Headed Up the Rideau

An American couple reminisces on their trip along Canada's Heritage Canal systems.

I grew up boating on the St. Lawrence River and Rideau Canal. I am a northern New Yorker and, having the good fortune of having the beautiful waters of western Ontario in our backyard, my family took advantage of one of the most memorable boating areas in the world. My first trip “up the Rideau” was in 1958 when I was 11 years old. I'm now 66. In my adult years, my wife, daughter and I trailered our boat to Kingston, from either western New York or central Indiana and headed up the Rideau for our summer vacations many times, and have done the Golden Triangle and the Trent-Severn too.

Jones Falls

The Canadian Heritage Canal systems are special. Their history, development and continued use is well worth the time to visit. I often tell our non-boater friends that the Rideau is a 125-mile park through the many crystal clear lakes and rivers of western Ontario. The communities along the way all have unique qualities worth spending time enjoying. The locks and grounds are all well-manicured. The Lockmasters and their staff are great ambassadors for Canada.

Peterborough Lift Lock
Upper Brewers Lock

The people in the communities along the way are warm and welcoming. Whether one takes in the sights and excitement that Ottawa has to offer, or the quiet of just sitting and watching the boats go through Chaffey's Lock for a few days, neither will be forgotten. Dinner at the Opinicon, counting the loons along the way, chatting with fellow boaters, sightseers at the locks, or locals in the communities—all are memory makers. Perth and its outdoor evening summertime concerts, the quaint streets of Merrickville and Westport will always be remembered. Traveling through lift locks and the Big Chute railway on the Trent-Severn have to be on any boater's "bucket" list—talk about making memories!

Big Chute Railway -cover
The Marine Railway on the Trent Canal

As I mentioned earlier, my boating juices were developed as a young boy on these waters. Our trips there since have just continued to stir our interest. My wife and I are now planning to have our latest vessel (R-Yot IV) hauled to central New York from western Kentucky, where we will travel the Golden Triangle again during the summer of 2014. Then, after wintering it in the vicinity, we will embark in the spring of 2015 traveling through the Trent-Severn and North Channel of Lake Huron during the summer, then on to Chicago and back to western Kentucky in the fall of that year. If you see us on the water, in a lock or tied up along the way, give us a wave or stop by and say hello.

About Frank & Alice Clark

I am a retired Director of Facilities for Cummins Inc. Alice, a homemaker and Mom, and I live in Columbus, Indiana and currently boat out of Green Turtle Bay on Lake Barkley, a regular stop for "Loopers." 

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