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Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal

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The Rideau Canal also known as the Rideau Waterway, connects the city of Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 on the Ottawa River
Ottawa River
The Ottawa River is a river in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. For most of its length, it now defines the border between these two provinces.-Geography:...

 to the city of Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario is a Canadian city located in Eastern Ontario where the St. Lawrence River flows out of Lake Ontario. Originally a First Nations settlement called "Katarowki," , growing European exploration in the 17th Century made it an important trading post...

 on Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south by the American state of New York. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. In the Wyandot language, ontarío means...

. The canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

 was opened in 1832 as a precaution in case of war with the United States and is still in use today, with most of its original structures intact. The canal system uses sections of major rivers, including the Rideau
Rideau River
thumb|Rapids on the Rideau River opposite [[Carleton University]].The Rideau River is a Southern Ontario river which flows north from Upper Rideau Lake and empties into the Ottawa River at Rideau Falls in Ottawa, Ontario. Its length is 146 km...

 and the Cataraqui
Cataraqui River
The Cataraqui River forms the lower portion of the Rideau Canal and drains into Lake Ontario at Kingston, Ontario. It is also known as the Great Cataraqui River or the Greater Cataraqui River to distinguish it from the smaller Little Cataraqui Creek, 4.5 km to the west...

, as well as some lakes. It is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America, and in 2007, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is operated today by Parks Canada as a recreational waterway. The locks on the system open for navigation in mid-May and close in mid-October.

History

See also: Rideau Canal and Growth of Bytown

The construction of the Rideau Canal was a preventative military measure undertaken after a report that during the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 had intended to invade the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 colony of Upper Canada
Upper Canada
The Province of Upper Canada was a political division in British Canada established in 1791 by the British Empire to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees from the United States of America after the American Revolution...

 via the St. Lawrence, which would have severed the lifeline between Montreal and Kingston. In this period, the British built a number of other canals (Grenville, Chute-à-Blondeau and Carillon Canal
Carillon Canal
The Carillon Canal is a National Historic Site in Saint-André-d'Argenteuil, Quebec, Canada. It preserves the historic Carillon Canal that was first built in the 1830s to facilitate travel on the Ottawa River...

s, all along the Ottawa River), as well as a number of forts (Citadel Hill, La Citadelle
Citadelle of Quebec
The Citadelle — the French name is used both in English and French — is a military installation and official residence located atop Cap Diamant, adjoining the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada...

, and Fort Henry
Fort Henry, Ontario
Fort Henry is located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada on Point Henry, a strategic point located near the mouth of the Cataraqui River where it flows into the St. Lawrence River, at the upper end of the Thousand Islands...

) to impede and deter any future American invasions of Canadian territory.

The initial purpose of the Rideau Canal was military, as it was intended to provide a secure supply and communications route between Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 and the British naval base in Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario is a Canadian city located in Eastern Ontario where the St. Lawrence River flows out of Lake Ontario. Originally a First Nations settlement called "Katarowki," , growing European exploration in the 17th Century made it an important trading post...

. Westward from Montreal, travel would proceed along the Ottawa River
Ottawa River
The Ottawa River is a river in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. For most of its length, it now defines the border between these two provinces.-Geography:...

 to Bytown
Bytown
Bytown is the former name of Ottawa, Canada's capital city. It was founded on on September 26, 1826, incorporated as a town on January 1, 1850, and superseded by the incorporation of the City of Ottawa on January 1, 1855. The founding was marked by a sod turning, and a letter from Governor General...

 (now Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

), then southwest via the canal to Kingston and out into Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south by the American state of New York. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. In the Wyandot language, ontarío means...

. The objective was to bypass the stretch of the St. Lawrence River bordering New York State; a route which would have left British supply ships vulnerable to an attack, or a blockade of the St. Lawrence.

The canal also served a commercial purpose. The Rideau Canal was easier to navigate than the St. Lawrence River, due to the series of rapids between Montreal and Kingston. As a result, the Rideau Canal became a busy commercial artery from Montreal to the Great Lakes. However, by 1849, the rapids of the St. Lawrence had been tamed by a series of locks and commercial shippers were quick to switch to this more direct route.

The construction of the canal was supervised by Lieutenant-Colonel John By
John By
Lieutenant-Colonel John By was a British military engineer, best remembered for supervising the construction of the Rideau Canal and, in the process, founding what would become the city of Ottawa....

 of the Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

. Private contractors such as future sugar refining entrepreneur John Redpath
John Redpath
John Redpath was a Scots-Quebecer businessman and philanthropist who helped pioneer the industrial movement that made Montreal, Quebec the largest and most prosperous city in Canada....

, Thomas McKay
Thomas McKay
Thomas McKay was a Canadian businessman who was one of the founders of the city of Ottawa, Ontario. He was born in Perth, Scotland and became a skilled stonemason...

, Robert Drummond
Robert Drummond (Canadian businessman)
Robert Drummond was a businessman in Upper Canada.He was born in Gordon, Berwickshire, Scotland in 1791 and came to Montreal in 1817. He was involved in a number of construction projects, including a bridge across the Ottawa River at the Chaudière Falls...

, Thomas Phillips, Andrew White and others were responsible for much of the construction, and the majority of the actual work was done by thousands of Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 and French-Canadian
French Canadian
French Canadian or Francophone Canadian, , generally refers to the descendents of French colonists who arrived in New France in the 17th and 18th centuries...

 labourers.

The canal work started in 1826, and it took a total of 6 years to complete by 1832. The final cost of its construction was £
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

822,000. Given the unexpected cost overruns, John By was recalled to London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and questioned by a parliamentary committee before being cleared of any wrongdoing.
Once the canal was constructed, no further military engagements took place between Canada and the United States. Although the Rideau Canal never had to be used as a military supply route, it played a pivotal role in the early development of Canada. Prior to the locks being completed on the St. Lawrence in the late 1840s, the Rideau served as the main travel route for immigrants heading westward into Upper Canada, and for heavy goods (timber, minerals, grain) from Canada's hinterland heading east to Montreal. Tens of thousands of British immigrants travelled the Rideau in this period. Hundreds of barge loads of goods were shipped each year along the Rideau, allowing Montreal to compete commercially, in the 1830s and 40s, with New York (which had the Erie Canal
Erie Canal
The Erie Canal is a waterway in New York that runs about from Albany, New York, on the Hudson River to Buffalo, New York, at Lake Erie, completing a navigable water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. The canal contains 36 locks and encompasses a total elevation differential of...

), as a major North American export port.

Construction deaths




As many as a thousand of the workers died from malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

, other diseases and accidents. Most deaths were from disease, principally complications from malaria (P. vivax
Plasmodium vivax
Plasmodium vivax is a protozoal parasite and a human pathogen. The most frequent and widely distributed cause of recurring malaria, P. vivax is one of the four species of malarial parasite that commonly infect humans. It is less virulent than Plasmodium falciparum, which is the deadliest of the...

), which was endemic in Ontario within the range of the Anopheles
Anopheles
Anopheles is a genus of mosquito. There are approximately 460 recognized species: while over 100 can transmit human malaria, only 30–40 commonly transmit parasites of the genus Plasmodium, which cause malaria in humans in endemic areas...

mosquito, and other diseases of the day. Accidents were fairly rare for a project of this magnitude, in 1827 there were 7 accidental deaths recorded. Inquests were held for each accidental death. The men, women and children that died were buried in local cemeteries, either burial grounds set up near work sites or existing local cemeteries. Funerals were held for the workers and the graves marked with wooden markers (which have since rotted away—leading to a misconception that workers were buried in unmarked graves).

Some of the dead remain unidentified as they had no known relatives in Upper Canada. Memorials to the fallen labourers have been erected along the canal route, most recently the Celtic Cross memorials in Ottawa
Rideau Canal Celtic Cross
The Rideau Canal Celtic Cross is a memorial in Ottawa, Canada, erected to commemorate the workers and their families that died building the Rideau Canal between 1826 and 1832. The Cross was erected by a group of volunteers drawn together in 2002 by the Ottawa and District Labour Council with the...

, Kingston and Chaffeys Lock. The first memorial on the Rideau Canal acknowledging deaths among the labour force was erected in 1993 by the Kingston and District Labour Council and the Ontario Heritage Foundation at Kingston Mills
Kingston Mills
Kingston Mills, located approximately 7 km north of downtown Kingston, Ontario, is the southern-most lockstation of the Rideau Canal system...

.

There are three canal era cemeteries that are open to the public today: Chaffey's Cemetery and Memory Wall at Chaffey's Lock—this cemetery was used from 1825 to the late 19th century; the Old Presbyterian Cemetery near Newboro—used from 1828 to the 1940s; and McGuigan Cemetery near Merrickville—used from the early 19th century (c. 1805) to the late 1890s.

Recognition


In 1925 the Rideau Canal was designated a National Historic Site of Canada (plaqued in 1926 and again in 1962).

In 2000 the Rideau Waterway was designated a Canadian Heritage River in recognition of its outstanding historical and recreational values.

In 2007 it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognizing it as a work of human creative genius. The Rideau Canal was recognized as the best preserved example of a slack water
Slack water
Slack water, which used to be known as 'The stand of the tide', is a short period in a body of tidal water either side of high water or low water essentially when the water is completely unstressed, and therefore with no rise or fall of the tide and no movement either way in the tidal stream, and...

 canal in North America demonstrating the use of European slackwater technology in North America on a large scale. It is the only canal dating from the great North American canal-building era of the early 19th century that remains operational along its original line with most of its original structures intact. It was also recognized as an extensive, well preserved and significant example of a canal which was used for military purposes linked to a significant stage in human history - that of the fight to control the north of the American continent.

A plaque was erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board at Jones Falls Lockstation commemorating Lieutenant Colonel John By, Royal Engineer, the superintending engineer in charge of the construction of the Rideau Canal. The plaque notes that the 123-mile long Rideau Canal, built as a military route and incorporating 47 locks, 16 lakes, two rivers, and a 360 feet (109.7 m), 60 feet (18.3 m) dam at Jones Falls (Jones Falls Dam
Jones Falls Dam
Jones Falls Dam is a dam on the Rideau Canal located in Rideau Lakes, Leeds and Grenville United Counties, Ontario, Canada, that was built in 1831 and completed in 1832 to tame the mile-long series of rapids and falls that runs through the Jones Falls....

), was completed in 1832.

The waterway


The 202 kilometres (125.5 mi) of the Rideau Canal incorporate sections of the Rideau and Cataraqui rivers, as well as several lakes, including the Lower, Upper and Big Rideau
Big Rideau Lake
The Big Rideau Lake is a lake situated in the province of Ontario , Canada. The lake is located to the southwest of Ottawa, Canada's capital city. It is long and is wide. The lake is much narrower at its northeastern end than at its southwestern end. The lake forms part of the Rideau Waterway,...

 lakes. About 19 kilometres (11.8 mi) of the route is man-made. Communities along the waterway include Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, Manotick
Manotick, Ontario
Manotick, Ontario is an exurb in Eastern Ontario on the Rideau River, located on the south edge of Ottawa's urban area. Manotick is located immediately south of the booming suburbs Barrhaven and Riverside South and is about from downtown Ottawa. It has been part of the City of Ottawa since...

, Kars
Kars, Ontario
Kars is a small village on the Rideau River within the rural section of the city of Ottawa, Ontario. Prior to amalgamation in 2000 it was part of Rideau Township....

, Burritts Rapids
Burritts Rapids, Ontario
Burritt's Rapids is a small village located on the Rideau River in eastern Ontario.The hamlet was named after Stephen Burritt, whose family was the first to settle in this area. At one time, the hamlet prospered due to its location on the Rideau Canal...

, Merrickville, Smiths Falls
Smiths Falls, Ontario
Smiths Falls is a town in Eastern Ontario, Canada. It is in the census division for Lanark County, but is considered a separated town and does not participate in county government...

, Rideau Ferry
Rideau Ferry, Ontario
Rideau Ferry is a small community in Eastern Ontario, Canada, along the Rideau Waterway. Rideau Ferry straddles a narrow stretch of water joining the Big Rideau Lake to the Lower Rideau Lake...

, Portland
Portland, Ontario
Portland is a community located in Eastern Ontario within the township of Rideau Lakes in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Ontario, Canada, north of Kingston and situated on the Big Rideau Lake....

, Westport
Westport, Ontario
Westport is a village in Eastern Ontario, Canada. It lies at the west end of Upper Rideau Lake, at the head of the navigable Rideau Canal system, between Kingston and Ottawa....

, Newboro, Seeleys Bay and Kingston
Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario is a Canadian city located in Eastern Ontario where the St. Lawrence River flows out of Lake Ontario. Originally a First Nations settlement called "Katarowki," , growing European exploration in the 17th Century made it an important trading post...

. Communities connected by navigable waterways to the Rideau Canal include Kemptville
Kemptville, Ontario
Kemptville is a community located in the Municipality of North Grenville in Southern Ontario, Canada in the northernmost part of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville...

 and Perth
Perth, Ontario
Perth is a town in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario, Canada . It is located on the Tay River, 83 km southwest of Ottawa, and is the seat of Lanark County.-History:...

.

Today, only pleasure craft make use of the Rideau Canal. Boat tours of the canal are offered in the city of Ottawa, Merrickville, and at Chaffeys Lock. Recreational boaters can make use of it to travel between Ottawa and Kingston with ease. Most of the locks are still hand-operated. There are a total of 45 locks at 23 stations along the Canal, plus two locks at the entrance to the Tay Canal
Tay Canal
The Tay Canal is the portion of the Tay River in the Eastern region of Southern Ontario extending from Beveridge Bay on Lower Rideau Lake to the town of Perth. The canal is 9.8 km in length and is operated today by Parks Canada as part of their Rideau Canal operations...

 (leading to Perth). In addition, the locks are also used to help lower the water level in early October each year in Ottawa to avoid damage by ice in the winter to the concrete barrier sides of the canal, as well as to prepare for ice skating on the canal, especially prevalent during Winterlude. They are then reopened to raise the water level in mid-April the following year. The lock stations are:
  • Ottawa
    Ottawa
    Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

     Locks (1-8)
  • Hartwells Locks (9-10)
  • Hog's Back Locks (11-12)
  • Black Rapids Lock (13)
  • Long Island Locks (14-16)
  • Burritts Rapids Lock (17)
  • Lower Nicholsons Lock (18)
  • Upper Nicholsons Lock (19)
  • Clowes Lock (20)
  • Merrickville
    Merrickville-Wolford, Ontario
    Merrickville–Wolford is a village-status municipality in Eastern Ontario, Canada, located in Leeds and Grenville United Counties. It spans both shores of the Rideau River....

     Locks (21-23)
  • Kilmarnock Lock (24)
  • Edmonds Lock (25)
  • Old Slys Locks (26-27)
  • Smiths Falls
    Smiths Falls, Ontario
    Smiths Falls is a town in Eastern Ontario, Canada. It is in the census division for Lanark County, but is considered a separated town and does not participate in county government...

     Combined Lock (29a(1))
  • Smiths Falls
    Smiths Falls, Ontario
    Smiths Falls is a town in Eastern Ontario, Canada. It is in the census division for Lanark County, but is considered a separated town and does not participate in county government...

     Detached Lock (31)
  • Poonamalie Lock (32)
  • Lower Beveridges Lock (33 - Tay Canal
    Tay Canal
    The Tay Canal is the portion of the Tay River in the Eastern region of Southern Ontario extending from Beveridge Bay on Lower Rideau Lake to the town of Perth. The canal is 9.8 km in length and is operated today by Parks Canada as part of their Rideau Canal operations...

    )
  • Upper Beveridges Lock (34 - Tay Canal
    Tay Canal
    The Tay Canal is the portion of the Tay River in the Eastern region of Southern Ontario extending from Beveridge Bay on Lower Rideau Lake to the town of Perth. The canal is 9.8 km in length and is operated today by Parks Canada as part of their Rideau Canal operations...

    )
  • (Rideau) Narrows Lock (35)
  • Newboro Lock (36)
  • Chaffey's Lock (37)
  • Davis Lock (38)
  • Jones Falls Locks (39-42)
  • Upper Brewers Locks (43-44)
  • Lower Brewers Lock (45)
  • Kingston Mills
    Kingston Mills
    Kingston Mills, located approximately 7 km north of downtown Kingston, Ontario, is the southern-most lockstation of the Rideau Canal system...

     Locks (46-49)


  • (1) In 1973-74 a new Smiths Falls Combined Lock, 29a, was built a few dozen metres to the north of the original flight of 3 locks (locks 28-30). The original locks were bypassed but left in place.

    In normal operations the canal can handle boats up to 27.4 m (90 ft) in length, 7.9 m (26 ft) in width, and 6.7 m (22 ft) in height with a draft of up to 1.5 m (5 ft) (boats drafting over 1.2 m (4 feet) are asked to contact the Rideau Canal Office of Parks Canada prior to their trip). In special circumstances a boat up to 33.5 m (110 ft) in length by 9.1 m (30 ft) in width can be handled.

    The Skateway




    In winter, a section of the Rideau Canal passing through central Ottawa becomes officially the world's largest skating rink. The cleared length is 7.8 kilometres (4.8 mi) and has the equivalent surface area of 90 Olympic hockey rinks. It runs from the Hartwell locks at Carleton University
    Carleton University
    Carleton University is a comprehensive university located in the capital of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The enabling legislation is The Carleton University Act, 1952, S.O. 1952. Founded as a small college in 1942, Carleton now offers over 65 programs in a diverse range of disciplines. Carleton has...

     to the locks between the Parliament Buildings
    Parliament Hill
    Parliament Hill , colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. Its Gothic revival suite of buildingsthe parliament buildings serves as the home of the Parliament of Canada and contains a number of architectural...

     and the Château Laurier
    Château Laurier
    The Fairmont Château Laurier is a landmark hotel in Downtown Ottawa, Ontario located near the intersection of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive designed in the Châteauesque style.-History:...

    , including Dow's Lake
    Dow's Lake
    Dow's Lake in Ottawa, Canada is a small man-made lake on the Rideau Canal, situated two kilometres north of Hog's Back Falls in the middle of Ottawa. It is at the south end of Preston Street, just south of Carling Avenue, and just to the west of Bronson Avenue...

     in between. It serves as a popular tourist attraction and recreational area and is also the focus of the Winterlude
    Winterlude
    Winterlude is an annual festival in Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec that celebrates winter.Winterlude is run by Canada's National Capital Commission and was started in 1979. The event is one of Ottawa's most important tourist draws, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year...

     festival in Ottawa. Beaver Tails
    Beaver tail (pastry)
    BeaverTails are a Canadian-based chain of pastry stands operated by BeaverTails Canada Inc. The chain's namesake product is a line of fried dough pastries, individually hand stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail...

    , a fried dough
    Fried dough
    .Fried dough is a North American food associated with outdoor food stands in carnivals, amusement parks, fairs, rodeos, and seaside resorts . Fried dough is the specific name for a particular variety of fried bread made of a yeast dough; see the accompanying images for an example of use on...

     pastry, are sold along with other snacks and beverages, in kiosks on the skateway. In January 2008, Winnipeg
    Winnipeg
    Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

    , Manitoba
    Manitoba
    Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

     achieved the record of the world's longest skating rink at a length of 8.54 kilometres, but with a width of only 2 to 3 metres wide, on its Assiniboine River
    Assiniboine River
    The Assiniboine River is a river that runs through the prairies of Western Canada in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It is a tributary of the Red River. The Assiniboine is a typical meandering river with a single main channel embanked within a flat, shallow valley in some places and a steep valley in...

     and Red River
    Red River of the North
    The Red River is a North American river. Originating at the confluence of the Bois de Sioux and Otter Tail rivers in the United States, it flows northward through the Red River Valley and forms the border between the U.S. states of Minnesota and North Dakota before continuing into Manitoba, Canada...

     at The Forks
    The Forks, Winnipeg, Manitoba
    The Forks is a historic site and meeting place in Downtown Winnipeg located at the confluence of the Red River and Assiniboine River. For at least 6000 years, the Forks has been the meeting place for early Aboriginal peoples, and since colonization has also been a meeting place for European fur...

    . In response, the Rideau Canal was rebranded as "the world's largest skating rink".

    Although some residents of Ottawa had been using the canal as an impromptu skating surface for years, the official use of the canal as a skateway and tourist attraction is a more recent innovation. In fact, as recently as the 1970s, the city government of Ottawa considered paving over the canal in order to make an expressway. The federal government's ownership of the canal, however, prevented the city from pursuing this proposal. When Doug Fullerton was appointed chair of the National Capital Commission
    National Capital Commission
    The National Capital Commission , is a Canadian Crown corporation that administers the federally owned lands and buildings in Canada's National Capital Region, including Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec.The NCC was created in 1959, replacing the Federal District Commission , which had been...

    , he proposed a recreational corridor around the canal, including the winter skateway between Carleton University
    Carleton University
    Carleton University is a comprehensive university located in the capital of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The enabling legislation is The Carleton University Act, 1952, S.O. 1952. Founded as a small college in 1942, Carleton now offers over 65 programs in a diverse range of disciplines. Carleton has...

     and Confederation Park
    Confederation Park
    Confederation Park is a park in downtown Ottawa and a National Historic Site of Canada. It is bordered on the south by Laurier Avenue and Ottawa City Hall; on the east by the Rideau Canal; on the north by the Mackenzie King Bridge, the Rideau Centre and the National Arts Centre; and, to the west,...

    . The plan was implemented on January 18, 1971, despite opposition by city council
    Ottawa City Council
    The Ottawa City Council is the governing body of the City of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is composed of 23 city councillors and the mayor. The mayor is elected at large, while each of the councillors represent wards throughout the city. Council members are elected to four year terms with the...

    , and 50,000 people skated on the canal on the first weekend. City councillor and author Clive Doucet
    Clive Doucet
    Clive Doucet is a Canadian writer and politician.Doucet was born in 1946 in London, England to an Acadian serviceman and an English war bride. Doucet grew up in the city of Ottawa, Ontario. He also spent some of his youth in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Doucet was raised as a Catholic,...

     credits this transformation of the canal with reinvigorating the communities of the Glebe
    The Glebe
    The Glebe is a neighbourhood in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is located just south of Ottawa's downtown area, with its northern border being demarcated by the Queensway highway. It is bounded by the Rideau Canal to the south and east. Many maps show the western edge as Bronson Avenue, but some also...

    , Old Ottawa East
    Old Ottawa East
    Old Ottawa East or just Ottawa East is a neighbourhood of Ottawa, Canada. It is located south of Nicholas Street and between the Rideau Canal and the Rideau River. The southern border is generally defined by Main Street and Riverdale Avenue. To the south is the neighbourhood of Old Ottawa South...

     and Old Ottawa South
    Old Ottawa South
    Old Ottawa South is an older urban neighbourhood in Ottawa, Canada. As of the Canada 2006 Census, 8,168 people lived in Old Ottawa South, a relatively small and compact neighbourhood, located between the Rideau Canal and the Rideau River . The eastern boundary is defined by Riverdale Avenue and...

    .

    It has been reported that the National Hockey League
    National Hockey League
    The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

    's Ottawa Senators
    Ottawa Senators
    The Ottawa Senators are a professional ice hockey team based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. They are members of the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League...

     are exploring the possibility of playing a regular season game outdoors on the Rideau Canal, using temporary bleachers for the spectators.

    See also


    • Tay Canal
      Tay Canal
      The Tay Canal is the portion of the Tay River in the Eastern region of Southern Ontario extending from Beveridge Bay on Lower Rideau Lake to the town of Perth. The canal is 9.8 km in length and is operated today by Parks Canada as part of their Rideau Canal operations...

       – a branch canal of the Rideau
    • Capital Pathway
      Capital Pathway
      The Capital Pathway, also known informally as the The Bike Path, is a recreational pathway interlinking many parks, waterways and sites in Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec...

       - the recreational pathway along the Rideau Canal
    • Trent-Severn Waterway
      Trent-Severn Waterway
      The Trent–Severn Waterway is a Canadian canal system formerly used for industrial and transportation purposes and now for recreational and tourism purposes, connecting Lake Ontario at Trenton to the Georgian Bay portion of Lake Huron at Port Severn...

       – Central Ontario Canal System
    • Welland Canal
      Welland Canal
      The Welland Canal is a ship canal in Canada that extends from Port Weller, Ontario, on Lake Ontario, to Port Colborne, Ontario, on Lake Erie. As a part of the St...

       – Niagara region Canal System
    • Saint Lawrence Seaway
      Saint Lawrence Seaway
      The Saint Lawrence Seaway , , is the common name for a system of locks, canals and channels that permits ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the North American Great Lakes, as far as Lake Superior. Legally it extends from Montreal to Lake Erie, including the Welland Canal...

       – Ontario–Quebec waterway system
    • Parks Canada Players
      Parks Canada Players
      The Parks Canada Players theatrical troupe was founded in 2003 by Parks Canada to promote and preserve Canadian heritage through innovative theatre in Eastern Ontario, Canada. The theatre program educates and entertains visitors to Parks Canada historic sites. Hundreds of shows are performed each...

       – Heritage Theatre Series along the Rideau Canal
    • The Forks – Winnipeg, Manitoba

    External links