Brockville, named after the British general Sir Isaac Brock (founded as Elizabethtown), is just east of the Thousand Islands region of the St Lawrence River, and the eastern end of the Thousand Islands Parkway. Brockville sits opposite Morristown, New York, and is about half-way between Cornwall and Kingston and just an hour south of the national capital of Ottawa.
This area was first settled by Europeans in 1785, when thousands of United Empire Loyalists arrived from the American colonies after the American Revolutionary War, when many colonists who remained loyal to the crown were subject to reprisals and unfair dispossession of their property. Great Britain opened the western region of Canada (known as Upper Canada and now Ontario), purchasing land from First Nations to allocate to the mostly English-speaking Loyalists in compensation for their losses.
The St. Lawrence River, which separates Brockville and Morristown, New York, was named by French explorers in the 18th century to honour the martyred Roman Christian, Saint Laurentis. In 1785 the first U.E. Loyalist called the first settlement “Buell’s Bay”. Around 1810 government officials of Upper Canada designated the village as Elizabethtown.
Over the 1800s, area industries including shipbuilding, saddleries, tanneries, tinsmiths, a foundry, a brewery, and several hotels. In the mid-1850s several patent medicine companies sprung up. In 1855, Brockville was chosen as a divisional point (for crews and railway maintenance) of the new Grand Trunk Railway between Montreal and Toronto. It was also the southern terminus of the Brockville and Ottawa Railway connecting the Ottawa Valley timber trade with the St. Lawrence River shipping route, which included the Brockville Tunnel, Canada’s first (1860) railway tunnel. The Brockville and Ottawa Railway extended up Smith’s Falls, Perth, Almonte, Carleton Place and Sandy Point.
In the 1950s, the St Lawrence Seaway was built, with dams creating hydro-electric power, and locks making the river navigable by ocean-going vessels. In 1962 Brockville became a city, and is now home to several large industrial manufacturers, including 3M, Procter & Gamble , manufacturer Canarm, Trillium Canada pharmaceutical, and oil-blending plant of Shell Canada, and several other light-industrial facilities and call centres.
Aquatarium at Tall Ships Landing
6 Broad St, Brockville, ON K6V 4T7
An interactive discovery center with a focus on the history, ecology, and culture of the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands region.
5 Henry St, Brockville, ON K6V 6M4
Showcases the history of Brockville and the surrounding area through exhibits, artifacts, and educational programs.
Brockville Railway Tunnel
1 Block House Island Pkwy, Brockville, ON K6V 4R7
located at the base of Market Street West just south of Water Street at the top of Blockhouse Island
Canada’s oldest railway tunnel, travels under the city for half a kilometer (beautifully lit) and is now a historical attraction featuring light displays and multimedia presentations. Admission by donation
287 King St E, Brockville, ON K6V 1E1
A stunning mansion built in 1899, once the home of Senator George Taylor Fulford. It offers guided tours and showcases the opulent lifestyle of the early 20th century.
St. Lawrence Park
525 King St W, Brockville, ON K6V 3S2
A scenic park along the St. Lawrence River with walking paths, green spaces, and views of the water.
Thousand Islands National Park – Mallorytown Landing
1121 1000 Islands Pkwy, Mallorytown, ON K0E 1R0
22 kilometres west of Brockville via the Thousand Islands Parkway
While the visitor center is in Mallorytown, the park encompasses numerous islands in the area. Journey to the picturesque granite islands and rugged shorelines of Thousand Islands National Park. Explore secluded bays by kayak or boat, camp or picnic by the river, or learn about the region’s biodiversity and rich Indigenous heritage.