A canal built with the primary purpose of keeping the United States out of Canada.
The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.
Date of Inscription: 2007
Category: Cultural site
UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 1221:
The Rideau Canal, a monumental early 19th-century construction covering 202 km of the Rideau and Cataraqui rivers from Ottawa south to Kingston Harbour on Lake Ontario, was built primarily for strategic military purposes at a time when Great Britain and the United States vied for control of the region. The site, one of the first canals to be designed specifically for steam-powered vessels, also features an ensemble of fortifications. It is the best-preserved example of a slackwater canal in North America, demonstrating the use of this European technology on a large scale. It is the only canal dating from the great North American canal-building era of the early 19th century to remain operational along its original line with most of its structures intact.
Things have changed since the days when the United States declared its independence from Great Britain and went to war. Among other things Canada has been set up as a free country and tensions among the three have been eradicated – apart from on the peaceful, competitive “battle fields”.
The Rideau Canal has been along for all this time, almost as intact as when it was built. My visit was to the locks in central Ottawa, right beneath Parliament Hill. I walked up and down a few times, enjoying the view of boats patiently waiting for their turn in the fully operational locks.