Another weekend – another road trip. And totally new direction – Southwest along St. Lawrence river to see one of its jewels – the 1000 islands.
1000 islands is an area in St. Lawrence river where it emerges from Lake Ontario forming 1,764 islands ranging from 0.093m2 to 100 km2. Their size vary from really big ones, to really tiny. According to local regulations, to be counted as an island, a piece of land must be a least one square foot in area above water level and have at least two trees.
Our first destination was a town of Brockville , Ontario known as “The City of 1000 Islands”. It is one of the oldest communities in Ontario with present-day population of abt. 22,000 people. What an amazing feeling it is to get out of busy, noisy Montreal and dive into calmness of a town like this! Lazy Sunday morning, empty streets, closed shops, almost zero traffic. The air seem crystal clear and smells fresh. Brockville has a very nice central part with many historical buildings and amazing waterfront park. This was our primary destination for the day. The park has a nice marina where we boarded a boat that took us for 1.5 hour journey through 1000 islands.
The boat ride was very pleasant. At first it was windy and chilly, but then the wind calmed down. The boat navigates between islands revealing some really amazing locations and views. I have seen some of the most amazing private houses perfectly located on the waterfront. Also many islands have a house on them. I wonder what is it like to rent such house for a week.
Another cool thing in Brockville is Canada’s first railroad tunnel. It is no longer in use, but it is open to public and there is a Canadian Pacific railroad car on exposition next to it.
In general Brockville leaves an impression of being a very comfortable and nice town to live.
The next stop in our trip was the 1000 Islands Bridge and 1000 Islands Tower. The bridge was constructed in 1937 and connects Canada to USA via Hill Island. Another point of interest on the Hill Island is 1000 Islands Tower. It is 130 meters high and have three observation decks on its top. You can see many miles around, the bridge, the international border and the United States of America of the other side. The view is just amazing. It it so awesome I did not want to leave that amazing place. Absolutely must-visit place in the area.
On our way back we decided to avoid the highway and drive on the 1000 islands parkway instead. It is a scenic road that follows the route of a highway but goes along the river. The travel time is longer due to lower speed limits and more crossroads, but you can see much more on a road like this then on a highway.
Almost at the end of the parkway, just before the city of Cornwall, lies another scenic road, the Long Sault Parkway. It is a road that connects 11 islands that form a provincial park.
There is one more cool place I wanted to visit, but we were too late – the Upper Canada Village. It is a heritage village that shows typical Canadian village from 19th century. They have a bakery, blacksmiths, church, tavern and many other buildings. They even have a narrow-gauge railroad with a steam engine that you can take a ride on! I will definitely come back for it!
I can say that this is a very interesting direction for a weekend trip, so much to see. I have some ideas for more trips there. Stay tuned!