The Rideau Waterway is a 202km navigable chain of rivers, lakes and canals that winds its way from Ottawa to Kingston, Ontario. This popular tourist attraction, that was recently named an international World Heritage Site, was built in the early 1800s by the British government as a military precaution in case of war with the United States. It never ended up being used for military purposes but was key in the development of Bytown (named after Colonel By who was sent from Britain to oversee the building of the canal), which we now know as Ottawa.
During this solo cycling excursion following the Rideau Waterway en route from central Ottawa to Buck Lake, I had ample time to ponder ... Where would our capital be if the British Government of the time, hadn't built this as a military caution?
The waterway, a complex series of interconnected man-made canals, lakes and rivers, was the engineering brainchild of Colonel By - someone who was familiar with Canada during an earlier exposure to the colony and was recalled years later from England, to fortify the region in the event of possible post-1812 American attack. His return to Canada lead to the realization of Bytown with the building of the Waterway as it precipitated the need for labourers in the area. Without this canal project the region's entrepreneurial and labourer settlement would never have happened - a movement that set the foundation for the eventual development of contemporary Ottawa.
While cycling a made a point of taking a short video clip, every half hour. Here is a montage of those video clips ...
For details on the route taken click here