Lock & Paddle 2024

Rideau Canal National Historic Site

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Join Parks Canada at this free community paddling event in the Nation’s Capital on Canada Parks Day (July 20). Celebrate the historic Rideau Canal and be part of a story 192 years in the making. Experience the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage site and be transported back in time while paddling into the lock alongside a flotilla of colourful canoes and kayaks. Together, you will be lowered through the locks amidst the sounds of laughter and music as you make new memories with friends and family. Your best story of the summer starts here!

Saturday, July 20

Hartwells Lockstation
(901 Hartwells Locks Lane, Ottawa, ON)

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What is Lock & Paddle?

Since 2016, Lock & Paddle has been a signature community paddling event held annually on the Trent-Severn Waterway. Lock & Paddle is best described as a ‘flash mob’ or ‘critical mass’ of canoes and kayaks. Visitors of all skills and backgrounds are invited to come together and pack the locks for this one-day event celebrating these historic treasures. Paddlers from all around will travel to be a part of this unique show.

Lock & Paddle 2023 - Peterborough Lift Lock

Aerial photo of Peterborough Lift Lock at Lock & Paddle 2023.

Getting here

There is no visitor parking at the lockstation for this event.

Option 1

Participants may drive to the Hartwells visitor parking and drop off their equipment at the “check-in” area. From there, nearby parking is available at the Experimental Farm and Carleton University Lot P18 parking garage. Parking at the Carleton location is available at $6.00 for the day using the HotSpot application that can be downloaded on your phone. Please note that this parking option is for vehicles only – please drop off your paddlecraft first at the “check-in” location. It is a 5 to 10-minute walk back to Hartwells Lock from these locations.

Option 2

Participants may drive to the gravel parking lot at 588 Hog's Back Road, where they can park and launch their paddlecraft. From there, paddle towards the Hogs Back Lockstation, where Parks Canada staff will be waiting to lock you and your group down. Once you are through, make your way north towards the festivities at Hartwells.

Please note:

  • Give yourself 20 minutes to paddle from Hogs Back to Hartwells
  • Staff at Hogs Back will wait for a number of paddlers to arrive before locking you through. If you do not want to wait, you have the option to portage around Hogs Back.


2:00 pm

Lock & Paddle begins!

2:30 pm

Once enough participants have assembled at the top lock at Hartwells, we will start our group lockages.

How the group lockages will work:

  1. All lockages will start from the top lock.
  2. When the top lock is full, the descent will commence.
  3. Paddlers will then transfer into the bottom lock.
  4. Once into the bottom lock, the top lock will be refilled and reloaded. Double lockage!
  5. All participants will exit the bottom lock into the Ottawa Locks reach, where the options will be:
    • portage back up the hill or,
    • wait in your vessel for upbound lockages.

Rules and requirements

  1. All-ages and skill levels welcome;
  2. No inflatable vessels (stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, or otherwise);
  3. All paddlers/passengers must wear a PFD in order to participate;
  4. Smoke-free and cannabis-free event;
  5. Alcohol-free event while on the water;
  6. Pets on boats are not encouraged;
  7. Respect your fellow paddlers!

Visitors who do not follow the rules and requirements will not be permitted to enter the lock chambers.

What to bring

Note: This is a rain or shine event. Dress for the weather.

  • Canoe or kayak
  • Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) for each paddler
  • Sound signalling device, buoyant heaving line, and bailer for each boat
  • Watertight flashlight
  • Sunscreen and a hat
  • Water bottle
  • A smile!

Gear and rental options

Don’t have your own boat or gear but still want to make a splash? Check out these local rental options:


There will be no parking at Hartwells lockstation.

Parking options nearby
  • Parks Canada staff will be present at the Hogs Back gravel parking lot and boat launch to greet participants and show where they can park/put-in, and to help guide you towards Hogs Back and Hartwells.
  • Participants will have the option of driving to Hartwells to drop their canoe/kayak at the visitor parking lot. However, you will not be able to leave your vehicle there.
  • Participants can arrive from the north (Dow’s Lake) but Lock & Paddle will start at the south end, so they will need to portage to the top.


Lock & Paddle 2023 - Peterborough Lift Lock Lock & Paddle 2023 - Peterborough Lift Lock

Looking to cover Lock & Paddle 2024 for your media outlet? Reach out to rideau@pc.gc.ca for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

For additional questions, please email us at: rideau@pc.gc.ca

Do I need to register for Lock & Paddle?

No! For Lock & Paddle 2024, participants are not required to register in advance of the event. However, we will have information stations on site should you have any questions during the event.

Can I participate with a Stand Up Paddleboard?

No. Stand up paddleboards (SUP) are not recommended on the waterway due to increased boat traffic, and are prohibited in all locks.

Do we still have to pay lockage fees?

No. Lockage will be free at Hartwells and Hogs Back for all participants in Lock & Paddle for July 20th.

Can I bring my pet?

For safety reasons, and the comfort of fellow paddlers, we recommend that pets stay on land, rather than in your paddlecraft.

Can I participate in an inflatable kayak, canoe, raft, or other inflatable vessel?

No. Inflatable vessels are not permitted at this event.

Once we go down the lock and out in our paddle craft, can we keep paddling?

Yes. You can keep paddling to Dows Lake if you choose to. Or you can wait for all the paddlecraft to have gone down, and we will start the process over, but in the other direction.

After we paddle down the locks, how do I get back to my car?

You can paddle to your original launch location. If you went through Hogs Back, you will need to paddle back to Hogs Back and either lock through or portage around the lock. If you used the drop-off option at Hartwells, you would leave your canoe or kayak at the paddlecraft check-in and you would need to walk back to your car then return for your equipment. See: Parking

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