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By the 1850s new modes of transportation were making travel to the settled areas much easier. Steamboats plied the lakes and newly built canals.

Steam packets, such as the one advertised in this poster or the steamer depicted by this watercolour by Thomas Burrowes, stopped at Prescott, Brockville and Kingston, and other settlements along the way.

Watercolour: Bay of Quinte, 1830
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Bay of Quinte, 1830
Thomas Burrowes
Watercolour
Thomas Burrowes fonds
Reference Code: C 1-0-0-0-100
Archives of Ontario, I0002219

Poster: Steamer Georgiana running between Penatanguishine and Midland, Parry Sound and Harbour, [ca. 1879]
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Steamer Georgiana running between Penatanguishine and Midland, Parry Sound and Harbour, [ca. 1879]
Archives of Ontario Poster Collection
Reference Code: C 233-1-3-2235, AO2411 (G 305)
Archives of Ontario

Poster: The New Elegant Steam Packet St. Lawrence for Three Rivers and William Henry, 1828
The New Elegant Steam Packet St. Lawrence
for Three Rivers and William Henry, 1828
Archives of Ontario Poster Collection
Reference Code: C 233-1-3-2046 (G 291)
Archives of Ontario, I0026635


The Rideau Canal, built in 1832, connected Ottawa in the interior with Kingston on Lake Ontario and enabled the transport of people and goods to many communities.

In the later 1800s, cruise ships such as the Rideau Queen took tourists through the locks on a five-day trip from Montreal to Ottawa. Passengers on these “palace steamers” marvelled at the engineering feat of the locks at Kingston Mills where the canal had been cut through the Canadian Shield.

During the voyage, travellers also enjoyed sightings of wildlife, picturesque towns, and splendid scenery. 

Map of the eastern end of the Rideau Canal system, 1830
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Map of the eastern end of the Rideau Canal system, 1830
Thomas Burrowes
Reference Code: C 1-0-0-0-115
Archives of Ontario, I0002234

Photo: Steamer Rideau Queen in the Kingston Mills lock,Rideau Canal, [between 1898 and 1920]

Steamer Rideau Queen in the Kingston Mills
lock, Rideau Canal, [between 1898 and 1920]
Marsden Kemp
Marsden Kemp fonds
Reference Code: C 130-1-0-16-3
Archives of Ontario, I0013019

Photo: Picnic by a lake in eastern Ontario [Kingston], between 1989 and 1920]

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Picnic by a lake in eastern Ontario [Kingston]
[between 1898 and 1920]
Marsden Kemp
Marsden Kemp fonds
Reference Code: C 130-5-0-0-120
Archives of Ontario, I0013387

Photo: The Lift-lock at Peterborough, 1913
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The Lift-lock at Peterborough, 1913
John Boyd
Black and white print
Reference Code: C 7-3, 10419
Archives of Ontario, I0003465