The Thousand Islands Region

Posted August 16th, 2010 in News by admin

Located in St. Lawrence River, the third largest river in North America, the Thousand Islands region constitutes some 1793 islands in a 80 kilometer stretch between Kingston and Brockville. They vary greatly in size, ranging from large islands with farms and permanent residents to small rock outcroppings. Located at the crossroads between the Great Lakes and the heavily travelled St. Lawrence, the Thousand Islands quickly became the cradle of Canadian civilization. Acting as the springboard for exploration of the continent and a staging ground for various wars over the years. Jacques Cartier first discovered the St. Lawrence on the tenth of August, 1535. The early explorers made use of the river as a highway to the interior of the continent. European settlement began around 1783 with the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists who fought for Britain during the American War of Independence. The St. Lawrence and the Islands became an important staging ground for battles during the War of 1812, after which the area was surveyed in 1816 by British hydrographer Captain William Fitzwilliam Owen, who assigned names to the islands based on the names of officers in the Royal Navy and Admiralty. Hostilities broke out again in 1866 as the Fenian Brotherhood conducted raids against British bases to support Irish independence.

For over a century the area has been a popular destination for vacationers and the many large estates and castles harken back to a time when the region was popular amongst prominent businessmen, politicians and socialites from major urban areas like New York City, Boston, Montreal and Toronto. As the area gained notoriety more and more people started to come, as many as 20 trains a day were used to bring all the summer vacationers. Various boat lines were established and a number of grand hotels were built in order to service this demand. The introduction of the automobile drastically changed travel patterns and as a result the area hasn’t seen the same rapid development of the heyday, nevertheless the Thousand Islands region remains a very popular destination amongst tourists, boating enthusiasts and sportsmen alike.