Kimola Canal – New waterway for excursions

Kimola Canal before

Kimola Canal is located in the Kymijoki river, which starts from a lake Päijänne. The canal is on the border of Kouvola and Iitti when the road to Vierumäki crosses the canal. The channel has a history of more than 160 years. Its design began as early as 1859. It took a while from design to implementation… Construction work began in 1962, and the canal was inaugurated in 1966. The actual operation did not begin until 1969, when all the equipment needed for timber transporting had been installed. The new canal shortened the water distance by almost 30 miles, but not for boats! The canal was built for transporting timber only. The only “recreational boaters” were paddlers who could carry their canoes past the tunnel, bridge, and other constructions. The use of the canal in timber transporting ceased in 2002. The cessation had been considered for a long time. After all, optimization simulations had already been made around the 1970s and 1980s to replace the channel with rubber wheels. I know this because I was doing those calculations myself for Tehdaspuu Oy. For almost twenty years after the closure, the water has stood in the canal.

New life to Kimola Canal

Through a long decision-making process, the channel will be given new life this year, 2020. In July 2018, renovation work began to open the canal for boating use. The aim is to increase tourism in the areas above and below the canal, in Heinola, Kouvola, and Iitti. Now the canal is completed, rehabilitated, the tunnel expanded, and the locks in place. The first boats came through the canal on August 3rd, 2020.

The importance of the canal for tourism in the region

Kimola Canal brings many new opportunities for the development of tourism in our region. The canal itself is already an attraction and worth visiting. The closing height, 12 meters, is really a lot. When a 70-meter-long tunnel is connected to this, the experience is one that cannot be found anywhere else! But, of course, this is not enough for a tourist, especially as a topic for a second visit. New products are now being considered in many places. We are looking for reasons and stories why a traveler wants to come here again and again. I think they can be found. We have a lot of good true stories related to the area around which we can build products.

The stories of the Kimola Canal

To mention one story, The King of Sweden Gustav III came on a military expedition in Jaala in 1790. It also involves the arson of the entire village of Jaala by Russian Cossacks. The village still has the house of a military service founded in 1683, which was hosted in 1790 by Anders Johan Witting, the Häme Infantry Regiment’s sergeant. The current main house was built in mid-century 1800 and is refurbished to active use by Lions Club Jaala. Today the house is called “Liikasenmäki”. It is the place in the center of the village Jaala and the place for many happenings. So we have stories for our visitors…

A paddling trip in a huge canoe to Kimola Canal

We at Repovesikeskus have built an interesting trip by our giant canoes to experience the tunnel, the lock, and the area’s stories. The product is for groups for a day trip. With our safe giant canoes, we can experience the tunnel as well as the lock. We have a canoe rental as well. So it is possible to rent a canoe or a kayak and go paddling to the canal. Waiting for spring Eero Repovesikeskus