The Rideau Canal
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Ottawa to Kingston, Ontario, Canada



May 13, 2010:

Source for two images, below: Murphy's Point Provincial Park, 2008 Information Guide Rideau Canal - A UNESCO World Heritage Site Map of the Rideau Canal, Ottawa to Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Source: The Rideau Waterway by Robert Legget Transcribed by Taylor Kennedy "Upon the initial surveys of the Rideau River, Colonel By strongly recommended that the size of the locks be increased from 100 feet by 22 feet wide with a depth of 5 feet over the sills. He urged that the locks be built of such a size to accommodate the naval steamboats and wooden spars. After a study was done, By’s recommendations were approved. When spring came to Canada in 1832, Colonel By took his family, some fellow officers as well as some contractors, such as Thomas Philips, Andrew White, Thomas McKay and John Redpath to Kingston Mills, so that all might share in the final joy of participating in the opening of the Rideau Canal. Robert Drummond had his steamboat vessel the ‘PUMPER’, ready for the occasion, and indeed temporarily changed its name to the ‘RIDEAU’ for the event. Robert Drummond, a Scotsman and Stonemason arrived in Canada at Kingston in 1828 and started working on the locks the same year. He was not only in lock building, but also into shipbuilding. His first vessel was 80 feet long with a beam of 15 feet and drew 6 feet of water. It was equipped with a twelve horsepower engine. It was initially for the purpose of pumping out cofferdams (temporary dams built to surround the riverbed where masonry had to build). For this purpose it was fitted with special pumping engines, thus taking the practical name the ‘PUMPER’. Another of Drummond’s steamship building ventures was not as successful. In 1831 he built a much larger boat measuring 110 feet long with a 26 foot beam. It was supposed to draw 31/2 feet of water, but when launched, it drew so much more than this that it could not be taken into the Rideau Canal System, and had to be used on the St. Lawrence instead. It was christened the ‘JOHN BY’. At noon on May 24, 1832, the great journey commenced, the ‘RIDEAU’ having a forward escort in the naval dockyard cutter ‘SNAKE’, and herself creating a rear escort by hauling two barges. The cutter and barges went as far as Jones Falls. The ‘RIDEAU’ arrived at Smith Falls at six o’clock on the morning of the 25th. Extra passengers were taken on board and eventually, the little vessel sailed into the wharf of Bytown on May 29, 1832. The Rideau Waterway was complete. The Ottawa River had been linked with Lake Ontario. When the Ottawa River canals were ready, as they were in 1834, steamboats would be able to sail up from the sea to Montreal, on to the Ottawa River, through the Rideau Canal System and into the Great Lakes. The first St. Lawrence Seaway would be a reality. On Sunday, May 03, 1840, the steamer ‘BYTOWN’ passed down through the Merrickville stretch of the Canal with one barge in tow, on board which were the men of the 65th Regiment. Up to 1840 much of the freight was conveyed on barges, pulled by the new paddle steamers. There is on record, one voyage of the steamer ‘HUNTER’, pulling no less than 24 barges. This must have been exceptional ; there would rarely be more than ten behind any regular steam tug. Moss Kent Dickinson earned himself the undisputed title as "King of the Rideau". A native of New York, he settled in Bytown and established himself as a forwarder of freight on the Rideau Canal. At the height of his activity, he owned and operated a fleet of sixteen steamers and eighty four barges. After 1860, he sold his holdings to Montreal and Chicago financiers. He was Mayor of Ottawa from 1864 to 1866. He was also the founder of Manotick, establishing the first mill there in 1859. In 1834 a little steamer the ‘ENTERPRISE’ was built at Perth in order to provide service between Perth, Bytown and Kingston. It was commanded by Captain William Richards. A native of Ireland, orphaned at the age of twelve, sailor in the British Navy through the War of 1812, then a free trader of forest products to the West Indies. In the mid 1800’s some steamers on the St. Lawrence included the ‘HIBERNIA’ and the ‘SHAMROCK’ which her boiler blew on the St. Lawrence killing mostly English patrons as they occupied the more central region of the vessel. On November 02, 1935, the last passenger steamer, the ‘OTTAWAN’, pulled away from its wharf at Ottawa on it’s way to close another chapter in the history of the Rideau Canal when it reached Smith Falls. Those who grew up on the Rideau shores will remember the old ‘OTTAWAN’, the ‘RIDEAU QUEEN’ and the ‘RIDEAU KING’ steamers with their graceful lines and crowded happy decks. The names ‘LORETTA’ and ‘AGNES P.’ are bourne by steamers. Their plaintive whistles and high stacks were familiar sounds and sites all the way from Ottawa to Kingston Mills."

photo below taken c. 1860 Railway of J.R. Booth is on right (east) side of the canal The Rideau Queen

February 10, 2008: Hi Al, Thought some of your readers may enjoy this site. Some of the illustrations of Bytown and the Rideau Canal are remarkable. They are paintings by Thomas Burrowes who worked in senior positions along the canal from 1826 to 1846. Regards, ... Mary http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/english/exhibits/burrowes/index.html
November 10, 2009:
Photo Source: Selections from Picturesque Canada: An Affectionate Look Back plate number 34. The Dufferin Bridge in Downtown, Ottawa This sketch was made in the 1870's and shows a view from the east bank of the Rideau Canal. The East Block of the Parliament Buildings is in the upper left. In keeping with our lumbering history, there is a pointer boa,t carrying short logs, adjacent to the steam boat. These logs may have been fuel to run the steam engine. The Dufferin Bridge in Downtown Ottawa, c. 1870

See also Early Steam Boats in the Ottawa area

August 17, 2009: New e-mail address for Mary Cox: bytownmary@hotmail.com

August 2, 2010:
Map showing all lockstations along the Rideau Canal Ottawa to Kingston, Ontario Rideau Canal Map
Ottawa to Kingston, Ontario



August 17, 2010: In 1834, a canal was constructed from Perth Ontario to join up with the Rideau Canal at Beveridge Bay on the Lower Rideau Lake. This canal, called the Tay Canal (originally Haggart's Ditch), was in disrepair before long and the new Tay Canal, still in use today, was built in the 1880's. ... Al
August 19,2012:
Source for image, below: The Rideau: A Pictorial History of the Waterway, Edited by Adrian G. Ten Cate, Besancourt Publishers, 1981, ISBN 0-920032-04-4, page 78 Rideau Canal - Distances from Lock to Lock, Ottawa to Kingston, Ontario, Canada

April 17, 2013: Visit Kelly's Landing on the Rideau Canal near Manotick.
October 4, 2013:
A Tranquil Spot at Poonamalie, Ontario on the Rideau Canal Poonamalie, Ontario, Rideau Canal

E-mail Taylor Kennedy, Mary and Al Lewis
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