Life in the 1000 Islands can’t be beat. The St Lawrence River brings us so much to enjoy, from boating and fishing to the simple joys of watching birds fly by while you sit at the water’s edge.
Those who know the river can hear its song - the river is calling. It always is. The 1000 Islands were once known as Manituana, or “Garden of the Great Spirit” by the Iroquois people hundreds of years ago. It first became known as the 1000 Islands in 1687 when Jean Desbayes travelled through the area and first titled it "Les Milles îles", or translated to English, the 1000 Islands.
Since then, the 1000 Islands has become our nature-filled playground. Home to millionaires and their grand mansions of the 19th century, the 1000 Islands is now a magical mix of old-time opulence and natural beauty. Come and explore our beautiful St Lawrence River and 1000 Islands - you won’t be disappointed.
Celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019, the Brockville Rowing Club is a city institution. As a city that runs off the river, it makes sense that rowing has been a favourite pastime since the 1840s. In 1860, a Brockville rowing team made a name for itself within the rowing community during a competition in Montreal. Beating out teams from across Canada and the United States, the Brockville team won the Giffin Goblet, which is still used for boat christenings. Since then, the Brockville Rowing Club has continued to grow in numbers and successes. Many high school students have had their summers shaped by training for their school’s rowing team through the Brockville Rowing Club. If you’re out early enough on a summer morning, you may see the rowing teams cruise down the river.
If you want to explore the 1000 Islands, one of the best ways to get up close and personal with the islands is by kayak. Kayaking lets you explore the 1000 Islands with a minimum ecological footprint, and there are various opportunities for kayakers, from the beginner to the advanced. The scenery is second to none, and the 1000 Islands region is one of the most biodiverse areas in Canada.
Brockville has 18 islands that are owned by the city, and they are available for day use picnicking and boating, as well as daily, weekly or seasonal camping. For more information about using the City of Brockville islands, including rules and regulations, please check the City of Brockville website.
If you’re not ready to take on the mighty St Lawrence for kayaking, you can always check out Mac Johnson Wildlife Park. This sheltered pond will allow you to have a relaxing paddle through the wildlife park. A canoe launch can be found on Centennial road, near the dam. You can also check out the paddling routes from the Frontenac Arch Biosphere if you’re looking for more than just the St Lawrence River!
If you’re looking to rent a kayak, there are a few places in Brockville that will be more than happy to help you!
The 1000 Islands is the perfect place to go fishing. The area is a perfect habitat for bass, and is also home to northern pike and walleye. It’s such a notable bass fishing location, Bassmaster Magazine called the 1000 Islands the best bass fishing location in 2019. You will need a fishing licence from either the Province of Ontario or the State of New York.
If you are interested in launching your boat in Brockville, there are two city-owned boat launches. One is located off of Water Street at Home Street, and the other is located off of Water Street at Henry Street. Boats can be launched at no charge, however vehicular and trailer parking fees are applicable. Boat launching is also available at Browns Bay Beach and Picnic Area and at Mallorytown Landing.
The Brockville area has earned critical acclaim as being one of the best freshwater scuba diving locations in the world. This is due to the clarity of the water, and the lack of thermocline. This unique and rewarding diving experience offers an exploration of century-old shipwrecks and artifacts that are scattered along the river bottom.
Brockville’s Underwater Sculpture Park
Just off of Centeen Park (Link: Play/Trails and Parks/Centeen Park), divers will find an amazing place to learn and practice their scuba diving skills. The Brockville Underwater Sculpture Park is a one of a kind experience, where divers will get to learn basic skills of diving without potentially damaging historic shipwrecks. The park is maintained by Save Ontario Shipwrecks (S.O.S) and there is an annual token program to help support programs such as the sculpture park and the continued development of Centeen Park as a dive area. The token costs $10 and can be purchased at the Brockville Tourism office at 10 Market Street West, among other locations. This token will show your annual support of the Brockville diving community.