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Friends of the Rideau


We are looking for summer students to staff our interpretation and visitor centre in Merrickville. See our Summer Student Page for details on how to apply.


Our Annual Spring Meeting will be held at the Rideau Canal Visitor Centre in Smiths Falls from 10:00 am to noon on Saturday, May 5. Our featured presenter is Shawn Pankow, Mayor of Smiths Falls, who will give us a look at the town's plans to develop the waterfront around the Rideau Canal. There are some pretty interesting ideas. He'll also tell us about new things happening in that area such as Le Boat's operation and Canopy Growth's plans to redevelop the old water plant (beside the Rideau Canal Visitor Centre). We'll also have presentations/Q&As from Susan Millar, heritage planner with Parks Canada, about the new management plan and a representative from Le Boat about their new operation on the Rideau Canal

Come out and meet some Friends. Everyone is welcome!

The Rideau Canal Visitor Centre (formerly the Rideau Canal Museum) is easy to find – it’s the big stone building with the grain elevator sitting at the south end of the main downtown area (34 Beckwith Street South) in Smiths Falls.  Our "meet & greet" with coffee & tea starts at 9:30 am.


Those wishing to make a donation to Friends of the Rideau may do so by using our membership form (membership not required) or by using the PayPal link on that page.

2018 Parks Canada Paddling Promotion

Parks Canada is offering a special deal for paddlers (canoes & kayaks), 50% off a season lock pass. For details see the Parks Canada Rideau Canal website: www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/on/rideau


A new management plan is needed for the Rideau Canal, the last one was done in 2005. Consultations with the public will take place in 2018. See the Rideau Canal Management Plan Page.


Resource material regarding the Rideau Canal Infrastructure program can be found on the Rideau Canal Infrastructure Page.

Canadian Heritage RiverThe Rideau Canal Waterway is a popular vacation spot for boating, cruising, recreation, fishing, tourism, Canadian heritage appreciation, and enjoying the outdoors. The locks that connect the beautiful lakes and rivers that make up the Rideau Canal were first opened in 1832. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1925. In 2000, the Rideau Waterway was designated a Canadian Heritage River, recognizing its outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values. This designation also celebrates the role of the Rideau Waterway in Canada's history, not the least of which was the founding of our nation's capital, Ottawa. In 2007 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognizing the canal as a masterpiece of human creative genius.

Rideau Corridor
(click on map for larger view)
The Rideau, which extends 202 kilometres from Kingston to Ottawa, is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America with the locks at most of the 24 lockstation still hand-operated, much as they were when the canal first opened in 1832.

The Rideau Canal is living history, each of the historic lockstations is a fascinating place to explore.

In the summer, drop by the Depot run by the Friends of the Rideau at Merrickville, near the blockhouse, right beside the Canal.

The waters teem with panfish - bluegills, pumpkinseed, black crappie - while the back bays, weedbeds, and shorelines are home to smallmouth and largemouth bass. Some of the Rideau lakes boast lake trout. Pike are plentiful, and the waters of the Long Reach are famous for muskellunge. Bring your boat or rent one at the many marinas in the Rideau Corridor.

For those driving, the Rideau Heritage Route, from Kingston to Ottawa, passes through many interesting local communities and provides access to the lockstations which are well worth a visit.


Have a look at our Tourist Information Page

Free boating and general information packages are available by contacting the
Rideau Canal Office of Parks Canada at

or by email at: RideauCanal-info@pc.gc.ca
(please include your postal mailing address in your email)
General Rideau info is available by calling the Parks Canada Call Centre at:

Friends of the Rideau
P.O. Box 1232, Stn. Main
Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, K7A 5C7

email: info@rideaufriends.com

A membership in Friends of the Rideau is only $20 CDN. Your membership will help to support our work to enhance and preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the Rideau. If you love the Rideau, consider taking out a membership today. Please see our membership page.

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©1997- Rideau Waterway Co-ordinating Association (Friends of the Rideau)

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