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Gananoque: 1000 Islands Water World

Written by on September 1, 2017 in Island Life Magazine



Gananoque bills itself as the ‘Gateway to the 1000 Islands’ and it doesn’t take long once you visit to understand why. The town’s name is an aboriginal term which means “town on two rivers.” It is home to both the Gananoque River and the mighty St. Lawrence River, where the picturesque 1000 Islands dot its shores.

A photo of Lindsay Island.

Sailboats dot the River off Lindsay Island near Gananoque. Photo by Kim Lunman.

 These idyllic isles are known as the Admiralty Group of Islands and include private islands with summer retreats, century-old cottages as well as many Thousand Islands National Parks, offering campsites, docks and trails.

Tour boats meander down Wanderers’ Channel, attracting visitors from around the world to the 1000 Islands. Gananoque is an oasis for outdoor activities, especially in summer. Fishing, hiking, boating, kayaking and golf are popular past-times here. An aerial tour just seconds over the shores of Gananoque with Kouri Kopter’s 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours offers a panoramic view of this region’s epic natural beauty. 

Tremont and Hay Islands off the shores of Gananoque. Photo by Kim Lunman.


This charming chain of private islands include Hay, Tremont, Polaris, Stonesthrow, Kitysmenie,  Ynys Craig and Black Duck among many others.The Admiralty Group of Islands borders the Lake Fleet Group of Islands on this majestic stretch of the St. Lawrence.  British surveyors named Canadian islands, including the Admiralty Group, after British soldiers of ships and fleets in the War of 1812. Some of these islands date back over four or five generations and are still owned by the original owners’ descendants. The creator of See’s Candies, Mary See, operated the Tremont Hotel in the early 1900s with her husband, Alexander, serving guests her homemade candy. See’s Candies now has 200 stores in the United States. Hay Island was the inspiration for a book called The Island published in 1973 written by summer resident, the late, Robert Russell, a blind American English professor and author who bought a cottage on Hay Island and spent his summers here with his children until he died in 2011 well in his 80’s.

Photo of Ynys Craig Island

Ynys Craig Island. Ynys Craig means House on a Rock in Welsh. Photo by Kim Lunman

A photo of Hay Island

This cottage on Hay Island is known as Napoleon’s Hat. Photo by Kim Lunman.



Boaters worship at Half Moon Bay at Bostwick Island. Photo by Kim Lunman

Worshippers have been coming by boat to Bostwick Island’s non-denominational services at Half Moon Bay,  in July and August since 1887. The crescent-shaped cove is known as the “World’s Tallest Cathedral.”

I took this year’s Island Life Magazine 2017 cover photo of sailboats dotting the St. Lawrence River by Lindsay Island and the Admiralty Group last summer. 

Mermaid Island is one of the Thousand Islands National Parks in the world famous 1000 Islands. Photo by Kim Lunman

 This part of the River attracts a steady stream of sailboats to its national parks islands, including Aubrey, Mermaid, and Beaurivage Islands. Welcome to a most wondrous water world.