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Completed inthe km mile canal uses both the Rideau and Cataraqui rivers and a series of lakes, including Upper Rideau Lake at its summit, to create its waterway. Built as a military project to provide a secure connection between Montreal and Kingston, the canal has been widely used for recreational purposes for the past century.
One of the oldest continuously operated canals in North Americawith 24 hand-operated lock stations, the Rideau system was listed as a Canadian Heritage River in The War of highlighted for Great Britain the vulnerability of Upper Canada Ontario because of the need to send supplies and reinforcements by way of the St. At the conclusion of the war, new defense plans were developed to ensure that the Royal Navy could maintain access to the Canadian interior in the event of further conflicts with the United States.
Because of its military ificance, the Rideau Canal received funding through the British Ordnance Department. As a military project, the canal could avail itself of the services of the Royal Engineers, and in Lieut.
Working under vague orders, By spent the first year inspecting the proposed route of the Rideau Canal. As the St. Lawrence River was in safe territory between Montreal Ottawa river locks the Ottawa Riverhe decided to start the canal on the Ottawa River.
The other terminus was to be located on Lake Ontario at Kingston, the site of naval yards and capable of providing interior access through the Great Lakes system. By deed a 1. In spite of the natural waterways, the canal still required a total of 47 locks, and, because of the natural elevation change between bodies of water, it required multiple locks at several sites.
In total, the system required 33 locks between the Ottawa River and its summit at Upper Rideau Lake, for an elevation change of 83 metres feet. From the summit to Lake Ontario Ottawa river locks additional 14 locks were built, for a total lift of 50 metres feet. Early in the process, By resolved to build a canal large enough for oceangoing steamships to use.
Although he had to curtail his optimum size for the locks, the compromise lock size of 41 metres long by 10 metres wide feet long by 33 feet wide was substantially larger than that of the canals built in the United States during the same period. In particular, By deed an arched dam at Jones Falls, which, at metres wide by 19 metres high feet wide by 62 feet highwas almost twice as high as any other dam in North America at the time.
Construction began on the canal in The workforce was predominantly French Canadian and Irish, though British Royal Sappers and Miners were also sent to labour on the project. After enduring outbreaks of swamp fevers, labour disputes, and even desertions by military labourers, the canal was officially opened on May 24, Soon after the opening of the canal, By was recalled to London to face an inquiry by the British Parliament into cost overruns on the project and charges of financial impropriety against By.
Although By had approval for the larger, more expensive locks that he built, the original vague orders, Ottawa river locks with the poor communication between By in Canada and the British Ordnance and Parliament in Great Britain, contributed to the Rideau Canal becoming the most expensive military-financed public work project undertaken in any British colony in the 19th century. Looking for answers and fueled by rumours spread by a dismissed employee, Parliament held an inquiry to explore charges of financial impropriety against By.
Eventually, By was cleared of all charges. Although deed and built for military purposes and protected by six blockhouses, the primary use of the Rideau Canal was at first commercial. With additional improvements made to on the Ottawa River, the Rideau Canal became the preferred water route to Montreal. Both the difficulty and cost of shipping items from Ontario were greatly reduced, which encouraged new settlement. Wheat and timber both made their way on the Rideau to markets and merchants in Montreal.
Bytown, hastily erected along the canal at the Ottawa River, soon became a centre of the lumber industry and in time developed into the city of Ottawa, the capital of Canada. The Rideau continued to be operated under the British Ordnance Department until Responsibility was then shifted to the Provincial Board of Works and in moved to the federal government under the Department of Railways and Canals later reorganized as part of the Department of Transport. By the s, as more-powerful steamships were built that were able to navigate the unimproved section of the St.
Lawrence River, traffic on the Rideau Canal dropped. However, it continued to be used commercially and, together with small railro, was part of a regional transportation system. By the early 20th century, the primary use of the Rideau waterway had shifted from transportation to recreation. Cottages and lodges were built along the lakes and canal, and the lakes became famous for their bass fishing. In there was talk of closing the canal, but it was kept open because several of the dams were being used to generate hydroelectric power and because recreational use of the canal was growing.
Reflecting its new usage, responsibility for the canal was moved to Parks Canada in Rideau Canal. Introduction Planning and construction From commerce to recreation. Additional Info. Print print Print. Table Of Contents. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Facebook Twitter. Give Feedback External Websites. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article requires.
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Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. He began construction at a point near the junction of the Ottawa and Rideau rivers, at which a settlement that became known as Bytown developed; the future federal capital, it was incorporated as a…. Canals and inland waterwaysnatural or artificial waterways used forcrop irrigation, water supply, or drainage.
Despite modern technological advances in air and ground transportation, inland waterways continue Ottawa river locks fill a vital role and, in…. History at your fingertips. up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox! address. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox.Ottawa river locks
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