1000 Islands: Hidden Gems

Brock Tunnel, Brockville

The top of the 1000 Islands Tower offers 360° of open-air panoramic views of the 1000 Islands dressing the St. Lawrence River. From the tower we’re given a unique history of flash points in trade and turmoil along the border. Just like its sister tower in Niagara, this one overlooks a waterfall, albeit underwater. Imagine an underwater waterfall. I stare at the water in futility trying to see if a difference in elevation.

We soar even higher with 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours. The lift is so light, before I have a chance to get nervous were floating up up up, and surveying the vastness of the islands and the border below. Comfortably sailing through the sky we crisscross the boarder in style.

Below, the relaxing triple-decker Gananoque Boat Line navigates through the islands, showing us the castles and “Millionaire’s Row,” and sharing the dynamic history of this beautiful natural landscape. It’s a leisurely cruise that meanders through some of the most scenic terrain in Ontario.

1000 Islands Helicopter Tours, GananoqueSteps from the dock, The Purple House Café is the popular bohemian-style dining spot for the most scrumptious wood-fired thin crust pizza, including the house favourite, butter chicken pizza. Inside is an eclectic decor that beckons a look around, but the patio is where it’s at. Congeniality with a deliciously flavour-forward selection of ‘za with gluten free options available too. Try the bbq’d pulled pork with sliced apple and pickled red onion!

A short drive to Dive Brockville Adventure Centre leads to countless shipwrecks from the St. Lawrence River shipping route, as well as to Centeen Memorial Dive Park, Canada’s first underwater sculpture park, which includes human sculptures! The Brock Tunnel underneath the city centre was Canada’s First Railway Tunnel, and is now part of the Brock Trail System. Look out! Groundwater drips down the walls as we pass through coloured lights and the sound of a train heading straight for us!

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