Rideau Heritage Route

A historic waterway cutting through
beautiful picturesque quaint communities



rideau heritage route The Rideau Heritage Route cuts through the centre of the Eastern Ontario region following the path of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Rideau Canal. The route begins in Ottawa and follows the contours of the landscape for approximately 200 kilometres (120 miles) before ending in Kingston on the shores of Lake Ontario. I have covered the canal itself in full detail on my rideau-canal page as this page is dedicated to the greater area as a whole, a sub-region of Eastern Ontario Canada.

Many beautiful small communities sit along the shores of the various lakes, locks and lock stations of this former vital transportation route, today they provide a scenic backdrop for many a summer vacation adventure.

There are quite a few other smaller, historic villages and hamlets along the route and many are worth a short stop as they all have something unique to offer and sit in very picturesque settings.

Other than the starting and ending points there is no other large community in the region, the only other communities of any significant size are:
  • Town of Smiths Falls, population 9,000
  • Town of Perth, population 6,000
  • Township of Kemptville, population 3,500
  • Village of Merrickville, population 3,000
During the summer months the Rideau Heritage Route is a very popular destination amongst locals as the area offers a myriad of activities to partake in. Many cottages dot the landscape and the area is particularly popular in the local boating scene. Houseboat rentals are readily available and they make for a great family vacation. It is not unusual to see hundreds of these craft plying the waterways of the route as many people rent them for a week or longer to spend their summer vacations and for some it is an annual event.

Other very popular activities include boating, fishing, canoeing, hiking and cycling. There are many trails in the area that cater very nicely for long distance hiking and/or cycling journeys.


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Map of the Rideau Heritage Route


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Getting to the Rideau Heritage Route region:

By Car:

From Kingston:

Take Highway 401 East until reaching Highway #15 towards Smiths Falls.

From Ottawa:

Right from the start of the Rideau Canal in downtown Ottawa take the Queen Elizabeth Driveway which eventually turns into county road #73, on the outskirts of the city in the Village of Manotick turn right onto County Road # 13 towards the Village of Kars.


By Air:

Air travel into the region is not and option. International flights do however fly into Ottawa’s MacDonald-Cartier International airport and both this airport and Kingston Airport is well served by commuter flights from other Canadian cities. Once in either community however, further arrangements must be made to travel to one of the smaller destinations.


By Public Transport:

By Rail:

Rail travel into the heart of the region is not an option. Rail service does extend to the cities of Ottawa or Kingston but from there some other means of transportation must be arranged.

By Bus:

Many of the smaller communities of the region are well serviced by Greyhound Canada. Visit www.greyhound.ca for more information as to fares and schedules.


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rideau canal lockThe Rideau Heritage Route is a wonderful way to spend a day or two enjoying the countryside of the Canadian Shield. The path of the canal system traverses numerous lakes and other bodies of water and passes through many quaint little communities of historic significance.

The Rideau Canal is also a busy working waterway in the summer months and it is quite a sight to see the locks in motion and following along the path of the canal makes for a great way of traveling to Ottawa if coming from Toronto or visa versa.

The journey does take a little longer than traveling along the major highway system but it is definitely worthwhile. Many attractions and activities are to be found along the route as well as some beautiful scenery. For more information visit some of my Rideau heritage route pages below. Another great resource is the website www.rideauheritageroute.ca


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Rideau Heritage Route Attractions




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