Rideau Canal

Eastern Ontario

In 2007, this National Historic Site became Canada's 14th location to be named a World Heritage site, and it remains one of the country's eight cultural inclusions on the Unesco list. Opened in 1832, the 200km-long system connects Kingston with Ottawa through 47 locks, climbing 84m from Ottawa over the Canadian Shield before dropping 49m into Lake Ontario. It's a nautical paradise, lined with charming parks, lakes and towns to enjoy.

After the War of 1812, there was a fear of future skirmishes with the Americans. The Duke of Wellington decided to link Ottawa and Kingston in order to have a reliable communications and supply route between the two military centers. Construction was a brutal affair, involving as many as 4000 men battling malarial swamps and the Canadian Shield, some of the world's hardest rock. Despite their blood, sweat and tears, the canal never saw military service, although it later proved useful for shipping goods.