Looking north we see lock #1 and #2 of the 8 Ottawa Locks, the Ottawa River and the Alexandra Bridge in the distance, The 8 locks built from limestone operate today much as they did in September 1831 when the steamboat Union was the first vessel to pass through. The 8 Ottawa Locks have a total lift of 79 feet (24m) passage time of 2.5 hours and are the first of 24 lock stations with a total of 49 locks on the 125 mile (202 km) journey to Kingston on Lake Ontario. The Rideau Canal is the oldest continuously operating canal in North America and the Rideau River and Canal are designated as a Canadian Heritage River and a National Historic Site of Canada. Built after the War of 1812 as an alternative route to the St. Lawrence River safe from American attack many of the lock stations were fortified positions. Thankfully today the American invaders are peaceful and friendly pleasure boaters and fishermen. Even in the center of a large urban area the Ottawa Lock Station offers a peaceful historic oasis for residents and tourists. Near Lock # 1 is a Celtic Cross to remember the 1000 Irish, French and Scottish workers and their families who died in the construction of the Rideau Canal 1826-1832. Panning right you see the Chateau Laurier Hotel (1910-1911), 5 upper locks and the Commissariat Building (1827) now the Bytown Museum. There was no settlement on the south side of the Ottawa River until the canal was built. In 1867 the community of Ottawa that grew around the locks became the Capital of Canada. For more information on the Rideau Canal a National Historic Site of Canada go to http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/on/rideau/index_e.asp also visit http://www.ottawapanoramas.com/ottawalocks
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