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Navigate Ottawa's Waters with the Best Boat Cruises in 2024

Discover the Rich History of Rideau Canal with Paul's Boat Line

pauls boats

Are you ready to experience the best boat cruises Ottawa has to offer?

Paul's Boat Lines offers sightseeing tours on the historic Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River, Canada. The company has been around since 1936 providing their sightseeing services to visitors from across the globe.

The company strives to present visitors with a unique view of the region as seen from the waterways and to deliver their cruises with a friendly and personal service.

Paul's Boat Cruises has three boats specifically built for the Rideau Canal as well as a double decker boat designed for the Ottawa River. The boats are used for sightseeing groups as well as private charter hire.

Read about more fun things to do in Ottawa!

Rideau Cruises

view of the rideau on pauls' boat
on paul's boat ottawa

The Rideau Canal was early Canada's original highway at a time when the nation was just forming; the canal was opened in 1832. The Rideau Waterway runs from the city of Ottawa, Ontario along the Ottawa River to the city of Kingston, Ontario on Lake Ontario. In all it is 202km long. The name Rideau comes from the French for curtain and refers to the curtain like appearance of the twin waterfalls at the point where the Rideau and Ottawa Rivers meet. The canal is the oldest continually operated canal in North America and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On the Rideau cruises there is a guide who gives a bilingual commentary of the sites along the way. Among the points of interest you'll see the National Arts Center, University of Ottawa, Lansdowne Park, Carleton University, Dow's Lake and many more. The cruises last about 1.15 hours and along the way you will learn about how the city of Ottawa grew around the canals and became the power it is today. One of the best boat cruises Ottawa can offer!

When:  Rideau Canal cruises operate from 9th May to 13th October. Cruises run daily 10:00*, 11:30, 13:30, 15:00, 16:30, 19:30*

*10:00 and 19:30 cruises only operate from June 27th to August 31st. 

Where: Rideau Canal Dock, next to the Government Conference Center

Price: Arrive about 20 minutes before the scheduled cruise time and purchase your tickets on the spot. Adults $22, seniors $20, children (6-15 years old) $12, family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) $56. Children under 5 travel for free. You can also buy a combo-ticket for the Rideau cruise and the Ottawa River cruise: adults $40, seniors $36, children $22 and family tickets $100.

Website: Paul's Cruise Lines

Boat Cruises Ottawa

kids on the boat cruise
relaxing on paul's cruise ottawa

The long Ottawa River runs from Lake Capimitchigama in Quebec to the Lake of two Mountains and the St. Lawrence River in Montreal. From Lake Timiskaming the river defining the border between Quebec and Ontario and flows to the city of Ottawa, Gatineau and the Chaudiere Falls then takes in the Rideau River and Gatineau River. The river played a major role in the lives of the original indigenous Algonquin people and in 1615 the first explorers Samuel de Champlain and Etienne Brule followed the river with the help of Algonquin guides. The river went on to be used by traders and new settlers and was a vital means of transportation. With the addition of the canals further supply routes were made more accessible.

Along the route of this cruise you'll see the Parliament Buildings, Supreme Court, Museum of Civilization, National Art Gallery, Rideau Falls, Prime Minister's residence and many more sites. The cruise has a guide who gives a live commentary in French and English and the tour takes about 1.5 hours from the Ottawa dock and 2 hours from the Hull dock. The double decker boat allows you to enjoy the beautiful scenery from the open air upper deck. Alternatively the lower deck has a fully licensed bar, canteen and enclosed area with chairs, tables and rest rooms. From the water you can see the city from a new angle and admire the beautiful countryside. It provides the best views among the boat cruises Ottawa has to offer.

The cruises leave from two locations from 16th May to 12th October. 

The Hull Marina

Where: The Hull Marina on the Quebec side of the River Jacques Cartier Park next to the Museum of Civilization and Interprovincial Bridge. There is parking here for a fee.

 When: 10:30, 13:30, 15:30, 19:00*

The Ottawa Locks

Where: At the foot of the Ottawa Locks between the Parliament Hill and the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel

When: 11:00, 14:00, 16:00, 19:30*

*19:30 cruises only operate from 27th June to 31st August

Price: Adults $25, seniors $22, children (6-15) $15, family ticket $65. There is a combo-ticket available for the Rideau cruise and Ottawa River cruise see above.

Fun Things to Do In Ottawa

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