Gananoque is about 30 km east of Kingston, and is the home base to the tour boats and ferries serving the Thousand Islands. The Gananoque River flows through the town, and the St. Lawrence River serves as the southern boundary of the town.
Its name is an aboriginal name which means “town on two rivers” and is pronounced GAN-a-NOK-way. One way to remember its pronunciation is “The right way, the wrong way, and the Gananoque”. In eastern Ontario speech, the town name is often abbreviated to Gan.
Colonel Joel Stone, who served with Loyalist militia during the American Revolutionary War, established a settlement on this site in 1789. Land was granted to Col. Stone for use as a mill site. During the War of 1812, American forces raided the government depot in the town to disrupt the flow of British supplies between Kingston and Montreal. Within a month of the raid construction of the Gananoque Blockhouse with an octagonal log parapet was started, and finished in 1813. After the War of 1812 the blockhouse was abandoned and given to a private landowner.
Gananoque lies directly on three of Canada’s busiest transportation routes: the four-lane Highway 401, the double-track Canadian National Railway main line, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. It is also home to a rich provincial highway heritage, being home to the remaining stretch of Highway 2 which conects Toronto to Montreal. It is the western terminus of the Thousand Islands Parkway, and a short drive from the Thousand Islands Bridge, which crosses into the United States as Interstate 81. Gananoque is served by the Gananoque Airport for general aviation.
Gananoque is the “Gateway to the Thousand Islands” in the St. Lawrence River. Local attractions include boat cruises to the Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle, NY, live theatre, the summer theatre festival of The Thousand Islands Playhouse, the Arthur Child Heritage Museum of the 1000 Islands and the OLG Casino Thousand Islands. The Thousand Islands – Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, designated in November 2002, is the third in Ontario, the twelfth in Canada, and one of over 400 around the world, and is part of UNESCO’s program on Man and the Biosphere