After 50 successful years of operating luxury houseboats or river cruisers as they're known in Europe, Le Boat now offers these self-piloted cruises along the scenic and historically significant... Read More
After 50 successful years of operating luxury houseboats or river cruisers as they're known in Europe, Le Boat now offers these self-piloted cruises along the scenic and historically significant Rideau Waterway.
These custom contemporary styled craft offer a natural, light-filled kitchen/dining area and a spacious top deck for maximum cruising and viewing pleasure.
Le Boats, depending upon the model, accommodate between two and 12 passengers. All regular berths come with ensuite baths making Le Boat the perfect economic option for families and small groups traveling together.
From Canada's capital, Ottawa to her former capital, Kingston, the 125-mile (202 kilometers) route traverses forests, wetlands, the rocky Canadian Shield and the famous locks system - a technology dating from the 1830s earning the waterway a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.
The cities and towns abutting the Rideau Waterway where boaters dock at marinas and lock sites are well worth a visit. Ottawa, the largest city on the watery route, offers docking near the downtown area. Highlights include the National Gallery of Canada, the Ottawa Art Gallery, the Museum of Nature, the parliament buildings and the selfie - worthy Ottawa sign-sculpture on the edge of the Byward Market.
The Byward market - named for Colonel By - a Scottish engineer responsible for Ottawa and the lock system is home to the famous beavertail pastry and other goodies including Canadian maple syrup, cheese and fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers including those from Quebec across the river.
New shops like Nordstroms and Simons – featuring Quebec designer wear share the market area with older establishments like the popular bar, Chateau Lafayette – Laff for short - a neighborhood fixture since 1849 prompting its bygone urinals to be declared historical monuments.
Summer festivals include the Fringe Theater featuring good performances from the theater students at the neighboring University of Ottawa.
Heading west on the Rideau, the happening town of Smith Falls is served by Via Rail and is home to Canadian golf sensation, Brooke Henderson and her sister-caddy, Brittany. Their home course, The Smith Falls Golf and Country Club allows visitors to play at reasonable rates for a pretty course in excellent condition.
Tweed, a new cannabis operation occupying 1,000,000 square feet offers tours of this highly scientific venture focusing on recreational and medicinal products that seeks to provide beverages to rival the alcohol market with a new emphasis on flavor. In homage to the former Hershey factory's roots they've started producing chocolate and post tour samples are available as is their excellent coffee.
Eastern Canada's only railway museum and a heritage museum that focuses on the old and the new are worth a visit. A good dining option, the Axe and Arrow offers tasty fish, seafood and local specials along with products from the excellent Perth Brewery.
A few hours sail away – Le Boat caps the speed at 10 kilometers an hour (6 miles) – sits the town of Perth, famous for its sizable collection of limestone buildings and a main street built over the waterway. Quality local goods, new restaurants, cafes, a cheese shop and an English garden complete the pretty picture. The Rocky River cafe offers high-end pub food and healthier options in an attractive indoor/outdoor setting with excellent local brews.
Another worthwhile stop, Westport, is home to the Scheuermann Winery whose folks will transport boaters to the scenic, six-acre vineyard and cafe above the water amidst rolling hills. Oven-fired pizza, inventive salads and tasty varietals top off a perfect day of boating.
The Westport Brewing Company occupies an intimate, contemporary-styled pub with a patio overlooking the waterway and serves tasting flights of their pale and darker brews.
Chaffey's Lock, along with the usual waterside picnic and barbeque sites and friendly, helpful Parks Canada lockmasters, offers good access to the 104-kilometer Cataraqui recreational trail – perfect for the folding bikes that can be rented from Le Boat to accompany your trip.The Lockmaster's House Museum, an art gallery and the excellent cuisine of the Opinicon Resort all warrant a visit.
Getting there from Montreal:
Take ViaRail from Montreal to Smith Falls through Ottawa.
DRIVING? It's two hours and 45 minutes from Montreal.