About Canada, Rideau Canal Rents, Property and Employment Correspondence, 1826-1855
This database contains documents concerning the Rideau Canal and defences at Kingston, Ontario.
Following the War of 1812, Canada was concerned about the possibility of a future war with the United States. The St. Lawrence River, a major waterway that shared a border with New York, was a particular worry. Looking for a secure route from Montreal to the Great Lakes in case of a U.S. attack, the Canadians decided to develop a water route that would include a canal from the mouth of the Rideau River to Kingston on Lake Ontario.
The job of building the canal fell to Lieutenant Colonel John By, who established his headquarters near the mouth of the Rideau in 1826. The settlement would be called Bytown for years and later would be incorporated as Ottawa. The canal itself would be completed in 1832, and though it never served a military purpose, it became an important commercial waterway for the remainder of the 19th century and is now used for recreational purposes. The Rideau Canal is a world heritage site.
What You Can Find in the Records
These records include correspondence, estimates, payments for lots acquired from individuals, descriptions of buildings and property transferred from the Naval Department to the Ordnance Department, and other documents related to building the canal and the defence of Kingston.