Experience river life at the Thousand Islands Boat Museum

*Paid Business Feature*

Celebrate life on the river with a visit to the Thousand Islands Boat Museum in Gananoque. Photo via Thousand Islands Boat Museum.

The Thousand Islands Boat Museum has created an exciting marine hub for all ages, where river history can be seen, felt, and experienced.

This summer, area residents and visitors alike can see the culmination of years of careful planning and detailed exhibit design come alive at the Boathouse at 125 Water Street in Gananoque, steps away from where the Gananoque River empties into the St. Lawrence.

In-water exhibits reflect the history of boat-building in the Gananoque area. Photo via Thousand Islands Boat Museum.

“The mission of the Boat Museum is to connect the community with the heritage of the river,” stated Susanne Richter, Executive Director of the Museum. “We share the history of the boat building that took place in this area, and the boats that we collect tell a local story.”

Start your visit with an exhilarating 30-minute tour of the Thousand Islands in a beautiful classic wooden boat. Feel the wind in your hair and the river under your feet, as the captain shows off with a speeding jaunt before settling in for some stories of the islands in the area.

Feel the wind in your hair as you take a jaunt in a classic wooden boat. Photo via Thousand Islands Boat Museum.

Next, explore the newly completed In-Water Gallery of boats that shows off the rich boat-building history in Gananoque and the surrounding area. The displays on the walls of the Boathouse take Museum visitors on a boat-building journey, starting with the birch bark and Voyager canoes and moving through the St. Lawrence skiff, sailboats, motor boats, cruisers, tour boats, and ice boats.

Ten local boat builders and more than 25 boats are currently featured in the Boathouse, and the Museum also brings in special boats as temporary exhibits.

A few of the classic boats on display at the museum. Photo via Thousand Islands Boat Museum.

The displays have hands-on elements to allow visitors to truly interact with the history of the area, with real-life examples of each boat right there in the water.

After learning about the boat-building history of the area, make sure to tour the two docked vessels to see how the wealthy enjoyed their time on the water. Museum staff share the stories of the boat owners, and take you belowdecks to marvel at the construction and capacity of these historic boats.

Climb aboard a docked vessel for a tour belowdecks. Photo via Thousand Islands Boat Museum.

To keep the kids entertained, the Museum offers hands-on building experiences. First up this summer, young visitors can make their own oars, and future plans include bending wooden ribs with steam — a classic boat-building skill!

Kids can gain some building experience. Here, a young visitor is shaping an oar. Photo via Thousand Islands Boat Museum.

There is even an exhibit in progress at the Boat Museum’s licensed café, which serves coffees, juices, and a selection of alcoholic drinks, as well as snacks and treats. The history of the Gananoque Canoe Club will be on display for café-goers to browse as they sip a drink, gaze out over the river, and watch the boats go by. 

A visit to the Thousand Islands Boat Museum is well worth the short drive to Gananoque to experience the floating gallery and the interactive exhibits for yourself. The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week until Labour Day. Admission is free of charge, and a donation box waits at the exit to help the Boat Museum keep the special marine history of the Thousand Islands alive.

Significant components of this project were funded by the Government of Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Read more about the history of boat building in the area on the Thousand Islands Boat Museum website, and book a time to take a historic boat tour of nearby islands. Follow the Thousand Islands Boat Museum on Instagram and Facebook for news and upcoming events.

This article is sponsored by the Thousand Islands Boat Museum. Interested in a Business Feature on Kingstonist? Contact [email protected]

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