Exiting Hogs BackBy John Morris

An example of the historic workmanship and timeless beauty that is around every turn on the Rideau Canal. Here the classic 1948 Shepherd runabout exits the locks at Hogs Back.

History: right after gym and just before chemistry class. Fifty minutes of naming the prime ministers by date and looking out the window. Who knew it was actually interesting.

And in some ways it hardly matters because the Rideau Waterway is just so amazingly beautiful. Driving your boat through the locks is wonderful fun for kids of all ages (adult kids, too) and the scenery is sensational. The history is a huge bonus however, and worth understanding from both as a political lesson and from an engineering perspective.

Glassy Calm WatersThe glassy calm waters on this perfect fall day are actually typical boating conditions for much of the sheltered Rideau Canal.

Suddenly it seems that everyone is talking about the Rideau Canal. Canadian Yachting Media is assembling a new PORTS guide for the waterway and the other Rideau headline is LeBoat Charters. It took a European operator to recognize the world-class Canadian resource that boaters can enjoy; here at home we have so much boating choice that somehow this delicious treat is just another Chelsea bun on the shelf.

In April, the system took a starring role in a TVO documentary, ‘Tripping the Rideau’, which ran as a four-hour pioneering block following a beautiful classic Shepherd launch from Manotick, right into the centre of downtown Ottawa. To say it was like driving your own boat is no exaggeration; the four-hour trip has almost no dialog and is a real-time experience that you could, and really should, have yourself. No commercials, the doc was as close to boating as technology can take you and the filmmakers also have online options for VR viewing.
TRIPPING the Rideau Canal

The drone camera angle required special permits (of course) but the TVO production, TRIPPING the Rideau Canal gives a magnificent view of the eight-step flight of locks that run between Canada's Parliament Buildings and the Chateau Laurier Hotel.

The fundamentals

The Rideau system runs 202 kilometres through Ontario from Kingston to Ottawa incorporating 45 locks, 16 lakes and two rivers. Boats raise 83.8 metres through 31 locks to Upper Rideau Lake, the watershed between the Great Lakes and Ottawa River. Then they lock down 50.6 metres through 14 locks including the final dramatic 8-lock staircase descending 24.1 metres to the Ottawa River. Surprisingly the last 10 locks take boats right through the centre of downtown Ottawa, almost surreptitiously navigating right under the wheels of government and business, and the crowds of workers, shoppers and tourists that fill the busy core of the nation’s capital. When you exit the last lock onto the Ottawa, you are right smack between the Parliament buildings and the Chateau Laurier hotel. The Peace Tower is your channel marker to port.

This urban stretch is a complete contrast to the rest of the Rideau, which is a chain of lakes with a smattering of man-made canals (only 9% of the whole route) connecting them. Along its banks are historic and modern towns and villages, marinas, shoreside eateries and pubs galore, and staggering reaches of nature dotted with cottages small and large. This is neither tony Muskoka nor the busy English Midlands, but rather a rich and wonderful trove of Canadian everything. I daresay only a very few celebrities invite their LA friends to the Rideau compared to the Lake Joseph A-list, although I suggest taking it in soon before this beauty is discovered and the private planes and caterers arrive.
Downtown Ottawa

Tripping the Rideau

Tripping the Rideau Canal is a real time documentary shot by Goodearth Productions of Toronto. Neither Mitch Azaria – Executive Producer, Writer & Director nor Andrea Minty – Producer & Production Manager is a boater. Their reputation has been made delivering hundreds of hours of nature and Canadian heritage productions and their fresh eyes have captured all this incredible waterway’s charm. The tech crew aren’t from a boating background either, but their skill in capturing the beauty of the canal system from the boat, from drones and along the banks is evident in the compelling footage.

While there’s almost no dialog, the documentary approach to the history of the waterway is a vital component of this groundbreaking doc using animation to bring the past to life along key areas of the canal while we cruise along as guests of Dawn and Randy McKendry aboard their stunning vintage 1948 Shepherd. While the Rideau hosts all manner of boats from kayaks to cruisers, there is some major antique and classic boat activity towards Ottawa; Randy is the current president of the Manotick chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society, (ACBS).

Hogs Back FallsThis is one of the reasons the canal and lock system was needed; this is an aerial view of the Hogs Back Falls that is beside the lock.

One of the real world uses of the Rideau is to take the Manotick members to Kingston then across Lake Ontario to Clayton and Alexandria Bay, NY, the mecca of upstate and St. Lawrence River classic boat fiends – think Port Carling with a castle.

As the oldest continuously operated canal in North America, the Rideau still shows off the incredible engineering from the 1820s in its masonry canal walls and human-operated locks, the majority of which are still opened by hand. The construction of the canal was supervised by Lieutenant-Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers. Started in the fall of 1826, it was completed by the spring of 1832. The first full steamboat transit of the canal was done by Robert Drummond's steamboat, Rideau (aka "Pumper"), leaving Kingston on May 22, 1832 with Colonel By and family on board, and arriving in Bytown on May 29, 1832. To the surprise of no one since, the project came in delayed and over budget.

Much of its original purpose was to provide passage from Montreal to Kingston should war with the Americans threaten passage and since it was relatively easy compared to navigating the pre-locks, pre--Seaway St. Lawrence, it was commercially popular even though no war fare materialized.

Get out there

Hartwells LockToday, The Rideau is much as it was although the modern world surrounds it. It is the domain of pleasure boats up and down its length. Cottagers, canoeists, fishing boats and cruisers keep it busy although not quite as populous as the Trent Severn. In the winter, the downstream portion in Ottawa is turned into the world’s longest skating rink packed with healthy skaters eating traditional beaver tail snacks.

PC Cranking at LI Locks

 

 

 

One of the most charming parts of the Rideau Canal is that Parks Canada staff still work the massive gates with hand crank mechanisms to open and close the doors. The staff are both friendly and very helpful.

The park is Maintained and staffed by Parks Canada. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1925 and in 2007, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognizing it as a work of human creative genius. The Rideau Canal is recognized as the best preserved example of a slack water canal in North America demonstrating the use of European slackwater technology in North America on a large scale. 

If the Rideau was in France or Austria, Canadians would be bucket-listing it and booking luxury cruises. Perhaps because it is next to free, next door and you could go there by boat, or by charter any time, we don’t seem to get around to it. I am suggesting you really should and the documentary will help convince you.

TVO Documentary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sidenote: The Doc
Imagine being able to experience portions of the Rideau Canal in virtual reality. See how we made it possible and be sure to tune in to watch the experience unfold in the 4 hour TVO Original TRIPPING the Rideau Canal now available online at TVO.org. 

 

Sidenote: LeBoat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg6Yo3WQ__E&list=PLZNA2oxm2w36UZwRpfJ0tnxNGyYlZT4Dm&index=9

LeBoat Charters on the Rideau Canal:  Wild and wonderful, take an unforgettable boating vacation on Canada's canals and wide-open lakes

LeBoat 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 along this attractive waterway, you will be able to unwind and take in the spectacular nature, picturesque towns and lively cities of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. No special qualifications are required to operate your LeBoat charter yacht and the friendly LeBoat staff will explain all that you need to know before you depart.

For further information and video inspiration:

New Video From Le Boat – Keep Dreaming
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEXSAxWNXGg&list=PLZNA2oxm2w36UZwRpfJ0tnxNGyYlZT4Dm
 
Canada –Rideau Canal Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg6Yo3WQ__E&list=PLZNA2oxm2w36UZwRpfJ0tnxNGyYlZT4Dm&index=9
 
Sample Itineraries
https://www.leboat.ca/en/boating-holidays/canada/rideau-canal#tab2
 
Rideau Canal Guide Book
https://www.leboat.com/sites/default/files/rideau-guide-eng-can-vacation-2019-online.pdf

Related Articles

Tuesday, 07 April 2020 17:21

If you have four hours to enjoy a fine tour of one of Canada’s most interesting waterways (let’s face it, these days we can all find four hours!) you will love this doc that is boat ride looking at...

Tuesday, 08 January 2019 07:50

Situated in one of the best protected places in the Pacific Northwest, tucked between Thetis and Penelakut Islands. 

Tuesday, 08 January 2019 07:34

For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of Brooks Peninsula / Muquin Provincial Park on the west coast of Vancouver Island, south of Port...

Thursday, 31 May 2018 02:12

We’re aboard Attigouatan, a Pursuit 2260 that normally lives life as a friend’s cottage boat, running back and forth from dock to dock. 

Friday, 08 March 2013 12:24

A pearl among Gulf Islands parks, this sandy haven is ideal for hiking, beachcombing, birding, fishing…or just hanging. Sidney Spit is a park of superlatives. With the best sandy shores,...

Wednesday, 10 October 2018 03:12

One year ago, Le Boat, a supplier of self-drive river and canal cruise holidays in Europe, announced the company’s expansion into North America, opening their first base in Smiths Falls, ON. 

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
Optimized sailing performance and comfortable living – a sweet ride. The expression that came to ...
This is such an exciting time in boating! While we feel very sorry for people whose health and ...
For many, the 2020 sailing year will be one to go down into the books as “different”. With delayed ...
What perfect timing! Beneteau is has just announced their new Antares 11 model for North America ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full-service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...
The Oceanis Yacht 54, younger sister of the Oceanis 62, embodies the innovation that has always ...
Beneteau announces the launch of the latest addition to the Antares range! With a length overall of ...
I had been looking forward to a sea trial aboard the Greenline 33 because I was hoping it would ...
New at the end of 2019, the 58 Salon Express design features large windows to flood the living ...
No wonder this is one of Regal’s best-selling boats; the Regal 33 Express offers amazing ...

CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.

 

Read more about the CY Virtual Boat Tours....................

 

Hanse 418By Katherine Stone

Optimized sailing performance and comfortable living – a sweet ride

The expression that came to mind immediately was “Sweet Ride” – and I wasn’t referring to the latest ride at the CNE, a chairlift, or a new Mercedes – it was the new Hanse 418, as it cleanly cut through the water in a gusty 15-20 knot breeze averaging 6-8 knots on Lake Ontario. She was easy to steer and manoeuver even in the big gusts. The extra length over the 388 has made a big difference, with German architects Judel/Vrolijk focusing on updates to the deck layout, cockpit and stern.

Read More

ChemainusBy Marianne Scott

The approach to the Chemainus Municipal Dock from Stuart Channel is straightforward and is protected from all but strong northerly winds. The only obstacle may be some large log booms often anchored in the harbour. The Dock is immediately south of the B.C. ferry terminal; the ferry runs to Thetis- and Penelakut Islands.

Harbourmaster Harmen Bootsma, who has been the cheerful, welcoming presence here for a couple of decades, is ready to catch your lines. 

 

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Skipper John “Drew” Plominski is hoping that lightning doesn’t strike twice. Plominski, whose boat ...
The Association provides a forum for exchanging information, tips and access an advocate on behalf ...
Kristin Cummings, Operations Manager at Beacon Bay Marina took this shot after the skies broke ...
Our Photo of the Week (two, in fact) comes from New Zealand where the second America’s Cup AC 75 ...
The Marine Debris Recovery Initiative (MDRI), a collaboration with the Clean Coast, Clean Waters ...
The International Joint Commission (IJC) is reviewing Plan 2014 and could use your help. The plan ...
The Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR), thanks to funding from Environment and Climate Change ...
This Photo of the Week came from our own CY Team member Sarah C who, like many of us, is trying to ...
Limestone, a heritage Canadian boat brand that has earned a loyal following over the past 35 ...
Schooner Cove Yacht Club through their staff Capt. and other volunteers organize cruises so members ...

Discovery Harbour MarinaThe Association provides a forum for exchanging information, tips and access an advocate on behalf of the membership. Their Directors work with members to find solutions to issues in British Columbia. Members receive quarterly newsletter, with contributions by other members all along the BC coast.

The Association and its members continually update the list of marinas that allow little board moorings. This is a list of known and reported marinas that allow marine residents in British Columbia. We need your help to build and keep this list up-to-date. Please contact us with any additions or edits.

Read More

DIY & How to

  • Prev
There’s nothing worse than wondering how much fuel you have on board. You’re left wondering how ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
“They don’t make ‘em like they used to”, is a phrase that many of us are familiar with. Most of the ...
I’m on many different types of boats, with many configurations. Some have a single ...
I often get asked if regular care and maintenance is necessary for inflatable PFDs. Here is a ...
Labour Day weekend tends to be the ‘last hurrah’ on many fronts: the last long weekend of the ...
One of the Great Lakes’ best known tall ships, sail training vessel TS Playfair, will soon be ...
My Dad is not a mechanical guy. He is educated and well-read, and handy around the house – but not ...
I was cleaning up my workbench the other day. My eyes then scanned across my workbench and fell on ...
July and August  in Canada are the months of boating. People are on the water – exploring, ...

WinterizationBy Andrew McDonald, Lakeside Marine Services

“They don’t make ‘em like they used to”, is a phrase that many of us are familiar with. Most of the time it is in reference to a bygone era of better, and it’s used to lament the sorry state of what we have today. It is a phrase that can be applied to many areas of our lives: architecture, art, furniture, tools. Boats? I would argue that they don’t make them like they used to. But, is that lamentable, or is it progress?

Progress, I think. With this concept in mind, as we enter another season of putting boats to bed for the winter, why do we winterize as we always have?

Read More

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
The Tundra 65 is Yeti's most versatile cooler, just as adept at keeping catches cold as it is ...
Fireball self Extinguisher. It's a revolutionary self-detonating device designed to extinguish a ...
The problem with driving any full-size Pickup Truck or Sport Utility Vehicle is that when you are ...
Wait no longer - the 2021 Rideau Canal & Lower Ottawa River PORTS Guide will be available for ...
Timed to help with those tough last-minute gift-giving ideas, we bring you the (almost) first-ever ...
With growing demand being placed on onboard electrical power supplies these days, it's an ideal ...
Timed to help with those tough last-minute gift-giving ideas, we bring you the (almost) first-ever ...
By Amptrup, Jon and Bob Shepton      
Ratcheted strap allows quick, easy attaching.