1000 Islands / Brockville Region

Ontario’s probably not the first place that comes to mind when you’re thinking of an island getaway, but it should be. The Thousand Islands region stretches east along the St. Lawrence River, and there are a staggering 1,864 islands between Canada and the United States. Originally a favourite spot for the Haudenosaunee, who called it Manitouana or “Garden of the Great Spirit,” the region shines in the summer, but there’s plenty to do during the cooler months too.


Day One


DAY 1

VISIT AN EDWARDIAN ESTATE – 10:00 AM


Photo Credit: Brockville Tourism

DAY 1 – 10:00 AM: START YOUR THOUSAND ISLANDS GETAWAY IN BROCKVILLE OUTSIDE THE EDWARDIAN MANSION KNOWN AS FULFORD PLACE.

Senator George Taylor Fulford made his fortune selling “Pink Pills for Pale People” and used the mansion as his summer home. Enjoy a stroll through the Italianate-style gardens, where you’ll come across a triton fountain and several works of sculpture. The Olmsted Brothers, who also designed New York’s Central Park, designed the grounds, and the Ontario Heritage Trust has lovingly restored them.

DAY 1

EXPLORE HISTORIC BROCKVILLE – 11:00 AM


11:00 AM: BROCKVILLE IS A QUINTESSENTIAL TRAVELLER’S CITY.

Nestled along the St. Lawrence, Brockville was one of many ports where ships could dock, ferrying goods and people from far afield. The city became even more integrated with trade networks across Canada when the Brockville Railway Tunnel opened in 1860.

The downtown core is full of the historic buildings that were built to serve this bustling riverside community, including City Hall and stately Brockville Courthouse.

If you’re taking County Road 29 up to the Courthouse, keep an eye out for the intricate stonework and eclectic architectural style of the Thomas Fuller Building, which used to be the Brockville Post Office. Right across from the old post office is the John H. Fulford Fountain, which pays homage to Brockville’s intimate relationship with the river, sporting several fish and turtles in its design.

DAY 1

VISIT THE AQUATARIUM AND WALK THE WATERFRONT – 2:30 PM


2:30 PM: LEARN ABOUT THE ST. LAWRENCE’S HISTORY AND ECOSYSTEM.

Your next port of call is the Aquatarium, which teaches visitors about the unique ecosystems of the St. Lawrence River and the many ships that cruised it. Navy buffs will love it here¾there’s a reconstructed Captain’s Cabin from the HMS Ontario, a British warship used during the American Revolutionary War.

While you’re in the area, head over to the scenic Blockhouse Island, it’s the perfect place for a picnic.

DAY 1

LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE CITY AT BROCKVILLE MUSEUM – 3:30 PM


Since 1981,  the museum has been housing the stories of Brockville’s past. Learn about products manufactured in the city, including the aforementioned “Pink Pills for Pale People,” and discover notable historical figures from the region. This collection highlights the role that immigration has played in the city’s development and is full of personal stories from newcomers in the community.

Anyone interested in the spookier side of Brockville’s history should keep an eye out for one of the many Ghost Walks and Haunted Tours offered during the summer.

Photo Credit Brockville Tourism

DAY 1

STROLL THROUGH KING STREET WEST – 6:00 PM


6:00 PM: IF YOU’RE EXPLORING THE KING STREET WEST AREA, YOU’LL LIKELY COME ACROSS THE BROCKVILLE ARTS CENTRE.

The centre was constructed in 1858 and is a landmark in its own right, with a long history of serving artistic communities.  This renovated and fully accessible building still retains much of its original charm.

After that, round out the night with an evening walk along the waterfront. There is plenty to see along the St. Lawrence river.


DAY 2


DAY 2

HOP ON A BOAT AND EXPLORE THE 1000 ISLANDS – 10:00 AM


Photo Credit: Tourism 1000 Islands

DAY 2 – 10:00 AM: WAKE UP EARLY ON SUNDAY TO EMBARK ON YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE.

Drive over to the neighbouring city of Gananoque. Here, you’ll head off on a 2.5-hour cruise, where you’ll catch views of the remarkable islands and structures along the river and explore some hidden treasures beneath the water’s surface. Aim to arrive half an hour early, as the boat departs at 10:00 AM.

For a different kind of cruise adventure, check out The Lost Ships of the 1000 Islands Cruise. Over the centuries, the St. Lawrence has seen many ships navigate their courses to pursue travel, trade, and warfare, but not every vessel completed its journey¾many wreckages rest underwater, and at least one has been sitting there for over two centuries.

This cruise takes visitors past the famous Boldt Castle, the 1000 Islands International Bridge, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. You’ll catch glimpses of the wreckages of the Islander, the Oconto, and the Kinghorn, among others. There’s an audio-visual presentation about the various wrecks and side-scan sonar images that reveal many of the river’s secrets.

DAY 2

VISIT THE 1000 ISLANDS MUSEUM AND EXPLORE DOWNTOWN GANANOQUE – 12:30 PM

 

Photo Credit: Captured by Sage

12:30 PM: YOU WON’T HAVE TO GO FAR ONCE YOU DISEMBARK.

The 1000 Islands Museum is in the Heritage Village district, right on the picturesque waterfront. The museum is a treasure trove of local history, documenting the islands, the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee First Peoples of the region, and the European settlers who came after.

Stepping into downtown Gananoque, you’ll find a charming small town with a collection of antique stores, galleries and shops to peruse. Several historic structures are hiding in plain sight, like the local library, which was once the Victoria House & Jones Shovel Company.

After exploring the downtown, walk down Stone Street to take in more of the small town’s history. Visit the Clock Tower, which chimes every hour, before making your way to the swing bridge by the water.

If you have more time on your hands, cut across town and close out your night by watching the sunset on the waterfront. The area around the 1000 Islands Playhouse is charming, with a great view of the islands and plenty of spots nearby where you can wind down the night.

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Area Gallery


This guide represents a weekend-long experience, highlighting a few of the many wonderful destinations in the province. To suggest a destination for a future guide, please contact us.

Brockville Tourism provided information and assistance for the creation of this guide. All editorial decisions were made at the sole discretion of Ontario Culture Days staff. This guide was written by Esther Lee.