SMITHS FALLS - Europe's largest self-drive boating company is investing $16-million in state-of-the-art watercraft for the Rideau Canal.
The announcement of Le Boat's launch into the North American market was made earlier this month. It will open its base operations in Smiths Falls on the historic Rideau Canal in 2018 to provide boating experiences from Ottawa to Kingston.
"We are extremely excited about establishing our footprint in North America, and especially pleased to be launching our new venture in the beautiful province of Ontario, Canada," Le Boat Managing Director Cheryl Brown said in a media release. The Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Canadian National Historic Site and a Canadian Heritage River.
Le Boat will bring a fleet of 16 vessels specially designed to meet Ontario maritime and customer requirements. The fleet will expand to 32 cruisers over the next 5 years. Bookings will start in 2017 for the May to October 2018 boating season.
A customer survey by Le Boat
found demand is high for travellers wanting to come to Eastern Ontario and the Rideau Canal. A whopping 88% of Europeans and 91% of Americans said they would travel to Ontario for a boating holiday.
Le Boat is expected to attract vacationers of all ages. Its international presence and extensive marketing initiatives and industry partnerships will help enhance the Rideau Canal's brand on the global market.
"The Rideau Canal is a vacationers dream, offering the best of all of Le Boat's European destinations in one place. It has the elegant beauty and charm of French waterways, the delightful lagoons of Italy, and the dramatic, scenic lakes and rivers of Ireland, Holland and Germany," Brown said in the release.
The announcement of Le Boat coming to the Rideau Canal is the result of collaborative effort by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Parks Canada, the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville and the Town of Smiths Falls Economic Development offices along with the many municipalities along the corridor.
Learn more about Le Boat by visiting their