253 The Irish labourers that helped build the Rideau Canal (Canada) / The Irish Labourers that built the Eerie Canal

  •             An Estimated 1000 Irish workers and their co-workers died during the construction of the Canal, while completing land clearing, deforestation, rock blasting during the period of 1827 to 1832 between Kingston Ontario and Bytown (now Ottawa.).

  •             The Canal is now recognized as a world heritage site.

  •             The committee looks forward to a positive decision by the Historical Sites and Monuments board of Canada at the Spring Meeting of the Board to recognise the Irish labourers for their efforts in helping to build the Rideau Canal between Kingston and Ottawa.

  • cross-bytown-museum-whcm.jpgcross-carving-whcm.jpg

  • wording.jpg

  • Photos of the Rideau Canal Workers’ Memorial Cross in Ottawa. 
  • The cross is situated at the first and second locks.  The carving on it is traditional Celtic braid with 5 pictorial carvings; 2 are of the work dangers, (mosquitoes and blasting), and 2 of tools used in the construction (pick and shovel, and a wheelbarrow). 

  • The centre carving is of a Irish Harp that represents those Irish who paid the greatest price through death and injury on the works.  It serves as a tribute to life and the music that would have been heard along the canal as it was being built. The wording on the base is in English, French, Irish and Algonquin language.

  • Refer also to Bytown or Bust for information on the Immigration and Settlement in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec, Canada, in the 1800’s including the Cities of Ottawa and Hull / Gatineau. The Ireland Canada Monument Society convey our gratitude to Anne Burgess, Joe Kenny and Al Lewis for permission to include the link to this very informative website.



 The Irish Workers that built the Eerie Canal