About Rideau Canal

Wild and wonderful, take an unforgettable boating vacation on Canada's canals and wide open lakes

Our Canadian boating vacations are the perfect way to discover the beauty of the Rideau Canal. One of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century, the Rideau Canal is the oldest continuously-operated canal system in North America. Traveling this attractive waterway, you'll be able to unwind and take in the spectacular nature, picturesque towns and lively cities of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Discover more about Canada and the unique charm of each region of our cruising ground.

 

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Map showing where the Rideau Canal boating region is in Canada

The perfect boating region for...

Rideau Canal Region Map

Base icon = Le Boat Base          Canal = Canal          Navigable river = Navigable river          No entry = No navigation beyond this point

The perfect boating region for...

Fishing

The lakes and rivers of the Rideau Waterway offer great fishing opportunities including Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Lake Trout, Yellow Perch, Black Crappie and Walleye.

Nature

Nature lovers will enjoy their journey through the Rideau, which provides a haven for many species of wildlife.

Cycling

Bicycle enthusiasts can fully enjoy the Rideau region. Although there are no bicycle trails directly along the Rideau, there are many trails and secondary roads close by that bicyclists can enjoy.

Shopping

All the cities along the Canal offer shopping opportunities. Check out the local products and crafts shops. Don't leave Canada without a bottle of maple syrup.

Useful information

A bit of background

As it winds its way 202km (125 miles) from Ottawa to Kingston, the Rideau Canal is bursting with new experiences just waiting to be explored. Whether you like taking in abundant nature, discovering fascinating culture or simply indulging in some of the finer things - the Rideau Canal has something for you!

Originally intended as a military supply route between Montreal and Kingston in the event of an American invasion of Canada. Construction of the canal, under the charge of Lt. Colonel John By, began in 1826 through a wilderness of rough bush, swamps and rocky terrain. 19th century working conditions were grueling and the work was done by hand. An estimated 1,000 men died during the six years of construction. Today, the Rideau Canal is one of North America’s most beautiful navigable waterways, with exquisite stone-masonry admired to this day.

Our Canada cruises are perfect for that short escape or epic expedition. Our base is located in Smiths Falls, midway along the canal, and is the perfect starting point for long or short breaks. So whether you have a few days or several weeks, our Canada cruises are the perfect standalone vacation or accompaniment to a wider break.

 

Check our navigation page to see if there are any current cruising restrictions

There are 24 Lockstations and 47 Locks on the Rideau. Each lock has 3 to 4 staff members to help out in any way they can.

Opening Hours:

  • May 19 - June 25:

Monday to Thursday 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Friday to Sunday and holidays 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

  • June 26 - Sept. 4:

Monday to Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Friday to Sunday and holidays 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

  • September 5 - October 9:

Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday & Thanksgiving 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

There are many options for overnight moorings along the Rideau; private marinas, township marinas and Parks Canada moorings (situated at lock stations) all provide overnight moorings for a fee, with varying facilities and services.

However, a mandatory fee of $70 USD / $75 CAD for short breaks or $110 USD / $120 CAD for 7nts+ will be charged to Le Boat customers and covers overnight moorings at all Parks Canada sites, as well as the township marinas of Portland, Seeley’s Bay, Perth and Westport – a significantly reduced rate than the fee charged locally at each of these moorings sites. All overnight moorings are operated on a first-come, first-served basis and exclude services such as shore power.

To find out how to get to our base in this boating region, as well as what facilities and amenities are available there or nearby, click on the relevant base below:

  • Rental of the boat and its onboard equipment
  • A fully equipped kitchen
  • Towels and linen for all passengers
  • A boat handling demontration prior to departure
  • Technical support
  • On-board maps and visitor information
  • Passage through locks
  • A compulsory moorings fee has been included in the price quoted. See compulsory costs for more details
  • Optional vacation extras
  • Boat damage waiver
  • Running costs (diesel, gas, engine wear and tear) - charged by the engine hour (by the litre in Scotland).
  • Travel to and from the base(s)
  • Waterside services if you use them (i.e. moorings where a charge is applicable, pump-out if needed, water, etc)
  • Cancellation plan & any travel/personal insurance
  • Food and drink

Download our region guide

We've produced a handy PDF guide for this region to give you an overview of all the stops and things to do along the waterway.

Download our region guide

Interactive map

  = Le Boat base       = Point of interest

Great to see...

Must see
Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Canada’s capital has at its center Parliament Hill, with grand Victorian architecture and museums like the National Gallery of Canada, with noted collections of indigenous and other Canadian art. The park-lined Rideau Canal is filled with boats in the summer. Historic Byward Market and old town is near the canal and offers a wide choice of restaurants, shopping and outdoor entertainment.

Long Island Locks is an idyllic location for picnicking, fishing, exploring and boat watching.

Tie up at Burritts Rapids Lock Station, then take a walking tour of the village and experience early Canada through centuries old heritage buildings or walk the "Tip to Tip Trail", a 2 km nature walk.

For historians and bird-watchers this is a great place to visit. Upper Nicholsons features one of four remaining Unequal Arm, a center bearing timber swing bridge, on the Rideau. Then just up the road you’ll discover McGuigan’s Cemetery (448 County Road 23, aka Burritts Rapids Road), one of the oldest burying grounds on the Rideau. You will be touched by the poignant headstone of Margaret Davidson, the 2 year old daughter of one of the contractors for Clowes Lock, who died in 1829.

Must see
Wick Witch shop in Merrickville

Merrickville is Canada’s prettiest village. The village center consists entirely of picturesque Victorian-era stone houses perched by the waters of the Rideau Canal. Merrickville is home to many local arts and craft shops, museums, restaurants and specialty stores serving some of the best local handmade ice cream or gourmet mustards on the Rideau Canal.

Must see
Heritage House Museum Smiths Falls

Located in the Heart of Eastern Ontario on the banks of the historic Rideau Canal, Smiths Falls offers a unique mix of leisure and recreational activities set against a backdrop of history and nature. Smiths Falls has a rich heritage, and today offers museums, theaters, art galleries and outdoor adventures including hiking, biking and fishing.

When the Rideau Canal was built, there was no water connection to Perth, so the residents constructed the Tay Canal. This area is known as "Haggart's Ditch" and features some of the best wildlife viewing on the Rideau on the way to Perth.

Must see
Spoons in craft shop Perth, Ontario

Linked to the Rideau Canal via the Tay Canal, Perth is a beautiful 200 year old town renowned for it's limestone architecture. The town has something for everyone: festivals and events, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, hiking, trail-riding, museums, genealogy, camping, heritage inns, provincial parks, conservation areas, golfing, horse riding, artisans, farmer's markets, great harvest foods, docking facilities, shopping and studio tours. Perth has a wide variety of restaurants and unique boutiques.

Portland is a small village located on Big Rideau Lake.There are many things for the landlubber to see and do in the Portland area. There are several unique stores in town, including antiques and collectables. The Cataraqui all-season trail passes just a bit east of town, golf courses are located nearby, one of the local B&Bs offers horseback riding, and cheese lovers will want to visit local cheesemakers and wineries.

Westport is a charming village. There you will find public docking facilities and a full range of land-based accomodations. The city offers a lot of activities: shops, two golf courses and swimming beaches. Nature lovers will be able to enjoy a hike in Foley Mountain Conservation Area which has spectacular views of the area.

The Village of Newboro is a popular destination spot for anglers wishing to land one of the big Largemouth Bass that populate Newboro Lake. It is also a popular stop for boaters since Newboro is located adjacent to the Newboro Lockstation on the Rideau Canal. It's a good spot to restock supplies or have a quiet lunch or dinner at one of the local restaurants or inns. Be sure not to miss Kilborn’s, a unique shopping experience located in the heart of historic Newboro and the adjacent dining room in an original 1832 residence.

Chaffey's Lockstation stands on beautiful isthmus of land lying between Indian Lake and Opinicon Lake. The Chaffey's Lock and Area Heritage Society was formed in 1980 to oversee the development of the Lockmaster's House Museum and to preserve the heritage of the village and surrounding area.

Must see
Jones Falls Locks

Jones Falls must be one of the prettiest lockstations along the Canal. The lockstation is home of the "Great Stone Arch Dam". Jones Falls has a flight of 3 lower locks. The turning basin separates the locks from the upper lock. This is the highest lift of any lockstation on the canal.

Seeley's Bay is a charming town with a great community park with playgrounds, tennis courts and picnic tables. Here you’ll be delighted to discover a little sliver of the region’s history at the Tepee in Centennial Park (just up Bay Street from the moorings). This modern day tepee commemorates the original Tepee of ‘Granny Seeley’, who ran a trading post and conducted business with Aboriginals and European settlers during the 1800s.

This is the site of the first mill built on the Rideau, the King’s Mill, built here at Cataraqui Falls in 1784. The site today features a lovely set of three locks, a turning basin, a detached upper lock and the Robert Anglin Visitor’s Centre. Kingston Mills Falls is located on the outlet of Colonel By Lake, an artificial lake created by the damming of the Catraqui River. The falls is just below the dam.

Must see
Town Crier in Kingston, Ontario, Town hall

Kingston is located on Lake Ontario at the mouth of the southern end of the Rideau Canal. It's known as the "Limestone City" for its grand 19th-century buildings, including the lakeside Kingston City Hall. The grand house and gardens of the Bellevue House National Historic Site commemorate Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Fort Henry, built in the 1800s, holds military demonstrations throughout the summer and is the site of a fabulous rooftop restaurant providing a panoramic view of the beautiful historic city and the Saint Lawrence River.

Itinerary suggestions

Smiths Falls RETURN via Beveridges

Smiths Falls
Beveridge's Locks
Smiths Falls

7 hr(s) of cruising

30km 8 locks 3 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Beveridges

Along the Rideau you'll discover an abundance of wildlife. With Beavers, Otters, Turtles, Ospreys and the famous Canada Geese just some of the fantastic fauna you be able to spot while you drift gently along the Rideau. So remember your binoculars and camera, because this region is a nature lovers dream.

7 hr(s) of cruising

30km 8 locks 3 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Perth

Smiths Falls
Beveridge's Locks
Perth
Smiths Falls

9 hr(s) of cruising

46km 8 locks 4 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Perth

Canada is a paradoxical place, able to combine pristine wilderness with vibrant local culture. Find yourself taking in the natural wonders of Ontario as you make your way gently down the Rideau before unearthing the lively local culture of Perth with its quaint boutiques and lively markets.

9 hr(s) of cruising

46km 8 locks 4 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Merrickville

Smiths Falls
Merrickville
Smiths Falls

13 hr(s) of cruising

45km 16 locks 4 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Merrickville

Picturesque Victorian stone houses, local craft shops and a thriving artisan community. It is easy to see why Merrickville was voted Canada's most beautiful village. Let yourself wander around this chocolate-box town and delve deeper into this regions charming local culture.

13 hr(s) of cruising

45km 16 locks 4 nights

Seeley's Bay RETURN via Kingston

Seeley's Bay
Kingston Mills
Kingston
Seeley's Bay

17 hr(s) of cruising

70km 14 locks 4 nights

Seeley's Bay RETURN via Kingston

A short cruise to explore the Southern end of the Rideau Canal and the lively city of Kingston. Let yourself enjoy wide lakes and wild scenery as you head down to Kingston, where the Southern Rideau meets the mighty Lake Ontario.

17 hr(s) of cruising

70km 14 locks 4 nights

Seeley's Bay to Smiths Falls

Seeley's Bay
Jones Falls
Chaffey's Lockstation
Newboro
Westport
Portland
Smiths Falls

17 hr(s) of cruising

82km 11 locks 4 nights

Seeley's Bay to Smiths Falls

A short cruise perfect for those who want to explore the vast open lakes, small-town charm and the breath-taking nature of the central Rideau without re-tracing your steps. There is plenty to see-and-do along this stretch of the waterway, making this the perfect cruise for those who want to pack their days with adventure!

17 hr(s) of cruising

82km 11 locks 4 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Portland and Jones Falls

Smiths Falls
Portland
Westport
Chaffey's Lockstation
Jones Falls
Smiths Falls

21 hr(s) of cruising

123km 16 locks 7 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Portland and Jones Falls

Gently cruise the vast lakes, mighty forests and hidden islands of the Southern Rideau. The perfect playground for any lover of the outdoors. Find yourself paddling the Big Rideau Lake, going on a hike in Foley Mountain Conservation Area or playing golf on one of Portland’s two golf courses.

21 hr(s) of cruising

123km 16 locks 7 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Merrickville, Burritt's Rapids and Long Island

Smiths Falls
Merrickville
Burritts Rapids
Long Island
Upper Nicholsons
Smiths Falls

29 hr(s) of cruising

145km 30 locks 7 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Merrickville, Burritt's Rapids and Long Island

Sometimes the best things in life are those little luxuries. Discover them with a cruise on the Northern Rideau. Combine some retail therapy in Canada’s prettiest village, Merrickville, with a visit to one of Canada’s top gardens, the Rideau Woodland Ramble in Burritt’s Rapids. Paradise is real, and you'll find it here!

29 hr(s) of cruising

145km 30 locks 7 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Newboro and Seeleys Bay

Smiths Falls
Newboro
Jones Falls
Smiths Falls

22 hr(s) of cruising

69km 16 locks 7 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Newboro and Seeleys Bay

Get in touch with the friendly Canadian culture with a cruise to Seeleys Bay and Newboro. Be sure not to miss Kilborne’s, a unique shopping experience located in the heart of historic Newboro - and the adjacent dining room in an original 1832 residence.

22 hr(s) of cruising

69km 16 locks 7 nights

Smiths Falls to Seeley's Bay via Kingston

Smiths Falls
Portland
Westport
Newboro
Chaffey's Lockstation
Jones Falls
Seeley's Bay
Kingston Mills
Kingston
Seeley's Bay

34 hr(s) of cruising

170km 25 locks 7 nights

Smiths Falls to Seeley's Bay via Kingston

A week long one-way cruise, which takes you from Smiths Falls on the central Rideau down to Seeley’s Bay via the city of Kingston at the Rideau’s southernmost tip. Cruising through the Rideau’s most beautiful lakes you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy adrenaline filled water sports or fishing in tranquil inlets.

34 hr(s) of cruising

170km 25 locks 7 nights

Seeley's Bay RETURN via Westport and Kingston

Seeley's Bay
Jones Falls
Chaffey's Lockstation
Newboro
Westport
Kingston Mills
Kingston
Seeley's Bay

33 hr(s) of cruising

152km 28 locks 7 nights

Seeley's Bay RETURN via Westport and Kingston

A week long cruise for those looking to discover both the small-town charm of Westport and the big city thrill of Kingston. This cruise is ideal for those looking to enjoy both the Rideau’s breath-taking nature, and unique local culture.

33 hr(s) of cruising

152km 28 locks 7 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Merrickville, Newboro and Kingston

Smiths Falls
Merrickville
Portland
Westport
Newboro
Chaffey's Lockstation
Kingston Mills
Kingston
Jones Falls
Smiths Falls

53 hr(s) of cruising

299km 30 locks 14 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Merrickville, Newboro and Kingston

Stopping off at Newboro and Seeleys Bay this itinerary is perfect for any budding angler looking to catch one of the region’s Largemouth Bass. For those less piscis-ly minded, this cruise also takes in the charming artisanal community of Merrickville and pulsating culture of Kingston. The perfect cruise for mixing nature, adventure and culture.

53 hr(s) of cruising

299km 30 locks 14 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Merrickville, Long Island and Ottawa

Smiths Falls
Upper Nicholsons
Long Island
Ottawa
Burritts Rapids
Merrickville
Smiths Falls

39 hr(s) of cruising

192km 40 locks 10 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Merrickville, Long Island and Ottawa

This cruise will allow you to enjoy some of the spectacular nature that lines the Rideau Canal, from the Otter to the Osprey, as you make your way to Ottawa. Here, you’ll be able to take in all that Canada’s capital has to offer before gently making your way back to Smith Falls for a second chance to spot any animal you may have missed on the way up!

39 hr(s) of cruising

192km 40 locks 10 nights

Smiths Falls to Seeley's Bay via Ottawa

Smiths Falls
Upper Nicholsons
Long Island
Ottawa
Burritts Rapids
Merrickville
Portland
Westport
Newboro
Chaffey's Lockstation
Jones Falls
Seeley's Bay

60 hr(s) of cruising

264km 46 locks 14 nights

Smiths Falls to Seeley's Bay via Ottawa

An epic one-way long break for those looking to truly immerse themselves in Canada. Travel from our base on the central Rideau in Smiths Falls up to Canada’s capital Ottawa in the north, then head south across vast Lakes to Seeley’s Bay on the Southern Rideau. The perfect getaway for those who want to explore the Rideau to its fullest.

60 hr(s) of cruising

264km 46 locks 14 nights
Added on 20 August 2018

Ajit Vargis said

The staff and the service at Smiths falls is the best. The boat was clean and we thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Want to do this again Good choice for our mini vacation
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Added on 17 August 2018

Jeetu Gill said

LeBoat went above and beyond what I thought I would be getting from meticulously showing us all the things on board, how to operate it, taking us through the first lock. It was a very happy experience and I would be happy to rent again. Check in was very smooth. Everything was ready for us when we arrived.
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Added on 08 August 2018

Ched Gladding said

Good training, clean boat, nice weather, beautiful waters, anxious to go back Lots of fun, thoroughly enjoyable
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Wonderful. We are so happy you enjoyed your cruise. We hope to see you cruise with us again soon!
Smiths Falls - Smiths Falls
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Added on 29 July 2018

Christine Gulutzen said

From the moment I called to book our vacation till the morning we returned the keys to the boat, we had nothing but great service. Everyone was friendly and helpful. The boat was amazingly easy to drive, after a lesson on how to drive it. We rented a double kayak and stand up paddle boat, they were strapped to the boat and ready for take off when we arrived, and our teenagers used them everyday. There were 9 of us on the four bedroom boat and we never felt like we were in each others way. We had two families and split the cost it was a very affordable vacation. No hidden costs.
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Added on 23 July 2018

Solomon Hay said

Leboat always goes out of their way, before, during and after the trip, to make sure the trip is perfect! The Smiths Falls trip was our 5th with LeBoat and their customer service and attention to detail is exemplary!
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Added on 21 July 2018

Luc Shank said

We had an excellent time. Great boat, great service! Staff is friendly and helpful. Friendly staff, fun relaxing experience!
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Thank you for your wonderful review! We're so glad you had a great time!
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Added on 21 July 2018

Caroline Gardner said

We had an amazing holiday with Le Boat Canada on our Horizon. Everything was fabulous and the staff were super helpful, without exception. Thanks to everyone who made our trip so special! The scenery was stunning, boat super easy to handle and the people we met on our cruise were all so friendly... we had a brilliant time!
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Dear Mrs Gardner,
Thank you for sharing your feedback. We are delighted to learn you enjoyed your cruise in Canada with us and were satisfied with the customer service you received.
We hope to welcome you on board with us again soon,
Best wishes, The Le Boat team
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Added on 09 July 2018

Elizabeth Schubert said

e Company in Canada, I expected them to offer prompt and efficient service, which they did. Hopefully, this will continue in the This being the first year of the years to come. They were also flexible in making suggestions as to an alternate route, during our 4-5 day experience. This greatly enhanced that experience. We were a family group of 10 people, on a Horizon 4. We also rented a bicycle, with child seat, as well as a 2 person kayak. All the equipment worked well.
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Added on 07 July 2018

Ryan Huntley said

The Service was fantastic, the staff very friendly and helpful, the boats were amazing. Worth every penny can't wait to do it again
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Added on 07 July 2018

Mark Pillsbury said

The canal experience was very well organized, the staff was excellent and the boat couldn't have been better. Really enjoyed the lakes and canal, and the birds were magnificent.
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