Preserving and Promoting local history for the former Rideau Township
Log Fence

Superex 2007 (Central Canada Exhibition, Ottawa) arranged with Parks Canada to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Rideau Canal and the UNESCO designation in the Aberdeen Pavilion, August, 2007. The focal point was a reproduction of a typical wharf on the Rideau Canal, Lindsay's Wharf at Kars, hosted by Coral Lindsay. The log homestead, wharfhouse and large lock with dozens of steamboat photos were very popular with visitors to the Ex.

Presented by Mark Brus, Parks Canada

Rideau Branch, Ottawa Archives
April 18, 2007

Parks Canada Rideau 175 logo

Mark Brus is the Project Officer at Parks Canada for the Rideau 175 anniversary celebrations. Rideau 175 is the 175th birthday of the Rideau Canal. Mark discussed the possible World Heritage designation for the Rideau Canal, and talked to us about “getting involved” in the celebrations. Both individuals and communities along the canal are encouraged to participate.

The Rideau Canal is a Canadian National Historic Site. It is North America’s oldest continuously operating such canal. It was originally built for defence, but soon hosted steamboat and other operations that aided very much in the settling of the Rideau  corridor between Ottawa and Kingston.

The canal is 202 km or 125 miles in length. It features beautiful rivers and  lakes as well as the locks and dams built by Colonel By. The stone dam at Jones Falls was the largest such structure in North America when it was built. It soon became a tourist destination which it still in the present day.

Lock and bridge at Burrits Rapids

As inferred above celebrations will not to be confined to a specific area along the canal. The whole corridor from Ottawa to Kingston is considered to be party central. Many localities are already developing projects of their own related to their communities and the canal.

In addition there will be a celebration at the Ottawa Locks on Canada Day which will be attended by celebrities, including the Prime Minster and Governor General. This celebration will focus around the designation of the Rideau Canal as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To increase the excitement and anticipation of the event, it will not be known until a couple of days before the ceremony whether UNESCO has bestowed the designation.

Steamboat Olive under repair at Lindsey's Wharf

There were a number of local projects carried out in celebration of the 175th. The Merrickville Historical Society presented a summer long series of lectures on the history of the Rideau Waterway.

The Rideau Township Historical Society gave a number of presentations on steam boats and commercial operations on the Rideau from the 1830s to the 1930s, on operations at Lindsay's Wharf in Kars, and on Moss Kent Dickinson's milling and forwarding operations in the Ottawa-Montreal-Kingston triangle.