The 202km long Rideau Canal was completed in 1832 which makes it the oldest working waterway in North America and more than justifies its UNESCO World Heritage status. Ottawa loves its legendary canal and uses it for everything from ice skating to cycling. It’s a firm favourite with sailing types in summer which is also when you can see one of its most remarkable phenomena, the Ottawa Locks, in action.
Still cranked by hand, just as they have been for almost 200 years, the locks have eight flights and connect Rideau to the Ottawa River in a flourish of truly dramatic 19th century engineering. Sailing’s permitted on the canal from May to October, so most days you can head down to Ottawa Locks and watch Parks Canada staff expertly cranking the gates open and shut to allow boats of all shapes and sizes to flow smoothly from one great Ottawa waterway to another.