CHAPTER 4 JULY 5, 2007
We are continuing along the RIDEAU CANAL (see picture), which runs from Ottawa to Kingston, and connects the OTTAWA RIVER to LAKE ONTARIO. To celebrate the Rideau Canal’s 175th anniversary, Parks Canada is giving out "Passports". At each lock the lockmaster gives you a sticker to put in your passport. It’s been a wildly popular promotion. People go from lock to lock by bike, car, or boat to collect stickers for their passport!
Last night after pizza, we had champagne to celebrate Monique’s birthday (she’s from our group of four boats that are traveling together), and to toast America’s 4th of July (see picture). By 9pm the mosquitoes chased us all inside. They are vicious, and even with citronella buckets burning, bite through your clothing! Today, July 5, all four boats are together in MERRICKVILLE at Lock 21. It’s a great village to visit, and has been voted one of Canada’s prettiest towns. We’re starting to see lots of Loons (see pic), as well as beautiful black squirrels. We also are starting to see a lot of docks with "lift eyes" instead of cleats. You need to loop your line through it and back to the boat to secure on your own cleat. Then, as a fellow from Quebec taught us, you do a kind of braid knot on the end of the line to make it neat!
On July 6 & 7 three of the boats went on to SMITHS FALL at Lock 29. We arrived in the midst of a three day long Canal Festival with a parade, demonstrations, crafts, food, animals, bagpipes, and other live music. The park at the lock is called Centennial Park. There are 3 beautiful fountains and wonderful landscaping. We had a grand time here for a couple of days. It’s also a great stop for shopping/provisioning. There’s a big grocery store, Walmart, and Canadian Tire (which is my new favorite store – it has everything except food). We also visited Hershey Chocolate Factory here in town. You can tour the factory, but cannot take pictures, and of course there’s plenty of candy to buy! Also, toured the canal museum. A campground is along the shore as we leave Smith Falls and prepare to enter the lock (see picture).
Canadian money is a bit of a pain. The smallest bill is five dollars. One dollar is a coin with a loon on it, and is called a "looney". Two dollars is another coin called a "tooney". So, you always have a pocket full of heavy coins!
The area we cruised through along the RIDEAU CANAL on July 8 looked a lot like the 1000 Islands. We stopped for the day in NEWBORO at Lock 36. A really nice stop with shopping just up the hill at a fabulous department store called KILBORNS. We also walked through the nearby old time resort/camp called The POPULARS (see picture). We spoke with the owner who told us that generations of families have been coming here since the 1920’s. 98% of them are from Pennsylvania, a six hour drive. Ray bought a seasons fishing license here for all of Ontario. Later that night while he was fishing on the dock, a Great Blue Heron landed really close by. Ray caught a sunfish and threw it to the heron, who promptly gulped it down! The heron was either very lazy, or very smart! We’ve also seen beavers and otters. And, we’ve had ducks, a bull frog, and a turtle pass through locks with us!
The next day, July 9, we stopped for the day in DAVIS at Lock 38. I’m having a very hard time deciding which lock is the prettiest on the Rideau Canal. The picnic tables here have umbrellas on them (see picture), and along a rocky wall, there are pockets filled with flowers (see picture). I love it here too! We spent the afternoon fishing, relaxing, and just enjoying this lovely area. July 10, we explored JONES FALLS at Locks 39 -–42. There was a nice (see picture) walking trail (although I was attacked by deer flies), a restored lockmasters house, stone arched dam and powerhouse. We had a lovely lunch at the circa 1877 Hotel Kenney, an old country inn with old world charm. Later, we passed through the historic Brass Point Bridge, the only remaining bridgemaster on the Rideau Canal operates this wooden swing bridge with a four foot vertical clearance. Tonight we stopped at UPPER BREWERS, Lock 43. It was really hot today. This was the first night we needed to have the AC on at night. July 11, we passed through the final 4 locks on the Rideau Canal. While we were in the last lock, a train (see picture) went thundering by overhead! We later stopped for the day in KINGSTON, ONTARIO. We have now completed the Rideau Canal, all 49 locks! We stayed at the Kingston Marina. At last we have wi-fi so we can catch up on emails and electronic bill paying! The marina is also a working boatyard, building aluminum self-righting boats for civilian and military markets. WILMINGTON NC FIRE RESCUE took delivery of a boat built for them at 7am July 12th (see picture). We are here for a few days catching up on projects, shopping, and enjoying the KINGSTON FESTIVAL with BUSKERS (street performers).
So far we have traveled 819 nautical miles, plus the previous 1000 miles when we brought SUMMERTIME up the Intracoastal Waterway from Charleston
SC to Old Saybrook CT in 2005. We look forward to hearing from
friends and family – please keep the calls and emails coming!