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Completed Rideau canal historythe km mile canal uses both the Rideau and Cataraqui rivers and a Rideau canal history of lakes, including Upper Rideau Lake at its summit, to create its waterway. Built as a military project to provide a secure connection between Montreal and Kingston, the canal has been widely used for recreational purposes for the past century. One of the oldest continuously operated canals in North Americawith 24 hand-operated lock stations, the Rideau system was listed as a Canadian Heritage River in The War of highlighted for Great Britain the vulnerability of Upper Canada Ontario because of the need to send supplies and reinforcements by way of the St. At the conclusion of the war, new defense plans were developed to ensure that the Royal Navy could maintain access to the Canadian interior in the event of further conflicts with the United States. Because of its military ificance, the Rideau Canal received funding through the British Ordnance Department.

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ing up enhances your TCE experience with the ability to save items to your personal reading list, and access the interactive map. On September 29th of the governor of Canada, the Earl of Dalhousie, turned the first sod for construction of the lowest lock of the Rideau Canal. Later that day the participants gathered at Philemon Wright's tavern in Hull, where they indulged in a lavish dinner and the drinking of numerous toasts.

One of the great engineering feats of its time was underway. Today the Rideau is a serene waterway conveying pleasure craft, but recreation was far from the minds of its creators. The canal was built to protect Canada from an American invasion.

That threat became reality during the War ofwhich proved how vulnerable the St. Lawrence lifeline was to attack from the south. At the end of the war in the Royal Engineers arrived to explore a route through the Rideau Lakes.

But the plan rattled around in the British bureaucracy untilwhen the Duke of Wellington became prime minister and pushed it through. It might have been Wellington himself who chose the remarkable man to undertake one of the biggest challenges ever given to an engineer. Just charting the proposed route proved challenging enough, for the surveyors counted themselves lucky to get back alive.

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The arduous work was done almost entirely by hand. Bare-footed men dug the soil with picks and shovels, and wheeled it away in handbarrows. To blast the rock they had to drill the holes with hand chisels, plugging them with gunpowder. Blasting and felling trees was perilous work but by far the greatest threat to the workers turned out to be something that Canadians associate only with the tropics: malaria.

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How many died is not known but so many Rideau canal history were sick in the summer of that work had to be shut down for weeks on end. The foul conditions at Cranberry Marsh were the worst. The nauseous air was like "that of a cadaverous animal. Since there was little local population in which to find labourers, Colonel By had to bring some men from Ireland. Most of them stayed, giving the Ottawa Valley its distinctive Irish character. They were paid as little as two shillings a day. When finished, the waterway included 47 masonry locks and 52 dams.

Colonel By showed a genius for innovation with these dams, which he built to create slack-water lakes of navigable depth above them. None was more challenging than the dam at Hog's Back, near Ottawa. The first contractor declared it impossible and gave up.

The Sappers took over and completed it but on April 3, an ice jam swept it away. A second dam was destroyed next spring but By said that he would build it and rebuild it and make it stand if he had to build it of half-crown pieces.

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The lock gates were built by small teams of carpenters for about pounds, a ridiculously low sum in our terms but reasonable considering the highest-paid workers were paid 7 shillings a day, labourers as little as 2 shillings. The final touches were put on the canal in the winter of On May 24, Colonel By took his family and some of his officers to Kingston, boarded a little vessel renamed the Rideau, followed the canal through Smiths Falls and on the 29th triumphantly entered the locks at Bytown, the future capital of Canada named in his honour. Rideau canal history By received no honour in his home country.

In fact he was publicly humiliated for overspending on the canal and not a soul spoke up in his defence. He returned to England in late a broken man in poor health. He died only three years later. The citizens of Canada however held him in high regard. At a dinner Rideau canal history his honour in Montreal the speaker praised his successful accomplishment in the face of inestimable difficulties and his display of "a moral courage and undaunted spirit. Search The Canadian Encyclopedia.

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Colonel by and the construction of the rideau canal

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suggested edit s to this article in the form field below. Accessed 21 July In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Article published September 17, ; Last Edited March 04, The Canadian Encyclopedias.

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