Ten must-do activities on the historic canals and waterways of Ontario and Quebec

Looking for a world-renowned activity on the water? Look no further! Parks Canada destinations in Ontario and Quebec offer a variety of unique experiences on the waterways in and around Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, and the Kawartha regions. Take a journey through time. Memories await!

1. Cruise the Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal National Historic Site

Find yourself dreaming of sailing but don’t have a boat? No problem! Book a sightseeing cruise along the Rideau Canal and discover the various sights of downtown Ottawa, or be the captain of your own Le Boat and take part in a family-friendly adventure along a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Licensed local operators near the Rideau Canal offer unique tours, activities, and rentals for any visitor looking to experience this historic waterway.

Choose your cruise

2. Stay overnight next to the water

Rideau Canal, Trent–Severn Waterway and St. Ours Canal National Historic Sites

Try out a unique experience and spend the night near the water! Stay in an oTENTik , the perfect mix of tent and A-frame cabin for a touch of comfort in the wild. Want to try living like a lockmaster? Rent one of the three restored historic homes on the Rideau Canal, where historic features and modern amenities come together in these historic rental properties. For an even more unforgettable stay, book one of the tear-drop Ôasis pods on the Trent–Severn Waterway and let the memories begin!

Reserve your stay

3. Paddle on the Trent–Severn Waterway

Paddlers on the Trent–Severn Waterway

Trent–Severn Waterway National Historic Site

Explore the Trent–Severn Waterway by canoe or kayak. Choose from these suggested routes and experience the best this intriguing heritage destination has to offer! With 387 km of water to explore as well as many places to stay overnight, you can plan a different trip with each visit! Take advantage of a 50% discount on seasonal lockage permits for canoes and kayaks and enjoy unlimited paddling for the entire navigation season.

Order your lockage permit at half price

4. Participate in the Learn-to Camp program

Lachine Canal National Historic Site

Learn to camp safely and easily in Montreal! Participate in workshops and learn the basics of camping or get closer to nature and try an overnight camping experience on the banks of the Lachine Canal where you’ll get camping advice from outdoor experts.

Reserve your spot at Parks Canada's Learn-to Camp Program

5. See the Wonders of the Waterway

A boat sitting above train tracks inside the chamber of marine railway descending hillside at Trent–Severn Waterway.

Trent–Severn Waterway National Historic Site

Be amazed by this engineering marvel built over a century ago and still in operation today. Visit any of the 45 historic locks between Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay and discover some of the most unique places in Canada. Take your boat for a ride on the Big Chute Marine Railway, climb the World's Tallest Hydraulic Lift Lock for a photo, or paddle through the giant walls at Ranney Falls. Pro tip: when you visit the Trent–Severn Waterway, don't forget to bring your camera!

Go on a virtual visit of every lock

6. Hop aboard the Petit Navire

Lachine Canal National Historic Site

Hop aboard the Petit Navire and soar through 150 years of history and let the waters take you back to the days when traders used this very canal. Let yourself be lulled by the peaceful waters and make sure to try out the fascinating experience of exploring the lock by boat!

Reserve your place on the Petit Navire

7. Take a walking tour through time

Aerial view of a lock of the Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal National Historic Site

Follow in the footsteps of the original builders of the Rideau Canal as you explore this important piece of history. Discover Merrickville and visit the blockhouse where troops were stationed for protection against attack. Go for a stroll around Jones Falls and explore the blacksmith shop, Sweeney House and the impressive Stone Arch Dam. Or, climb the paths near the Ottawa Locks for stunning views of Chateau Laurier and Parliament Hill.

Find a walking trail

8. Paddle on the Lachine Canal

Lachine Canal National Historic Site.

Treat yourself to a day of outdoor activities in the heart of Montreal as you explore the Lachine Canal. No boat? No problem! Rent an electric boat, pedal boat, kayak or canoe and see the city from a new perspective from the water.

Plan your canal excursion

9. Moor your boat for the night

Boats moored in the evening at the quay of the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal

Historic Canals and Waterways

Enjoy a unique boating experience as you take your boat overnight mooring in one of Canada's historic canals. Dock overnight in an urban setting like Ottawa or Montreal and enjoy the nearby activities as well as a wide range of restaurants, programs and events. Or, escape the city and step back, relax and take in the breathtaking scenery from the docks as you embrace the peace that nature brings.

Discover unique activities

10. Explore the Chambly Canal’s path

A person is cycling on the Chambly Canal’s path along the water

Chambly Canal National Historic Site

Walk or bike along an old towpath that is over 20 km long. Enjoy the moment in the middle of nature as you observe the boats sailing the canal and passing through the manually operated locks. The Chambly Canal’s path is one of the most beautiful circuits in the Montérégie! Take advantage of the magnificent parks and green spaces bordering the canal for a picnic break.

Explore canal’s path

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