The Rideau Canal, also called the Rideau Waterway, connects the Canadian capital of Ottawa with Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River in Kingston. It is 202 km long. Visiting this historic site will give you a unique perspective of this waterway’s history. There are several highlights to explore while visiting this site, including the Merrickville Blockhouse, Chafey’s Lock, Colonel By Island, and the Smiths Falls Combined Lock.
The Merrickville Blockhouse Rideau Canal National Historical Site is located in the village of the same name. Built in 1832-33, it is the largest of the four blockhouses along the Rideau Canal. The blockhouse was constructed with strength in mind. Originally, the structure served as a mustering post for local militiamen. It also served as a supply depot. Its historical significance can be seen through its restored interior.
The stone one-storey lockmaster’s house was built between 1844 and 1847 and served as the home of the lockmaster and his family. In the late 19th century, a frame second storey was added. The house served as a lockmaster’s residence until 1964. Today, it is operated by the Chaffey’s Lock and Area Heritage Society.
Located just east of the Rideau River, Smiths Falls combines three locks on the canal. The lower flight consists of three locks. The upper lock is detached. The canal extends up to Wardsville, where there are shops and private dwellings. The area below the water tower includes a retaining wall. The proposed three locks are located in the “Hornets Snie” and are designed to move water from one lock to another.
Having worked with the Rideau Canal company, Colonel By was well aware of the challenges involved in building a navigable waterway. While designing and implementing the canal, By needed to construct 47 masonry locks and 52 dams to achieve his goal. Without By’s experience and expertise, the project would have failed. But with By’s vision, the canal was built. Today, the National Historic Site highlights the role that By played in the creation of the canal.
Located in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, the Rideau Canal is a canal that carries boats between Kingston and Ottawa. It is a five-lock canal that was opened in the early 1830s and used to transport supplies for use in case of war, specifically between the United States and England. Near the town center is the Rideau Canal Visitors Centre, which offers information on the canal’s history.
Visitors to the Rideau Canal National Historic Site should consider a visit to the Burritts Rapids Swing Bridge. This iconic attraction is located at Lock 17, a section of the canal that has been in operation for more than 200 years. If you have time, you can also go on a Tip Toe Trail in Burritts Rapids Park. This four-kilometer trail will show you the sights of the Rideau Canal and its locks.
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