Completing the Canal
The Rideau Canal was technically completed in the fall of 1831, though it was not officially opened for business until the following spring. The grand opening took place during the week of May 24, 1832, when Lt. Col. By and his family, along with several of the canal’s contractors and various dignitaries, set out from Kingston to Bytown on board the steamboat Pumper to mark the occasion. Unbeknownst to the happy travellers, an order had also just set sail from England recalling By to London to face disciplinary action for going over budget on the project. By had little time to celebrate his accomplishments and those of his workers before returning to London to defend his actions in British court.