Between nature and culture

Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve

You're on the ancestral lands of the Iroquois... a sacred and protected territory, now part of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, designated by UNESCO in 2002. Redrawn in 2007, it now includes the ancestral territory of the Algonquins (Aniishinaabe) and covers an area of 2700 km2, north and east of Kingston, from Westport and Sydenham to Gananoque and Brockville. It is one of 18 biosphere reserves in Canada !

The Frontenac Arch is the name given to a granite ridge in the extension of the Canadian Shield (a geographical zone typical of rocks left by the last glaciation) that forms a corridor and crosses the St. Lawrence River at the Thousand Islands. Ecologically speaking, the islands and islets of the St. Lawrence River serve as staging posts for animal migration.

Visit Berry Homestead Farm

Ontario is also renowned for its local products and vineyards…

Visit Berry Homestead Farm in Lyndurst, whose owners are French-speaking, and wander through their fields. They have a medicinal garden, make their own cosmetics from wild plants and delicious jams from berries. Families will love the historical guided tours on... donkeys! 

And a beef responsible farm

Discover also Doublejay Farms, a beef farm located on Howe Island. A responsible family farm, they raise their beef on St. Lawrence meadows using regenerative practices. 100% local and organic. 

Several options for sightseeing cruise

From Gananoque with the City Cruises boat company, which offers several excursions (1 hr, 2.5 hrs and 5 hrs) and tours in French. For the record, Rockport Cruises got its start when a local letter carrier began taking passengers out on his boat while delivering mail to the residents of the Thousand Islands. 

In 1951, the boat line expanded to include the Linda 7, a wooden excursion boat that could accommodate 55 passengers. A few years later, four more wooden boats were added, followed by the Miss Gananoque 1 and Miss Gananoque 2. The current boats, the Thousand Islanders, are 33 m long, have three decks and can carry up to 380 people. When launched, they were the very first all aluminum touring boats in North America! 

The Thousand Islands, seen from above or below

If you're in the mood to visit the islands by plain old muscle power, you can also explore them by kayak. It's another great way to enjoy the peace and quiet, admire the more intimate coves and observe the wildlife: geese, ducks, great blue herons and deer. In Gananoque, you can rent kayaks by the day, with a certified guide or on your own. 

And for those who like to get up high, the best view of the 1000 Islands is from the sky, aboard a helicopter from 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours. The company offers several historical guided tours. An unforgettable experience.

Text version

Welcome to Gananoque, a picturesque little town known as the gateway to the 1000 Islands!

Gananoque [Gan-a-nock-wee] takes its name from the First Nations, more specifically the Haudenosaunee or 'people of the longhouses,' also commonly known as the Iroquois, and means 'city on two rivers,' as it lies between the St. Lawrence and Gananoque rivers. 

Between nature and culture, Gananoque is an ideal base for exploring the Thousand Islands, and will charm you with its panoramic views, historic buildings and lively summer streets. 

The area was known under the French regime but was not surveyed until 1784 by Loyalists John Johnson and Joel Stone, who obtained land in the area. A British colony settled here and developed water mills and a sawmill. The village became an important shipping point for supplies to Montreal. 

During the War of 1812, American forces sailed from New York to Gananoque to attack the town, under the command of Captain Benjamin Forsyth. Forcing the British troops to retreat, the Americans finally succeeded in disrupting the flow of British supplies between Kingston and Montreal. Indeed, this daring and destructive expedition revealed to the British the weakness of their frontier towns and the vulnerability of land and river communications. Can you find the location of the blockhouse built to protect the port following the raid in 1813? The Gananoque blockhouse, a type of fortified turret, was the last fortified structure on the St. Lawrence before Kingston.

Today, Gananoque is a popular tourist destination. Stroll through its narrow streets, admire the architecture (especially Gananoque Town Hall and St. John's the Evangelist Catholic Church), wander through its museums, be inspired by its landscapes and visit one of its many artisan galleries. If you're here in summer, don't miss out on all the festivals and cultural events, a swim at the beach, the farmers' and craftsmen's market or the chance to see a play on the quayside at the famous Thousand Islands Playhouse! 

For more information: Visit 1000 Islands Tourist Office. 


Extract of
Thousand Islands Region Sightseeing and Discovery Tour

Thousand Islands Region Sightseeing and Discovery Tour image circuit

Presented by : Société économique de l’Ontario

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