by boaters!

Lockstations 24
Locks 45
Distance (Kingston - Ottawa) 202 km (126 miles)
Lock Size 41 m x 10 m (134' x 33')
Water Depth 1.5 m (5') - check with canal office
Maximum Size of Vessel 27.4 m (90') long 7.9m (26') wide 6.7m (22') high
Lift from Ottawa to Upper Rideau Lake 83.2 m (273') in 31 locks
Lift from Kingston to Upper Rideau 50 m (164') in 14 locks
Transit Time (one way) 3 days (minimum) to 7 days or more

Mile mark Lock No. Lockstation
(R) boat ramp (F) in flight
Chart Phone
Km. Mile
0 0 #1 - #8 Ottawa Locks 1512 #1 613-237-2309
7 4 #9 - #10 Hartwells Locks   613-235-2644
8 5 #11 - #12 Hogs Back Locks   613-224-5033
15 9 #13 Black Rapids Lock   613-226-5434
23 14 #14 - #16 Long Island Locks 1512 #2 613-692-3030
64 40 #17 Burritt's Rapids Lock 1512 #3 613-258-4510
69 43 #18 Lower Nicholsons Lock   613-269-4960
70 43 #19 Upper Nicholsons Lock   613-259-4631
70 44 #20 Clowes Lock   613-269-4426
74 46 #21 - #23 Merrickville Lock   613-269-4787
87 54 #24 Kilmarnock Lock   613-283-3792
93 58 #25     (R) Edmonds Lock   613-283-4406
95 59 #26 - #27 (F) Old Slys Locks   613-283-2663
97 60 #29a Smiths Falls Combined Lock   613-283-2103
97 60 #31     (R) Smiths Falls Detached Lock   613-283-0496
102 63 #32     (R) Poonamalie Lock 1513 -1 613-283-3543
107 67 #33 - #34 (R) Tay Canal - Beverides (side canal)   613-267-2036
132 82 #35 Narrows Lock   613-272-2700
141 87 #36     (R) Newboro Lock   613-272-2575
149 92 #37 Chaffey's Lock 1513 -3 613-359-5914
152 94 #38 Davis Lock   613-359-5620
159 99 #39 Jones Falls Lock 1513 -4 613-359-5340
159 99 #40 - #42 (F) Jones Falls Locks    
176 110 #43 - #44 Upper Brewers Locks   613-387-3564
179 111 #45 Lower Brewers (Washburn)   613-542-2629
195 121 #46 Kingston Mills Lock   613-542-0622
195 121 #47 - #49 Kingston Mills Locks    
202 126 Kingston Lasalle Causeway Lift Bridge*    

Rideau Canal Facts