Rideau Canal

Vacation Travel Guide
Rideau Canal which includes a castle, a river or creek and a city

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.

Top things to do in Rideau Canal

Top Hotels Close to Rideau Canal

Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre
Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre
4 out of 5
101 Lyon Street, Ottawa, ON
The price is CA $127 per night from Oct 1 to Oct 1
Located in Downtown Ottawa, this eco-friendly hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Parliament Hill, Canadian War Museum, and Byward Market Square. National Gallery ...
4.3/5Excellent! (992 reviews)
"Beautiful location and the staff was very friendly"

Reviewed on Sep. 12, 2021

Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre
Fairmont Chateau Laurier
Fairmont Chateau Laurier
4.5 out of 5
1 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON
The price is CA $246 per night from Sep 19 to Sep 19
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! (1,981 reviews)
"Historic property with exceptional service"

Reviewed on Sep. 15, 2021

Fairmont Chateau Laurier
Novotel Ottawa City Centre
Novotel Ottawa City Centre
3.5 out of 5
33 Nicholas St, Ottawa, ON
The price is CA $155 per night from Sep 19 to Sep 19
Located in Downtown Ottawa, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from Ottawa Art Gallery and Rideau Centre. Byward Market Square and Shaw Centre are also within ...
4.4/5Excellent! (1,531 reviews)
"We like how warm and hospitable the staff were the cleanliness of the hotel and rooms was fantastic great location. The duvet on the bed was not quite wide enough it just barely touched the edge on top of the bed it seemed like a king duvet in a queen cover. The washroom had a great lay-out all the ..."

Reviewed on Sep. 15, 2021

Novotel Ottawa City Centre
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.

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Best Lodging Options Near Rideau Canal

The Business Inn
The Business Inn
2.5 out of 5
180 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON
The price is CA $119 per night from Oct 3 to Oct 3
The Business Inn
Fairmont Chateau Laurier
Fairmont Chateau Laurier
4.5 out of 5
1 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON
The price is CA $246 per night from Sep 19 to Sep 19
Fairmont Chateau Laurier
Novotel Ottawa City Centre
Novotel Ottawa City Centre
3.5 out of 5
33 Nicholas St, Ottawa, ON
The price is CA $155 per night from Sep 19 to Sep 19
Novotel Ottawa City Centre
Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre
Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre
4 out of 5
101 Lyon Street, Ottawa, ON
The price is CA $127 per night from Oct 1 to Oct 1
Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre
The Westin Ottawa
The Westin Ottawa
4 out of 5
11 Colonel By Dr, Ottawa, ON
The price is CA $159 per night from Oct 3 to Oct 3
The Westin Ottawa
Alt Hotel Ottawa
Alt Hotel Ottawa
3.5 out of 5
185 Slater Street, Ottawa, ON
The price is CA $154 per night from Sep 18 to Sep 18
Alt Hotel Ottawa
Ottawa Embassy Hotel & Suites
Ottawa Embassy Hotel & Suites
3.5 out of 5
25 Cartier St, Ottawa, ON
The price is CA $140 per night from Oct 10 to Oct 10
Ottawa Embassy Hotel & Suites
Ottawa Marriott Hotel
Ottawa Marriott Hotel
4 out of 5
100 Kent St, Ottawa, ON
The price is CA $135 per night from Sep 19 to Sep 19
Ottawa Marriott Hotel
Arc The Hotel
Arc The Hotel
4 out of 5
140 Slater St, Ottawa, ON
The price is CA $144 per night from Sep 24 to Sep 24
Arc The Hotel
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.