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“Still Looking For An Identity”
Review of Thousand islands

Thousand islands
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US$26.13*
and up
Kingston Discovery Sightseeing Cruise
Ranked #2 of 9 Tours in Gananoque
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
147 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Still Looking For An Identity”
Reviewed 18 August 2014

Gananoque is a fantastic stop to gamble, there is a casino right off the 401, and grab a tour of the 1000 Islands.

This town has a lot going for it, hotdog vendors on the waterfront, a modest beach, marina, hotels, fun dining with 45cent wings and a band but it always leaves me asking what this town of 5500 is.

Is this a quaint town, a gamblers paradise, a fine dining stop, a roadhouse caravan or a family getaway.

Don't get me wrong Ganaoque has a lot going on and a lot going for it but the town and business groups need to work on a unified identity, image and run with it.

2 hour free parking on the beachfront is great.

Amazing ice cream sold right in front of the tour boat launch.

More history than you can shake a Lonely Planet Guide at but I am always left wanting a better commercial cultural mix.

So my verdict is as you cruise the 401 between Montreal and Toronto plan 2 hours in Ganaoque take a cruise, eat some ice cream, check out the antiques and enjoy.

Fun is there to be had the beach and fun water area are free!

And plenty of free toilets!

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank James P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cambridge, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Bolt Castle”
Reviewed 12 August 2014

It was amazing and a must see. On Heart Island in the Thousand Islands. The love of one man for his wife and their dreams- a heartbreaking story. The castle is beautiful - the grounds and view outstanding. Well worth the trim from Canada or U. S. side. Make sure you have your passports with you enjoy as we did. Check out the web site.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Sue B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
Level Contributor
260 reviews
96 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
“Hey, there's really 1855 - not 1000 Islands!”
Reviewed 5 August 2014

A trip to Gananoque, just east of Kingston, is incomplete without a scenic cruise through the central part of the 1,000 Islands in the St Lawrence River. Some longer excursions offer a stop-over at historic Boldt Castle on Heart Island, and there is also a helicopter option, but today, we try the one-hour sojourn aboard the “1000 Islander,” a three-decker ship, co-captained by Tim Brooks and Ryan Riddell, both Gananoque natives.

Leaving at 10.30 am, we manouever amidst myriad islands, large and small, actually a total of 1,855 islands. Tim explains that our ship’s small 5.5 feet draw, allows us access everywhere, even into the shallows, the waters quite crowded this sunny morning with motor boats, sailboats, cruisers and a squadron of brave kayaks scrambling for space.

Private cottages set amidst the islands are 5th and 6th generation, owned by fortunate people indeed, who include business and political leaders from Canada and the U.S. and even a few university professors we are told.

We venture through narrow channels of the Admiralty and Navy group of islands, viewing small lighthouses and watching for great blue heron, osprey and geese. We pass by several parks including the St. Lawrence Highlands National Park, and McDonald, Forsythe, Hay, Lindsay, Leek and Bostwick Islands. The St. Lawrence Highlands is 23.5 sq. km. and includes 24 islands, 90 inlets and shoals. It is the site of the preserved hull of a British gunboat from the War of 1812, raised from the St. Lawrence River near Mallorytown Landing.

The (incorrectly-named) 1,000 islands stretch for about 50 miles (80 km) downstream from Kingston, Ontario bordering Ontario and New York State. They range in size from over 40 square miles (100 km2) to those occupied by a single residence, or uninhabited outcroppings of rocks that are home to migratory waterfowl. Water clarity improved in the mid-1990s with the arrival of zebra mussels, which feed on algae. The area contains several shipwrecks, and although most are over 100 feet (30 m) deep, some are a mere 15 feet (4.6 m) down, and visible from the surface.

Tim and Ryan report that muskellunge is the most prized fish in these waters, the remarkable record, one ounce short of 70 pounds; however, 20-30-punders are much more common. There are also pike, pickerel, bass and several other species abundant here.

An odd factoid about the area is that Thousand Island dressing was named for this chain of islands by May Irwin, an actress who popularized the dressing, stating that she thought that the chopped vegetables in the dressing looked like the Thousand Islands region.

Towards the end of the cruise we come upon an unusual sight off our starboard. Upon a minute island, there is a cottage and a sailboat parked at the dock but wedged miraculously between the two, a small helicopter that I would surely like to watch get into and out of its remarkable postage-stamp sized pad.

Returning to the dock, we enjoy a great view of The Gananoque Inn and Spa where we stay for the night in Room 108, with its large windows offering a beautiful view of the harbour and its 3 moored cruise ships. The Inn enjoys its own long dock for watercraft, and comfortable Adirondack chairs scattered strategically for patrons to leisurely relax and observe the boating activity in the St. Lawrence.

We try the restaurant, enjoying steak sandwiches along with the local lager beer, Naughty Otter, produced by Thousand Islands B&B owner Bruce Davis (also in Niagara) who founded the Gananoque Brewing Company, which has been brewing heritage and specialty beers since 2011.

In the evening, we walk to the Firehall Theatre, one of two in The Thousand Islands Playhouse (the other: The Springer Theatre) to watch Jake’s Gift – A journey to Juno Beach, a one-woman play written and performed by Julia Mackey, who alternates between two principal characters, Jake, a crusty Canadian war vet, who, for the first time in 60 years, returns to Juno, one of the five beaches in the Normandy WWII landings (June 6, 1944) and Isobel, a young Bernières-sur-Mer girl whose class undertakes the task of tending to the 2048 (her favourite number) Canadian graves. It’s a poignant play that Mackey has performed across Canada, and I sense a tear roll down my cheek a mere 10 minutes into it. In the lobby, military artifacts help set the mood. The stage itself is bare save for a bench, table and box.

Gananoque boasts a little over 5,000 year-round residents, but there are some charming historic buildings along the waterfront, including shops, museum, and an art gallery. It’s an attractive, inviting town, and we will return soon.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
5 Thank Mike K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
1,160 reviews
733 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,396 helpful votes
“Amazing Paradise”
Reviewed 29 July 2014

I was up here on business and fell in love with Thousand Islands on the first 3 hours boat tour. I had never heard of this area and overwhelmed by its beauty. I ended up coming back two other times because it is paradise....treat yourself to one of the many boat tours!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
7 Thank Luvs2TravelAnywhere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hamilton, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“great”
Reviewed 27 July 2014

I recommend taking the 5 hour boat tour that includes the stop over at Boldt castle.There has been many things done to the castle inside as well as outside. The views from the castle are amazing. The boat tour is amazing and seeing the many islands and houses on them was fantstic.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank meathead56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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