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“I am proud that the Rideau Canal joins a select group of exceptional cultural and natural icons from Canada and across the world,” said Minister Baird. “As a lifelong resident of Ottawa, I am especially pleased that this is Ontario’s first site to achieve such a distinction.”
The Rideau Canal World Heritage Site includes the Rideau Canal, Fort Henry and the Kingston Fortifications. The Canal extends 202 kilometres from Ottawa in the north to Kingston Harbour on Lake Ontario in the south. The early 19th century Rideau Canal was built primarily for strategic military purposes at a time when Great Britain and the United States of America vied for control of the region, to provide a safe supply line for the British colony of Upper Canada.
Built between 1826 and 1832, the Rideau Canal was originally designated as a Canadian national historic site in 1924. It has a high degree of authenticity and integrity, as it is the only canal dating from the great North American canal-building era of the early 19th century that remains operational along its original line and with most of its original structures intact. It is also one of the first canals designed specifically for steam-powered vessels. It is an outstanding technological achievement in terms of its ingenious design and its high-quality construction. The Government of Canada is the owner of the property, but Parks Canada relies heavily on partners and stakeholders to provide ongoing stewardship of the canal and its shoreline.
A property that is nominated for inclusion to the World Heritage List is considered to be of outstanding universal value when the World Heritage Committee finds that it meets one or more of ten criteria. The Rideau Canal has been inscribed under two criteria. (See related backgrounder).
The World Heritage List currently has 830 sites, including the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, the Acropolis in Greece, Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks. Canada has 13 existing World Heritage Sites. The Rideau Canal is Canada’s fourteenth. For more information on Canada’s existing World Heritage Sites and Canada’s Tentative List for potential World Heritage Sites, please visit Parks Canada’s Web site at www.pc.gc.ca.
On behalf of all Canadians, Parks Canada manages a system of national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas that is recognized as one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected areas in the world. Parks Canada has a mandate to present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage to Canadians, today and in the future. Parks Canada is the Government of Canada’s representative for the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.