Monday, August 23, 2010

Gananoque - 1001 Islands, one of Canada's Finest


Island hopping in the famous 1000 Islands in Canada’s East is fun and romantic and a great place for a honeymoon!

For those looking for a quiet, tranquil holiday, I’ve found just the place for you!  Gananoque.    Situated on Lake Ontario in Canada, Gananoque is one of the most picturesque destinations in the world.  While travelling in Canada, I chose to stay at the Gananoque Inn and Spa, which is situated between Toronto and Montreal, near Kingston, Ontario, only 9 minutes from the US border.

The town, named Gananoque is of Indian origin.  Gananoque translated, means "the place of health" or "the place where water runs over the rocks". 

Historians postulate that many years ago the Indians used to make their way down the Ganagoque River to the St Lawrence River.  There they would be blessed with fresh air and clean water, and it is said that this is how the name originated.

The Gananoque Inn and Spa was founded in 1870.  Its location is in the midst of the Thousand Islands, where the world renowned Thousand Islands Salad dressing originated.

There is a lot to do.  Enjoy a day out on one of the cruises around the Thousand Islands on the Gananoque Boat Line or visit the Thousand Islands Playhouse theatre.  For those who enjoy something a little more stimulating, the Thousand Islands Charity Casino is within walking distance, and for those who enjoy activities, why not try your hand at a game of golf?

The highlight certainly is taking a 1 hour or 3 hour boat trip around the islands.  The Gananoque Boat Lines operate between May and October every year and the cost of a trip is between $25 and $40 per person per trip.

I took a trip to Heart Island, which houses the famous Boldt Castle.  George Boldt, the millionaire and proprietor of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, set out to build a full sized Rhineland Castle in Alexandria Bay as a show of his love for his wife Louise.

Unfortunately this castle was never completed by Boldt because in 1904, Louise passed away suddenly.  Boldt consequently never returned to the Castle, but left it untouched as a monument of his love for Louise.

In 1977 the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the property and decided to preserve the Castle for the enjoyment of future generations.  Since the acquisition of this property, several million dollars has been poured into the restoration and rehabilitation of the structures.

Although the island is situated on the Gananoque River, it is US owned, so if you intend visiting the island to do a Castle tour, be sure to take your passport with you because there is a customs office situated at the castle entrance.

The boat staff is very friendly and if you are interested in learning how to make the famous Thousand Island Salad Dressing, and hear how it originated, make sure you take a pen and notepad along with you.  There may also be a possibility that you will meet like minded people whom you’d want to stay in contact with after the boat ride, so be prepared.

Hot beverages and snacks are available on the boat at a minimal cost.

When going on a boat trip be sure to take a warm jacket, sunscreen, and a camera.  There will be lots to take photographs of, and lots to learn.

Once back on shore, there are a couple of gift shops where one can purchase mementoes from your trip.  On warm days there’s a gelato shop for one keen on life’s little delicacies.

The best time to visit is around September/October which is the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, and a wonderful time of year to catch the Indian summer – which is when all the leaves of the deciduous trees change colour to a deep rich red.

Room rates at the Gananoque Inn and Spa start from just $90 Canadian per couple per night for a standard double room.  Packages are available and start from $245.00 for two nights, including two breakfasts and dinner at Muskie Jakes restaurant.  Gift certificates are also available on request.

Qantas departs from Sydney, Perth and Brisbane to Ottawa and costs in the region of $4500 per person return.  Hertz and Avis run specials throughout the year and hiring a vehicle is a great idea so that you can stop to admire the scenery along the way.

For hotel enquiries, contact the hotel direct at (1) 613 382 2165 or email them at:  info@gananoqueinn.com.  For details on the Gananoque boat lines, visit: www.ganboatline.com.


~ Vanessa

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