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Rideau Canal

This engineering and scenic marvel fills with pleasure craft in summer and transforms into the world’s longest naturally frozen skating rink in winter.

The Rideau Canal is a water channel that runs 126 miles (202 kilometers) between Ottawa and Kingston, Ontario. Built between 1827 and 1832, the canal is North America’s oldest continuously operated canal system. Today the canal is the scenic and recreational centerpiece of Ottawa, filling with boats in summer and skaters during winter. 

Ottawa’s parks, gardens, museums and scenic walkways line the canal. In the summer months, the canal is a thriving waterway. Go boating, take a cruise or walk, jog or rollerblade along the sidewalks. At Dows Lake at the southern end of the canal, rent a paddleboat, kayak or canoe. 

Combine your canal visit with a trip to one of the many cultural attractions along the waterway. Start at the northern entrance with the Parliament Buildings, then visit the Bytown Museum and learn how the canal was built. Explore the National Arts Centre and enjoy the views it has of the canal. At Dows Lake, walk through the ornamental gardens in the Arboretum of the Central Experimental Farm. The wetland areas that were created as a result of its construction are now home to a diverse array of plants, animals and fish.

For about 50 days during winter, you can ski or snowshoe along the canal when it freezes into the world’s longest naturally frozen skating rink. Rent skates and sleds from one of the handy locations along the canal. You’ll find washrooms, heated changing rooms and local vendors selling BeaverTails fried dough and beverages along the way too.

Rideau Canal runs south through the center of Ottawa. Boat access is via the Ottawa River in the north. In winter, the skateway can be accessed via ramps at the Mackenzie King Bridge, Fifth Avenue (Queen Elizabeth Drive side), Bronson Avenue (Colonel By Drive) and Dows Lake Pavilion. Parking is available at a number of locations.


Guide to Exploring around Rideau Canal


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Rideau Canal

See all 286 Properties near Rideau Canal
Lord Elgin Hotel $128
Lord Elgin Hotel

Lord Elgin Hotel

100 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Downtown Ottawa, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of National War Memorial, Rideau Centre, and Parliament Hill. Rideau Canal is 1.6 mi (2.6 km) away.

    The Business Inn $73
    The Business Inn

    The Business Inn

    180 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON
       
      2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Centretown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Canadian Tribute to Human Rights and Museum of Nature. University of Ottawa and National Arts Centre are also within 15 minutes.

      Ottawa Marriott Hotel $114
      Ottawa Marriott Hotel

      Ottawa Marriott Hotel

      100 Kent St, Ottawa, ON
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        This family-friendly Ottawa hotel is located in the business district, within a 5-minute walk of Currency Museum and Supreme Court of Canada. Parliament Hill and National Arts Centre are also within 15 minutes. Bayview Station is 26 minutes by foot.

        Fairmont Chateau Laurier $127
        Fairmont Chateau Laurier

        Fairmont Chateau Laurier

        1 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON
           
          4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Downtown Ottawa, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of National War Memorial, Shaw Centre, and National Arts Centre. Byward Market Square and Parliament Hill are also within 10 minutes.

          Capital Hill Hotel and Suites $97
          Capital Hill Hotel and Suites

          Capital Hill Hotel and Suites

          88 Albert St, Ottawa, ON
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Ottawa, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of National Arts Centre, Parliament Hill, and Rideau Centre. Byward Market Square and Supreme Court of Canada are also within 15 minutes.

            The Westin Ottawa $128
            The Westin Ottawa

            The Westin Ottawa

            11 Colonel By Dr, Ottawa, ON
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown Ottawa, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Shaw Centre, Byward Market Square, and Parliament Hill. University of Ottawa and Canadian Museum of History are also within 1 mi (2 km).

              Cartier Place Suite Hotel $91
              Cartier Place Suite Hotel

              Cartier Place Suite Hotel

              180 Cooper Street, Ottawa, ON
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Centretown, this eco-friendly aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Canadian Tribute to Human Rights and National Arts Centre. University of Ottawa and Parliament Hill are also within 15 minutes.

                Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre $114
                Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre

                Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre

                101 Lyon Street, Ottawa, ON
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown Ottawa, this eco-friendly hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Parliament Hill, Canadian War Museum, and Byward Market Square. National Gallery of Canada and Canadian Museum of History are also within 1 mi (2 km). Bayview Station is 23 minutes by foot.