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Save Our Rideau
The Archives

This website was created in 2012 when Parks Canada decimated the Rideau Canal with both operational changes and a complete abandonment of heritage. Several pages on the website date to that period and I've kept them here for historical reference.

The List
Even before the cuts of 2012, Parks Canada had abandoned heritage on the Rideau Canal. I now peg the date of that abandonment to be 2008, but I first really noticed it in 2010. It was then that I compiled my laundry list of heritage issues. Since this website and the report card deals with much of that, I've removed it from the main pages. But for a light read, have a look at The List.

      Heritage Issues List

World Heritage
I archived the World Heritage pages since it appears to be a lost battle at the moment. One UNESCO concern, that of the built heritage, is being taken care of to a degree by the current infrastructure program. Public education regarding the UNESCO WHS designation is better fought as part of Parks Canada's Commemorative Integrity requirements (a more winnable battle). UNESCO's request to identify and protect the visual values of the canal remains an active page.

      UNESCO World Heritage Status at Risk
      WHS Management Plan
      ICOMOS Report for the Rideau Canal

In 2012 Parks Canada made dramatic changes to the management structure of the Rideau Canal, merging it with the Trent-Severn Waterway into a single unit and making the senior management of the Rideau Canal a part time job. It was poorly done, poorly thought out, and has had a dramatic negative impact on the Rideau. Many of the heritage issues stem from this change. However since I deal with it now on a separate management page, I've archived the original restructuring page.


The big battles in 2012/13 were over the dramatic changes to the operating season, the hours of operation and the lockage fees. The Parks Canada "National Pricing Team" came up with new ticket fee system that not only was very complicated, it increased lockage fees by up to 400% (see the Parks Canada ticket proposal - PDF). It showed a clear lack of understanding of the Rideau Canal and the boaters that use it. They are part of Save Our Rideau since boaters are one of the most important forms of heritage presentation, since it's only when a boat passes through a lock that you get to see how a Rideau lock works, including its 19th century design features. Parks Canada revised the fee structure a few times and then, in a political move, the Minister of Environment (Peter Kent) imposed a price freeze (actually a bad idea). It's not a current issue since fees are still frozen and there will be free lockage in 2017.

      Proposed Fee Changes

Operating Season
Parks Canada, using the tunnel vision view of revenue generation, proposed dramatic cuts to the operating season and hours back in 2012. Together with fees, this received some of the greatest push back by the public. In the end (2013) we saw the season maintained, but an 18% drop in operating hours. There was a greater problem on the Trent-Severn where several of the locks were operated by flying crews (moving from lock to lock). We can credit the Trent-Severn Working Group with fighting and winning a political battle that forced Parks Canada (against their will), to restore on-demand service and 1 additional hour. This is still short an hour from 2012, but it's much better than what was originally proposed.

      Operating Season


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© 2012- Ken W. Watson