Your location: Rideau Canal Home Page > Watson‘s Books > Engineered Landscapes
Engineered Landscapes
The Rideau Canal's Transformation of a Wilderness Waterway
Ken W. Watson

Status: Available*

Engineered LandscapesEngineered Landscapes is a new book about the Rideau Canal that answers such questions as; what did the Rideau Route look like prior to the building of the locks and dams in 1826-1831? what did the early surveyors see? and how much flooding did the building of the Rideau Canal cause?

Primarily a research document, the first section of the book contains a reconstruction of the pre-canal geography and includes maps and transcriptions of the first three full route surveys, those of Lt. Gershom French in 1783, Lt. Joshua Jebb in 1816, and Samuel Clowes in 1823 and 1824. The accounts of these surveys have not been previously transcribed and are presented in this book for the first time.

The book then looks at the details of the building of the dams and locks, the channel engineering, and the exact levels of flooding brought about by the building of the Rideau Canal. While only 10% of the canal consists of man-made features such as locks and canal cuts, virtually every section of the Rideau has been subject to some degree of flooding.

The book concludes with some information about present day field investigations that are mapping the drowned pre-canal landscape in detail.

View a Synopsis of the Book

View the Errata for the first printing

* Available as a free download (300 Mb PDF) from

OF NOTE - This book is intended for Rideau keeners, those with a scientific and/or historical interest in the Rideau Canal. Those just interested in the pre-canal landscape and the early surveys should download "The Rideau Route", a general audience re-write of Part 1 of Engineered Landscapes. See the Rideau Route Page.

Comments: send me email: Ken Watson

©1996- Ken W. Watson