Thousand Islands National Park

Last updated

Thousand Islands National Park
Thousand Islands 2.JPG
Aerial view of Thousand Islands National Park
Canada relief map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Thousand Islands National Park in Canada
Canada Southern Ontario relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Location of Thousand Islands National Park in Southern Ontario
Location United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Ontario, Canada
Nearest city Brockville, Ontario
Coordinates 44°21′09″N75°57′19″W / 44.35263°N 75.95532°W / 44.35263; -75.95532
Area24.4 km2 (9.4 sq mi)
Governing body Parks Canada

Thousand Islands National Park (established 1904), formerly known as the St. Lawrence Islands National Park, is a Canadian National Park located on the 1000 Islands Parkway in the Thousand Islands Region of the Saint Lawrence River. The islands are actually the worn-down tops of ancient mountains. This region, the Frontenac Axis, connects the Canadian Shield from Algonquin Park in Ontario to the Adirondack Mountains in New York.


The park consists of 21 islands plus many smaller islets, 2 mainland properties and a visitor centre at Mallorytown, Ontario on the mainland. It is one of Canada's smallest national parks with a total area of 24.4 square kilometres (9.4 sq mi).

Much of the park is only accessible by boat. Trail systems can be found on the mainland along the 1000 Islands Parkway at Mallorytown Landing, Jones Creek and Landon Bay. There are picnic, camping and oTENTik facilities on several islands and at Mallorytown Landing.[ citation needed ] Mallorytown Landing is a day use area that offers a large parking, a boat ramp, several oTENTiks, picnic gazebos, play ground, animal exhibits, travelling exhibits, and interpreters.[ citation needed ]

The Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, in which the park is located, is known for being the most biodiverse region in Canada. [2]


The first inhabitants of the park area are thought to have been hunting and fishing peoples who arrived following the last glacial period approximately 10,000 years ago. Many artifacts have been found in the park, including a 2500-year-old pot that was found by a diver in 1979. Pictographs are still visible on some shoreline cliffs.

By the early 17th century, the Iroquois people had put up large summer encampments on the riverbanks from which they fished the rich waters. Around this time the area began to be visited by French explorers, fur traders, and missionaries following the St Lawrence river to seek their fortune in the new world. Following the American Revolution at the end of the 18th century, European settlers began moving into the area and the traditional fishing encampments were displaced. A few Iroquois still returned to fish, but by the 1860s fish stocks were greatly depleted.

During the War of 1812, the area of today's National Park was visited by both British and American warships. A British gunboat was sunk nearby and the preserved hull was raised in 1967. It now resides at the park. Martello towers were built in the area to defend the British from American invasion. Inside the park, Cedar Island, a small island visible from downtown Kingston, Ontario, is the site of a Martello tower named Cathcart Tower.

The park was established in 1904, the first Canadian national park east of the Rocky Mountains. It was called St. Lawrence Islands National Park until 2013, when it was renamed to Thousand Islands National Park to reflect the natural area in the name. [3]

In 1997, the park was named one of the national parks with the highest levels of ecological impairment. [4]

Since 2019, the park has hosted experimental theatre performances on Cedar Island, as part of The Kick & Push Festival. [5]


Animals that inhabit this national park are coyotes, deer, porcupines, beavers, foxes, skunks, raccoons, turkey vultures, rabbits, squirrels, chickadees, and weasels.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lake Ontario</span> Easternmost of Great Lakes in U.S. and Canada

Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north, west, and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south and east by the U.S. state of New York. The Canada–United States border spans the centre of the lake.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kingston, Ontario</span> City in Ontario, Canada

Kingston is a city in Ontario, Canada, on the northeastern end of Lake Ontario. It is at the beginning of the St. Lawrence River and at the mouth of the Cataraqui River, the south end of the Rideau Canal. Kingston is midway between Toronto, Ontario, and Montreal, Quebec, and is also near the Thousand Islands, a tourist region to the east, and the Prince Edward County tourist region to the west. Kingston is nicknamed the "Limestone City" because it has many heritage buildings constructed using local limestone.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thousand Islands</span> Archipelago in the Saint Lawrence River

The Thousand Islands constitute a North American archipelago of 1,864 islands that straddles the Canada–US border in the Saint Lawrence River as it emerges from the northeast corner of Lake Ontario. They stretch for about 50 miles (80 km) downstream from Kingston, Ontario. The Canadian islands are in the province of Ontario and the U.S. islands in the state of New York.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thousand Islands – Frontenac Arch</span> Geologic region in North America

The Thousand Islands – Frontenac Arch region or the Frontenac Axis is an exposed strip of Precambrian rock in Canada and the United States that links the Canadian Shield from Algonquin Park with the Adirondack Mountain region in New York, an extension of the Laurentian mountains of Québec. The Algonquin to Adirondacks region, which includes the Frontenac Axis or Arch, is a critical linkage for biodiversity and resilience, and one with important conservation potential. The axis separates the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Great Lakes Lowlands. It has many distinctive plant and animal species. It is one of four ecoregions of the Mixedwood Plains.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clayton, New York</span> Town in New York, United States

Clayton is a town in Jefferson County, New York, United States. The population was 5,153 at the 2010 census. The town is named after John M. Clayton, a federal political leader from Delaware.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gananoque</span> Town in Ontario, Canada

Gananoque is a town in the Leeds and Grenville area of Ontario, Canada. The town had a population of 5,383 year-round residents in the 2021 Canadian Census, as well as summer residents sometimes referred to as "Islanders" because of the Thousand Islands in the Saint Lawrence River, Gananoque's most important tourist attraction. The Gananoque River flows through the town and the St. Lawrence River serves as the southern boundary of the town.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Loyalist, Ontario</span> Township municipality in Ontario, Canada

Loyalist is a lower-tier township municipality in central eastern Ontario, Canada on Lake Ontario. It is in Lennox and Addington County and consists of two parts: the mainland and Amherst Island. It was named for the United Empire Loyalists, who settled in the area after the American Revolution.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fort Frontenac</span> French fort in Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Fort Frontenac was a French trading post and military fort built in July 1673 at the mouth of the Cataraqui River where the St. Lawrence River leaves Lake Ontario, in a location traditionally known as Cataraqui. It is the present-day location of Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The original fort, a crude, wooden palisade structure, was called Fort Cataraqui but was later named for Louis de Buade de Frontenac, Governor of New France who was responsible for building the fort. It was abandoned and razed in 1689, then rebuilt in 1695.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Howe Island</span> Island in Lake Ontario, governed by Ontario, Canada

Howe Island is an island located in Lake Ontario east of Kingston in Frontenac County, Ontario, Canada. It is part of the Thousand Islands chain. Together with Wolfe Island and Simcoe Island, Howe Island is part of the township of Frontenac Islands, created through municipal amalgamation in 1998.

King's Highway 137, commonly referred to as Highway 137, is a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario that connects the northern end of Interstate 81 in the U.S. state of New York with Highway 401 via the Canadian span of the Thousand Islands Bridge. While this road connected to the international bridge when it opened in August 1938, it was not designated as a King's Highway until 1965. Highway 137 passes through a portion of the Canadian Shield, a geographic feature which aided construction of the three Canadian spans of the Thousand Islands Bridge. These bridges, all of different designs, travel 538 m (1,765 ft) across the Saint Lawrence River. Highway 137 is 4.3 km (2.7 mi) in length and is located entirely within the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.

Cartwright Point is a cape and neighbourhood in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Located east of the city's downtown along the St. Lawrence River in the former Pittsburgh Township, it is bordered by Deadman Bay on its western side, and faces Wolfe Island on its southeastern side. Off the southern tip is Cedar Island and one of Kingston's four Martello Towers. Cartwright Point offers excellent views of the Thousand Islands and historic Fort Henry.

The Thousand Islands Parkway (often written as 1000 Islands Parkway) is a scenic parkway in the Canadian province of Ontario. It extends easterly from an interchange with Highway 401 in Gananoque for approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) to rejoin Highway 401 near the community of Butternut Bay, west of Brockville. The parkway follows the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, and was formerly designated Highway 2S (S for Scenic) until 1970. It passes through the communities of Gray's Beach, Halsteads Bay, Ivy Lea, Darlingside, Rockport, Narrows, La Rue Mills and Mallorytown Landing, as well as providing access to the three inland properties of the Thousand Islands National Park. Highway 137, which meets the parkway near its midpoint, provides access to the Interstate 81 in New York via the Thousand Islands Bridge.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Front of Yonge</span> Township in Ontario, Canada

Front of Yonge is a township found in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville in Ontario, Canada. It is the location of the Thousand Islands National Park and Brown's Bay Provincial Park, as well as a number of private campgrounds, the Jones Creek walking trail system, and the 1000 Islands Waterfront Trail’s walking/bike path which runs from just beyond the township’s eastern boundary to neighbouring towns. The predominance of the Canadian Shield produces scenic and diverse landscapes which include exposed rock formations and heavy tree cover, as well as wide fields and beaches.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St. Lawrence Parks Commission</span>

The St. Lawrence Parks Commission is a Crown agency of the Government of Ontario that manages parks and heritage sites along the shoreline of the St. Lawrence River in southeastern Ontario. It functions similarly to the Niagara Parks Commission's role in overseeing attractions and conservation on the Ontario side of the Niagara River.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cathcart Tower</span> UNESCO World Heritage Site

Cathcart Tower is a Martello tower located on Cedar Island in the St. Lawrence River, off the eastern shore of Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. It is one of four such towers built in the 1840s to protect Kingston's harbour and the entrance to the Rideau Canal. The other towers are: Fort Frederick, Shoal Tower, and Murney Tower. Alexander Mackenzie was a foreman on the construction of the Carthcart Tower and later went on to become Canada's second prime minister 1873–1878. It was his work crew whose boat capsized while returning from Cedar Island, drowning 17 men. Hamilton Cove was subsequently renamed Deadman's Bay.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shoal Tower</span> UNESCO World Heritage Site

Shoal Tower, originally known as Victoria Tower, is a Martello tower located in the harbour of Kingston, Ontario, Canada, directly opposite Kingston City Hall. It is one of four such towers built in the 1840s to protect Kingston's harbour and the entrance to the Rideau Canal. Cathcart Tower on Cedar Island, Shoal Tower in the Confederation Basin, Fort Frederick on the grounds of the Royal Military College of Canada, and Murney Tower were part of the same strategic improvements. Although 16 Martello towers were built in Canada, only 11 are still standing, four of them in Kingston.

Point Frederick is a 41-hectare (101-acre) peninsula in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The peninsula is located at the south end of the Rideau Canal where Lake Ontario empties into the St. Lawrence River. Point Frederick is bounded by the Cataraqui River to the west, the St. Lawrence River to the south, and Navy Bay to the east. The peninsula is occupied by the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC). Several of the buildings located on Point Frederick and the site of the old naval dockyard are national historic sites. Fort Frederick, at the south end of the peninsula, is a feature of the Kingston Fortifications National Historic Site of Canada.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gould Lake Conservation Area</span>

Gould Lake Conservation Area is a rural conservation area located in the Canadian Shield northwest of the community of Sydenham in the Township of South Frontenac, Frontenac County, in eastern Ontario, Canada. The area was created to manage water resources, preserve wildlife habitat, and provide recreational and educational opportunities, and is managed by the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority. The conservation area contains much of Gould Lake.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve</span> UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Ontario, Canada

The Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located in southeastern Ontario, Canada. The biosphere reserve was designated in 2002, and is one of 16 biosphere reserves in Canada. The Frontenac Arch Biosphere operates primarily within a 2,700 km2. region from Brockville to Kingston, extending north to Verona and Perth.


  1. "Protected Planet | Thousand Islands National Park Of Canada". Protected Planet. Retrieved 2020-10-13.
  2. "Frontenac Arch | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization". Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  3. "Government of Canada Names Thousand Islands National Park". Parks Canada. 2013-03-28. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24.
  4. National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of Canada, 2nd Edition. National Geographic Society. 2016. pp. 118–123. ISBN   978-1-4262-1756-2.
  5. Hendra, Peter (July 19, 2019). "Festival returns with innovative plays in unusual places". The Kingston Whig-Standard. Retrieved October 18, 2023.