Parks Canada Seeks Proposals for New Services on the Rideau Canal Near Downtown Ottawa

Parks Canada is seeking proposals from businesses interested in establishing ‘new and innovative' services on the Rideau Canal National Historic Site at the heart of Ottawa. In late March, Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the Request for Proposals (RFP), which closes on May 20, 2015.

"The Government of Canada is committed to protecting and promoting our rich natural heritage,' says Darlene Upton, Executive Director, Waterways, Parks Canada. "We invite businesses to take advantage of this opportunity to provide Canadians and visitors unforgettable experiences on the canal, while respecting its unique heritage values and strengthening it as world-class attraction.'

Proposals will be considered for services on or along the Rideau Canal from the southerly limit of Ottawa Locks (Government Conference Centre) to the southerly limit of Hartwells Lockstation (Carleton University).

According to Aglukkaq this initiative is a unique opportunity for businesses interested in creative expansion and unleashing the untapped potential of the waterway. Parks Canada is seeking proposals for multiple integrated services that will attract visitors to the canal year round. However, the organization was quick to point out that it plans to respect and build upon the canal's unique UNESCO World Heritage designation, while complementing and connecting with Ottawa's many nearby attractions.

The Government of Canada says it will continue to work with the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Tourism and the National Capital Commission to help the Rideau Canal be a premier tourism destination and foster recreation and economic development.

"The Rideau Canal has always been a key attraction in Ottawa and an important part of the City's brand,' says Noel Buckley, President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism. "Capitalizing upon the incredibly rich water assets in Ottawa was identified as a key opportunity in our Premier Ranked Destination Study and, more importantly, will enrich the experience for visitors and residents alike. I look forward to seeing the results of this call for proposals.'

As one of the most visited National Historic Sites in Canada and one of Ottawa's top attractions on TripAdvisor, each year the historic Rideau Canal attracts nearly 2,000 boats. Additionally, each month 80,000 cyclists use its surrounding pathways. The city of Ottawa attracts over 7.3 million visitors per year, who spend an estimated $1.18 billion.