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This article was written by the 1000 Islands Tourism Ambassadors: Kiana & Paige.
If you’ve ever wanted the chance to step back in time and travel like an old voyageur, then you won’t want to miss a chance to visit the Thousand Islands Boat Museum! They are offering hour long voyageur canoe tours with a certified group of voyageurs from the Rideau Roundtable to accompany you on the journey.
This isn’t like any regular canoe. It’s extended length and width make for a very smooth and stable ride, and their friendly staff will guide you through the islands while telling you about the local vegetation, wildlife and of the history of the voyageurs from the St. Lawrence River region. Everyone on board the canoe assists in helping it cut through the water of the river, with the group working in harmony to help if move effectively around the islands.
Back in the time of the original voyageurs, the canoes would carry up to 20 people with each person carrying six packs of goods that weighed around 90-pounds each for their journey. Luckily, during your modern-day tour no one will ask you to carry 90-pounds worth of goods as you traverse the river and the number of people on journey was greatly reduced to account for safe social distancing practices! Another interesting fact to learn was that originally women were rarely seen in the canoes, and would only be there if they had paid for transportation, disguised themselves as men, or if they were an indigenous woman, native to the area, acting as their guide. Certainly not the case these days!
The tour organizers are also taking numerous precautions during this time; offering hand sanitizer and sanitizing the boating equipment prior to each voyage. There are safety measures put in place to make sure you have a fun and safe tour, including social distancing measures implemented on the dock and while aboard the canoes. A briefing of safety procedures and protocol is provided at the beginning of your adventure, with masks and hand sanitizer available for everyone, or you can also bring your own!
This was an amazing way to experience the 1000 Islands! It was a wonderful way to feel a connection with the river, to other people and to understand the importance in the ecology of the area; you gain a big appreciation for the wildlife that exists in and around the St. Lawrence River. We cannot recommend this experience enough while visiting Gananoque and the 1000 Islands!
For more information on this experience, visit the Thousand Islands Boat Museum on Facebook: https://bit.ly/3jvdmSP