Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Rideau Waterway Plaque, Smiths Falls

In Victoria Park between Lombard Street and the Rideau River, just outside the Doug Walton Shelter stands a plaque for The Rideau Waterway.

Constructed 1826-32 by the British government for military
purposes but used principally for commerce, the Rideau water-
way, together with the lower Ottawa River, was the first
canalized route from Montreal to the Great Lakes. Although
eastbound traffic continued to use the St. Lawrence, westbound
traffic, including many thousands of immigrants, utilized the
new route to avoid the hazards and delays of upstream naviga-
tion on that river. With the completion in 1846, of the St.
Lawrence canals, use of the Rideau as a commercial thorogh-
fare declined sharply. However it remained vitially important
to the region by providing its agriculture and industry with
economic access to markets. In time the Rideau became one of
Ontario's major recreational waterways.
Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario