Gananoque History

Thousand Islands National Park

Gananoque is about 30 km east of Kingston, and is the home base to the tour boats and ferries serving the Thousand Islands. The Gananoque River flows through the town, and the St. Lawrence River serves as the southern boundary of the town.

Its name is an aboriginal name which means “town on two rivers” and is pronounced GAN-a-NOK-way. One way to remember its pronunciation is “The right way, the wrong way, and the Gananoque”. In eastern Ontario speech, the town name is often abbreviated to Gan.

Thousand Islands National Bridge at GananoqueColonel Joel Stone, who served with Loyalist militia during the American Revolutionary War, established a settlement on this site in 1789. Land was granted to Col. Stone for use as a mill site. During the War of 1812, American forces raided the government depot in the town to disrupt the flow of British supplies between Kingston and Montreal. Within a month of the raid construction of the Gananoque Blockhouse with an octagonal log parapet was started, and finished in 1813. After the War of 1812 the blockhouse was abandoned and given to a private landowner.

Gananoque lies directly on three of Canada’s busiest transportation routes: the four-lane Highway 401, the double-track Canadian National Railway main line, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. It is also home to a rich provincial highway heritage, being home to the remaining stretch of Highway 2 which conects Toronto to Montreal. It is the western terminus of the Thousand Islands Parkway, and a short drive from the Thousand Islands Bridge, which crosses into the United States as Interstate 81. Gananoque is served by the Gananoque Airport for general aviation.
Victoria Rose Inn, in Gananoque
Gananoque is the “Gateway to the Thousand Islands” in the St. Lawrence River. Local attractions include boat cruises to the Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle, NY, live theatre, the summer theatre festival of The Thousand Islands Playhouse, the Arthur Child Heritage Museum of the 1000 Islands and the OLG Casino Thousand Islands. The Thousand Islands – Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, designated in November 2002, is the third in Ontario, the twelfth in Canada, and one of over 400 around the world, and is part of UNESCO’s program on Man and the Biosphere

Gananoque Attractions

Arthur Child Heritage Museum of the 1000 Islands

125 Water St, Gananoque, ON K7G 3E3
(613) 382-2535

This museum, located in an old railway station,  showcases the history and culture of the Thousand Islands region, featuring exhibits on Indigenous heritage, early settlers, and the natural environment.

Boldt Castle

Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY 13607, USA (Accessible by boat from Gananoque)

Operated by The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority (TIBA), this historic castle built in 1900 is located on Heart Island in the Thousand Islands region. It is a popular tourist destination, known for its picturesque architecture and beautiful surroundings.

This island is in NY State and boat passengers from Canada must provide valid identification (a passport). No Pets are allowed on Heart Island or the Boldt Yacht House with the exception of registered service animals.

Confederation Park

King St E & Stone St S, Gananoque, ON K7G 1G3
Located across from Kingston City Hall

A waterfront park offering green spaces, picnic areas, and a beautiful view of the St. Lawrence River.

Gananoque Boat Line

280 Main St, Gananoque, ON K7G 2M2

Offers a variety of boat tours through the scenic Thousand Islands, providing visitors with stunning views and information about the area’s history and natural beauty.

Gananoque Brewing Company (Gan Brewing CompanyY)

9 King St E, Gananoque, ON K7G 1E7
(613) 463-9131

A local brewery offering tours and tastings of craft beers, along with a retail shop for beer enthusiasts.

Gananoque Clock Tower

30 King St E, Gananoque, ON K7G 1E8

The 1903 Clock Tower stands on the edge of the property once known as Market Square. A historic clock tower in the heart of Gananoque, serving as a prominent landmark and a reminder of the town’s heritage. It was built by  Mr. MacDonald, born in Gananoque, was an eminent bridge builder in the USA and Canada

Gananoque Walking Tours

175 Stone St S, Gananoque, ON K7G 2A3

Offers guided walking tours of Gananoque, providing insights into the town’s history, architecture, and stories of its past.

Joel Stone Heritage Park and Splash Pad

100 Water St, Gananoque, ON K7G 2M6

A local waterfront park at the end of Water Street, on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, with walking trails, and a splash pad for children to enjoy.

Smuggler’s Glen Golf Course

418 Thousand Islands Pkwy, Lansdowne, ON K0E 1L0
(613) 659-4999

A scenic golf course nestled in the Thousand Islands region, known for its challenging layout and beautiful views. Smuggler’s Glen Golf Course is a championship 18-hole facility that opened in 2005 for public and member play. Enjoy the Shipman’s Dining Room, with Island views and casual fine dining

Thousand Islands Arts Center

314 John St, Clayton, NY 13624, USA (Accessible by boat from Gananoque)

Home of the Handweaving Museum. Located across the border in Clayton, New York, this arts center features exhibitions, workshops, and a pottery studio, a weavering studio, showcasing the regional arts and crafts scene.

Thousand Islands Kayaking

110 Kate St, Gananoque, ON K7G 2M6

Provides kayak rentals, guided half-day tours, camping tours, allowing visitors to explore the picturesque waterways of the Thousand Islands.

Thousand Islands National Park (Canada)

2 Co Rd 5, Mallorytown, ON K0E 1R0 (Visitor Centre)
Visitor centre is 30km E of Gananoque via Thousand Islands Parkway

While the visitor center is in Mallorytown, the park encompasses numerous islands in the area. Journey to the picturesque granite islands and rugged shorelines of Thousand Islands National Park. Explore secluded bays by kayak or boat, camp or picnic by the river, or learn about the region’s biodiversity and rich Indigenous heritage.

Thousand Islands Playhouse

185 South St, Gananoque, ON K7G 1A1
(613) 382-7020

A professional theatre company that presents a range of theatrical productions in a historic venue overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Known as Canada’s Dockside Theatre, it has been presenting live entertainment in the heart of the 1000 Islands for over 35 years.

Gananoque, Ontario Area Map

Thousand Islands  Tours and Experiences

Here are some tours and experiences you can book: