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From Sea to Sky A View Of The 1000 Islands

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It’s a view I just can’t get enough of.

On my first day in the 1000 Islands I took a boat cruise through the islands and spotted a large tower in the middle of an island. It seemed a little out of place as the biggest building I had seen on any of the islands up to now had been a 3 storey home. It turns out that the tower is actually called the 1000 Islands Skydeck and looms 400 ft above the St Lawrence River. I bet the views from up there are amazing so of course I have to check it out.

1000 Islands Skydeck

Located on Hill Island it is the last stop on the Canadian side of the border with the USA. It was built in 1965 and does show it’s age throughout the lower level gift shop but the new owners are just a few weeks into their first tourism season and I expect big changes will be coming in the next year. I came for the view anyway.

30 seconds in a super fast elevator and boom we were at the enclosed observation deck, my guess about 375 ft above ground. There are some great views here for sure but I heard that the top deck is completely open to the sky and 360 degree views. I was not disappointed.

View from the Skydeck towards Canada


View from the Skydeck

how many islands can I count

Just breathtaking and so quiet up here. My only disappointment was that the weather wasn’t nicer. On a clear day you can see for 65km. I wonder how many of the Islands you can actually see? I know for a fact that I saw 1000 Islands, the salad dressing that is!

1000 Islands at the 1000 Islands

Marc and 1000 Island dressing

Did you know that the dressing was named for the region? You do now.

Seeing the Islands from high above makes me want to get back on the water and see the Islands up close and personal. Which is exactly what I decide to do. Driving back in Gananoque my tour guide Cody makes a call and we booked a private charter to tour us through the islands.

Our “captain” is Garry Fisher. Not only has he lived and worked in the area for his entire life but he also started The Big Bass Challenge, one of the areas biggest fishing events. So if anyone knows these islands it has to be Gary. Cody and I are all set, off we go!

Cody and Marc on a fishing boat

leaving the waterfront for a cruise on the river

view of the Gananoque waterfront

It has been years since I’ve been on a power boat and this close to the water, I forgot how exhilarating it is to have your hair blown back, the wind wiping at your face and the spay of water kissing your face. A little slice of heaven. We zip out past the open stretch and head straight for some of the small islands.

speeding along teh St Lawrence River

getting closer to some of the homes on the Islands

The view from 2 feet above water is so different than that on the Skydeck or even from the first cruise I took. You can see the islands and the cottages as they are enjoyed by the people that live on them.

Up close and personal

private home on a island

Couldn’t you just imagine enjoying your summer here? Imagine waterskiing of tubing on the river when it got too hot and you needed to cool down.

Can you imagine living here

water tubbing enthusiasts

Doesn't it look like a crab


Yup this is the good life. When you need a little human contact beyond the borders of your own island maybe you’ll take your boat and motor up to the Gananoque Playhouse to catch some summer theatre. You can actually moor your boat up to the theatre’s dock.

Gananoque Playhouse

It’s time for us to head back to the docks and then the wonder of nature happened right in front of our eyes. An osprey dove straight from the heavens into the river, grabbed a fish in its talons and flew off. I tired to capture the moment but to be honest it happened so quickly.

Osprey flying off with it's food.

What better way to end an afternoon boating on the river? Another glorious adventure in the 1000 Islands as part of my 30 Days In Ottawa. I’ve only a few more left and then it’s time to return to the big city, I’ve already started to think about booking a return trip for next summer, anyone want to join me?

I’ll leave you with a last shot from the boat looking at the picturesque waterfront of Gananoque. If I can’t live on an island I’ll take that house please.

waterfront of Gananoque

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About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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