In the summer, we run, cycle and walk alongside it. In the winter, we bring out the skates and go for a spin on its frozen surface.

 

But for the most part, people take the Rideau Canal for granted, said the executive director and founder of the Rideau Canal Festival.

 

While there is “a lot of love out there for the canal,” said Michel Gauthier, “People don’t understand that the Rideau Canal is in the same club as the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

 

“As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we have a responsibility to protect and preserve that site for all of humanity and for future generations, because they also own this site.”


As the festival kicks off this Friday, Gauthier hopes it will get people to appreciate the cultural attraction, which was built 178 years ago.


“The festival is a time for people to express their love for the canal,” he said.


Highlights of the festival include the musical breeze bicycle parade and the parade of lights and fireworks on Saturday and the Rideau Canal Flotilla Sunday.


The popular environmental fair is held all weekend at Confederation Park.