A narrow sliver of water that becomes the world’s longest skating rink in winter, the Rideau Canal runs past the National Arts Centre before it slides down into the Ottawa River via a pretty flight of locks, with Parliament Hill rising on one side, the Fairmont Château Laurier hotel on the other. Beside the foot of the locks is the Bytown Museum (bytownmuseum.com), Ottawa’s oldest building, where military supplies were stored during the construction of the canal. Here, a short film explores the history of the waterway and the difficulties involved in its construction; afterwards you can take a peek at a scattering of bygones from the city’s earliest days. From mid-May to early October, canal boat trips leave from the top of the locks, river trips from the bottom.

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