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Brock Isles

Written by on April 18, 2013 in Boating, The Thousand Islands

Island City

Photos by John McQuarrie

There are very few cities that own islands. Brockville, the ‘City of the 1000 Islands’ owns a string of these jewels dotting the Brockville Narrows. Once known as River City, it overlooks the eastern gateway to the Thousand Islands on the majestic St. Lawrence. The city purchased 29 islands in 1933 for $3,631. Today, 16 have been developed for the public, some with trails, campsites and dockage for overnight boaters. The city’s waterfront overlooks an endless summer parade of ships, boats, kayaks, and sailboats while divers explore historic shipwrecks and famous freshwater diving underneath the River’s surface. Photographer John McQuarrie gives us a rare glimpse into this wonderful water world as featured in his book, The 1000 Islands Then & Now.

Brock Isles Sunrise

Brock Isles - Battersby

A sunrise spills over the Brock Isles, spotlighting Battersby Island, one of Brockville’s municipally-owned islands. Most of the Brock Isles were named after British officers in the War of 1812 who fought under General Isaac Brock, the city’s namesake.

On the Waterfront

Brock Isle - Cloud

Brockville’s waterfront is undergoing a renaissance on the River today with residential developments and a new tourism attraction, The Aquatarium. The marine interpretive centre, located at the base of the Tall Ships Landing Condominium Resort, is barely visible under this layer of cloud blanketing the city’s historic harbourfront.

 Sparrow Island

Brock Isle - Sparrow Isle

The docks on Sparrow Island in the Brock Island Group offer boaters an idyllic spot for a swim and overnight stay. There are 70 islands and 60 shoals that comprise the Brockville Narrows Group.

Royal Island

Brock Isles 2

The red-roofed summer home is on Royal Island with the smaller Prince Alfred Island visible to the left in the Brockville Narrows.

River Retreat

Brock Isles - Boathouse

This charming cottage and boathouse has the ideal Brockville backyard.

Brockville Rowers

Brock Isle 5

Members of the Brockville Rowing Club are joined by a mallard for practice near Three Sisters Island, the first Thousand Island at the eastern entrance of the Narrows across from Morristown N.Y.

Shipping Muse

Brock Isle 7

Passing ships glide past Brockville all but three months of the year, sharing the Narrows with pleasure boats in the summer while seeming spectacularly close to the islands’ and city’s shorelines.


Brock Isle 4

This gazebo on the breakwater of the Brockville Yacht Club offers a breathtaking view of the Narrows by one of the city’s waterfront parks.


 Ottawa-based Photographer John McQuarrie is the author of  the coffee table book  The 1000 Islands Then & Now which features these photographs of the Brockville Narrows along with many others of the Thousand Islands region and is available for sale in hardback and paperback. For more information, visit