We have lived in Ontario for many years but had never stopped in Gananoque except for getting gas because it’s cheaper there most of the time. For a change this year, we lived in Gananoque for 6 weeks while Joel worked there. It allowed us to get better acquainted with the town and its friendly people.
We immediately loved the rich history of the town, evident in its Victorian-style houses and semi-circle driveways used by carriages a hundred years ago. The natural beauty of the area with dense forests of green and gently rolling farmlands added to the charms of the town.
Gananoque is located along Highway 401, just east of Kingston, in Southeastern Ontario. Founded in 1793 by Joel Stone, a refugee Loyalist, this town loves to talk about its origins. The history of Gananoque is closely linked to that of Canada and well documented, from the tourist information centres, to the many museums, plaques and artifacts distributed through the city. It also has a wealth of information on its official website. (www.gananoque.ca)
But history is not all. Gananoque boasts hundreds of activities for families and has accommodations for every budget.
What can you do with your family in Gananoque?
If your family loves the outdoors
Go biking or rollerblading along the 37 kilometres of path along the 1000 Islands Parkway between Gananoque and Brockville. It’s beautiful and healthy!
Enjoy a walk within the town itself, to explore the Farmers’ market or do some shopping in Gananoque’s original boutiques.
Go fishing or boating and discover the beautiful islands scattered on the Saint Lawrence River. We know a friendly, down-to-earth guy who will give you a personalized tour on his pontoon boat. (www.thousandislandsrivertours.com)
Take a cruise with one of the boat lines and visit the stunning Boltd castle (you will need to bring your passport). (www.ganboatline.com)
If you have younger children, bring a picnic and have fun at the splash pad and beach found at Joel Stone Park, by the Municipal Marina. We also loved strolling by the Gananoque River to look at the swans and Canadian geese.
If your children are older, rent kayaks and go paddling. You could also golf or go for a helicopter ride and see the region from the air.
If you are more into arts and culture
In the summer months, catch a free concert at Joel Stone Park by the Municipal Marina or Confederation Sculpture Park located by the Town Hall.
Visit a museum. Our kids loved the Arthur Child Heritage Museum, found right at the waterfront. They ran through the whole place, marveling at the ship models, stuffed animals and ancient artifacts. We went through it again and again because there is just so much to see in this museum! (www.1000islandsheritagemuseum.com)
From May to October, watch a performance at the well-spoken of Thousand Islands Playhouse.
Admire local artists’ work in the art galleries on King Street. We saw beautiful, creative and varied styles and spoke with some of the artists. They have interesting stories to tell about the paintings and the region.
You have your choice of well-known hotel chains, charming bed and breakfasts, country inns, cottages and campgrounds. We stayed in our RV and took advantage of the 1000 Islands RV Centre on the outskirts of town to buy a few things to repair our RV.
Fish & Chips
Gananoque has a variety of restaurants with menus for everybody and patios for summer months. Try Tony’s Fish and Chips, a small, family owned and operated restaurant on King Street. The food and service was excellent and the children loved it.
Milano’s is another restaurant we got to know well. They make really good pizza and if you call ahead of time, they make an awesome fried chicken meal deal!
For a more conservative budget or extended stay, you will also find two major grocery stores in Gananoque to meet all of your needs.
There are two Tourist Information Centres. You can wash your clothes at two coin laundromats. Gananoque is also home to a Beer store and a liquor store.
Come visit Gananoque and the Thousand Islands region! Enjoy the outdoor activities and the cultural experience. Admire the architecture, the festivals or the autumn colors. Explore the region on foot, by boat or with your bicycle.
Even though we were there for work, we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this picturesque town better. We hope you get a chance to discover its charms soon!