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Old 04-07-2019, 09:20 PM   #1
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Ottawa and Montreal marinas?

We're thinking of spending the summer of 2020 in Canadian waters with extended stays in Ottawa and Montreal...possibly up to a month each. We'd like to be as close as possible to city centers. High slip fees to be expected. We'd probably pre-stage a car ahead of moving the boat. Issues/ ideas/recommendations? Thanks
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:50 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. R. This is the only marina "close" to downtown Ottawa ON the Rideau system. Dow's Lake
On the Ottawa River on the Quebec side is Hull Marina. https://www.marinadehull.ca/accueil_an.htm
There may be one other in the vicinity but I don't know of it.
Montreal? Not terribly familiar with the area but I suspect there are many choices. We've only ever stayed in the Old Port of Montreal.
https://www.oldportofmontreal.com/maritime-services
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:54 PM   #3
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Www.dowslake.com has monthly and seasonal slips.
You would be on the Rideau system at the same level as the top of the flight of 8 locks. You can boat to downtown right near Parliament.
I see RTF beat me to it
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Old 04-08-2019, 06:32 AM   #4
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Many Marinas in Montreal but if being downtown is what you are looking for, old port marina or montreal yacht club are the two you want to look at. Be aware that these two are very busy in summer so availability is limited.

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Old 04-08-2019, 09:10 AM   #5
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Thanks, gents. Very helpful. Good locations. We've been looking at condos and apartments in both cities (leave the boat in storage for a summer), but I think we'd be much more comfortable on the boat. Cost is comparable except for the trip to/from the Great Lakes. Now the trick is to reserve slips.
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Old 04-08-2019, 08:43 PM   #6
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Hull Marina across the River from Ottawa in Gatineau is actually much closer to downtown Ottawa than Dow's Lake.
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Old 04-08-2019, 10:13 PM   #7
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Thanks for that. I was looking at a city map and wondered if we could walk across that bridge right into downtown. It does look like a good spot.


Another question that I think has been covered here before...but I'll ask again. My spouse is small, not very strong, not a young chicken, and not very handy with line handling. I wonder if we could manage in the locks on the Rideau and the staircase at Ottawa. Also wondering about the big locks on the St Lawrence and the Wellington canal on the return trip to Lake Michigan. 44' twin (OA version of your boat)...no bow thruster...reasonably proficient boat handling skills....but virtually alone when it comes to running the boat. Better to go back via the Rideau? Better to not go at all?
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Old 04-08-2019, 10:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
Thanks for that. I was looking at a city map and wondered if we could walk across that bridge right into downtown. It does look like a good spot.


Another question that I think has been covered here before...but I'll ask again. My spouse is small, not very strong, and not very handy with line handling. I wonder if we could manage in the locks on the Rideau and at Ottawa. Also wondering about the big locks on the St Lawrence and the Wellington canal on the return trip to Lake Michigan. 44' twin (OA version of your boat)...no bow thruster...reasonably proficient boat handling skills....but virtually alone when it comes to running the boat. Better to go back via the Rideau? Better not to go at all?
You should not have any issue on the Rideau, just take it easy. Lock masters are very patient and helpful. To give you an example, when we bough our boat (first boat) we had to cross the Rideau to get it back to our marina, it was all an experience but all went very well even without hands on experience of the boat. So in summary I would not worry about locks on Rideau or Carillon lock on Ottawa river. No experience of Montreal locks.

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Old 04-09-2019, 07:30 AM   #9
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Rufus
Lou-tribal is spot on re helpful lock masters and assistants on Rideau
Especially going down lock. Just maneuver to the wall and they will be there to grab lines, place them around cables and hand them back and say thank you besides! My admiral always laughs and tells then "it should be me thanking you"
St Lawrence is a whole 'nother story. My experience there was less than great.
Lock hands in most cases are little or no help. The locks would not communicate w recreational boaters via VHF. They simply said pull up and wait we will alert you when we are ready for a recreational lock thru. The Seaway System is geared for large commercial ships and seems to consider recreational boaters as a bother they have to deal with.
I have heard they have instituted a new policy since we did the St Lawrence, Chambley, Lk Champlain mini loop and now try to schedule one AM and one PM recreational lock thru. Times not guaranteed but at least a best effort. It would be worth checking online to see if any more info & times are posted. This would be a major improvement.
Dock space at those locks is minimal and you may want to anchor if wait is long. We waited 5+ hrs at the lock above Montreal.
Also... one of the St L locks has floating bollards and I saw that notice ahead of time. What it didn't explain is that rec boats use one bollard not two. Lock hand grabs line w a long boat hook places around bollard and gives it back to those aboard. In my case bow line was adequate, stern not so he drops the line into the water and says get a longer line... stern line now wrapped around prop. Lines need to be long enough to reach at least center of boat and return.
Last point if returning west bound Ontario to Erie you will be going uplock on the Welland and they require 3 aboard upbound due to turbulence when filling. I haven't been thru there but know others that have. I understand there are "extra hands" around the locks that for $$ will help out.
Again worth checking if there us a recreational " schedule". Others have said it's a 24/7 operation and you just wait and need to be ready when they are.
Don't let me scare you it's a wonderful trip and some knowledge ahead to set realistic expectations helps avoid problems. By all means don't let any of my comments dissuade you from making the trip... you will enjoy it.
Will you be coming through the Trent Severn Waterway to get to the area?
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:08 AM   #10
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We did much of this trip last Summer and loved it.



The Rideau locks are easy and well-staffed with friendly and helpful folks. You should have no trouble there. I "Hook and Moor" boat hook would likely be very handy on the Rideau locks.

The Carillon lock is a breeze because of the floating dock. The Bellevue lock is much like the Rideau locks and easy.

The Beauharnois locks will likely be challenging because they only have lines danging from 45 feet above and make smaller boats raft to the biggest boat. Thus, if you are the biggest boat, not only will you be trying to control your boat from the ends of two 45 foot lines, you'll also be trying to control the other boat(s) that are rafted to you. That said, if other boats are rafted to you, recruit help from them and it will be a lot easier. Another note about the Beauharnois locks, they have a phone line you can call to get the daily schedule for recreational boat passages. Ignore the schedule and get there as early as possible, they may call you in 2 hours early. You will need to purchase lock passage at a ticket machine where you tie up to wait.

The Snell and Eisenhower locks have floating bollards that made it easy to lock through. They only take cash there, but they take Canadian or US money at the same face value, so use Canadian money for a big discount.

Our old boat easily fit under the spillway at the Iriquois dam/lock so we did not need to use the lock. It's only a flood control system so you can likely just drive through the lock without ever tying up. You'll probably have to pay though. Not sure how much they charge or how you have to pay.

We found the staff at all the St Lawrence locks we went through very pleasant and friendly.

I have no experience with the Welland canal.
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:23 AM   #11
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The St. Lawrence/Welland canal sounds daunting. We'd go back the way we came...I guess that would be the Trent Severn/Rideau. Could that be done in a week if we pushed it on the return trip?
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Old 04-09-2019, 12:14 PM   #12
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The St. Lawrence/Welland canal sounds daunting. We'd go back the way we came...I guess that would be the Trent Severn/Rideau. Could that be done in a week if we pushed it on the return trip?

I think the quickest you could do the Rideau is 5 days, I'd guess the Trent-Severn would take even longer. I was able to go from Ottawa to 1000 Islands via the Ottawa River and St. Lawrence River in <48 hours, but that was in a boat that cruises comfortably at 30+ knots.
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Old 04-09-2019, 04:22 PM   #13
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I think the quickest you could do the Rideau is 5 days, I'd guess the Trent-Severn would take even longer. I was able to go from Ottawa to 1000 Islands via the Ottawa River and St. Lawrence River in <48 hours, but that was in a boat that cruises comfortably at 30+ knots.
We had 12 travel days on the Trent Severn last summer. A couple were short days as we stopped often. We took 20 total days. Great trip.
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Old 04-09-2019, 04:57 PM   #14
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If you are above the steps at Ottawa 4 days can do the Rideau if you hustle. As long as it is not during the Quebec construction holiday. I believe last two weeks of July.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:29 PM   #15
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Greetings,
Mr. R. All very good advice, thus far, IMO. Being your mate's forte is NOT line handling I would also recommend you not do any locks on the St. Lawrence or Welland canals for the reasons mentioned. Things can go very quickly sideways if the deck crew is not strong enough to deal with the currents in the locks. Both the Trent Severn and the Rideau are quite benign in comparison. Help is usually immediately at hand. The lock staff have "seen it all" and are totally professional as well as being very forthcoming with information (either local attractions, the latest canal conditions, or handling tips). Don't be afraid to ask.

If you're coming up from Michigan, by the time you've gone through 1/2 dozen locks on the T/S you'll be old hands. The learning curve is pretty well vertical. I hesitate to mention but we've been on the Rideau for 30+ years and the best I can figure is we've probably done 600+ lockages. Every one is still different and I still have a few "oopsies". Not to worry. It's ALL good and as I've said, the lockmasters have seen it all.


Rather than "racing" back through the canal systems to get back home, why not take a leisurely pace on the way up, skip a few stops, and visit those spots on the way back?
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:14 PM   #16
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The St. Lawrence and Welland are off the table. My spouse would pass out from sheer fright in one of those locks. And after looking at a map of the Great Lakes, crossing Erie and motoring up the East side of Michigan on Huron to get back to Lake Michigan would take a week by itself. Maybe we'll just sell the boat in Canada and fly back....
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