Discover stunning vistas, beautiful towns and lively cities as you cruise along the UNESCO-listed Rideau Canal.
The Rideau Canal, which opened in 1832, flows between two fascinating cities - Ottawa in the north and Kingston in the south. There are 24 Lockstations and 47 locks in total.
The Rideau region is perfect for those who love fishing as the waters are home to Largemouth Bass and Northern Pike, to name but a few. The area is also a haven for wildlife and boasts several parks, including Murphy’s Point and Rideau River Provincial Park. Take advantage of the nearby cycle routes, the perfect way to explore, and try the delicious Canadian cuisine. Ottawa and Kingston and arguably the two main gastronomic cities but there are plenty of smaller culinary hotspots to be discovered along the canal. For lovers of history, the region offers a wealth of museums, including the fascinating Smiths Falls Railway Museum.
We can arrange flights from the UK to Canada, and hotel stays so that you can extend your Canada adventure. Why not continue on to Toronto, capital of the Ontario province, or explore the awe-inspiring Niagra Falls State Park with its dramatic waterfalls?
Cruiser Boat Base
The cruiser boat base at Smiths Falls is located midway along the canal. This beautiful town in the heart of Eastern Ontario has a thriving arts community and a deep-rooted history. From the boat base, there is the option to cruise north towards Ottawa or head south towards Kingston. We offer 3-night short breaks as well longer 14-night options.
Cruise south to Beveridges Locks and on to the Tay Canal, which links the town of Perth to the Rideau Canal. This area is one of the best for wildlife sightings including the famous Canada Geese, beavers and otters.
Further south is the village of Portland on Big Rideau Lake which can be explored on the Cataraqui trail or perhaps visit one of the wineries. The next stop is Westport, a haven for nature lovers, Chaffey’s Lockstation and picturesque Jones Falls, home to the impressive Great Stone Arch Dam. Further along the Rideau Canal is Seeley’s Bay, a beautiful village where you can stock up on groceries and try the local beverages.
There is also the option to cruise north from the boat base at Smiths Falls to Merrickville, arguably Canada’s prettiest village with its Victorian houses lining the banks of the canal. Hop off at Burrits Rapid and perhaps follow the Tip to Tip Trail past stunning scenery, before heading to Long Island Locks, perfect for fishing and enjoying a picnic.
Off the Beaten Track
The Rideau offers a wealth of key places to visit, but venture off the beaten track and you won’t be disappointed. We’ve put together some of our favourite hidden gems.
The Baxter Conservation Area on the shores of the Rideau River in Ontario boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the region. It is also home to the unique Filmore Park Nut Grove plus a variety of trails, showcasing breathtaking forests, meadows and wetlands.
The Smiths Falls’ Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario is well worth a visit. The museum is housed in a former Canadian Northern Railway Station which has been listed as a National Historic Site. The site also encompasses the Canadian Northern Railway Roadmaster’s houses as well as Nolan’s Corners Flag Station. Learn about the history of the railway and enjoy a ride on one of the old trains.
Learn about how pure maple syrup is made at the Wheelers Maple Sugar Camp in Ontario. The Wheelers Maple Heritage Museum houses antique items relating to maple syrup production, while the nature trails allow you to explore the stunning grounds.
The Jones Falls Dam on the Rideau Canal was once the largest dam in North America. It has been nicknamed the Whispering Dam as someone speaking at one edge of the dam can be heard over 360 feet away at the other edge. This is due to the unique arch shape and the use of sandstone.
For fashion lovers, Kilborns department store in Newboro is a must-visit, while a visit to the Scheuremann Vineyard and Winery in Westport provides the perfect excuse to try the high-quality wines.