Ottawa to Kingston, August 12 – August 23, and a wonderful trip with Chris and Sam

We are not city people as a rule. John and I love the rural spots, the quiet places, and the out of the way destinations. But, surprisingly, this trip, we loved two major cities in Canada, and we were lucky enough to have our good friends, Chris and Sam, accompany us as we traveled from Ottawa to Kingston. Along the way we stayed in the small towns and rural spaces at the lock walls.

On August 12, we made the switch in our company from Alex, Sasha, and Harris to Chris and Sam Alesevich. Chris and Sam came loaded with meals, supplies, and goodies for provisions along with their luggage, so we all helped unload the car and then packed everything away on AfterMath. After a quick run to a couple of stores, the keys were turned over to Alex, who set out on the drive to Kingston, where he dropped off the Alesevich car and picked up his own.

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The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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The change of the guard at the Tomb

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Parliament East
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The main Parliament building

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Amazing metal work and detail

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The top of the flight of eight locks in Ottawa.

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Along the canal.  Do you see AfterMath?

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Twilight on the canal – again, can you find AfterMath?

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Fireworks on the Ottawa River

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A few of the sights from the Northern Lights show.

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Chris, Sam, John and I took a nice walk around Ottawa and we watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In the evening, after Chris accompanied me on a short photo shoot and after John grilled a delicious dinner of fresh salmon and vegetables from the nearby market place, we were thrilled to be able to witness Belgium’s entry in the international fireworks competition that takes place throughout the summer in Ottawa. The show was absolutely beautiful and we were lucky to have caught it, as it takes place only on Wednesday nights in the Ottawa River. Afterwards we quickly walked to Parliament Hill where the Northern Lights show runs nightly on the Parliament Building. It is a show that displays the history of Canada and ends with their national anthem. Seeing both shows on the same night was amazing!


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The next day, Thursday, August 13, Chris, Sam and I went back to Parliament Hill to watch the changing of the guard. Canada loves its traditions and pomp and circumstance and we really enjoyed watching the show. We then made a quick trip to the market place to pick up a few fruits and vegetables before we got underway. John had the boat ready when we finished our shopping and we began our southward journey on the Rideau Canal.   We traveled to Burritt’s Rapids where we ate more of that fresh salmon and spent the night at the lock wall.


Kirby and Jake were given extra special treatment by Chris and Sam.

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Everyone enjoyed happy hour in the fly bridge one night.

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Walking around Merrickville.  


Westport Harbor was a quaint little town.




The one car ferry.


Beautiful sights along the way.

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The top of the flight of 4 locks at Jones Falls.


This swing bridge is operated by pushing it to open and close.  Unfortunately, when they pushed it closed it broke the lock crank and they had to push the lock closed by hand too!



The only businesses at this lock were an artist studio and an apple orchard.  We bought apples and got a delicious dessert that day.

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Jake was sure that Sam wanted to share his breakfast!


We retraced our steps along the Rideau Canal, stopping at most of the same stops we made on our way north, but adding the town of Westport to our itinerary on the return trip. Sam became an expert at locking and gave John a nice break from having to do double duty of piloting and working lock lines. Chris could always be found with a camera in her hands, sometimes toting one along when even I didn’t have one, and she was a great help in the galley, making salads, dinners, and doing those never ending dishes. Along the way we had lots of laughs, delicious meals, wonderful happy hours, refreshing swims, walks with the dogs, and unforgettable experiences.

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The blue dot shows our position in the rainstorm.

We will always get a laugh out of the night we were at a restaurant in Merrickville and a huge rainstorm broke out. When John looked at a weather map it was obvious that the only place within miles and miles that had rain was right where we were and, of course, we had left the windows and hatch open on AfterMath. Sam kindly ran back in the pouring rain with an umbrella borrowed from the restaurant to close up. By the time we were finished, the sun was again shining and all was well.

Thursday, August 20th, we made our way from our last docking at Lower Brewer’s Lock to Kingston. What a day it was! After leaving the locks, the wind began to pick up and soon it was gusting at 30 miles per hour. While we were comfortable enough on AfterMath, we knew that holding for the bridge at Kingston, which only opens on the hour, was going to be tricky. We made our way as slowly as possible to the bridge to make the 11:00 AM opening, but we still arrived about 20 minutes before opening time. John expertly controlled the boat, but we were all very happy to finally see the bridge open that day. The next trick was getting AfterMath to the dock at the marina in Kingston. Although it was incredibly windy, John made it look easy and we were all happy to be tied up and safe and sound.


Captain Daniel


The gorgeous Dolphin


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After docking we were able to appreciate the gorgeous boat that was perpendicular to us. It was a 65-foot commuter boat built in 1929 and, after speaking to the captain, we learned the same family has owned it continuously for all of its years. It has never needed a complete refinishing as it has been carefully maintained throughout its time and it truly is spectacular. Daniel Perot (who says his name is like Ross but without the money) is a second-generation captain of the boat and has been in charge of it for the past 10 years. He is a kind gentleman and offered us a tour of Dolphin, which we quickly and gratefully accepted. Daniel, therefore, is my interesting person of this post.

John and Sam walked to the nearby park where Alex had left Chris and Sam’s car and then returned to pick us up. We always take advantage of the use of a car when we can so the four of us headed off to the boat supply store to get deck soap and then to the grocery and liquor stores to replenish supplies. Back on AfterMath, we had a delicious dinner of pasta and pesto, made from Chris’ basil in Connecticut. We finished off the huge bag of chocolate chip cookies she brought and all felt a little sad knowing we would part the next day. It truly was a wonderful visit and we are all so happy we reconnected last spring in Mystic after all those years.


Saying goodbye to our good friends, Chris and Sam.


One of the towers built to protect the Rideau Canal from the Americans if they decided to attack.  Thankfully, that never happened.


A locomotive built in 1913 in Kingston.


The old train station


An old hotel that is now really an apartment building.


Kingston City Hall, originally built when Kingston was the capital of Canada


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The nighttime view from AfterMath


The farmers’ market

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It seems something is always going on in this city.  These performers tell the story of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John McDonnell


A street magician


I’m not sure what this guy was doing, but he was great!


And no one seemed sure what these men were doing, but they paraded through town and stopped at City Hall.

Chris and Sam left us Friday, the 21st. John and I spent the afternoon relaxing and doing some trip planning. Friday night we attended a free big band concert in Kingston and yesterday took the sight-seeing trolley around town. We also shopped around the farmers’ market here and went to dinner in a nice little Italian restaurant nearby.

Today is a workday. I will do a little cleaning and laundry and John has tasks to take care of. Tomorrow we leave Kingston after enjoying this city far more than we imagined. Originally we planned to head back to the states after completing the Rideau, but neither of us are quite ready to leave Canada, so we are going to spend an extra week or so here boating through the 1000 Islands.

Here is where we are today.

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Trenton to Kingston and the Rideau Canal to Ottawa with Alex, Sasha and Harris

The next part of our adventure was about to begin. The Rideau Canal was waiting! I have been intrigued by the thought of this part of the trip since before we started. The canal is the oldest continually operating canal in North America. It was built by Canada in the 1830’s because Americans were invading from the south through the St. Lawrence Seaway. The French and British were concerned that they had no way to get the supplies needed to fight off the Americans, so they built the canal as a means of transportation. The locks have mostly remained unchanged from the time they were built, including their method of operation. The canal ends in Ottawa, and the wall where we will tie up is in the middle of downtown. In the winter, the canal freezes and claims to be the world’s largest skating rink. All we needed to start was to meet our friend Alex and his two grandchildren, Sasha and Harris on August 3rd.



Leaving Trenton

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Sailing ship along the way


Our first sight of Kingston


Opening the bridge for us to pass through in Kingston

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The marina where we stayed builds fire boats.  John got a tour of one.

We spent the night of August 1st in Trenton and were treated to a beautiful moon. The next day, we took an enjoyable ride from the Trenton marina to the Prinyer’s Cove anchorage where we spent our first night in Canada back in June. The weather was questionable on the morning of the 3rd, but, after careful consideration, we decided to get started and head out to Kingston. We arrived a little after noon and Alex and kids came soon after. A quick provisioning trip and a great dinner out left us all tired out and ready to relax for the night.


Sasha and her math packet.



Boats in the lock waiting to be lowered

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Little plants in the lock walls


Our first meeting with Red Owl.  We have enjoyed spending time with Dave, its owner, along the way.

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A scene from The Birds???


Peaceful scenes along the way.

Everyone was excited to get started Tuesday morning, but we lost a couple of hours downloading the navigational charts of the Rideau that we had asked Alex to pick up along the way. Although the charts are electronic and you would think a download would be easy, Canada has some very strong regulations that make this a difficult task at times. After a lot of time lost, a lot of money spent using data, and a lot of time on a phone call to a very nice man in Newfoundland, we were finally ready to get started. Sasha worked on some summer homework while we sat on the bow and, of course, I was thrilled it was a Math packet. Maybe it’s not completely After Math after all!


Sasha and Harris started fishing right away.

The start of the canal was beautiful and the very first lock was gorgeous. Lots of the locks along the canal are multiple ones and the first was four locks in immediate succession. Alex was introduced to locking in Canada quickly and took over the bow duty for John while I remained in the stern. We tied up along the wall at Lock 45, Lower Brewer’s Lock, for the night and cooked aboard. Following the Daigle tradition of a long time at the dinner table, we sat, got to know Sasha and Harris a little better, reminisced with Alex, and had a great evening.


Scenery along the way.



Kids everywhere love to jump from the rocks



Fun umbrellas on the lock wall.


The Kawartha Voyager getting ready to enter the lock.


The bow, which is a patio normally, rises to of let the ship fit in the small locks on the Rideau




Ready to enter.


Jones Falls is a historic site.  This picture was from the original dockmaster’s house looking down on AfterMath.


The following morning we got a little bit earlier start and had a beautiful ride to Jones Falls. When we arrived we were told that the river cruise boat, the Kawartha Voyager, would be coming the other way through the series of four locks.   The lock was full of boats going up, so, if we had to wait for the Voyager to descend, we would have been stuck waiting for two hours before we could go through. In a strange stroke of luck, we would have had to wait on the dock that the cruise ship needed to dock, so the lockmaster agreed to have us lock through on the step behind the boats that were ahead of us. We were especially happy to be at the top of the system before the Voyager because John had met the captain of that ship in Orillia several weeks earlier.   There he learned that, because the boat was too large for the locks on the Rideau, the bow folded up to fit in. In was great fun to be able to watch the process! At this lock there is a nice trail that passes the historic buildings and brings walkers to an old, European style restaurant where we had a delicious dinner.


A peaceful morning.


Lot of people gather at the parks at the locks to watch the boats pass through


A busy day at the locks.


Is it a house boat?

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Sasha spent hours grooming Kirby who sat next to her and ate up the attention.  Kirby is now tangle free!


Dave, my interesting person for this post.


Dave’s Ranger Tug, Red Owl

August 6th we traveled to Smith’s Falls. and there we met Dave, who we found to be such a fun and interesting man. Therefore, Dave is my “Interesting Person” of the week. Dave, we found out, lived just a mile or two from us in Bradenton. He towed his little Ranger Tug up to Canada and then began the Rideau Canal. We had a great conversation with him and he joined us for dinner. I won’t go into all of his stories, but let’s just suffice it to say that we hope he and Shirley have a great time in Maine this fall.


On our way to Merrickville



Merrickville.  Settled in the early 1700s.

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Friday brought us to Merrickville. I really loved this little town, which has multiple restaurants, great little shops and pubs, a fun gourmet shop, and even a little carnival the weekend we were there. There are ruins of buildings from the 1700s that are amazingly preserved and the town pre-dates the Rideau Canal by at least 100 years. I can’t wait to get back to Merrickville on the return trip when I will have more time to do some exploring.


The ruins in Merrickville

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Traveling to Burritt’s Rapids

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In the town


The lock bridge


Kirby was spoiled rotten by Sasha the whole trip

Saturday, after a little more exploration in Merrickville, we made it to a lovely lock wall in Burritt’s Rapids. There, Sasha and I took Kirby for a walk to the town, which did not seem to have one single business. The dock, though, was peaceful and bug-free. (People, by the way, who think Florida has bugs should spend a weekend in Canada. We almost never saw mosquitos or bugs in Florida, but Canada seems to have a monopoly on the creatures!) We found a nice little restaurant with an outdoor patio and enjoyed a fun dinner where we again ran into Dave and another couple boating on the canal along with us.


Sharing the water with the airplanes


And Jake got his share of attention too.

Yesterday we made it to Lock 13 on the Rideau, Black Rapids Creek, a peaceful dockage and the last we made on the northbound route before reaching Ottawa. We made a great pasta dinner, which we ate at a picnic table along the wall.


Our first looks at Ottawa



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We arrived in Ottawa around 1:00 this afternoon and are all excited about spending time here. Alex and the kids chose to move to a hotel for their stay – probably something to do with lack of Wi-Fi for teens and pre-teens, as well as allowing us to prepare for our next guests – but we will see each other a couple more days. There will be the changing of the guard at Parliament Hill, light shows at night, a large marketplace and many other attractions.   Chris and Sam will arrive on Wednesday when Alex will meet them at our boat. He will then drive their car back to Kingston and leave it at the marina for when we finish the return trip on the Rideau. It’s been a great trip so far! It’s hard to believe we will soon be ready to leave our neighbors to the north.

Here is where we are tonight.