It’s difficult to imagine what Ottawa would look like without the Rideau Canal. In its absence, this area of the province would likely be a defunct logging town cradling the confluence of various rivers — perhaps sought only by hikers and backpackers longing to catch a glimpse of the mostly untarnished beauty of the surrounding landscape. Ironically, that’s just what’s happened in spite of the 202-kilometre canal being built against long odds. Today, it acts as a magnet for skaters, boaters, kayakers, canoeists, and campers. But even for longtime residents, there are always new ways to explore the waterway.