Rideau Canal Tours

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Built between 1826 and 1832 to offer secure passage for British ships from Montreal, the Rideau Canal—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is an engineering masterpiece. It extends for 126 miles (202 kilometers) between Ottawa and Kingston. Ottawa’s most visited stretch lures boaters, cyclists, and strollers in summer, and ice skaters in winter.
 
The Basics
Ottawa visitors will almost certainly encounter the Rideau Canal at some point during their trip, as the waterway cuts right through the heart of Canada’s capital city and is visible from Parliament Hill. Bike tours of the city often follow the Rideau Canal Pathways, which extend along both sides of the canal, and many walking tours include a visit to the canal’s edge. You can also embark on Rideau Canal sightseeing cruises, or join a kayak or canoe excursion. In winter, rent skates and glide around the vast, well-maintained Rideau Canal Skateway, formed by a cordoned-off part of the canal.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Bike and boat tours on the canal run from May through October.
  • If you’re going in winter, bundle up, as temperatures frequently drop below freezing.
  • Fishing is allowed on some parts of the waterway, including Dow’s Lake. An Ontario fishing permit and outdoors card are required.
 
How to Get There
If you’re staying in downtown Ottawa, the best way to reach the canal is on foot. From Ottawa’s main train station, ride the 61 bus. Alternatively, a taxi from the station will take 15 to 20 minutes.
 
When to Get There
Ottawa’s peak visiting periods are January, February, and June to August. Even during its busiest times, the canal rarely feels crowded. If you want to see it at its most peaceful, go early in the morning.
 
Rideau Canal Skateway
Every winter, a 4.8-mile (7.8-kilometer) stretch of the frozen Rideau Canal transforms into an open-air ice-skating rink. Designated the world’s largest naturally frozen skate rink by the Guinness World Records, the hugely popular Rideau Canal Skateway attracts an average of 20,000 visitors per day. The skating season’s length and dates vary according to weather conditions, but typically the rink is open from January to the end of February or early March. You can rent skates from canal-side huts, some of which also sell hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and BeaverTails, a fried-dough pastry topped with cinnamon and sugar.
Location
Address: Rideau Canal, Ottawa K1N 8S7, Canada
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Admission: Free
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7 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Rideau Canal Cruise

The Rideau Canal links Canada’s capital—Ottawa—with majestic Lake Ontario. On this tour, cruise in comfort along the UNESCO World Heritage–listed waterway and admire sweeping views over top attractions including the Canadian Museum of Nature, Château Laurier, Dow’s Lake, and the National Arts Centre. Along the way, listen as your guide sheds light on centuries of colorful Canadian history.
  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
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$22.26 USD
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  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
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$22.26 USD

Ottawa Spring Tulip Festival Bike Tour

The Canadian Tulip Festival celebrates the return of spring, with over a million displays of tulips planted throughout Ottawa, Canada's capital. Book this 2-hour guided bike tour that takes place during the annual event available from May 12 to May 22. On your leisurely ride, enjoy expansive bursts of color as you pedal through gardens blooming with more than 300,000 tulips.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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$37.61 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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$37.61 USD

Sportif tour of East Ontario and West Quebec

Join our hospitable and professionally guided sportive tour of the National Capital's Gatineau Park while enjoying the freedom from traffic delays as you ride from the Rideau Canal tour/rental centre.   The bikes are light aluminum or carbon road Giant models (105 or Ultegra) offered in five sizes and expertly fitted to suit you.  Ride the 30k loop (100%pathway) or the 50k loop to Champlain Lookout (pathway and road) with elevations from 100m or 600m.  Travel along the Ottawa and Gatineau river and park at a pace averaging 20-25kph.  You will ride between three to four hours and can choose a morning departure (9:00am) or depart in the afternoon (1:00pm).
  • Duration: 3 to 4 hrs
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$99.02 USD
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  • Duration: 3 to 4 hrs
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$99.02 USD

Ottawa City Tour by Land and Water

Maximize your time in Ottawa and Gatineau with a one-hour sightseeing tour by land and water in an amphibious vehicle! Aboard the outrageous ‘amphibus,’ pass main city attractions like Parliament Hill, the National Gallery of Canada, the National War Memorial Monument and more. When cruising along the street gets dry, plunge into the Ottawa River to see the city from a different angle. Fun for the whole family!
  • Duration: 1 hour
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$27.98 USD
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  • Duration: 1 hour
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$27.98 USD

2-Hour Ottawa Express City Bike Tour

This bike tour is perfect for families and those wanting a leisurely way to see Ottawa. Most of the route is on designated bike paths that take you to some of Ottawa’s cultural and natural highlights. You’ll see Rideau Falls, cycle the Rideau Canal path, cross the river into Gatineau, plus see the War Memorial, Parliament Hill, National Art Gallery, Museum of History, and more.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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$47.59 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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$47.59 USD

Best of Ottawa Bike Tour

Experience the beauty and history of Ottawa on a 5-hour bike tour in and around the city. See all the major sites while enjoying the natural pathways and waterways of Canada’s capital city, and enjoy a stop for lunch at a local cafe.
  • Duration: 5 hours
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$84.43 USD
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  • Duration: 5 hours
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$84.43 USD

Ottawa Highlights 3 Hour Bike Tour

Experience the beauty and history of Ottawa on a half-day bike tour in and around the city. See the major attractions and must-see sites while enjoying the natural pathways and waterways of Canada’s capital city.
  • Duration: 3 hours
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$68.32 USD
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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$68.32 USD


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