History of the Rideau Canal

The walk will focus on the history of the Rideau Canal as well as the history of the people who built the canal and those who lived in proximity to it. how and why it was built, who built it, and events that occurred in the area of the canal. Beginning with the use of the Ottawa River by indigenous peoples, we will go on to talk about Col. John By as well as the French Canadian and Irish workers, how they lived and the dangers of working on the canal. Early settlements along the canal included the shantytown of Corktown and the village of Neville's Creek.

Particular sites and events of note:

  • the eight locks that connect the canal to the Ottawa river
  • the oldest building in Ottawa (Bytown Museum)
  • Ottawa's original central railway station.
  • the ruins of the Sappers' Bridge and the riots that occurred there
  • the typhus epidemic of 1847 and the spot where the fever sheds were located (where hundreds died).
  • the opening of the Rideau Canal skateway and the challenges in maintaining the skateway in the face of climate change
  • the Corktown pedestrian bridge
  • the Rideau Canal as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • the effects of increased development in the heritage neighbourhood beside the canal because of the proximity of the Campus LRT station.
Carte indiquant le point de départ

We start at the Parks Canada offices, on the west side of the canal at the top of the flight of eight locks. This location, beside the Chateau Laurier Hotel and Wellington Street affords a view of the Ottawa River, the flight of eight locks, Parliament Hill and the Chateau Laurier. From there, we will proceed south alongside the canal. We will pass underneath the Wellington Street bridge and through the ruins of the Sappers' Bridge. Then we proceed south along the west bank of the canal with frequent stops along the way, until we reach Frank Street, where the walk will end. .

Au sujet du guide

Jack Hanna is a retired teacher, with a passion for history. He is chair of the Heritage Committee of the Centretown Community Association. For the past two years, from spring to autumn, he has been offering history walking tours on Sundays starting at the Elgin Street Farmer's Market. Jack's walking tours receive good reviews and get a lot of repeat business; folks who take one tour return for the second one.

Find out more about the Centretown Community Association here.


Jack Hanna

Date:sam 4 mai, 2024
Durée: 1 heure
Langue: anglais
Début:Parks Canada offices at the top of the flight of locks beside the Chateau Laurier
Fin:Frank Street & the canal
Quartier:Golden Triangle
Distance:1.5 kms

There are stairs at two places along the route and places where tree roots have disturbed the pavement.

Galerie d'images
View of the eight locks connecting the canal with the Ottawa River, with the Bytown Museum visible on the left side. Plaque commemorating Sapper's Bridge. Piping laid in the canal bed which is part of the effort to preserve the Rideau Canal Skateway in the face of climate change.
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