archipelago of 1,864 islands along the Canada-U.S. border in the Saint Lawrence River
North America > Thousand Islands

The Thousand Islands are an island group split between New York's North Country and Eastern Ontario, lying on the Canada-US border, where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence River. It is a very scenic and popular summer cottage area.

Understand edit

Heart Island, NY

The Thousand Islands is one of the most scenic spots in Ontario and northern New York. Some 1,864 islands (defined as anything permanently above water that can support at least one tree) dot this portion of the St. Lawrence River that straddles the Ontario/New York border. During the 18th and most of the 19th century, it was a choke point on the St.Lawrence and therefore of vital military importance for both the young United States and the British colony of Canada. The colonial and military influence is still visible on the Canadian side in towns like Kingston, which was established in 1673 as Cataraqui, a small and then-distant French military outpost which controlled entry of fur trading vessels into the Great Lakes. During the War of 1812, Kingston and Oswego were British and American strongholds in the region.

Passenger rail came to Gananoque in 1856 and to Clayton in 1873. Multiple steamboats left Clayton's docks for elaborate hotels on various islands. At the turn of the 20th century, the Thousand Islands were mainly a retreat for the wealthy, some of whom bought a private island for their summer mansion. Dubbed Millionaire's Row, these lavish homes are visible by taking a boat cruises down the river. For New York City's elite in 1874–1912, the region was close enough to be readily accessible by train and steamship but distant enough to be a welcome break from city life of the era. A similar pattern took place in the Adirondacks, where rail transport from Albany and New York City brought the well-to-do in search of waterfront sites to construct "Great Camps" as a luxury of their era.

Boldt Castle

The popularisation of the now-famous "Thousand Islands" salad dressing dates to this period; while accounts differ, the dressing appears to have originated in Alexandria Bay or Clayton where New York City stage actress May Irwin requested the recipe from Sophia LaLonde (wife of local fishing guide George LaLonde Jr.) to pass it on to George Boldt of Waldolf-Astoria hotel fame (who built Boldt Castle in the region for his wife, Louise). Boldt brought the recipe back to the chefs of the grand New York City hotel, where it would gain fame and popularity.

On the Canadian side, Garden Island was once a shipbuilding centre; the history of the former Calvin Shipyard is recorded in Kingston's Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. As the current Wolfe Island ferry (unlike its predecessors) has never stopped at Garden Island, the settlement is largely a ghost town. A few cottages remain, accessible only seasonally by private watercraft.

The largest of the thousand islands, the 20-mile (32 km) long Wolfe Island, was a primarily-agricultural community once home to many tiny, local dairies; among a thousand regional recipes collected from across Canada by the authors of a Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book is a "Wolfe Island Cheese Soufflé". The cheesemakers are now long gone, as are docks and customs facilities which formerly welcomed ships at what was once Port Metcalfe at the easternmost end of the island. A canal which once took vessels from Kingston across Wolfe Island to Carleton Island (NY) and the US mainland rests abandoned. Many farms and cottages remain; a modern addition to the island are forests of electric generation windmills which stand three hundred feet (100m) above the otherwise-rural landscape. The island is popular among bicyclists because of its easy accessibility by provincial ferry from downtown Kingston.

While air travel allowed New York's jet set to travel the world, the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad (RW&O, New York Central) brought its last rail passengers to Clayton's ferry terminal (now Frink Park) in 1951; Gananoque's 1884 Thousand Islands Railway boarded its final passengers in 1962. Amtrak's closest stop is now Syracuse. While mainline Windsor-Quebec corridor passenger trains still run east-west on the old 1856 Grand Trunk (CN) lines through Gananoque Junction (and a rare few may even briefly stop), the tracks to the waterfront are gone. In some places (such as Carleton Island NY) what were once magnificent mansions built in the era of the Thousand Islands as playground for New York's wealthy now stand as deteriorating ruins. Grindstone Island once housed a small community and a pair of one-room schoolhouses. While the ferry to Clayton (New York) no longer runs and the schools are now closed, a handful of residents remain.

Now, the region is mainly cottage country, extremely popular during July and August holidays. Various state or national parks have been established in the islands by both nations; many are accessible only by cruising on small craft, with Wellesley Island State Park as the notable exception.

Get in edit

From the US mainland the Thousand Islands region is served by Interstate 81, which meets the St. Lawrence River at Fisher's Landing (between Clayton and Alexandria Bay). From there, the Thousand Islands Bridge crosses Wellesley Island to Canada, while NYS Route 12 follows the river. On the Canadian side, Highway 401 is often fastest; a more scenic route is to take the 1000 Islands Parkway westward from Brockville or the former Ontario Highway 2 from Kingston.

Bus and train travel is available to Kingston (although none are centrally located in that city) and limited services are offered in Brockville and Watertown. A shuttle bus serves the casino in Gananoque from Kingston. No scheduled intercity carriers cross the border in-region and many small towns are only reachable by automobile or by chartering a bus. Kingston Airport is no longer served by commercial passenger flights.

The following cities are local and serve as points of access to the region:

Individual attractions in these cities are not listed on this page, with the exception of base infrastructure (such as boats or car ferries) needed to get to the islands.

These towns are on the mainland in areas in the heart of the Thousand Islands; many are departure points for tour boats or provide marinas and facilities needed to access the region:

Privately-owned ferries had served the region since the 1800s; just one of these remains in service today from Horne's Point (officially Point Alexandra) on Wolfe Island to the US mainland at Cape Vincent. A mix of local, county and provincial ferries serve a few key Canadian islands today.

A magnificent international bridge across Hill Island (Canada) and Wellesley Island (USA) was officially opened by president Franklin D Roosevelt and Prime Minister MacKenzie King on August 18, 1938; CBC radio and Pathé newsreel archives recall Roosevelt's 1938 message of international solidarity, proclaimed at the Canadian side of the then-new bridge on what would be the eve of World War II (1939-1945): "This garden spot of nature, this bridge stands as an open door. There will be no challenge at the border. There will be no guard to ask a countersign. Where the boundary is crossed the only words must be 'Pass, friend'."

Ferry services edit

Lost Channel, 1000 Islands in 1901

Wolfe Island is served year-round by a free ferry from downtown Kingston. Wellesley Island is bisected by an Interstate highway. Heart Island (New York), as home of Boldt Castle, is reachable by tour boat from various small towns on both sides.

Many individual national park islands, ghost towns and private cottages are only accessible by private watercraft.

Boat rentals are available in Alexandria Bay, Clayton, Gananoque, Rockport and Brockville. Bicycles may be rented in Gananoque.

Only a small number of the islands are reachable by bridge or ferry:

  • 1 Wolfe Island Ferry, 295 Ontario Street (in downtown Kingston: Ontario and Barrack St.; on Wolfe Island, Marysville (Wolfe Island Village) dock in summer season, about Apr–Dec, and Dawson's Point dock, 4.8 km east of Marysville, in winter season, about Dec–Apr), +1 613-548-7227, toll-free: +1-800-268-4686. 6am-2am daily, year-round. This free ferry makes the 20-minute crossing from downtown Kingston to one of two docks on Wolfe Island year-round. The 55-car ferry also takes pedestrians. Departs every hour or so in each direction. Check web site and call operator for large groups, or large vehicles. free.
  • 2 Hornes' Ferry, 2262 Highway 95, Wolfe Island (From Kingston ferry, turn right, go about 300m, then turn left (south-east) on Ontario 95. (It is paved, and other parallel roads are gravel.)), +1 613-385-2402, +1 315-783-0638, . seasonal, end April–mid October. Runs hourly from end of Ontario Highway 95 on Wolfe Island to downtown Cape Vincent NY, about 10 minutes. Privately owned. C$18/car or U$15/car one-way, C$2/passenger, C$3/bicycle.
  • Simcoe Island Ferry, +1 613-385-2997. 6am-1am, seasonal. Township-operated three-car ferry from western end of former Highway 96 on Wolfe Island. C$5/car round-trip.
  • Howe Island Ferry, +1 613-542-4959. seasonal. County-operated ferry from Joyceville Road in Kingston/Barriefield, +1 613-548-9400 C$5/car round-trip.
  • Amherst Island Ferry, +1 613-389-3393. 6AM-2AM daily, year-round. Township-operated ferry from Highway 33, Millhaven. Amherst Island is on Lake Ontario, so slightly out of region. C$9/car (return trip).
  • Thousand Islands Bridge. always open. Serves Hill Island (Ontario) and Wellesley Island (New York) as part of Interstate 81. U$2.75 or $C3.50/car.

The following islands were formerly served by ferries but are now sparsely-populated or are ghost towns:

  • Carleton Island (New York)
  • Garden Island (Ontario)
  • Grindstone Island (New York)

The only access to the remaining islands is by boat and therefore seasonal.

International crossings edit

1000 Islands Bridge at Ivy Lea

There are two main US-Canada crossing points in the Thousand Islands region.

  • The Thousand Islands Bridge system, made up of five individual spans linking the State of New York with the Province of Ontario through Wellesley Island (on the American side) and Hill Island (on the Canadian side), links Interstate 81 to Ontario Highway 401 and the 1000 Islands Parkway in the heart of the region. A single toll must be paid to cross onto the islands (but not off them) from either country.
  • A seasonal, privately-operated ferry runs between Cape Vincent, New York and Wolfe Island, Ontario (where another ferry on the opposite side of Wolfe Island operates year-round, free of charge to Kingston). Total time from Kingston to Cape Vincent (two ferry crossings) is a little over an hour. Both ferries are popular for cyclists heading to Wolfe Island.

An additional bridge crossing at Prescott-Ogdensburg is marginally out-of-region and primarily serves Ottawa-Hull.

Get around edit

A number of different ferries and tour boats depart from Gananoque, Alexandria Bay, Rockport and Clayton.

For many islands (some of them Canadian or New York State parkland), cruising on small craft is the only access. Pleasure boats may be rented.

  • 1000 Islands Kayaking Company, 110 Kate St. Gananoque, +1 613-329-6265. Guided trips and lessons available at extra cost. C$55/day kayak rental.
  • AquaMania, Route 12, Alexandria Bay, +1 315 482-4678. US $300-400/day.
  • Caiger's Resort, 853 Thousand Islands Parkway, Rockport K0E 1R0, +1 613-659-2266, fax: +1 613-659-2273. Resort with 36 rooms (from C$110/night), licensed riverside dining room and pub, outdoor pool, boat ramp, rentals, docking. C$225/day pontoon boat, $95/day fishing boat, $25/day canoes.
  • Clayton Marina, 50 State Street, Clayton 13624, +1 315 686-3378, fax: +1 315 686-3522. Powerboats from 14 to 24 feet US$75-300/weekday, $200-750/weekend $400/1500/week.
  • Gilbert Marine, 15 Jessie Street, Brockville K6V 3M6, +1 613-342-3462, toll-free: +1-800-906-9290. Vessels range from small canoes to 23-foot, 200hp fishing boats. Houseboats are C$545-645/day. Additional deposits apply, "Pleasure craft operator card" is required as instruction is not provided on-site. C$35-250/day.
  • Houseboat Holidays, R.R. #3 Gananoque K7G 2V5, +1 613-382-2842. 38-foot or 48-foot houseboats to accommodate six or ten people. C$950-2300/week, C$525-1500/weekend.
  • Martins Marina & Motel, 28491 County Route 6 Mud Bay, Cape Vincent 13618, +1 315 654 3104, fax: +1 315 654-4020. US$25-200/day boat rentals, $US 62/night motel, boat launch ramp, docking, campground/RV park.
  • Pecks Marina, 505 Thousand Island Parkway Lansdowne K0E 1L0 (Champagne Bay), +1 613-659-3185, toll-free: +1-800-951-7325, . Marina with restaurant and motel; rental options range from half-day to full-week and small canoes or kayaks to a ten-person, 24-foot motorboat. C$50-250/day.
  • Spencer’s Cottages & Boat Rentals, 4607 Hwy # 2 West, Gananoque K7G 2V5, +1 613-382-4289. 16-18 foot motorboat rental. Boat launch, fishing licenses, ice, worms, tackle, pop, cabin rentals @ C$120-210/day. C$175-285/day C$750-1325/week.

Dive charters are available from multiple vendors in Kingston.

Some vendors also rent bicycles:

  • 1000 Islands Cycle, 711 King Street East, Gananoque K7G 1H4, +1 613-382-5144. C$35-50/day.
  • Ahoy Rentals, 23 Ontario Street, Kingston K7L 2Y2, +1 613-549-4277. Downtown Kingston, sailing lessons (C$95/2hrs) and bicycle rentals (C$25/day). C$40/day canoe/kayak C$105/day sailboat.
  • Misty Isles Lodge, 25 River Road, Lansdowne K0E 1L0, +1 613-382-4232, fax: +1 613-382-7756. Near Gananoque. Cottages (C$85-185/night), kayak ($40/day) and motorboat ($95-275/day) rental, docking, boat ramp, campground / RV park (C$35/night), bicycle rental ($30/day).

Fuel stations are available on Wellesley Island (near the southernmost of the two I-81 exits on the island) and Wolfe Island (in Marysville village) but prices tend to be higher than on the respective mainlands. In general, Canadian fuel prices are exorbitant by US standards (Ontario's double-digit HST is a tax on a price which already includes 25 cents/litre of fuel-specific taxes) so international travellers are advised to leave Clayton or Alexandria Bay on a full tank. Portable tanks for outboard motor boats can be filled more economically at highway fuel stations than at dockside; many marinas sell petrol but prices are less competitive.

When converting fuel prices, note that there are 4.5 litres in an Imperial gallon or 3.78 litres in a US gallon. Fuel is dispensed in litres in Canada and in US gallons in New York State.

See edit

Singer Castle

There are at least two unincorporated villages on the islands; Marysville is on the north shore of Wolfe Island (facing Kingston) and Fineview is on Wellesley Island (near I-81 and Thousand Islands Park). Each has a post office; the town hall for the Township of Frontenac Islands is in Marysville village. Landmarks in these villages (none of which exceeds a thousand people) are listed here.

  • 1 Antique Boat Museum, 750 Mary Street, Clayton, +1 315 686-4104, fax: +1 315 686-2775. Museum admission (US $13-15/person) includes an opportunity to row a three-passenger St. Lawrence Skiff, the 45-minute run aboard the six-passenger Miss Thousand Islands II is $25/person and the sunset cruise $60/person.
  • 2 Boldt Castle, Heart Island, USA (Ferry from Gananoque, Rockport, Clayton, and Alexandria Bay), toll-free: +1-800-847-5263. May–October. An impressive castle on its own island in the middle of the river. Built by millionaire George Boldt (of Waldorf-Astoria hotel fame) for his wife Louise and largely abandoned after her demise, the castle has been restored and renovated using tourist and bridge revenue.
  • Seaway Trail, +1 315 646-1000. Posted US mainland waterfront tourist route over 500 miles / 800km from Lake Erie along the south shore of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway to Massena.
  • 3 Singer Castle, Dark Island, +1 315 324-3275, toll-free: +1-877-327-5475. Four-story castle once owned by Singer sewing machine founder. Accessible only by boat; a limited number of runs are made by Uncle Sam Boat Tour (Alexandria Bay, +1-877-253-9229), Schermerhorn Harbor Shuttle (Hammond, NY +1 315 324-5966) or Rockport Boat Lines (Rockport, ON +1-800-563-8687). Seasonal (forty-five minute tours offered mid-May to mid-October). US $14, military $12, kids $7.
  • 4 Wolfe Island Gallery, 26 Division Street, Marysville, Wolfe Island, . Gallery of the local art community on Wolfe Island and surrounding Frontenac Islands.
  • 5 1000 Islands Tower, 716 Highway 137 (I-81), Hill Island, +1 613-659-2335, fax: +1 613-659-2285. 10AM-5PM daily (late April-late October), 10AM-6PM summer. Observation skydeck on a Canadian island between the two spans of the Thousand Islands Bridge, souvenir shop, currency exchange, ice cream. $10/person, $6 (kids, 6-12).
  • A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 starts at 3:22PM local time and lasts 3 minutes. The chances of a clear sky are 35%. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico and Texas to Illinois, Indiana and Ohio to the Canada–New England border.

Do edit

  • During the summer season, a good selection of island boat cruises are offered from Gananoque, Clayton, Brockville, Kingston, Rockport, Wellesley Island and Alexandria Bay (see "Get around", above, for listings).
  • There are enough shipwrecks to fill a book (ISBN 9780968143704 - Treacherous Waters: Kingston's Shipwrecks, 1997, Cris Kohl); three historic War of 1812 ships (HMS Prince Regent, HMS Princess Charlotte and HMS St. Lawrence) were scuttled near Kingston and may be of interest to divers.
  • Amherst Charters, +1 613-530-7766, . Captain Rob Eves operates fishing charters from Amherst Island aboard a 22-foot motorboat.
  • White's Horse & Carriage, 931 Highway 95, Wolfe Island K0H 2Y0, +1 613-385-2923. Sleigh or hay rides, bonfire or BBQ for groups on island farm. Horse and carriage tour of Wolfe Island.
  • Wolfe Island Boat Club, 1234 Main St, Wolfe Island K0H 2Y0. Sail, paddle, row. Races, kids "learn to sail" camp.

Parks edit

Various parks are located on islands and only accessible by boat:

  • Thousand Islands National Park of Canada. Park islands with docks and picnic areas. Info, trails and boat launch at Mallorytown Landing Visitor Centre, 1121 Thousand Islands Parkway (401 exit 675). There are three mainland sites (Mallorytown Landing, Landon Bay and Jones Creek), one park site on Hill Island (Batterman's Point) and parkland on sixteen islands reachable only by cruising on small craft. The park islands are Cedar, Milton, Aubrey, Mermaid, Beau Rivage, McDonald, Thwartway, Camelot, Endymion, Gordon, Mulcaster, Georgina, Constance, Adelaide and Stovin (with one park site each) plus three separate park sites on Grenadier Island. All will have docks and outhouses; most have picnic facilities, firewood and trails. A few have primitive campgrounds.
  • New York State Parks, +1 315 482-2722. Wellesley Island State Park (44927 Cross Island Road) is reachable by bridge (I-81) and provides a marina with boat rental. Road access to other parkland on Wellesley Island is variable. There is a small amount of parkland on the US mainland, but any other US islands with parks in this group are accessible only by boat.
  • Grindstone Island Nature Trail, Canoe Point to Picnic Point, Grindstone Island, +1 315 686-5345, . A one-mile walking trail preserved by the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT, 135 John St, Clayton), leading to the state park. TILT conserves over 8,200 acres of land in the region (mostly on the US mainland), including creeks, nature preserves and over thirty miles of free, public year-round trails.

Buy edit

  • Duty Free Americas, Route 81, Wellesley Island, +1 315 482-2730, fax: +1 315 482-2789. I-81 northbound for vehicles leaving the US for Canada.
  • 1000 Island Duty Free Store, 839 Hwy 137, Hill Island, +1 613-659-2133, toll-free: +1-877-676-6673, fax: +1 613-659-4094. Interstate-81 southbound at US border. A minimum time out of the country is required to bring more than token amounts of merchandise across the border duty-free.
  • 1 Henderson Farms, Waterview Lane, RR #1 Wolfe Island, +1 613-544-4144. Locally-made jams and jellies, sold by retailers as close as Marysville (Fargo's general store) and as distant as Montréal and Toronto.
  • Topsy Farms, 14775 Front Road, Stella, Amherst Island, +1 613-389-3444, toll-free: +1-888-287-3157. Wool Shed offers felted, thrummed and knitted items, bedding (blankets, throws, comforters, pillows, mattress pads), washed wool, roving, pencil roving, yarn, sheepskins and lambskins.
  • Wolfe Island Bakery, 1213 Main Street, Marysville, +1 613-545-9434, fax: +1 613-545-7933. M-Sa 8AM-5PM. Village bakery and restaurant on Wolfe Island; an additional location is in Kingston.

Eat edit

  • 1 Café Tenango, 1212 Main St, Marysville, Wolfe Island, +1 613-385-1515. 8AM-8:30PM, weekends only. Organic/fair trade coffee, ice cream and desserts. Tiny establishment on main street with small patio and wi-fi.
  • The Back Kitchen and Maplemarsh Farm on Amherst Island. Dining hall is open seasonally, Victoria Day to Labour Day. The farm grows vegetables for the local farmers' market.
  • 2 Thousand Island Club, 21952 Club Road, Wellesley Island 13640, +1 315 482-9999. On east end of Wellesley Island near yacht club and golf course. under US$30/person.
  • Wolfe Island Pub & Pizzeria, 1223 Main Street, Wolfe Island, +1 613-385-1234. M-F 6:45AM-7:30PM wkdays, Sa Su 8AM-7:30PM. Pizza, subs, sandwiches and burgers. Karaoke on Saturday nights. C$6-10.

Drink edit

  • 1 Wolfe Island Grill, 1222 Main St (Hwy 96) Wolfe Island (one block east of the summer ferry dock), +1 613-385-2157. M-F 11AM-11PM, Sa Su 10AM-midnight. Restaurant with burgers, fish and chips. Casual. Licensed waterfront patio with view of the Kingston skyline, private docks, live music on weekends through July and August. C$5-25.

Sleep edit

"Just Room Enough", an island with a house and one tree

Hotels and resorts edit

  • The Lodge on Amherst Island, 320 McDonald’s Lane, Stella, +1 613-634-1388. Art shows, facilities for weddings, workshops and lodging for up to 25 people, open year-round.
  • 1 Thousand Islands Country Club, 21496 Clubhouse Dr, Wellesley Island, toll-free: +1-800-928-8422. Two 18-hole golf courses, 103-slip marina, restaurant, clubhouses, 20 hotel-style rental units.
  • Hotel on Wolfe Island, 1237 County Rd 96, Wolfe Island, +1 613-385-2611. As the General Wolfe Hotel (founded in the 1850s and expanded many times since) this place has been declining for years. A pair of musicians purchased the property circa-2018 and are now trying to fix it and restore it to its former grandeur. $90-140/night.

Bed and breakfast edit

  • 2 Blue Horizon Bed & Breakfast, 1767 5th Line Rd, Wolfe Island, +1 613-385-2900. Check-in: 4-7PM, check-out: 11AM. Three rooms, seasonal (May-Oct). C$85-120.
  • 3 [dead link] Dreamcatcher’s Inn, 1277 Main St, Marysville, Wolfe Island, +1 613-385-2635. Eight-room smoke-free B&B, no pets. C$110+.
  • 4 Island Boat House B&B, Occident Island. Seasonal, June-October. Unique in that it can only be reached by private boat. Owned by Mulberry Cottage Bed & Breakfast (600 John St, Clayton +1 315 686-2272 or +1-800-686-6056) US$200+.
  • 5 Shanti Yoga Retreat, Waldo’s Lane, Wolfe Island, +1 613-777-0247. C$315-375 for two nights, five vegetarian buffet meals, four yoga classes, guided meditation, silent morning walks and an infrared sauna session.

Cottages and rentals edit

  • Foot Flats Farm, 570 Front Road, Stella, Amherst Island K0H 2S0, +1 613-634-1212, fax: +1 613-389-6332. A working sheep farm with a flock of over one thousand ewes; self-catering rental of one waterfront cottage (C$950/wk) and a 4 or 5 bedroom house (C$1250/wk).

Camping edit


Connect edit

  • 3 Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 10 Highway 95, Wolfe Island K0H 2Y0, +1 613-385-2112. Tu Th 1-5PM and 6-8PM; Sa 10AM-1PM; and Jul-Aug: F 2-5PM. Small rural county library branch with wi-fi at Hwy 95/96 crossroads, Marysville.
  • 4 Canada Post is in Marysville village (1211 Main Street, Hwy 96, Wolfe Island K0H 2Y0) and on Amherst Island (5695 Front Road, Stella K0H 2S0 +1 613-389-0417).
  • The 5 US Postal Service is on Old Bridge Road on Wellesley Island (44392 County Rd 191, Fineview 13640). US parcel receiving service is available at 6 Wellesley Island Building Supply, at the northbound I-81 offramp near the USPS.

Stay safe edit


The St. Lawrence Seaway is a busy shipping channel; there are dangerous shoals and strong currents in some narrow portions of the river. Mariners must carry up-to-date charts and safety equipment at all times. A license is required to fish in Ontario or New York State; Canada also requires operators of motorised recreational vessels to carry proof of competency. Some boat rental operators offer short, introductory training lessons which may be advisable for inexperienced sailors before taking the helm of unfamiliar watercraft. In the most extreme weather, it may be best to leave the boat in the harbour or harbor and remain on dry land for safety's sake.

The international boundary has come under closer scrutiny in the post-September 11, 2001 era and the concept of being "waved through" Customs in either direction no longer applies. It is no longer possible to travel without a passport. In 2009, the United States began deployment of Predator drones on its northern borders. In 2011, Canadian officials attempted to seize a boat from a US recreational fisherman in Canadian waters despite the boat having neither landed nor anchored in Canada. The border situation only got worse during the Trump administration (January 2017-January 2021) and degraded further due to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21. Even before the pandemic, travellers have routinely been turned back at the border even for minor police incidents in which they were neither charged nor convicted. Canadian firearms laws are restrictive by US standards, so it may be best to check requirements in advance or leave any hunting rifles at home.

This is a freshwater region and (except in areas where channels are kept open by icebreakers or ferries) the waters do freeze in winter, leading some to attempt to drive snowmobiles or other vehicles across the ice to the islands. Depending on ice conditions, this can be extremely dangerous - particularly in early spring when the ice begins to thaw. Stay off the ice if at all possible.

Go next edit

Routes through Thousand Islands
ENDS at   ← becomes      N   S  WatertownSyracuse
KingstonGananoque  W   E  BrockvilleMontreal / Ottawa via  

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