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Hartwell’s Lock is a great place to kayak into Ottawa | Kayaking Rideau

Hartwell’s Lock is a great place to kayak into Ottawa

Canoeing on the Ottawa Canal

Location GPS: Hartwell Lockstation @45º 38.4027' -75º 70.0189'
Camera: iPhone 4s
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I began my journey on the Rideau waterway at Hartwell’s Lock.

Hartwell’s is a flight of two locks that are ninth and tenth ascending up river to Kingston from Ottawa. Hartwell’s is one of three lockstations within the city’s urban center and sits adjacent to Carleton University. Cycling paths border the canal up to Parliament Hill and pass through Hartwell’s on their way south to Hog’s Back Lockstation. The map on the left is interactive so you can follow along.

Based in Toronto, my plan was to set up camp at Hartwell’s Lockstation and paddle the Ottawa Canal up to the Château Laurier in the afternoon.

I arrived later than planned at the Hartwell’s, around 4:30pm, and had camp up in about an hour. The kayak was in the water shortly before 6pm. I headed north towards Dow’s lake with a gentle breeze in my face. I entered the canal at the Bronson Ave Bridge and continued along the picturesque route up to the Ottawa Lockstation next to the Château Laurier.

Preparations for Canada Day were underway and the party atmosphere was fantastic.


  • The map on the top left is interactive so you can zoom in and explore the features mentioned.
Things learned!

  • Check a map so you know how to get there. Lockstation access roads are often remote.
  • Some lockstations charge a minimal fee for parking.
  • Consider the locals who enjoy the lock to fish, cycle, jog….
  • With a permit, travelling boaters may camp anywhere on the lock grounds.
  • Check the night lighting. Do you want to have a street light over your tent all night?

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