2017 is already shaping up well for Canada. Not only has it been named this year’s best travel destination by Lonely Planet but, as the country celebrates its 150th anniversary, Le Boat has confirmed that travellers will soon have a new way to explore Ontario’s historic backwaters.
From this week, forward-thinking holidaymakers will be able to snap up flights for summer 2018 and become some of the first to experience Le Boat’s new range of self-drive boating adventures along the picturesque UNESCO-listed Rideau Canal.
Le Boat has chosen the charming town of Smith Falls for its new base when it begins operating from May to October next year. Located midway between the Canadian capital, Ottawa, and Kingston, on Lake Ontario, it not only provides easy access to the canal’s scenic wilderness but is easily accessible from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.
With British tourists to Canada up 17% last year and this incredible destination enjoying record-breaking visitor numbers, Le Boat’s move into North America will satisfy the growing demand from active holidaymakers for a new way to explore the country.
Whilst the Rideau Canal offers a wonderful insight into Ontario’s natural beauty, Le Boat predicts a lot of guests will take advantage of its location to visit nearby Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto for the ultimate fortnight away.
With 125 miles, 47 locks and 24 locks stations to navigate, Europe’s largest self-drive boating company picks out its top five reasons to escape to the Rideau Canal with Le Boat in 2018:
- A river runs through it: Whilst the name suggests it’s a canal, this extraordinary waterway was designated a Canadian Heritage River by Parks Canada in 2000. Whatever you call it, the aquatic route – which connects some of the region’s most captivating lakes and rivers – joins a select group of 42 rivers across the country recognised for their natural, cultural and recreational values.
- Head back in time: As the oldest continually-operated canal on the continent, the hand-built waterway was conceived as a secure military supply route but has gone on to become a monumental example of living history. So much so that many of its buildings are perfectly preserved and the majority of locks still operate as they did back in 1832 – by hand.
- Meet the locals: Given the waterway passes two of Ontario’s provincial parks and numerous conservation areas, it’s little wonder that it has become such a wildlife haven. Look out for sunbathing turtles, nectar-seeking hummingbirds, resident blue herons, reclusive river otters, nesting loons and – as the sun sets – a procession of fireflies.
- Moor up as the mood takes you: With nearly 50 locks and so much to sightsee along the way, the Rideau lends itself perfectly to slow boating and a truly relaxing getaway. Stop for a swim, enjoy a scenic picnic spot, explore the historic landmarks or take advantage of the many walking trails.
- Like a duck to water: Whether guests have sailed before or are new to boating holidays, landlubbers are always welcome. After receiving boat handling advice and being instructed on the rules of the waterways, novice Captains will find the locks simple to navigate as they discover how the canal’s calm waters are the very definition of pleasure boating.
Bookings open this week for the annual boating season, which will run from May to October 2018.
A seven-night trip on a luxury Horizon cruiser sleeping up to four starts from £1,325 per boat. The high-spec boat combines space, modern features and comfort, making it the ideal choice for couples and families alike. The price includes a fully-equipped kitchen, towels and linen plus boat-handling instruction and technical support. For further exploring, or to burn off extra calories, bicycles can be rented from £6 per day (adults) / £4 (children).
For information call 0844 417 2028