Perth & District Historical Society
  You are here: Home > Local History > Tay Canal & River > Tay Canal Designations

The Tay Canal

UNESCO World Heritage Site
National Historic Site
Canadian Heritage River

A little-known fact about the Tay Canal - and a source of some local pride - is that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the UNESCO1 designation of its parent, the Rideau Canal, as a heritage site in 2007, the Tay was automatically included - although you will not find mention of it in the official documents. (See below for UNESCO Site link)

In 1890, by a Government of Canada Act of Parliament, the Tay Canal was officially incorporated into the Rideau Canal system. Thus, the Tay Canal also became a National Historic Site, when the Rideau Canal system was designated in 1925 - and a Canadian Heritage River, with the listing of the Rideau system in 2000. Paradoxically, however, the Tay Canal is designated, not the Tay River, and only to its top end at the Town of Perth. (More specifically the Tay Basin at Gore Street, in centre Perth, is recognized as the top end of the Tay Canal. The bottom is the bottom lock at Beveridge Lock, at Lower Rideau Lake.)

As a designated UNESCO Site, the Rideau/Tay system joins only 14 other such sites in Canada - and it is the only canal in the country that is designated a World Historic Site. Other Canadian sites include a number of Parks - such as Rocky Mountain Parks and Alberta's Dinosaur Park, the Buffalo Jump, Quebec City Historic Centre, and L'Anse aux Meadows.

The UNESCO designation for the Rideau/Tay included all of the Rideau waterway system and its lock stations, and a number of its components (Fort Henry, Fort Frederick, and the Cathcart, Shoal, and Murney towers).

The Rideau Canal system was selected based on two of UNESCO's World Heritage criteria. These are Criteria (i); to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius, and Criteria (iv); to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage (s) in human history (source: the 'Rideau-Info' website below).

For more information on the UNESCO World Heritage Site Designation visit:

For more information on the National Historic Sites of Canada, visit:

For information on Canada's Heritage Rivers, visit:

1 UNESCO - the "United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization"

Tay Canal & River Home Top  
Perth, the Capital of the District of Dalhousie; from the N-East bank of the River Tay - painting by Thomas Burrowes, 1828, Archives of Ontario, I0002141

Home | About Us | Events | Latest News | Local History | 200th Anniversary | Photos | Tours | Links | Contact Us

© Perth & District Historical Society

Website design & maintenance donated by: Ken Watson