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Rideau Canal Tours

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159 Reviews
Rideau Canal
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.
Address: Rideau Canal, Ottawa K1N 8S7, Canada
Admission: Free
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18 Tours and Activities to Experience Rideau Canal

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Rideau Canal Cruise

Rideau Canal Cruise

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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.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$28.44
From
$28.44
Taking safety measures

Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa

Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa

star-4.5
Take a spooky stroll through Downtown Ottawa on this guided haunted walking tour. Experience the darker side of Canada’s capital and hear tales of the city's haunted heritage as told by a professional storyteller. Hear the hair-raising stories and see the area’s most haunted sites. It’s a fascinating, spine-tingling adventure.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$21.46
From
$21.46

Exploring the Heart of Ottawa

Exploring the Heart of Ottawa

star-4
We are the founders and curators of loveOttawa, a photographic social media project that celebrates Ottawa, along with its rich and dynamic community. As connoisseurs of the great things that make our city so special, our exclusive photowalks not only highlight and celebrate our city’s beauty but also its many hidden gems, generous spirit and wonderful people. On this photo tour, you’ll take home not only memorable imagery of what you’ve seen, but also come away with the importance of looking at the familiar with curious and creative eyes.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$127.12
Price varies by group size
From
$127.12
Price varies by group size

2-Hour Ottawa Express City Bike Tour

2-Hour Ottawa Express City Bike Tour

star-5
This small-group bike tour is perfect for families and those wanting a safe and leisurely way to see Ottawa. Most of the route is on designated bike paths or quaint backroads that take you to some of Ottawa’s cultural and natural highlights. See Rideau Hall, cycle the Rideau Canal path, plus see the War Memorial, Byward Market and more. Stop along the way to learn more about certain locations and get local tips from your guide.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$36.41
From
$36.41
Taking safety measures

Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt

Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt

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Are you planning a visit to Ottawa? Our tourist treasure hunt will take you from Chateau Laurier to the Supreme Court and the Byward Market, passing by the Parliament Hill of course! You will have to solve challenges at every step to discover your next destination and earn points. At each step, you will learn a little history as well as interesting facts about what surrounds you. t takes 2-3 hours to complete, do it whenever you wish - you select your own date and start time, no scheduling or reservation needed. 20+ challenges, games and enigmas to solve as you walk through this historic neighborhood.
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  • 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$34.86
per group
From
$34.86
per group
Taking safety measures

Ottawa Highlights 3.5 Hour Bike Tour

Ottawa Highlights 3.5 Hour Bike Tour

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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.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$68.94
From
$68.94
Taking safety measures

Ottawa River Tour + Catered Lunch on River, Private Yacht

Ottawa River Tour + Catered Lunch on River, Private Yacht

No one else in Ottawa offers this kind of tour. Four times a year only, exclusive on these summer holidays: June 24, July 1, Aug 3, & Sept 7, only 10 spaces. This tour books full and early, if interested, don't delay. After navigating past city sights, bridges, and marinas, we'll anchor on a sandy shoal by Upper Duck Island. A catered lunch will be served with some of the Ottawa's best deli sandwiches and platter food - you won't be disappointed. Bottled water available as needed. A glass of wine is offered. Alcohol may be consumed on Quebec side of river. You may bring your own beverages and/or snacks. The ride will be gentle to give you ample time to enjoy the scenery and sights. Ottawa you’ll discover looks spectacular from the river. Sit in the back, or the front and dangle your feet over the edge while holding a drink and the railing, the view and ride are amazing. Simply, enjoy a premium holiday date on a yacht and live like few locals do.
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  • Free Cancellation
From
$146.98
From
$146.98

Ottawa River Tour, Private Yacht

Ottawa River Tour, Private Yacht

star-3
No one else in Ottawa offers this kind of tour. June 6 to Sept 27, 2020 - every Sat and Sun, at 2PM and 4PM, weather permitting, only 10 spaces. Bottled water available as needed. A glass of wine is offered. Alcohol may be consumed on Quebec side of river. You may bring your own beverages and/or snacks. The ride will be gentle to give you ample time to enjoy the scenery and sights, and we'll see many. Ottawa you’ll discover looks spectacular from the river. Sit in the back, or the front and dangle your feet over the edge while holding a drink and the railing, the view and ride are amazing. Simply, this tour lets you enjoy seeing Ottawa from the water, with the comforts of a small intimate group.
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  • Free Cancellation
From
$75.48
From
$75.48

Ottawa River Sunset Tour, Private Yacht

Ottawa River Sunset Tour, Private Yacht

No one else in Ottawa offers this kind of tour. June 6 to Sept 27, 2020, every Sat and Sun evening, weather permitting, only 10 spaces. Sunset tours book full and early, if interested, don't delay. Bottled water available. A glass of wine is offered. Alcohol may be consumed on Quebec side of river. You may bring your own beverages and/or snacks. The ride will be gentle to give you ample time to enjoy the scenery and sights. Ottawa you’ll discover looks spectacular from the river. We'll tour past Ottawa's major sites on the river. Sit in the back, or the front and dangle your feet over the edge while holding a drink and the railing, the view and ride are amazing. Simply, enjoy the amazing sun and sky colours and sights, and listen to great music with a small, intimate group while chillaxing on a yacht on the river. June 6-July 19, 7:30PM to 9:30PM. July 25-Aug 9, 7:15PM to 9:15PM. Aug 15-Aug 23, 6:45PM to 8:45PM. Aug 29-Sept 13, 6:15PM-8:15PM. Sept 19-Sept 27, 5:30PM-7:30PM.
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  • Free Cancellation
From
$91.37
From
$91.37

Sportif tour of East Ontario and West Quebec

Sportif tour of East Ontario and West Quebec

star-5
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).
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$102.49
From
$102.49

Best of Ottawa Neighbourhoods & Nature Bike Tour

Best of Ottawa Neighbourhoods & Nature Bike Tour

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Experience the beauty and history of Ottawa on a bike tour in and around the city. Explore some of the city's trendiest and most vibrant neighborhoods and get a sense of local life as you travel through Centretown, the Glebe, and Hintonburg among others. On route, see all the major sites while enjoying the natural pathways and waterways of Canada’s capital city, and enjoy a snack as you travel.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$63.52
From
$63.52
Taking safety measures

Ottawa Spring Tulip Festival Bike Tour

Ottawa Spring Tulip Festival Bike Tour

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The Canadian Tulip Festival celebrates the return of spring, with over a million displays of tulips planted throughout our city in May. Capture spectacular views of the tulips and discover their colorful beauty along with other hidden gems and the history of the city on a bike tour. In addition to the Tulip site at Dow's Lake, you will visit Rideau Canal, Landsdowne Park, the Glebe, Little Italy and much more.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$54.03
From
$54.03

Self-Guided Biking in Ottawa-Gatineau

Self-Guided Biking in Ottawa-Gatineau

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Choose your own itinerary during this self-guided tour of Ottawa via bicycle. Pedal your way through the city like a local, using the provided map to reach the sites that most interest you. Safe and scenic bike paths keep you away from car traffic and let you see the green areas of the region.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$22.08
From
$22.08
Taking safety measures

Ottawa Bike Tour: The Essentials

Ottawa Bike Tour: The Essentials

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See the best of Ottawa by bike! Picturesque neighbourhoods, waterways, and scenic nature right in the city. We'll explore by using Ottawa's extremely impressive bike lane network! This introductory ride shows you the essential sights of Ottawa's core, and the whole experience feels like you are on a casual ride with a local friend that loves telling stories. We even keep the groups sizes small for a more intimate, personalized experience. This intro tour covers the must-see spots, shares the history, offers stunning views, and sets you up with ideas of things to do for the rest of your stay. Everyone has been loving our included Norco Scene bikes - they are super comfortable and so much fun to ride - we both now use these as our personal bikes! If you've never taken a bike tour before, you are more than welcome. We stop every 10-15 min or so to hear local stories & info, check out public art, or snap photos. Join us and our team to see more of Ottawa in less time - by bike!
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$38.93
From
$38.93

Ottawa Scavenger Hunt: Ottawa’s Iconic Sights

Ottawa Scavenger Hunt: Ottawa’s Iconic Sights

Let’s Roam is the #1 app-led scavenger hunt company. Walk to all the best landmarks and hidden gems, answering trivia questions and solving challenges. Work with your team or compete against them, as you learn new facts and create memorable experiences. Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunts are great as an everyday activity, or for bachelorette parties, birthday parties, corporate team building events and more! Each player chooses an interactive role, with challenges varying by person. Join us on this 2 hours adventure through Ottawa’s Iconic Sights with photos included!
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  • 2 hours
From
$12.31
From
$12.31

Ottawa Bike Tour: Hoods & Hidden Gems

Ottawa Bike Tour: Hoods & Hidden Gems

star-5
Get on a bike and explore with us the local hangouts and lifestyle of Ottawa! This ride is all about the nature & neighbourhoods beyond the Downtown Ottawa core, and the whole experience feels like you are on a casual ride with a local friend that loves telling stories. We keep the groups sizes small for a more intimate, personalized experience. This very off-the-beaten-path tour covers hip neighbourhoods, a canal-side bike route, a beautiful Arboretum, two waterfalls, an experimental farm in the city, and more! Everyone has been loving our included Norco Scene bikes - they are super comfortable and so much fun to ride - we both now use these as our personal bikes! If you've never taken a bike tour before, you are more than welcome. We stop every 10-15 min or so to hear local stories & info, check out public art, or snap photos. Join us and our team to see more of Ottawa in less time - by bike!
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$38.93
From
$38.93

Pioneering Days: An audio tour of the captivating history of Ottawa's pioneers

Pioneering Days: An audio tour of the captivating history of Ottawa's pioneers

Starting where Ottawa began, this self guided audio tour will take you to the very best city viewpoint. Beginning back when there was nothing here but forest, you will see where and hear how Ottawa began and gain a pretty good feeling for the circumstances, events and leaders that shaped the city in its earliest days. Most everything you see as you walk is explained. The tour ends in the most famous market in town, where you will find lots to see and great places to refresh yourself. Take in gorgeous views of the Ottawa River. Find out about the indigenous people who inhabited the area for thousands of years. Learn about the famous locks of Ottawa. Finally end the tour in the bustling Byward Market. Along the way, discover the stories of the pioneering characters who have shaped the captivating history of Ottawa.
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  • 30 to 45 minutes
From
$5.00
From
$5.00

Private 8-hour Tour to Ottawa from Montreal - Hotel pick up and drop off

Private 8-hour Tour to Ottawa from Montreal - Hotel pick up and drop off

Make the best of your time in Montreal and visit Ottawa, the capital of Canada, on a full day excursion with us. Explore the city most emblematic sites of Ottawa with a local expert. Your private driver will pick you up at your desired time in Montreal and drive you to Ottawa. Once there, alongside one of our professional tour guides, you will learn the history and visit the main sites of Ottawa during a 2 hour guided city tour. You will of course have free time for lunch in Ottawa before returning. Your tour will end up in your desired place in Montreal. Final itinerary is adjustable to your personal interests
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$964.79
Price varies by group size
From
$964.79
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Rideau Canal?