In the 1970s and 80s, Parks Canada created a series of detailed research reports about various facets of the Rideau Canal. Known as the Manuscript Report Series, most were never made easily available to the public. In 2008, Friends of the Rideau initiated a new project titled Resources for the Rideau. This project involved the digitization of these manuscript reports and making them available to the public as inexpensive books on CD (a PDF file). There are now several of these very interesting reports available for purchase during the summer at our retail outlet, The Depot in Merrickville or at the various shows we attend.
The scanning, proofing, and final formatting of the reports was done on a volunteer basis by members of Friends of the Rideau. Systems were in place to ensure a high quality product, in fact, in most cases, the digital version of the report is better than the original since the original images used in the document have been sourced and scanned at high resolution. Plus the digital version is fully searchable. So, these documents are of immense use to anyone with an interest in the history of the Rideau Canal.
Twelve reports were digitized between 2008 and 2014. The following is a list of completed Books on CD. See the link in each section for a detailed description of the report.
FREE PDFs: These 12 manuscript reports were donated to the website ParksCanadaHistory.com to make them available as free downloads.
The Second Tay Canal in the Rideau Corridor, 1880-1940. Book on CD - new for 2014. This 1986 report by Larry Turner looks at the planning, financing, construction and use of the Second Tay Canal (the one still in use today). Digital book (PDF file on a CDROM). For details see the MR295 Report Page. 331p. 2014.
Commercial Navigation on the Rideau Canal, 1832-1961. This 1981 report by Edward Forbes Bush looks at all aspects of commercial navigation on the Rideau including details on over 170 vessels known to have served on the Rideau Canal. Digital book (PDF file on a CDROM). For details see the MR247 Report Page. 276p. 2013.
The Architectural Heritage of the Rideau Corridor. This 1974 report by Barbara A. Humphreys looks at the rich architectural heritage of the buildings in the Rideau Corridor. Digital book (PDF file on a CDROM). For details see the MR105 Report Page. 71p. 2012.
Industries and Industrialists of Merrickville, 1792-1979. This 1979 report by Richard Tatley deals with the industrial operations in Merrickville, powered by water, steam and electricity, and the men that ran these, over the span of 189 years. Digital book (PDF file on a CDROM). For details see the MR423 Report Page. 736p. 2011.
Overland Transport in the Rideau Region, 1800-1930. This 1979 report by Edward F. Bush looks at the development of roads and railways in the Rideau region. Digital book (PDF file on a CDROM). For details see the MR424 Report Page. 397p. 2011.
Canal Lock Design and Construction, The Rideau Canal Experience, 1826-1982. This 1983 report by Robert W. Passfield details the design, construction and evolution of the locks on the Rideau Canal from 1826 to 1982. Digital book (PDF file on a CDROM). For details see the MR57 Report Page. 482p. 2010.
The First Tay Canal in the Rideau Corridor, 1830-1850. This detailed 1984 report looks at the building and use of the First Tay Canal, built and operated by the Tay Navigation Company. Locks on the Tay River connected Perth to the Rideau Canal by way of Port Elmsley. The canal opened in 1834 but had a bit of a tortured life before closing in the 1860s. Digital book (PDF file on a CDROM). For details see the MR142 Report Page. 183p. 2009.
Recreational Boating on the Rideau Waterway, 1890-1930. This detailed 1986 report looks at the development of recreational boating on the Rideau. It includes information about the types of recreational boats, the boaters, recreational boating activities, the development of steamer excursions and the impact of recreational boating on the administration of the canal. Digital book (PDF file on a CDROM). For details see the MR253 Report Page. 431p. 2009.
Builders of the Rideau Canal, 1826-32. This 1976 report deals with some of the men, both soldiers and civilians, who built the Rideau Canal. The report includes information about the organization of the project and the background and personality of the superintending engineer, Lieutenant Colonel John By. Also includes several paylists. Digital book (PDF file on a CDROM). For details see the MR185 Report Page. 281p. 2009.
Historic Bridges on the Rideau Waterways System. This 1976 report by Robert W. Passfield reviews the history of bridges built across the Rideau Canal and details 26 of the 59 bridges that existed in 1976. Includes 38 photos and illustrations of various bridges. Digital book (PDF file on a CDROM). For details see the MR212 Report Page. 129p. 2009.
The Rideau Canal: 1832 - 1914. Covering the 1832 to 1914 period of the Rideau Canal, Judith Tulloch, in this 219 page research document, provides us with a fascinating review of these early years of the canal’s operation. Reprint of Tulloch's 1975 report. Digital book (PDF file on a CDROM). For details see the MR177 Report Page. 219p. 2009.
Construction History of the Rideau Canal. Covering the 1826-1832 construction period of the Rideau Canal, Karen Price, in this 335 page research document, provides us with transcribed excerpts from Lt. Colonel John By’s yearly reports detailing the work done and costs incurred at each work site. Reprint of Price's 1976 report. Digital book (PDF file on a CDROM). For details see the MR193 Report Page. 335p. 2008.