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The Rideau River (French: Rivière Rideau), (Anishinàbemowin name: Pasapkedjinawong) is a river in Eastern Ontario, Canada. The river flows north from Upper Rideau Lake and empties into the Ottawa River at the Rideau Falls in Ottawa, Ontario. Its length is 146 kilometres (91 mi).

Rideau River
Rivière Rideau
The Rideau River in Ottawa flowing between Carleton University and Vincent Massey Park
RegionEastern Ontario
Physical characteristics
SourceUpper Rideau Lake
 ⁃ locationUnited Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Ontario, Canada
 ⁃ coordinates44°40′55″N 76°20′10″W / 44.682°N 76.336°W / 44.682; -76.336Coordinates: 44°40′55″N 76°20′10″W / 44.682°N 76.336°W / 44.682; -76.336
MouthOttawa River
 ⁃ location
City of Ottawa
 ⁃ coordinates
45°26′29″N 75°41′46″W / 45.441405°N 75.69623°W / 45.441405; -75.69623
Length100 km (62 mi)
Basin size4,000 km2 (1,500 sq mi)
 ⁃ locationRideau Falls
 ⁃ average35 m3/s (1,200 cu ft/s)
Rideau River under Cummings Bridge separating Sandy Hill from Vanier in Ottawa
Rideau River and Rideau Canal opposite Carleton University
1826 painting of the Rideau Falls, where the Rideau River empties out into the Ottawa River, by Thomas Burrowes

The river was given the name "Rideau" (curtain) by Champlain, as he wrote in 1613, because of the appearance of the Rideau Falls. The Anishinàbemowin name for the river is "Pasapkedjinawong", meaning "the river that passes between the rocks."[1]

The Rideau Canal, which allows travel from Ottawa to the city of Kingston, Ontario on Lake Ontario, was formed by joining the Rideau River with the Cataraqui River. The river diverges from the Canal at Hog's Back Falls in Ottawa.

In early spring, to reduce flooding on the lower section of the river, workers from the city of Ottawa use ice blasting to clear the ice which covers the river from Billings Bridge to Rideau Falls by cutting "keys" through the ice and using explosives to break off large sheets of ice. This practice has been going on for more than 100 years.[2]

The regulatory authority charged with protecting the Rideau River and its tributaries is the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.


See alsoEdit


  • Lawrence, Bonita (2012). Fractured Homeland: Federal Recognition and Algonquin Identity in Ontario. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: UBC Press. ISBN 9780774822893.
  1. ^ Lawrence 2012, p. 178.
  2. ^ Leblanc, Daniel (28 February 2011). "Why Ottawa needs to blow up the Rideau River every year". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 1 March 2011.

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