Leave the daily grind behind and follow a route that connects our national history on this 7-day itinerary near Ottawa, Ontario, taking you from picturesque granite islands to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 1 - Fire a cannon at Fort Wellington
Day 2 - Drive along a scenic route to Thousand Islands
Day 3 - Tour the picturesque islands by water
Day 4 - Tour the home of Canada’s first Prime Minister
Day 5 - Make your way along the historic Rideau Canal
Day 6 - Wander around a historic Victorian village
Day 7 - Visit the flight of eight locks in Ottawa
420 km round trip from Ottawa
Day 1 - Fort Wellington National Historic Site
Head to beautiful Prescott to check out a fort built during the War of 1812 to defend the St. Lawrence River shipping route from attack by the United States. Enlist in the Royal Artillery for a day and train to be a member of the cannon crew. Feel the surge of adrenaline as you fire a muzzle-loading cannon. Explore the wreck of an 1812-era gunboat, try on a costume and take part in military drill, or play games from times long past.
Day 2 - Thousand Islands National Park
Explore the Thousand Islands Region, an international tourism destination along the St. Lawrence River and admire the 1864 islands the region is named for! As you make your way along the St. Lawrence River on this scenic route between Gananoque and Brockville, check out the park’s three mainland properties, each with their own hiking trails. Don’t forget your binoculars, the park is the ideal place to observe wildlife!
Ride your bike along the 1000 Islands Parkway and observe its stunning river views. Relax by the waterside and take a refreshing dip in the water. When it's time to rest, why not spend the night in your comfy waterfront oTENTik? Stoke up your campfire, roast some marshmallows, gaze up at the thousands of stars and relax!
Day 3 - Thousand Islands National Park
Wake up to the sound of water lapping the shore. Walk on the wharf, coffee in hand, and enjoy a relaxing morning! Ready for adventure? Tour the islands with a local cruise line, or for a more active and up-close look at the islands, grab your kayak and explore the waters of the St. Lawrence River. Visit picturesque granite islands and admire iconic windswept pine trees. You will be fascinated at every turn by sunken ships, historic castles and a landscape steeped in First Nations history. You might even be lucky enough to get a glimpse of a soaring bald eagle or a family of turtles basking on a rock.
Your paddling journey can be almost effortless with the help of regional outfitters. Experienced guides take care of every detail, from introductory lessons to en-route snacks. To really indulge, opt in for a gourmet picnic of bioregional delicacies. As the sun sinks, return to shore refreshed, recharged and full of memories.
Day 4 - Bellevue House National Historic Site
Tour the Visitor Centre and gardens of Bellevue House National Historic Site in Kingston, home to Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald for a short period of time. Wander through the family’s kitchen garden, bite into an apple grown from heirloom seeds, and watch interpreters cut the lawn with scythes… just like in the 1840s! Discover a place that represents the 1840s colonial system of class and privilege and learn about the many perspectives surrounding Sir John A. Macdonald and the lasting impacts of his policies and legacy.
Take a stroll through the charming streets of Kingston. Explore the city’s defensive system at Kingston Fortifications National Historic Site, located by the Kingston Harbour, and discover the defensive heart of Canada’s first Capital. Visit the Murney Tower Museum, one of the four Martello Towers of Kingston and the only one open to visitors. As the oldest operating museum in Kingston, it holds over a thousand domestic and military artifacts. Take the time to visit Ontario's 19th-century British military fort, Fort Henry and experience guided tours, scenic views, heart-pounding musical performances and military demonstrations by the Fort Henry Guard. A full day of discoveries awaits!
Day 5 - Rideau Canada National Historic Site
Continue your journey to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and head to the southern end of the Rideau Canal at Kingston Mills. This historic waterway was originally built after the war of 1812 as a military route. Today, the series of 29 locks stretching over 202 km of Canadian Shield is a boater and paddler’s paradise! Drive the route and check out the many unforgettable stops along the way. Stretch your legs at Jones Falls and take a walk to see the Blacksmith Shop and Stone Arch Dam. Chaffey’s Lock features the photo-worthy Opinicon Hotel, and Westport welcomes you with food and fun.
Settle in for the night at Beveridges lockstation and rent an oTENTik and sleep right beside the water, or stay in the fully restored original Lockmaster’s House enjoying its authentic charm mixed with modern amenities.
Day 6 - Rideau Canal National Historic Site, Merrickville
Continue your journey up to Merrickville. Travel through time as you wander around this historic Victorian village, embarking on a walking tour of the historic buildings including the Merrickville Blockhouse where troops were stationed for protection against attack, plus the Ruins and the Depot. Enjoy restaurants and artisan shops in town and then cosy up for the night in an oTENTik at Upper Nicholsons Lockstation nearby.
Day 7 - Rideau Canal National Historic Site, Ottawa
Head back to Ottawa and follow in the footsteps of the original builders of the iconic Rideau Canal as you explore this important piece of history by foot. Visit the flight of eight locks at Ottawa Lockstation and marvel at this amazing 19th century engineering achievement. Immerse yourself in the history of the Rideau Canal and stop at the Bytown Museum before venturing along the nearby paths to admire the stunning views of Chateau Laurier and Parliament Hill.
On the way home, stop at Laurier House National Historic Site, a unique window into the lives of two of Canada’s most influential historical figures – former Prime Ministers Sir Wilfrid Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King. Step into the inner sanctum of our country’s political history with a Parks Canada guide and see the fabulous collection of objects and priceless artwork come to life as you learn how these leaders conducted their private lives and even the affairs of state within this historic home.
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