Your location: Rideau Canal Home Page > What's New

FREE Lockage in 2017

To help mark Canada's 150th birthday, lockage on the Rideau Canal will be free for the 2017 navigation season. See the fees page.


WHAT'S NEW on the Rideau Web Site

August 2017

  • Added a new Tale of the Rideau: Malaria - The Secret Immigrant. Many know that malaria affected the workforce during the building of the canal. But if you think it was tropical malaria brought here by British soldiers you would be wrong. It was a form of temperate malaria already existing in Ontario. See Malaria - The Secret Immigrant

  • Updated the Memorials and Markers Page with information on the "new" Royal Sappers and Miners Cemetery in Newboro (formerly called the Old Presbyterian Cemetery)


June 2017

  • Updated my report card (slight downgrade) for the Rideau Canal on my Save Our Rideau website: www.SaveOurRideau.ca

  • Added links to some sources of Indigenous Peoples (First Nations) information on the links page


March 2017

  • Posted a direct link to the Parks Canada free lockpass ordering page on the fees page



February 2017

  • Added a link to the Parks Canada National Library (which now holds all the Rideau books - local Parks Canada libraries on the Rideau Canal were removed in 2013). You'll find that link on the Rideau Bibliography Page




January 2017


Nov - Dec 2016

  • Various updates



October 2016

  • Added the 2016 boat traffic statistics to the Statistics Page


  • Due to drought conditions, the available draft in shallow sections of the southern Rideau (Kingston to Poonamalie) is low.

    Projected minimum draft in the Kingston to Narrows section to October 10, 2016 is 4 feet 6 inches for Kingston to Newboro and 4 feet 8 inches for Newboro to Narrows and 4 feet 11 inches for Narrows to Poonamlie. Draft from Poonamalie to Ottawa is normal.

    Boaters travelling within this section of the Rideau Canal whose vessels draw greater than four (4) feet should contact Rideau Canal Staff at RideauCanal.info@pc.gc.ca for timely information on water levels and available draft.

  • Completely revamped my Save Our Rideau website. The site now follows a report card I did regarding Parks Canada's heritage administration of the Rideau, they get a D+ (2.6 out of 5) at the moment. The clear fails are things such as public education and research with low scores also going to heritage interpretation, site management and heritage landscape protection. You can see the "new" Save Our Rideau site and the report card at: www.SaveOurRideau.ca.


August/September 2016

  • Due to drought conditions, the available draft in shallow sections of the southern Rideau (Kingston to Newboro) continues to drop.

    Projected minimum draft in the Kingston to Narrows section to September 23, 2016 is 4 feet 3 inches for Kingston to Newboro and 4 feet 8 inches for Newboro to Narrows.

    Boaters travelling within this section of the Rideau Canal whose vessels draw greater than four (4) feet should contact Rideau Canal Staff at RideauCanal.info@pc.gc.ca for timely information on water levels and available draft.




July 2016

  • Effective immediately (July 22), the available draft in the southern section (from Newboro Lockstation to Lake Ontario) of the Rideau Canal is reduced from the standard five (5) feet.

    This reduction is necessary to ensure safe navigation and is the result of low water levels due to a lack of precipitation and evaporation caused by unseasonably high temperatures.

    Boaters travelling within this section of the Rideau Canal whose vessels draw greater than four (4) feet should consult the Parks Canada website or contact Rideau Canal Staff at RideauCanal.info@pc.gc.ca for timely information on water levels and available draft.

    Navigation in the northern section (Ottawa River to Newboro Lockstation including the Tay Canal) of the Rideau Canal is not impacted and boat traffic can continue to move freely throughout this area.

    UPDATE(August 5, 2016): Projected minimum draft in the Kingston to Newboro section to August 12, 2016 is 4 feet 5 inches.



May 2016

  • To help celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, Parks Canada will be providing free lockage on the Rideau Canal (and the other historic canals that they administer) in 2017. See www.pc.gc.ca/eng/voyage-travel/admission.aspx


  • I've made a few updates to my Save Our Rideau website. I've posted information about the new infrastructure funding. While it still falls short of what is needed, and what Parks Canada has promised, it is an historic amount for capital funding for the Rideau Canal - a very good start.

    The same can't be said for the letter I received from the Minister (185 days after I sent my letter to her) - essentially a blow-off letter that, with the sole exception of infrastructure funding, didn't address any of the issues I raised. Parks Canada continues along the course set by the previous government, the current government has yet to deal with the many problems that has created. It's disappointing to see the Minister sign off on such a letter - she either didn't read it or doesn't understand the issues <sigh> See the Save Our Rideau website.


  • I've been adding new galleries of my Rideau photos to the Friends of the Rideau Facebook page. See www.facebook.com/rideaufriends/



March 2016


January 2016


November 2015

  • I've written a letter to the new minister in charge of Parks Canada. See the Save Our Rideau website for a copy of the letter



October 2015


September 2015

  • I've posted a report titled "The De-Evolution of Parks Canada" all about how Parks Canada has abandoned their legislated heritage mandate for the Rideau Canal, a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's a detailed look at how Parks Canada has gone from a shining example as the steward of our natural and cultural heritage sites to a tourism agency that has abandoned its legislated heritage mandate.

    As I note in the report, dealing with these issues is not something I like to do – I'd much rather be telling people about the wonders and rich history of the Rideau Canal, but it is critical that people speak up in defence of our Canadian heritage. The Rideau Canal is an important part of our Canadian heritage, it’s an important part of this region of Ontario and it deserves better from the Government of Canada. See:
    "The De-Evolution of Parks Canada" (PDF)



August 2015

  • Added a new Tale of the Rideau - this one about the Dead Lock on Opinicon Lake - the tale of a Rideau lock started but not completed, a "dead lock." It has a interesting back stories (three in fact) and the site can be visited today. I'm still tweaking the tale, but I figured I should make it public sooner than later to allow people more time to visit the site this year. See The Dead Lock.



June 2015


March 2015

  • 2 for 1 Promotion: May 15 until June 30, 2015 - Parks Canada has an early summer promotion of two for one for select types of lockages. Coupons are being offered that can be applied to a single lockage and return or a one day lockage. The details on how exactly it works are a bit fuzzy, but you can see the details on the Parks Canada website at: Parks Canada 2 for 1 Promotion.



February 2015

  • minor updates



January 2015






Comments: send me email: Ken Watson

©1996- Ken W. Watson