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Rideau Canal
Vacation Travel Guide

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.

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Top Hotels Close to Rideau Canal

Fairmont Chateau Laurier
Fairmont Chateau Laurier
4.5 out of 5
1 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON
The price is $142 per night from Jan 23 to Jan 24

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 ...

4.3/5Excellent! (2,186 reviews)

"Nice stay! considering all the covid restrictions the hotel has adapted well."…"

Reviewed on Jan 11, 2021

Fairmont Chateau Laurier
The Westin Ottawa
The Westin Ottawa
4 out of 5
11 Colonel By Dr, Ottawa, ON
The price is $124 per night from Jan 22 to Jan 23

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 ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (1,301 reviews)

"Most dog friendly hotel in Ottawa! Great staff. And a good location as well."…"

Reviewed on Jan 5, 2021

The Westin Ottawa
Andaz Ottawa Byward Market - a concept by Hyatt
Andaz Ottawa Byward Market - a concept by Hyatt
4 out of 5
325 Dalhousie Street, Ottawa, ON
The price is $105 per night from Jan 30 to Jan 31

Located in Downtown Ottawa, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Byward Market Square, Shaw Centre, and National Gallery of Canada. Parliament Hill and University ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,581 reviews)

"It was during Covid so a really unusual stay. There was no room service, no restaurants open, no gym, nothing so hard to tell but the hotel was clean and the rooms were nice."…"

Reviewed on Jan 11, 2021

Andaz Ottawa Byward Market - a concept by Hyatt
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Rideau Canal Flight + Hotel Deals

Bayside Inn & Waterfront Suites
Maple Crest Inn
Best Western Fireside Inn
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The Ins and Outs for Visiting Ottawa

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Rideau Canal

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Best Lodging Options Near Rideau Canal

Fairmont Chateau Laurier
Fairmont Chateau Laurier
4.5 out of 5
1 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON
The price is $142 per night from Jan 23 to Jan 24
Fairmont Chateau Laurier
The Westin Ottawa
The Westin Ottawa
4 out of 5
11 Colonel By Dr, Ottawa, ON
The price is $124 per night from Jan 22 to Jan 23
The Westin Ottawa
Andaz Ottawa Byward Market - a concept by Hyatt
Andaz Ottawa Byward Market - a concept by Hyatt
4 out of 5
325 Dalhousie Street, Ottawa, ON
The price is $105 per night from Jan 30 to Jan 31
Andaz Ottawa Byward Market - a concept by Hyatt
Residence & Conference Centre - Ottawa Downtown
Residence & Conference Centre - Ottawa Downtown
2.5 out of 5
150 Hazel Street, Ottawa, ON
Residence & Conference Centre - Ottawa Downtown
The Business Inn
The Business Inn
2.5 out of 5
180 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON
The price is $80 per night from Jan 17 to Jan 18
The Business Inn
Arc The Hotel
Arc The Hotel
4 out of 5
140 Slater St, Ottawa, ON
The price is $86 per night from Feb 13 to Feb 14
Arc The Hotel
Ashbury House B&B
Ashbury House B&B
3 out of 5
303 First Ave, Ottawa, ON
The price is $128 per night from Jan 31 to Feb 1
Ashbury House B&B
Ottawa Embassy Hotel & Suites
Ottawa Embassy Hotel & Suites
3.5 out of 5
25 Cartier St, Ottawa, ON
The price is $91 per night from Jan 21 to Jan 22
Ottawa Embassy Hotel & Suites
A Voyageur's Guest House
A Voyageur's Guest House
2.5 out of 5
95 Arlington Avenue, Ottawa, ON
The price is $39 per night from Jan 23 to Jan 24
A Voyageur's Guest House
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.