Canoe and kayakers will soon find it easier to access the canal. 

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna was on hand Tuesday morning to unveil a new pilot project with Parks Canada. The project will see a dock installed at Patterson Creek in the glebe as well as on the canal at Clegg Street. The new launching pads are supposed to make it easier for paddlers to access the 202 kilometre canal stretching from Ottawa to Kingston. 

"Seeing people launch their own kayak or canoe it adds to the charm of the Rideau Canal adds to the charm of Ottawa," said Jantine Van Kregten of Ottawa Tourism. "I think it shows what an active populous we have and that's all part of the story we tell about Ottawa."

About one million people visit the canal every year and tens of thousands boat trips are recorded every season. 

The money for the new pilot project is including in a new funding announcement worth more than $57 million to renovate and update the canal. The canal was built in the 1830s and Parks Canada says many of the 47 active locks, bridges, dams and masonry need work. 

"The canal walls here in downtown Ottawa were constructed in the 1930s during the height of the depression," said Dean Hamilton, the chief engineer on Parks Canada's Waterways Delivery Project. 

"They have served Ottawa well but they need some tender love and care. We are looking forward to being able to do that with this new funding."

There are also several new ventures coming to the canal. 

Boat tours along the water are slated to up again at the end of June. The electric boat will make multiple tours a day, with the goal of operating a second boat next year. 

As well, the pop-up patio is returning to Colonel By near the University of Ottawa under new owners. According to the National Capital Commission, the lounge area is expected to open in time for the May long weekend.