Fun Activities To Do At Ottawa’s Rideau Canal

Did you know the Rideau Canal is the oldest man-made waterway in North America? It was constructed more than 200 years ago to connect Kingston with Ottawa and spans for more than 200 kilometres across Ontario. Today it’s mainly used for leisurely boating, but it remains an iconic piece of our nation’s history.


It also doubles as a major tourist attraction, so we’re going to explore the top activities to do along the Rideau Canal.



Grab your helmet and get ready to explore the Rideau Canal by bike! Start your adventure off at RentABike – a communal shop right in the heart of downtown Ottawa. Rates are extremely affordable, and they even have family-friendly options for children including tandem bikes that can sit up to four people!


Several biking trails encompass the Rideau Canal. We recommend departing in the morning to take in the crisp air during the autumn months or to avoid the heat and humidity in the summer months. The cycling scene has really exploded over the last 20 years, and there are now several cute cafes and restaurants along the bike trails. You can easily grab a bite to eat overlooking the entire canal.

Fun Activities To Do At Ottawa’s Rideau Canal


If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, then you’ll love hiking around the Rideau Canal. There are several trails suited for beginner hikers open throughout the year, and the terrain is mostly flat, so you don’t have to traverse up any steep mountains!


We highly suggest checking out the Chapman Mills Conservation Area, which is about a three-hour hike from the city along the Rideau Trail. It features a breathtaking shoreline and several boardwalks that crisscross through the natural wetlands. If you’re looking for a destination closer to Ottawa, explore the Britannia Conservation Area on the Ottawa River. This destination is only a two-hour hike from downtown and boasts a gorgeous pebble stone beach that’s suitable for swimming sun tanning.



During the winter months, the Rideau Canal transforms into an 8-kilometre skating rink, stretching from the downtown core to the suburbs. It’s managed by the National Capital Commission (NCC), and it’s free of charge, but you’ll have to bring your own skates. We recommend checking the interactive map the day before to ensure the ice is in good condition.


End a day of skating by having lunch at Wilfrid’s Restaurant at the iconic Fairmont Château Laurier, which overlooks the Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill, and the Ottawa River. Their prime rib dish is slowly cooked to perfection and served with a generous helping of buttermilk mashed potatoes. If you’re not a fan of meat, there’s also the Vegetable Escalivada – a Catalonian dish that features roasted fingerling potatoes in a delicious vinaigrette sauce that satisfies your taste buds on a brisk winter day.

Fun Activities To Do At Ottawa’s Rideau Canal

Enjoy the Rideau Canal 365 days a year and explore the option of buying a property in Ottawa. If you’re currently browsing property options, discover the ArtHaus condos in the heart of the nation’s capital. For more information visit or call (613) 909-3223.

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