Boating the Rideau Canal is without doubt one of the greatest issues to do in Canada, and by chance going by the historic lock system may be accomplished without proudly owning your individual boat. Heck, you don’t even want boating expertise. Due to Le Boat establishing a store in Smiths Falls, Ontario, there’s a fleet of luxurious houseboats simply ready so that you can drive up or down this well-known UNESCO World Heritage Website.
Le Boat is the primary supplier of cruising holidays has been providing canal journeys all through Europe for greater than 50 years. When deciding to start out working houseboats in North America, The Rideau Canal was a pure match. This beautiful 200 km (125 miles) lengthy waterway is like driving by a bit of a slice of Europe. It’s dotted with quaint villages, historic ruins, scenic vineyards, and exquisite surroundings. To not point out the 200-year-old locks which were constantly in operation since 1832.
The Rideau Canal Le Boat Expertise
The journey begins with an hour-long introduction to your Le Boat. Throughout this time you’ll be proven how you can learn the maps and charts, how you can use the range, and the place all the vital devices and gear are, present you the knots you’ll have to tie up on the docks, however most significantly, how you can drive the boat!
Le Boats on the Rideau Canal is very simple to drive. The Horizon Fleet boats are all outfitted with entrance and rear thrusters making it simple to activate a dime. When pulling as much as a moor, it’s simple to park between boats are in tight areas through the use of the aspect thrusters to inch right into a slot. All Le Boats have throttlers on them so you possibly can’t go sooner than 10 km per hour making it simple to cruise and calm down all through your journey.
After your lesson and when you really feel assured, your teacher will inform you thru the primary set of locks instructing you on lock etiquette and how you can safely pull in. You’ll have all of the instruments it’s good to comfortably cruise by the Rideau Canal in your luxurious yacht.
Save 10% on chosen boat leases on the Rideau Canal
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We booked a four-bedroom, four-bath for 3 couples. My dad and mom got here with us in addition to my brother and Sister in Regulation. We additionally had two cats on board. Le Boat is pet-friendly, so you possibly can deliver the complete household together with the pets alongside!
Every room has its personal toilet and bathe. There’s a giant sitting space inside that comfortably sat all of us. Though there are 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, I believe it will have been crowded downstairs with couples, however, there are the higher deck and picnic tables the place folks can unfold out. If the climate is sweet, it will be simple to suit 4 couples within Horizon 4. We cruised throughout fall colors, so we had some very chilly days and nights and spent extra time downstairs than we did throughout our summer season trip on the Horizon 3.
The kitchen has two small fridges, and there’s a barbecue up prime, so cooking is simple on Le Boats. We additionally introduced coolers to retailer drinks and meals because the fridges on the Horizon 4 aren’t full measurement. There’s loads of deck area so that you don’t have to fret about it being crowded.
How you can Select Which Path to go
Selecting to take a ship journey on the Rideau Canal is the simple half, however, selecting which method to go could make for a tricky determination. Smiths Falls is positioned nearly instantly in the midst of the Rideau Canal. In case you go north, you’ll be heading to Ottawa, Canada’s capital metropolis. In case you go south, you’ll be making your method to Kingston, Canada’s first capital metropolis. Each is a nice city to go to and each instruction provides fascinating stops alongside the way in which, so at the moment, we’re going to offer you some perception into selecting which method to boat on the Rideau Canal from Smiths Falls.
Overview of North and South
We had the chance to drive each north and south and might attest that each is a very good journey. They’re, nonetheless, fairly totally different, so selecting which method to go relies on the kind of journey you need to have.
When boating north in direction of Ottawa, there are numerous extra locks to undergo. Between Smiths Falls and Ottawa, there are 12 lock stations containing 21 locks. The waterways are narrower and the journey feels extra like a precise canal journey than a boating trip in Ontario. It’s potential to get to Ottawa and again on a week-long journey when going on this route.
When going south, the bodes of water are bigger and you’ll be driving on lakes that might be linked by locks. On occasions, you don’t even really feel like you’re on a canal system, however as an alternative in Ontario’s cottage nation. There are extra selections of cities to cease at and you are able to do extra of a loop as an alternative of an out and again journey.
Except you will have plenty of time, most individuals gained make all of it the way in which to Kingston and as an alternative normally cease on the prime of Jones Falls Locks, which is commonly thought-about probably the most lovely locks on the Rideau Canal. To get to Jones Falls, you’ll undergo 8 lock stations (after departing Smiths Falls) with solely 8 locks which implies you will have extra cruising a few times contained in the locks.
For extra info on cruising south on the Rideau Canal, learn our full put up right here: Superb Rideau Canal Cruise – A Distinctive Cruise Vacation with Le Boat
The Journey North to Ottawa
We had been most excited to spend the evening downtown Ottawa on our boat when planning our northern Le Boat journey. Le Boats park proper downtown at the entrance of the Rideau Heart with views of the Parliament Buildings and the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. In previous journeys to Ottawa, we’ve seen yachts moored within the canal and will solely dream of constructing this journey. Now that it’s the potential to lease a houseboat, anybody can be a part of this unique membership of cruising the historic Rideau Canal.
Day 1 Merrickville (4 hours)
The primary ceases from Smiths Falls is the city of Merrickville the place we moored for the evening on the blue line of the Merrickville locks. When mooring in Merrickville, we recommend staying on the prime of the locks so you possibly can simply take pleasure in exploring the city. You don’t have far to go the subsequent day, and Merrickville is certainly a spotlight of this Rideau Canal cruise.
This was our favorite cease on our northern Rideau Canal route. Merrickville has every little thing you can want. Merrickville was voted “Canada’s Most Lovely Village by Communities in Bloom” and it is extremely fairly. There are loads of purchasing downtown and we picked up fairly a number of objects for our home. Be sure to walk its foremost avenue and pop into the retailers. Our favorite place was the Grey Artwork Glass Studio the place we purchased a stunning centerpiece for our eating room desk and Stella Luna Cafe for gelato. The proprietor studied the artwork of constructing Gelato at Carbigiani Gelato College in Bologna! Dave and I’ve really toured that college!
A spotlight of visiting Merrickville is strolling to the attractive ruins. The inspiration of a deserted woolen mill is positioned in a picturesque setting simply on the opposite aspect of the Rideau Canal from the city. There’s a strolling path, lovely stone foundations, an influence generator, and views of the Rideau Canal. Don’t miss strolling throughout the bridge to see them. Whereas docked in Merrickville, you may as well go to the previous blockhouse that has been become a museum.
Day 2 – Burritts Rapids (3 hours)
The following cease is Burritts Rapids. When leaving Merrickville there are three locks and a swing bridge to undergo. As soon as you’re by these locks, it’s not long till you’re at Burritt Rapids. At Burritts Rapids there’s a good mountain climbing path, The Tip to Tip. It’s a 4.3 kilometer is an out & again path the place you’ll go the village of Burritts Rapids as you make your approach out to the tip.
For us, the spotlight right here was visiting Rideau Woodland Ramble. In case you’ve rented bicycles together with your Le Boat (or bringing your individual) you possibly can bike to this lovely show backyard and heart. It is just 1.7 km from the Burritts Rapids Lock station, so you may as well stroll there. These gardens are lovely with strolling trails by beautiful shows. There’s even a labyrinth within the backyard the place you possibly can take a second for quiet meditation. There are Japanese maples, quiet ponds, backyard gnomes, and the Totem Path. Be sure to spend a while perusing the gardens and stocking up on provides to your personal backyard.
It’s dinner on the boat tonight as you take pleasure in stupendous sundown from the lock station.
Day 3 – Lengthy Island (5 hours)
At the moment is an extended boating day so attempt to be first by the locks so you may make your method to Lengthy Island. As soon as you’re by the Merrickville Locks, it’s easy cruising as you cruise the Rideau River to Manotick. This can be a lengthy portion with lovely surroundings and it’s alongside this route that the massive properties begin coming into view. We simply cherished sitting on the deck watching the surroundings go by.
At the moment is an effective day to have somebody put together lunch and snacks on board so you may make good time. We needed to get by the Lengthy Island locks as a result of it’s nonetheless an extended method to Ottawa. However, it is very important to observe that when going by lock stations, it’s good to be on the locks 1.5 hours earlier than closing. Since we had been cruising in Autumn to see the autumn colors, that meant that the lock station closed at 5 pm, so if we had been to get by, we wanted to reach at 3:30. Fortunately, we timed at the present time to occur on the weekend when hours are longer, so by leaving at 9 am sharp, we simply made it by the Lengthy Island locks.
That is undoubtedly a lock station that you just wish to undergo when you can and park on the backside as a result of its one other lengthy day on the water, so you want to have the ability to depart shiny and early. In case you park on the prime, you’ll want to attend for the lock station to open at 9 am.
Black Rapids (1 hour)
We made such good time, that after we obtained by the Lengthy Island Locks, we determined to push ahead to Black Rapids Locks. It’s lower than 10 km from Lengthy Island to Black Rapids and since we had been boating on the weekend, we had time to make it by Black Rapids to remain on the backside of the locks in order that we may push ahead to Ottawa very first thing within the morning.
It had begun to rain, so this was time to make up a long way. We moved downstairs to drive from beneath in heat and luxury and continued to Black Rapids the place we spent the evening on the backside of the locks. We had been the final boat by and Now had a really brief day forward of us to Ottawa.
Day 4 Ottawa (4 Hours)
It’s a thrilling day as a result of its ultimate stretch to the Capital Metropolis of Canada. The properties are nearer collectively and proceed to develop in measurement with floatplanes and motorboats lining their docks. Pleasant kayakers wave as you go and after passing marinas and bridges, the channel narrows as you strategy Ottawa. There are two last locks to go by earlier than reaching the town of Ottawa. Hartwell and Hogs Again lock. At this level, you undoubtedly really feel like you’re in a city setting. Cyclists experience their bicycles alongside the shore, individuals are strolling alongside the trail and crowds cease to observe the boats undergo the locks. Fortunately, you’ve been driving Le Boat for 4 days by now, so that you undergo the locks like a professional!
It’s now time to decide. Dows Lake is simply the exterior of downtown Ottawa, however, it’s a great spot to moor for the night. The big marina has three eating places and watersport leases. That is additionally the place you’ll wish to pump out your boat and refill your water. You possibly can park right here for the evening, however, to remain on the Marina, there’s an additional price. (roughly $80)
Day 5 Downtown (half-hour to 1 hour)
After pumping out and filling our water, we continued on to downtown Ottawa from Dows Lake. In this fashion, we may park within the coronary heart of the town and are inside strolling distance from many of the metropolis’s prime sights. The cruise into Ottawa is gorgeous. Many individuals pay for a Rideau Canal cruise from downtown, and on Le Boat, you get to drive your individual boat on this historic stretch of waterway. From Dows Lake to Downtown, it’s only a 20 to 30-minute cruise, however, you do want to attend for one carry bridge. The telephone quantity is in your charts, so name forward to let the bridge grasp know you’re in your approach. They’ll then cease site visitors and allow you to by.
Learn all these Ottawa Guides that can assist you to plan your go to
Issues to do in Ottawa close to Le Boat parking
You now have the afternoon to take pleasure in all of the wonderful issues to do in downtown Ottawa. Now we have visited this metropolis typically and have many articles on Ottawa sights. But when it’s your first time, you’re in an excellent place since you are inside strolling distance to the ByWard Market, The Parliament Buildings, The Rideau Centre, and Sparks Avenue. The ByTown museum is shut by and for simply $2 you possibly can go inside and stroll by this beautiful museum that traces the historical past of Ottawa recognized then as Bytown
We recommend heading to ByWard Marketplace for dinner. There are many locations to eat available in the market and you’ll want to go as much as the highest of the Andaz Lodge for cocktails on the rooftop bar and wonderful views of Ottawa.
Earlier than dinner, take a stroll to Parliament Hill to see the federal government parliament buildings and to look throughout the Ottawa River on the metropolis of Gatineau Quebec. In your approach again, hop as much as Sparks Avenue. This pedestrian avenue is nice for a stroll and comes out on the Struggle Memorial the place you possibly can see the altering of the guards on the Tomb of the Unknown soldier at 9 am and 5 pm.
A night in Ottawa provides numerous issues to do. One enjoyable factor for the entire household is to take a haunted strolling tour. Be taught concerning the metropolis of Ottawa and its historical past as you stroll to a few of its well-known sights while listening to enjoyable tales about ghosts within the evening.
Day 6 Ottawa (Non-compulsory Full Day in Ottawa)
In case you solely have in the future in Ottawa, the perfect factor to do is to take a tour. We booked an e-bike tour with Escape Bicycle Excursions and it was a wonderful method to go to all the highest Ottawa sights. What we cherished about e-biking is that it’s excellent for a multi-generational journey. My dad and mom joined us on this journey and so did my brother and sister-in-law. All of us have totally different ranges of biking, however, using an e-bike ranges the enjoying area. It’s really easy!
We met our information Andrew at their workplace on Sparks Avenue. It’s an implausible location the place you possibly can order specialty coffees, beer, and wine. We had espresso earlier than the tour and wine after. After studying how you can navigate the bikes we adopted Andrew by the town on the well-appointed bike paths. Ottawa is a really bikeable metropolis. My household was a bit fearful about biking within the metropolis, however, their nerves had been shortly eased as soon as we began biking. There have been paths all through the town and once we had been in site visitors, bikes had their very own lanes.
The tour took us throughout the Ottawa River into Quebec the place we noticed Canada’s busiest Museum, The Canadian Museum of Historical past. We then cycled throughout the Alexandra Bridge on the designated bike and strolling path to the Nationwide Gallery of Canada the place we noticed the wonderful Maman spider set up and took within the views of the Notre Dame Basilica. It was then out to Sussex Drive together with to see Rideau Corridor, the house of Canada’s governor-general. The tour was lovely, showcasing the perfect of the town whereas having fun with the nice outside.
After our tour, we had some beer and wine on the Escape Bicycle doors patio on Sparks Avenue. It’s such an excellent environment, and proprietor Maria got here out to hitch us for a cappuccino. When visiting Ottawa, ensure that to e-book a tour or bicycle rental with Escape Bicycle Excursions, go to their website for particulars.
Within the night we had an enjoyable household bonding expertise at Escape Manor the place we labored collectively as a group to get out of the Asylum. It was the primary escape room we’ve ever accomplished and I extremely suggest doing it. Particularly in case you are with your loved ones.
Taking a stroll alongside Financial institution Avenue we made our method to Flora Corridor Brewing for dinner. This can be an implausible setting in previous storage. The native craft brewery has an in-depth menu from falafels and beet hummus to Burrata salads. It’s all open-concept and you may see the vats of beer behind glass the place they make their very own microbrew. It’s then again to the boat for cocktails on deck with the Ottawa lights glistening within the easy waters of the canal.
Day 7 – Ottawa to Lengthy Island (3-4 hours)
At the moment it’s time to say goodbye to Ottawa and begin making your approach again to Smiths Falls. You’ll be backtracking so that you’ll be seeing plenty of identical surroundings, however, this can be an enjoyable time to cease on the locations you could have missed. Since we b-lined it by Lengthy Island from to Black Rapids on the way in which to Ottawa, we determined to go instantly to remain in a single day at Lengthy Island on the way in which again.
Lengthy Island is a beautiful lock station with three locks and a swing bridge. It’s wonderful to observe the Parks Canada workers at work. They crank the locks by hand and push the trolley to open the swing bridge in circles. It’s actually like stepping again in time.
From the Lengthy Island Locks, it’s a 15-minute bike experience to the city of Manotick. It’s price going into this historic city with 1860s Watson’s Mill being the spotlight. There are a number of cafes and specialty retailers for purchasing, or you possibly can merely calm down on one among its patios.
Day 8 – Nicolson Locks
At the moment is a leisurely cruise as you make your approach again alongside the Rideau Canal. It’s unattainable to get to Smiths Falls in a day from Lengthy Island, so you possibly can resolve the place you wish to spend the evening on the way in which again. You might wish to revisit Merrickville to take pleasure in some scrumptious pizza at Iron Forge Pizza, or you might have considered trying an evening on the water at Burrits Rapids or Nicholsons Lock. We made it by Burrits Rapids and determined to remain at Nicholsons to take pleasure in a night in peace and quiet on Le Boat.
Utilizing the barbecue on the higher deck, we loved cocktails and dinner because the solar set over the water. It was the right ending to our final evening on the boat.
Closing Day – On to Smiths Falls
Our last push had us leaving very first thing within the morning to get by to Smiths Falls the place we backed the boat into the slip. We’ve come to a good distance child, 8 days in the past we had been nervous about driving Le Boat’s Horizon 4 and now we’re backing it with precision proper into the slip alongside the remainder of the fleet.
As one individual went to get the carts to assist carry our gear, the remainder began to unload the boat and get it prepared for sign-off. It was an exquisite week with household on the Le Boat Horizon 4 and it was bittersweet saying goodbye to it. We extremely suggest getting your loved ones or shut associates collectively to share this once-in-a-lifetime expertise.
Le Boat and Rideau Canal – The Deails
Le Boat is positioned in Smiths Falls within the heart of the Rideau Canal. Boat holidays can go both approaches alongside the canal from Smiths Falls and don’t have to go all the way in which to Ottawa in your journey. We met many individuals who took shorter three to four-day journeys to Merrickville or Burritts Rapids. You additionally don’t have to spend two nights in Ottawa.
We needed my household to expertise our favorite metropolis in Ottawa, so we selected to spend an additional evening within the metropolis, however, you possibly can select to remain as lengthy or as brief as you want. The one further price for Le Boaters in Ottawa on the canal is the price of energy which is $9.20 per evening.
Rideau Canal Hours
When planning your Le Boat route on the Rideau Canal, it’s vital to take a look at lock occasions. Le Boats can solely go 10 km per hour, so you possibly can’t zip from lock to lock. It’s meant to be a sluggish and stress-free boat rip on the Rideau. So, ensure that to understand how far you wish to journey and the way a lot you wish to see earlier than reserving the variety of days from Smiths Falls.
Attending to Ottawa in 3 days is doable, however, it is very important to make good time between locks and to plan if you’re going to keep on the prime or backside of locks. Going by the locks can take some time and when you park on the prime however wish to transfer on within the morning, you gained be capable of till the lock opens. We regularly went by the lock within the night in order that we may park on the backside and be on our approach very first thing within the morning.
Lock occasions change relying on the time of the yr and it’s good to be on the locks 1 1/2 hours earlier than they shut as it may take that long to get boats by. So if the locks shut at 4:00 pm within the autumn, you will want to be going by 2:30 on the newest.
- Could 21 – June 17
- Monday to Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Friday to Sunday and holidays 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- June 18 – Sept. 6:
- Monday to Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- Friday to Sunday and holidays 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- September 7 – October 11:
- Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Saturday, Sunday & Thanksgiving 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
It’s free for Le Boaters to remain on the Parks Canada locks, however, if you need energy, there’s a cost of $9.80. You don’t essentially want energy as Le Boats cost all day whereas driving, however, if you wish to run the air conditioner in the summer season or warmth in Spring and Autumn, you might have considered trying energy for peace of thought. In case you keep at a Marina, some are included in your rental and others have an additional charge. Simply test with the workers earlier than you allow to search out which marinas are freed from cost. Some provide free stays for the primary two Le Boaters that arrive, so if you need an evening at a specific marina, ensure that to reach early.
Taking a Le Boat Trip on the Rideau Canal is once-in-a-lifetime expertise. Going by the historic locks is a dream trip that’s on many an avid boaters bucket listing. It’s wonderful that Le Boat has opened up a store in Canada providing luxurious 45-foot yachts to permit the general public to expertise a visit that was as soon as solely accessible for individuals who personal their very own boats. In case you are searching for one thing distinctive to do in Ontario this summer season, put Le Boat in the prime of your listing!
Go to the Le Boat website for luxurious boating holidays in Europe and Canada at LeBoat.com