(That’s an easy way to remember the pronunciation, right?)
Gananoque is located between Toronto and Ottawa and is a refreshing change of pace from a large city. A quiet, calm town with a lot to see and do; Gananoque is a perfect pit stop for a few days or if you’re travelling through the area!
We started the day bright and early with 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours. Located off of the 401 in Gananoque, 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours is a once in a lifetime experience. It was incredibly exciting to be up in a helicopter, flying over this stunning area. Seeing the islands from a bird’s eye view, magnified the richness and beauty of the area. Our pilot was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and hearing about his experiences and narration of the region was fantastic. While up in the air, we caught our first glimpse of Boldt Castle (and I’m excited that we will be visiting the castle on a later leg of this trip). Our pilot chatted to us about this majestic castle and how George Boldt was building it for his wife, when she unexpectedly passed away. He abandoned the project, broken hearted and never returned. It was left unfinished for over 75 years until it was purchased by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority two decades ago. Seeing this castle from the sky was only one of many magnificent things that we got to see during this unreal helicopter ride.
After the tour, we headed to Panache Bakery and Cafe in downtown Gananoque. They serve a variety of soups and sandwiches that will satisfy all preferences. I enjoyed a tuna sandwich on a fresh croissant and it was delicious!
Fun facts about Gananoque: It is often referred to as the “Gateway to the Thousand Islands”.
After lunch, we stopped into the Arthur Child Heritage Museum. This was the perfect place to learn more about Gananoque.
The museum interprets the history and ecology of Gananoque and the 1000 Islands. The museum’s location was originally the main station for the Thousand Islands Railway, which was eventually destroyed by fire in 1990. In the museum, we saw displays about the history of the islands, the First Nations people, early settlers and military leaders.
We got up bright and early and headed to 1000 Islands Kayaking. Paddling through the islands was a great way to explore this beautiful area. Experience isn’t necessary, so even if you’re a first-time kayaker, you’ll have a great time! My favourite part was seeing Half Moon Bay, where people would travel by boat to meet for a Vesper Service in the summer time. There are photographs from 1887 of the congregation in rowboats and canoes and the tradition continues on today.
After kayaking, we headed to the Gananoque Boat Line; which is the biggest and oldest cruise company in the 1000 Islands. They offer different cruises, which can satisfy the adventure seeker in you. We took the 2.5 hour, The Lost Ships of the 1000 Islands tour, which gave us another view of Boldt Castle (my excitement is growing!). We also got a glimpse of how the rich live, as we cruised by “Millionaire’s Row”. These incredible homes and “cottages” are absolutely stunning. Since this was The Lost Ships tour, we also learned about various shipwrecks and saw side-scan sonar images which gave us another awesome perspective of the islands. Having now explored the islands by sky, land, sea, and sonar, we’ve had an all encompassing experience of the beauty of the 1000 Islands.
I’ve wanted to have a meal at Lavernes Eatery (formally known as The Socialist Pig) since moving to the region, so I was excited to have lunch there on Day 20! Lavernes Eatery has food for everyone; with handcrafted espresso, premium sodas and handmade lemonade. They also have an awesome counter, made of books! They try to use local farm fresh ingredients as much as possible and are involved with the Gananoque community. Their food did not disappoint; I highly recommend checking this place out!
We had a bit of a break (so we could get hungry again) and then headed to Riva for dinner. Inspired by the osterias of Italy, Riva’s menu is full of traditional Italian dishes. My favourite item on their menu was the gnocchi di gorgonzola; which was a potato gnocchi, gorgonzola cheese, fresh ground black pepper, bacon, lemon, and arugula salad. I’ve definitely been well fed on this trip! After dinner, we headed to the Thousand Island Playhouse to watch Leading Ladies, a screwball comedy. We watched the play on opening night and it was a riot! Leading Ladies runs July 21st-August 19th, so make sure you check it out before it’s gone! I don’t want to ruin it for you, so you can read more about the play here if you’d like!
Keep an eye on @greatwaterway!