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Visit our Permanent Exhibit in our Second Floor Gallery to learn the story of Gananoque and the 1000 Islands


Historic mountains become 1000 islands

A rocky bit of land and two trees that manage to stay above water all year long: that is what defines the 1864 islands that make up the 1000 Islands region. Each of these tenacious bits of land are the remnants of a mountain range which once traversed the area. Now, these islands are the basis for diverse habitats and scenic lookouts.


All creatures great and small

Teeming with life, animals and plants use the Thousand Islands as a refuge while crossing the St. Lawrence River. The river's moderating effect on the climate also allows for creatures from both Northern Ontario and the United States to live together in the same habitat - a rare sight to be sure! 

First Peoples

A homeland since time immemorial 

We would like to acknowledge that our museum is on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee First Peoples. We make this statement in an act of reconciliation, honouring the land and Indigenous presence here, which dates back over 10,000 years.

Arrival of Europeans

From beaver pelts to Loyalists

The St. Lawrence river received its name from Jacques Cartier during the August of 1535. The river became an important trade route during the Fur Trade, and was later settled by United Empire Loyalists. Colonel Joel Stone was deeded land by the British Government in 1791. 

War of 1812

Cannon balls and musket fire

War broke out between the United States and Britain in June of 1812, placing Canada in a precarious position. Gananoque was raided in September of the same year, leading to the creation of a blockhouse. Tensions were high, and gun powder was at the ready! 


The sooty progression of society

By the early 1800s saw and grist mills had begun to dot Gananoque's shorelines. Gananoque earned itself a reputation as an industrious little settlement. Now the Town of Gananoque’s main industry is tourism.

Credit: Canada. Dept. of Interior / Library and Archives Canada / PA-044853

Canada. Dept. of Interior  Library and Archives Canada  PA-044853.jpg
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Golden Age

Wealthy in beauty and currency

The Gilded Age of the United States of America created a Golden Age for Gananoque and the 1000 Islands. To escape the hot and polluted cities, travellers came by rail and ship to relax in picturesque Gananoque and the nearby islands. Some enjoyed it so much, they built cottages and decided to stay.

Credit: Library and Archives Canada/PA-057582


As charming as ever

Today Gananoque and the 1000 Islands remains a popular destination for people from all over the world. 

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