Introduction

The Rideau Canal was an immense architectural undertaking by any standard. The complexities involved in orchestrating teams of engineers, labourers, contractors, and artisans – many from different cultural backgrounds – presented one challenge; erecting the infrastructure necessary to complete the project, using only the most basic tools and raw materials available to the region, presented another. Before work could even begin on the canal itself, land needed to be purchased, surveyed, and cleared; buildings erected and equipped with supplies; and the foundations of a small community laid to support the influx of new workers. Despite these and other challenges, the canal was completed in less than six years, and remains an important part of the geographical and cultural history of Canada.

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