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Spend a Day at the Rideau Canal

There’s a lot to do at this Ottawa landmark

Ottawa offers free ice skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway during the winter months.
Stretching from Ottawa to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River at Kingston, the 126-mile Rideau Canal has become a defining landmark. The Canal first opened in 1832, and is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America.

Today, the engineering marvel has been designated as both a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Historic Site of Canada. And with some 45 locks connecting the canal with beautiful lakes and rivers, there are a variety of ways for visitors to enjoy the Canal beyond marveling at its construction.

Visitors to the Canal between May and early October can enjoy cruises, canoeing and other pleasure crafts on the water. Paddleboats, canoes and kayaks can be rented at the Dow’s Lake Pavilion. While the weather is pleasant, visitors can also enjoy scenic parks and biking paths that line the Ottawa portion of the Canal, beginning in Mooney’s Bay in the south end of the city. Gardens can also be found along the Canal, making perfect spots for an afternoon picnic.

During the winter, the Ottawa portion of the waterway is transformed into the Rideau Canal Skateway, which claims the title of the world’s largest outdoor skating rink, as designated by Guinness World Records. Visitors to the Canal can enjoy skating free of charge every day, weather permitting.

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