Marine News from the Great Lakes

A Little Piece Of Paradise: Gananoque And The 1,000 Islands

Published: Sunday, March 1, 2020
By: Rosanne Lake

The 1,000 Islands brings to life a magical mixture of romance and tragedy, opulence and community, friendly folk and pirate folklore, unbeatable nature and natural charm. Stories stream out of the shimmering water of the St. Lawrence River to etch our experiences in memories that last a lifetime.

Come discover what makes this area so enchanting and intriguing. Our authentic communities are bound together by the fabled river, which gives the area a historically rustic, yet contemporary classic, ambiance. How you interact with and explore our astounding natural landscapes writes your story.

With a full service marina, a vibrant downtown within walking distance from the water, nearby art galleries, unique shops, waterfront restaurants, sweet bakeries, craft breweries, and even theatre, Gananoque and the 1,000 Islands provides the perfect spot to drop anchor and explore.

Be inspired to create your story by watching others unfold around you. The 1,000 Islands’ arts and culture scene captures the beauty here and effortlessly works it into all aspects of the arts. The naturally beautiful backdrop of the islands sets the stage for some of Ontario’s most engaging live, professional theatre each summer.


The Thousand Islands Playhouse is known as Canada's Dockside Theatre and has been presenting live entertainment in the heart of the 1,000 Islands for more than 35 years. Its Springer Theatre features two decks that have a panoramic view of the St. Lawrence River. This renovated heritage venue, built in 1909, was originally the Gananoque Canoe Club, and retains the vintage cottage-style craftsmanship. Patrons can arrive to a show by water and dock right in front of the theatre.

The Playhouse’s 2020 season features something for everyone. From the classic family musical The Music Man to the Tony-award winning show Once, the bill at the Playhouse is going big this summer. With an additional farce, an uplifting theatrical gem, and even a gripping tour-de-force on the schedule, the Playhouse’s Springer Theatre and Firehall Theatre will be buzzing with action starting May 29, 2020.

Dock your boat for a performance—or overnight. The Thousand Islands Playhouse has five transient docking slips for Playhouse guests. Reservations are required by contacting the box office. Patrons attending the show can dock at the Playhouse at no charge but overnight docking is $30.

More unique experiences await, such as first-class helicopter tours allowing an incredible bird’s eye view of the majestic river and the islands, dinner on one of our waterfront patios, 1000 Islands Tower offering stunning sunset views high above the skyline, and even the opportunity to walk through the treetops at the Skywood Eco Adventure, Ontario’s premier zipline and aerial trekking playground. Be sure to try your luck at the Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands where fun is the name of game.


It sounds like a fairytale: cruising on a grand river weaving through a myriad of lush islands, stopping to tour authentic castles, peeking inside opulent rooms, and sharing in the secrets and intrigue of family bonds, tragedy, and romance. But in the 1,000 Islands, it’s real!

Step back in time and explore the majesty of Boldt Castle on Heart Island and the mystery of Singer Castle on Dark Island. Both are breathtaking in their stories and construction; a definite wow-factor island experience accessible only by boat in the 1,000 Islands.


In fact, there is no better place to immerse yourself in nature than in the 1,000 Islands. Create connections with this incredibly rich, natural environment by experiencing first-hand the cultural and natural aspects that earned the region a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve designation.

Camping on one of the 1,000 Islands is sure to make a lasting impression with family members and friends—and it’s easier than ever. Picnicking or staying overnight on one of the islands at Thousand Islands National Park provides the authentic experience of island life. The historic park, which encompasses numerous islands dotting the river, also has special camping accommodations at oTENTik sites both on the mainland and on its islands. Sleeping on an island under a blanket of stars with the water lapping at the shoreline is second to none.

The park’s Landon Bay Centre on the 1000 Islands Parkway rewards hikers with a tribute to the region’s natural elements of forest and river, with a breathtaking view from the lookout showcasing the islands stretched out over the river. Keep an eye for osprey here, too!

Bring the past to life in the 1,000 Islands; let intrigue be your guide as you learn what makes the 1,000 Islands so historically unique. The 1000 Islands History Museum welcomes more than 30,000 visitors each year to learn about the rich cultural and natural history of the region through interactive exhibits, or simply relax on the waterfront veranda. The Thousand Islands Boat Museum on Gananoque’s shoreline ties it all together, bringing tales of the river to life while paying homage to river-going vessels. Dive into the intimate connection between boats and the people here. This hands-on museum allows history to be touched, built, and experienced, in addition to brand new docks with beloved antique St. Lawrence watercraft to explore.

Discover the unexpected and write your story in Gananoque and the 1,000 Islands. Plan your trip today at


This article first appeared in the Spring Issue (Mar/Apr) 2020 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.

tags: Destination

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