Begin your Rideau Heritage Route driving tour by taking County Road 73 south to Rideau Valley Drive and on to the village of Manotick. Visit Watson’s Mill, built in 1860, one of the best-preserved mills in Ontario. Leaving Manotick, take the leisurely scenic route south heading to Burritts Rapids. Your next stop is Merrickville, look for the historic blockhouse just to the west of the main intersection in town.
Highway 43 will take you through to Smith Falls. This was the hub of regional railroads in the first half of the 20th century. From here, travel to Kilmarnock Lock and then on to Toldeo to Forfar. This route will take you by apple orchards and T-Houses. From here, head to The Narrows and Perth. The lock station at the Narrows features one of the four blockhouses built in 1830-31 by Colonel By along the canal to defend it from invasion by the Americans. It’s a leisurely drive from here to Perth, a town that was established as a military settlement in the spring of 1816 as part of a strategic defense plan against invasion from the south. From Perth, Highway 10 (otherwise known as Scotch Line) will take you south past Pike Lake and numerous smaller lakes to Westport. The view of Westport from Spy Rock is truly spectacular.
Take Highway 42 from Westport to Newboro. The lock station here includes one of only four blockhouses built by Colonel John By along the Rideau Canal. There are some nice restaurants here if you’d like to stop for a quiet lunch or dinner. Head east on Hwy 42 until you reach the junction of Hwy 15. A couple of diversions along this highway will take you to Jones Falls and to Chaffey’s Lock where you can visit the Lockmaster’s House Museum. Return to Hwy 15 then continue on to the turn-off to Jones Falls (Hwy 11). Some consider this to be the prettiest lock station on the canal and there’s a lot to do and see here.
Download the walking tour map of Jones Falls Lock Station from the Parks Canada website and spend time here exploring.
Kingston is situated at the confluence of the St Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Plan to stay here for a couple of days as it’s a city with so much history and lots to do.