Finger Docks at Kelly’s Landing
The Rideau river and canal are part of Ottawa’s amazing natural heritage. Yet other than thriving Kelly’s Landing, south of Manotick, where tour boats can refuel both their mechanical and human engines, there isn’t any other place to directly restock on the way into the center of Canada’s capital city.
It’s a distance of 31.8 kilometers, not a long trip for a car but forever in a boat.
Recent renovations to Lansdowne Park created an opportunity to change this but, alas, no go. Proposals to bring the Rideau Canal into the site never got any real traction. You can see above that Andrew King included a group of finger docks in his version of a renovated Landsdowne Park.
MMM Group VP Steve Willis says, “When I was part of the Michael van Valkenburgh team for the Lansdowne Park design competition, we had proposed reinstating an inlet (which was there historically) into Lansdowne to provide access for small watercraft as well as skaters.That proved to be too contentious since, as a World Heritage Site, alterations are frowned upon.”
Parks Canada, not the NCC (National Capital Commission), controls the fate of the Canal, and they are the ones responsible for administering it as a World Heritage Site. However, some of the proposed designs wanted to extend the Canal into the Park so NCC regulation and oversight/approval were probably going to be required as well. Not sure which organization is more difficult to deal with–Parks Canada or the NCC, but if you want to learn more about why the NCC’s nickname is the “No Commitment Club”, read about poor Darcy McRae’s experience trying to bring gondola service to the Canal.
The owner of Kelly’s Landing told me that every tour boat that pulls into one of his finger docks represents at least $1,500 in fuel, restaurant service, and c-store purchases. Not a bad gig even if it only lasts for 113 days–the length of Ottawa’s summer.
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