Originally built for military purposes, the Rideau Canal remains the only canal from the 19th century which is still operational. The canal operates all year round, but turns into a winter wonderland come the first snow fall. As Ontario’s only UNESCO world heritage site, it is definitely a sight to see!
Rideau Canal Skateway
At 7.8 km long, the Rideau Canal Skateway is the largest naturally frozen ice rink in the world, located right in downtown Ottawa. It also held the title of North America’s best skating rink in 2017. This skateway sees over 1 million visitors a year and is definitely the winter spot to check out. Dow’s Pavillion is a great spot to access the skateway and offers a beautiful forest view.
Framed by the Parliament Buildings, the eight locks offer a sliver of history often forgotten. There is a main lockstation which is still hosted in its original building and allows for great architecture photography. The locks are still hand operated, a nod to their 19th century roots. There are eight main locks located in downtown Ottawa, making for a nice stroll throughout the city.
The Rideau Canal runs along 327km of hiking trails that stretch from Ottawa to Kingston. The Rideau Trail begins right beside the Ottawa River and gives you a view of the Parliament buildings as you hike through the city. The trail is perfect for photo opportunties as it travels through a variety of landscapes.