Have you ever wondered where Thousand Island dressing came from? Well look no further, this region located about 3 hours’ drive North East of Toronto is the home of the named dressing. There are conflicting stories of how the dressing came about but you can be sure to know it is an area worth visiting for you to determine your own orgin story.
As the name suggests, there are a lot of islands in the area. But to merely say there are only 1000 islands you would be mistaken. You are 864 natural and 1 artificial island short. On the main land, you have the main towns of Brockville, Rockport and Gananoque.
Gananoque is one of the Western towns in the 1000 Island Regions. It is home to 9500 people and is one of the ports the boat cruises leave from. The little main street is quite cute with boutique stores and local cafes. The highlight of the town is the waterfront viewpoints. You can spend your time staring in to the distance and imagine owning one of the many islands.
From Gananoque and the other towns mentioned above, you can hop on cruise boat and be taken on a tour of the islands and mansions. The Gananoque Boat line offer a range of tours to suit any traveller. They can last from a one hour cruise to a five hour trip. The one hour cruise will set you back around $24 and showcase the beauty of the islands and mansions that dot the shoreline. The next level up is a two and a half hour cruise which navigates itself Eastwards up the St. Lawrence River. The third option is to jump on the 5 hour tour. For this one you will need to have your passport and a valid visa as you are off to the US of A for a couple of hours. This two hours is enough time to see the Bold Castle.
The Boldt Castle has an interesting history behind it and the construction of the building. It was originally owned by George C Boldt who was the hotel proprietor of the Waldorf Hotel in New York. You may not know him by his name, but you have him to thank for room service and the line ‘the customer is always right’. It was his idea to build a castle for his wife. This was to show his love and appreciation. Unfortunately his wife passed away before the castle could be finished. All work stopped immediately and the castle was left in disrepair. Now under the care of the 1000 Islands Bridge Authority, you can visit the castle daily for an extra cost of US$8.50 pp. This is not included in your five hour cruise.
Once you have seen the islands from the water it is now time to view the islands from up above and see how far they stretch. The tower on Hill Island provides an exceptional vantage point to see the extent of the 1000 Island Region. Have a go at counting all the islands. From 130 metres up in the air, you have 3 observation decks to see from. The first one is an enclosed platform which provides plenty of information about the region. There is even a tour guide who will answer any questions you have. The next two observation decks are open aired with the top one providing a clear view all the way around, perfect for photos. It will cost you about $12 to ride the elevator to the top.
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