Whether you are studying the Rideau Canal’s construction and early history, its use as a conduit for commercial endeavours, or its eventual transformation into a hub for tourism, your research will benefit from the inclusion of primary source materials. A trip to an archives or library will open the door to the past by giving you access to evidence and documents that will help make historical events feel more tangible and real. It may also result in a better quality paper or product, as the inclusion of primary source material in your work demonstrates research initiative, and often results in content and insights distinct from those of your peers.

For this exhibit, our research has focused on the construction of the Bytown Locks of the Rideau Canal and the canal’s influence on the development of Bytown, the small British settlement that would eventually become the capital city of Canada. This task required consulting many primary and secondary sources documenting the early settlement period between 1817 and 1860. In preparing for this exhibit, our research and archives team learned many useful research techniques specific to the Rideau Canal. These self-initiated modules will guide you through some of these techniques using special hints and tips gained through our experiences.