The Rideau Canal, sometimes also referred to as the Rideau Waterway is an artificial connection of Ottawa and the Ottawa River to Kingston at Lake Ontario. The total length of the waterway is over 200 kilometers and it belongs to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. While the motivation to build it has been majorly due to military strategies, it is nowadays rather a pleasure boating facility. The route is practically intact completely. While visiting the Canadian capital, a boat trip on the canal is typically rather high on your to-do list. That also applied to me, when I visited the city in fall 2021.
Rideau Canal Cruises – Location & Admission
The Rideau Canal Cruises start at the very Northern end of the canal, next to the canal locks, the Bytown Museum. The next O-Train (tram) station is Rideau. The company name is Ottawa Boat Cruises.
The number of cruises per day differs with the estimated demand. In August 2022, for example, there are five to six daily cruises. The typical season is mid-May to mid-October. A single adult admission was 39.46 CAD incl. tax during my visit in 2021, today it feels to be slightly higher (some one CAD). You may combine your Rideau Canal Cruise with combo tickets, though. There is for example a cruise on the Ottawa River you can combine it with.
Rideau Canal Cruises – The Boat
The boat which is operating the cruise on the Rideau Canal is fully electric. It is a rather flat boat which has been equipped with ordinary chairs during the cruise. Please note that Covid-19 protection measures were still in place in Ontario during my visit – I guess they operate higher volumes of people nowadays. The boat has a very light construction, which is very handy for the cruise. I felt very safe on board, the water is really calm anyways and the boat very quiet.
Rideau Canal Cruises – The Cruise
The total cruise is a some 90 minute experience. More or less, the cruise is just going forth and back. This leads to the advantage that the side of the boat you are sitting on is not too relevant (you see the other shore of the canal on the return) – on the other hand, the return does not offer too many unexpected thrills. Thus, the live commentary on board also ended after some 60 minutes. During that time, the ship roughly reaches Dow’s Lake.
As you see, there are interesting buildings on both sides of the canal. An interesting highlight of the trip are also the bridges of Ottawa. The guide gave a lot of stories of the boroughs and also adjusted it to the group of people on board. For example, he made jokes about Germany while we passed the German Embassy. The atmosphere was very relaxed, but educative. The stadium you see in the pictures below is the Frank-Clair-Stadium, used for American Football.
Rideau Canal Cruises – Service
There is a small drink and snack shop on board. However, none of the passengers on my cruise in fact had a drink. The guide was very friendly and curious about stories told by the clients.
Rideau Canal Cruises – My View
The cruise on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal has definitely been a nice experience. Having the same route on both parts of the trip is of course a bit of unfortunate, but inevitable. If there is good weather and you feel like some relaxed sightseeing, this is definitely a nice way to spend 90 minutes.