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1000 Islands Playhouse

Gananoque is a town of about 5,400 people (2021) in Eastern Ontario in the Thousand Islands region on the St. Lawrence River.

Understand[edit]

Gananoque traces its history to United Empire Loyalist times; after the American Revolution, Loyalist militia Colonel Joel Stone received a land grant and established a mill site in 1789, The town was attacked during the War of 1812 and stores in the government depot looted by Americans. A five-gun Gananoque Blockhouse, completed in 1813 to defend against further US attacks, stood until 1852.

The Gananoque River watershed was an important water transportation corridor, extending north to the Rideau River watershed. In 1830, water was diverted westward to the Cataraqui River as part of the Rideau Canal, redirecting this traffic to Kingston. A short-line railway, built to haul timber for river shipment, carried mainline passengers to the Gananoque waterfront from 1884 to 1962; the right-of-way is now a hiking trail.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

The town is on Highway 2 or 401 on the beaten-path Windsor-Quebec corridor. From Watertown (New York), I-81 north (Penn-Can Highway) ends at the 401; Gananoque is 10 miles (16 km) upriver from the Thousand Islands bridge.

By train[edit]

See also: Rail travel in Canada

By plane[edit]

There is a tiny airport with no scheduled service. The nearest airport is in Kingston; add a $60-75 taxi ride (one way) from Kingston to Gananoque.

By boat[edit]

Cruising on small craft? There is a municipal marina downtown (directly west of the 1000 Islands Playhouse). There are two private marinas which sell gasoline (but not diesel oil):

Get around[edit]

Map
Map of Gananoque
Former 1000 Islands Railway car
Thousand Islands tourist cruse boat

Due to the town's small size, there is no local transit system; it is relatively easy to drive or walk anywhere within Gananoque. Visitors to the parkway may wish to bring or rent a bicycle as extensive trails exist.

Local taxis are available from A-One Taxi +1 613-382-3777 or Gananoque Taxi +1 613-382-3399.

See[edit]

  • A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 starts at 3:22PM local time and lasts three minutes. The chances of a clear sky are 35%. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico and Texas to Ohio, straddling the Canada–New England border through Lakes Erie and Ontario, then across Maine, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
  • Heritage Museum of the 1000 Islands, 125 Water St (in waterfront Historic Thousand Islands Village complex), +1 613-382-2535, toll-free: +1-877-217-7391, fax: +1 613-382-2912. Museum of natural and cultural history of the 1000 Islands region on site of former 1000 Islands Railway station.
  • 1000 Islands Boat Museum, 125 Water St, +1 613-382-8484. seasonal.

Do[edit]

  • Gananoque Boat Line. Regular tours available from mid-May to mid-Oct. More tours available late-June through early Sept. Offers one- to five-hour boat cruises that travel around the 1000 Islands. One hour: $27/$12.83, 2.5 hour: $36.50/$14.01, 5 hour: $46.50/$17.50 (adult/child, Aug 2016).
  • HMG (Hoagies Movies Games), +1 613-382-7266. Tu-F 3-9PM, Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-7PM. A 60-seat cinéma (one screen) and video rental, squeezed inconspicuously into a former warehouse in an industrial area. $8/adult, $6/seniors-kids, $4 on Tuesday.
  • 1000 Islands Parkway. Scenic waterfront highway from Gananoque to Brockville. It had four lanes as a pre-1968 segment of Ontario Highway 401. When the freeway was moved inland, two lanes were paved as a scenic road with the remainder of the right of way used for walking and cycling trails.
  • 1000 Islands Cycle, 711 King St East, +1 613-382-5144. Bicycle rental with easy access to the 1000 Islands Parkway's 40 km of waterfront cycling trail. $35-50/day.
  • 1000 Islands Playhouse, 690 Charles St S (On waterfront at South Street), +1 613-382-7020, toll-free: +1-866-382-7020. Live theatre in former 1909 Gananoque Canoe Club (360 seats) and adjacent old fire hall. Docking is available ($24/night) for small pleasure craft. Open late May to early November.
  • 1000 Islands Heliport, +1 613-382-3888, toll-free: +1-855-855-4354. Helicopter tours run from 88 County Rd 32, Leeds and the Thousand Islands.

Events[edit]

  • Ribfest, Gananoque Town Park. Canada Day weekend (around July 1).

Buy[edit]

The main commercial district in Gananoque is King Street (Ontario Highway 2) east of the Gananoque River, although there are a handful of businesses near the waterfront at the base of Stone Street South (former Highway 32) including a marina and tour boats. Fuel is usually cheaper on the main street than at the Highway 401/CR32 offramp.

There is no mall and no major department store in town. There are two major supermarkets, a Metro and a No Frills. Housewares are available from Donevan's (downtown), Home Hardware (401 exit 645) and Canadian Tire (King St. E); clothing is available from various small independent merchants on King Street downtown.

There are three tiny art galleries: Little Pump House gallery (2 King St E), Heather Hanes Gallery (27 King St. E) and O’Connor Gallery (130 King St. E).

Eat[edit]

Major fast food chains (Tim Horton's, McDonald's, Dairy Queen) are available on King St. East (Ontario Highway 2), along with a few independents. Many of the hotels (including the Gananoque Inn on the waterfront and a few on King St. E.) have restaurants on-site.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

  • Various hotel chains (Ramada, HoJo, Holiday Inn Express, Quality Inn, Travelodge) are represented on King Street East (Highway 2) between the downtown and Hwy 401 (exit 648). There are also a few independent motels on King Street West as the old road leaves Gananoque for Kingston.
  • Bed and breakfast is available in central locations, including Stone Street South near the water.
  • Colonial Resort, 780 King Street W, +1 613-382-3226, toll-free: +1-800-267-9497. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Seasonal property open April to October. Hotel, restaurant and spa. 48 standard rooms, plus six premium rooms with jacuzzi and fireplace. Non-smoking. $80-165.
  • Super 8 (Country Squire Resort), 715 King St E, +1 613-909-8121. Super 8 with spa, fitness area, and outdoor pool, squash courts, conference rooms and on-site Wild Wing restaurant.
  • Gananoque Inn & Spa, 550 Stone Street S, +1 613-382-2165, toll-free: +1-888-565-3101, fax: +1 613-382-7912. Waterfront 1870s historic inn (hotel/motel and former carriageworks) with spa and restaurant at the mouth of the Gananoque River. Rate includes wireless Internet and breakfast in the attached restaurant. $200-300/night (double occ).
  • Stonewater B&B Pub and Irish Eatery, 490 Stone St South, +1 613-382-2542 (B&B), +1 613-382-2116 (pub).

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Gananoque is close to the Saint Lawrence Islands National Park and the Thousand Islands. Follow the 1000 Islands Parkway eastward through the 1000 Islands region to Brockville.
Routes through Gananoque
TorontoKingston  W  E  BrockvilleMontreal / Ottawa
TorontoKingston  W  E  Thousand Islands and MallorytownMontreal / Ottawa via



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