About Rideau Canal

Wild and wonderful, take a 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.

 

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Map showing where the Rideau Canal boating region is in Canada

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.

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
  • 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

Interactive map

Base pin  = Le Boat base                 Point of interest pin  = 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 Kilborne’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.

Route suggestions

Smiths Falls RETURN via Beveridges

Smiths Falls
Beveridge's Locks
Smiths Falls

7hr(s) of cruising

30.00km 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.

7hr(s) of cruising

30.00km 8 locks 3 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Perth

Smiths Falls
Beveridge's Locks
Perth
Smiths Falls

9hr(s) of cruising

46.00km 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.

9hr(s) of cruising

46.00km 8 locks 4 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Merrickville

Smiths Falls
Merrickville
Smiths Falls

13hr(s) of cruising

45.00km 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.

13hr(s) of cruising

45.00km 16 locks 4 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Portland and Jones Falls

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

21hr(s) of cruising

123.00km 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.

21hr(s) of cruising

123.00km 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

29hr(s) of cruising

145.00km 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!

29hr(s) of cruising

145.00km 30 locks 7 nights

Smiths Falls RETURN via Newboro and Seeleys Bay

Smiths Falls
Newboro
Jones Falls
Smiths Falls

22hr(s) of cruising

69.00km 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.

22hr(s) of cruising

69.00km 16 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

53hr(s) of cruising

299.00km 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.

53hr(s) of cruising

299.00km 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

39hr(s) of cruising

192.00km 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!

39hr(s) of cruising

192.00km 40 locks 10 nights
Added on 18 June 2018

Chris Lukasevich said

Our Le Boat experience was amazing! From start to finish, everyone we dealt with was extremely friendly, helpful and professional! All of this, coupled with gorgeous vistas, cute towns, and perfect weather, made for the ideal vacation. We cruised from Smith Falls to Merrickville then back through Smith Falls to Westport vía Portland. The list of start/end points below did not include Canadian ports. Amazing!!! All of us had a wonderful time!
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Added on 18 June 2018

Joe Buckley said

The entire service experiece was excellent. Everyone we interacted with at Le Boat in Smiths Falls was friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to help make our trip enjoyable. Great staff who knows the area well, really helpful in every way. We love the Rideau Canal system, Smiths Falls, Westport, and all the lovely Canadian towns along the way. Parks Canada does such an awesome job with the locks, and the people here are so friendly.
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Added on 09 June 2018

Nathan Hope said

The boat exceeded our expectations and the canal system was very easy to navigate. Our boat was ready, clean and ran perfectly. Excellent boat, customer service and location. Great time of year to cruise the Rideau. Everyone we met was excited to see the new Le Boat yachts. The National Park folks operating the locks were knowledgeable and very helpful with local information. Truly a wonderful boating vacation.
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Added on 09 June 2018

Alan Miller said

Fine Boat for the purpose. Excellent check in and service at beginning and end. Beautiful area to cruise.
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We're so happy you had a great trip! We hope to have you cruise with us again soon!
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Added on 18 June 2018

Stephen Bourne said

All went well. We started at 2.00 pm, but were told not to start the trip until the following morning. We were due to leave the boat at 10.00 am but had to get back the previous afternoon. The second cabin was too small for a couple to sleep in and only suitable to be used for storage or possibly for a child. The thrusters made boat handling easy. Base was Smiths Falls on the Rideau Canal, Canada. Cruising time was shorter than advertised.
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Dear Stephen,
We are pleased to hear that your boating holiday on the Rideau Canal went well.
Many thanks for your feedback, our customers' comments are very important us.
The Le Boat Team
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