Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

MVFN Rideau Canal Paddle Day July 23

Photo by Simon Lunn
The Rideau River and Bascule Bridge

Rideau Canal Paddle Saturday, July 23rd– 10am


Paddle: Rideau River & the Swale, from Smiths Falls Detached Lock to Poonamalie Lock, return

Leader: Simon Lunn, Naturalist

Carpooling: At your discretion (none organized by MVFN)

GPS Coordinates for Boat Launch: 44 degrees 53 min 47 sec N. by 76 degrees 01 min 37 sec W.

Max. No. of Participants: 18

Directions from Almonte (and subsequently Carleton Place): Take County Road 29 and drive roughly 10km southeast to outskirts of Carleton Place, turning left on McNeely Ave. Drive approx. 2.5km east to intersection with Highway 7. Turn right and drive approx. 500m to intersection with Highway 15. Turn left and drive 26km south to Smiths Falls, turning right onto Cornelia St. E. Drive 500m through intersection onto Cornelia St W , driving a further 500m to intersection with William St. W. Turn left and drive roughly 1km until road turns into Abbott St. N. and crosses a bridge over the Rideau Canal channel. Immediately turn right (before crossing the bridge over the lock at Smiths Falls Detached lockstation) onto small laneway into parking lot by the old Bascule Railway Bridge.

Directions from Ottawa: Take Hwy 417 west and then Hwy 7 through outskirts of Carleton Place until you reach the intersection with Hwy 15. Turn left following directions as noted above.

Directions from Perth: Take County Rd. 43 west from Perth, driving approx. 17km to intersection with William St W at outskirts of Smiths Falls. Turn right following directions as noted above.
Time & Length: Scheduled paddling start is 10am (please arrive at 9:40am at the latest) Estimated paddling time is roughly 3 hours or so return for a total length of 8-9 km.

Launch Site: The boat launch is located on the north side of the canal at Smiths Falls Detached lock station, on the downstream or town side of the historic Bascule Bridge. Be forewarned and be brave – you will likely encounter lots of Canada Goose droppings in the launch area :O) This site is accessed from a small laneway that is reached by turning right off Abbott Street N. (on the west side of Smiths Falls) just before crossing over the bridge spanning the canal channel at the lock station.
A unisex portable washroom is available directly behind the lock office across the lock from our departure launch site; otherwise washrooms are available at a nearby gas station and fast food outlets. There should also be a public washroom available at Poonamalie Lockstation (our snack/lunch break destination

The Paddle: We should hopefully enjoy an easy upstream paddle along the slow flowing Rideau River, starting under the Bascule Railway Bridge at Smiths Falls Detached Lockstation (Lock #31) on the Rideau Canal, around a marshy island in the Swale wetland, then continuing upstream in the river channel to Poonamalie Lockstation. Here we will take a snack/lunch break before paddling back downstream to Smiths Falls. Be prepared for several stops along the way during which your leader will interpret some of the rich flora and fauna we hope to encounter, as well as a bit of fascinating Rideau Canal history.


Nature to Potentially Encounter: Some of the previous wildlife highlights along this route include Marsh Wren, Common Loon, American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Black Tern, Osprey, Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Duck, Moorhen, Trumpeter Swans (flying over), Eastern Kingbird, Willow Flycatcher, and other bird species, as well as River Otter, Painted Turtle, Snapping Turtle and Muskrat. Hopefully we will encounter several of these species, possibly with young at this time of year.

Suggested Items to Bring: Lunch or snack, water, sunscreen, insect repellant, binocs, camera, etc.

Please insure you are equipped with a life jacket, bailer, whistle, heaving line, extra paddle, etc.

Registration: You must pre-register for this event by completing the form found here. Please complete a separate form for each participant (see “Submit additional responses” when you submit the form) as we need the “agree” to the waiver from each person. Note: Minors are the sole responsibility of their accompanying adult.


MVFN membership must be up-to-date (check your membership card). You can update and pay for your membership on the MVFN website. You may bring a friend or two, subject to available space & the approval of the trip leader. For further information, contact Simon Lunn.

This event will be rescheduled to the following day, Sunday July 24th or canceled in case of severe weather. A confirmation email will go out just before the event. If in doubt, contact Simon on the morning of the trip at 613-283-6663 before 8AM.


For more information or to volunteer to lead a trip, contact Art Solomonian at .