Month: July 2009

Newsletter July 2009

Rideau Canal Lockstation, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Photo courtesy of UNESCO.
Rideau Canal Lockstation, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Photo courtesy of UNESCO
Welcome to a new website for Fancy Free! We have been working with a very talented young website designer, Anshudeep Mathur, to revamp the previous website. Anshu has done a fabulous job and we hope you enjoy the result. Feedback is most welcome: please email comments to Pamela at

Through our newly expanded website, we are now able to offer information on the fascinating history of Fancy Free Island, which as the oldest cottage on Big Rideau Lake is a renowned local landmark. Generations of people have told us how much they appreciate the fact that Fancy Free has been kept with so many of its original architectural features intact, just the way they remembered it from years ago. The people who live on Big Rideau Lake and other communities along the Rideau Canal waterway system in eastern Ontario have long memories!

Significantly, though, it’s not just the local people who appreciate the beauty and history of Big Rideau Lake and the Rideau Canal system- the entire world shares in this appreciation. The Rideau Canal, including Big Rideau Lake, is a world-class cultural destination, recently recognized with designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This puts the Rideau Canal system in the company of some of the most wonderful sights in the world, such as the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza , the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, and the Taj Mahal in India. In Canada, other places on the World Heritage List include the historic district of Old Quebec, L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site in Newfoundland, and Old Town Lunenburg in Nova Scotia. All in all, there are 890 properties on the list, selected by an international committee as having outstanding universal value. We invite you to view the World Heritage List to see all the sites that have been given recognition by designation as World Heritage Sites. Click here to see a stunning slideshow of the Rideau Canal from the UNESCO site, photographed by Geoff Stevens of New Zealand.
We invite you to come and see the many fascinating historical places along the canal that are close to Fancy Free. Many of these are accessible by way of a short boat trip from the island; those that are a bit farther away are easily reached by car. One of our favourites is the nearby village of Merrickville, since not only is there a set of working locks but there is also a well preserved wooden blockhouse-style fort built by the military to oversee defence of the Canal, which now houses a museum run by the local Historical Society. Running around a real fort is great fun for the whole family. Enjoy!

Pamela Gough
July 10, 2009