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Committee Decisions

31 COM 8B.35

Nomination of natural, mixed and cultural properties to the world heritage list - Rideau Canal

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-07/31.COM/8B and WHC-07/31.COM/INF.8B.1,

2. Inscribes the Rideau Canal, Canada, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (i) and (iv);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

The Rideau Canal is a large strategic canal constructed for military purposes which played a crucial contributory role in allowing British forces to defend the colony of Canada against the United States of America, leading to the development of two distinct political and cultural entities in the north of the American continent, which can be seen as a significant stage in human history.

Criterion (i): The Rideau Canal remains the best preserved example of a slackwater canal in North America demonstrating the use of European slackwater technology in North America on a large scale. It is the only canal dating from the great North American canal-building era of the early 19th century that remains operational along its original line with most of its original structures intact.

Criterion (iv): The Rideau Canal is an extensive, well preserved and significant example of a canal which was used for a military purpose linked to a significant stage in human history - that of the fight to control the north of the American continent.

The nominated property includes all the main elements of the original canal together with relevant later changes in the shape of watercourses, dams, bridges, fortifications, lock stations and related archaeological resources. The original plan of the canal, as well as the form of the channels, has remained intact. The Rideau Canal has fulfilled its original dynamic function as an operating waterway without interruption since its construction. Most of its lock gates and sluice valves are still operated by hand-powered winches.

All the elements of the nominated area (canal, associated buildings and forts) are protected as national historic sites under the Historic Sites and Monuments Act 1952-3. A buffer zone has been established. Repairs and conservation of the locks, dams, canal walls and banks are carried out directly under the control of Parks Canada. Each year one third of the canal's assets are thoroughly inspected by engineers. A complete inventory thus exists of the state of conservation of all parts of the property. A Management Plan exists for the canal (completed in 1996 and updated in 2005), and plans are nearing completion for Fort Henry and the Kingston fortifications. The Canal Plan is underpinned by the Historic Canals Regulations which provide an enforcement mechanism for any activities that might impact on the cultural values of the monument.

4. Recommends that following the completion of the study of the visual setting of the canal, consideration is given to strengthening its visual protection outside the buffer zone, in order to ensure the visual values of the setting are protected alongside environmental values.

Documents
PDF Original Decision Document
Context of Decision
PDF WHC-07/31.COM/8B
Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties: Canada
Properties: Rideau Canal
Session: 31COM