Rideau Heritage Route | Ontario Highlands Tourism

Paddling on the Tay Canal

The Rideau Heritage Route is a popular landmark in Ontario’s Highlands and can be enjoyed from many of the region’s towns and communities. The waterway is listed as one of 936 UNESCO World Heritage Sites declared to be an important part of cultural and natural heritage and perceived as having outstanding universal value. The route covers 202 kilometres of the Rideau and Cataraqui Rivers and the canal, located in Ottawa, is the only remaining operational canal that was built in the early 19th century.

Paddlers and Boating

Paddlers will enjoy steering through the Rideau Heritage Route’s calm waters and through 45 locks and 27 lock stations along the way. The route also branches out and connects to a chain of regional lakes that can be found from Ottawa all the way to Kingston – a distance of more than 200 kilometres. Boaters can also enjoy this watery passage from a motorboat or boathouse. The canal is marked clearly with buoys, making it easy for most sailors to navigate its waters.

For an educational, interpretive paddling tour, contact Rideau Experience Voyageur Canoe Tours. The tour is appropriate for all ages and you will learn about the ecology and history along the Rideau while paddling the waters and viewing the local wildlife.

Nearby Attractions

The Rideau Heritage Route is your gateway to a number of cultural and heritage attractions found within the towns and villages the waterway weaves through. You can visit museums, galleries, restaurants, and shops all along the way and discover what makes each community unique. Looking to enhance your outdoor experience? The Rideau Heritage Route connects you to thousands of lakes and rivers within the region – a boater and paddler’s paradise!

Rideau Canal Museum, Smiths Falls – See a real working hand winch, wooded lock gates, and audio interpreted interactive displays
Heritage House Museum, Smiths Falls –Visit this restored, classically styled Victorian home depicting the lifestyle of an upper middle class family living in Smiths Falls around 1867 to 1875
Matheson House Museum, Perth – Enter the world of the 1840s at the elegant Matheson House, home of the award-winning Perth Museum and a National Historic Site
Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario, Smiths Falls – A museum located on 10.5 acres including a station building built in 1912 which has been declared a National Historic Site
Find out more about white water paddling and flat water paddling experiences near the Rideau Heritage Route
Find out more about boating experiences near the Rideau Heritage Route

Rideau Heritage Route Resources

Location: 11 Old Sly's Rd, Smiths Falls

In 1860-61 Joshua Bates built his home along the Rideau Canal with his two mills. Heritage House Museum is a restored classically styled Victorian home depicting the life style of an upper middle class family living in Smiths Falls around 1867 to 1875.

(613) 283-6311
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Location: 11 Gore St. E, Perth

Built in 1840 this beautiful stone dwelling now houses the Perth Museum. The Museum houses a rich collection of local history and is located in downtown Heritage Perth. Open 7 days a week.

(613) 267-1947
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Location: 34 Beckwith Street South, Smiths Falls

The Rideau Canal Visitor Centre is the flagship interpretation centre for the historic Rideau Canal system - a National Historic Site of Canada, a designated Canadian Heritage River, and a UNESCO World Heritage destination.

(613) 283-5170
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Location: R-48, 4850, RR#1, Portland

Accommodation & boat launch for fishermen or recreational boating. Located on Big Rideau Lake between Westport and Portland. We are only 30 minutes to Kingston, Smiths Falls and Gananoque. Great location for all sorts of activities.

(613) 218-1540
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