Parks Canada

Parks Canada

May 20, 2008 09:00 ET

Government of Canada Launches 176th Navigational Season on The Rideau Canal

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 20, 2008) - Canada's Environment Minister and Member of Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean John Baird today launched the 176th season of uninterrupted service, and its first as a World Heritage Site, on the Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada.

"The Rideau Canal has become one of Canada's foremost recreational waterways; drawing boaters in the summer, skaters in the winter and canal enthusiasts all year-long. As a Member of Parliament from Ottawa, I am pleased to be here today, on behalf of the Government of Canada to launch the Rideau Canal's first complete operating season since it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site," said Minister Baird.

In May of 1832, Lt. Col. John By, his wife Esther and their two daughters, along with a group of officials, departed from Kingston on the steamboat "Pumper" to travel the 202 kilometer length of his newly created waterway. At the time of its construction, Rideau Canal builders could never have foreseen that their monumental engineering achievement would become a world-class destination.

Throughout the year 2008 Parks Canada will showcase Canada's newest World Heritage Site to Canada and the world. In partnership with various community partners, the Rideau Canal will launch many new initiatives and programs to provide high quality visitor experiences for the many people who visit the Rideau Canal each summer.

Minister Baird was also joined by Ottawa Police Chief Vern White at the event. Together they announced new and increased security for the area around locks in Ottawa. In partnership with the National Capital Commission (NCC), Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Service, Parks Canada will provide an increased security presence at the Ottawa Locks.

"This new partnership will improve security around Ottawa Locks for both boaters and walkers alike," declared Minister Baird. "I am confident that these measures will increase the number of boaters choosing to moor overnight at Ottawa Locks, thereby contributing to the overall visitation to this great national historic site and world heritage site".

Designated a national historic site of Canada in 1925, the Rideau Canal, including property from three other national historic sites of Canada - Fort Henry, the Kingston Fortifications (including the Martello Towers) and the Merrickville Blockhouse, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2007.

(Also available on the Internet at under Media Room.)

Contact Information

  • Parks Canada
    Pam Buell
    Communications Manager, Eastern Ontario Field Unit
    613-283-7199 ext. 219
    Parks Canada
    Irv Mazurkiewcz
    Director of Operations, Rideau Canal NHS
    613-283-7199 ext. 234