Gananoque traces its history to United Empire Loyalist times; after the American Revolution, Loyalist militia Colonel Joel Stone received a land grant and established a mill site in 1789, The town was attacked during the War of 1812 and stores in the government depot looted by Americans. A five-gun Gananoque Blockhouse, completed in 1813 to defend against further US attacks, stood until 1852.
The Gananoque River watershed had initially been an important water transportation corridor, extending north to the Rideau River watershed. In 1830, water was diverted westward to the Cataraqui River as part of the Rideau Canal, redirecting this traffic to Kingston.
The town is on Highway 2 or 401 in the Windsor-Quebec corridor, roughly 20 minutes east of Kingston. Scheduled trains exist but service is severely limited, so it is best to drive in on the 401 or US I-81. A shuttle bus serves the casino from Kingston and a few charter buses stop in the town in peak season; a taxi ride costs C$50 from Kingston to Gananoque, an expensive alternative.
For those cruising on small craft, there is a marina downtown (directly west of the 1000 Islands Playhouse) and another west of town (Clark's Marina, Hwy 2 at Clark Road).
Due to the town's small size (just over 5000 people), there is no local transit system; it is relatively easy to drive or walk anywhere within Gananoque. Visitors to the parkway may wish to bring or rent a bicycle as extensive trails exist.
Local taxis are available from A-One Taxi +1 613-382-3777 or Gananoque Taxi +1 613-382-3399.
- 1000 Islands Playhouse, 690 Charles St South (On waterfront at South Street), ☎ +1 613-382-7020, toll-free: +1-866-382-7020. Live theatre in former 1909 Gananoque Canoe Club (360 seats) and adjacent old fire hall. Docking is available ($24/night) for small pleasure craft. Open late May - early November.
- 1000 Islands Parkway. Scenic waterfront highway from Gananoque to Brockville, originally constructed as four lanes as this was a pre-1968 segment of Ontario Highway 401. As the scenic road is two lanes, the remainder of the highway right of way has been turned into walking and cycling trails by the St. Lawrence Parks Commission.
- Heritage Museum of the 1000 Islands, 125 Water St (in waterfront Historic Thousand Islands Village complex), ☎ +1 613-382-2535, toll-free: +1-877-217-7391, fax: +1 613-382-2912. Museum of natural and cultural history of the 1000 Islands region on site of former 1000 Islands Railway station.
- 1000 Islands Boat Museum, 125 Water St, ☎ +1 613-382-8484. seasonal.
- Gananoque Boat Line. Regular tours available from mid-May to mid-Oct. More tours available late-June through early Sept. Offers one to five hour boat cruises that travel around the 1000 Islands. One hour: $16.50/$8, 2.5 hour: $25/$9, 5 hour: $30/$9 (adult/child).
- Ribfest, Gananoque Town Park. Dominion Day weekend.
The main commercial district in Gananoque is King Street (Ontario Highway 2) east of the Gananoque River, although there are a handful of businesses near the waterfront at the base of Stone Street South (former Highway 32) including a cinema, a marina and tour boats. Fuel is usually cheaper on the main street than at the 401 offramp (for unknown reasons, the difference is as much as six cents a litre as of 2014 as the lone station at 401 and 32 is overpriced).
- 1000 Islands Cycle, 711 King St East, ☎ +1 613-382-5144. Bicycle rental with easy access to the 1000 Islands Parkway, which provides a 40km waterfront cycling trail downriver to Brockville. C$35-50/day.
- Gananoque Farmers' Market, Town Hall Park, King St E. Thursdays from 4-7 PM, June through October.
- Gananoque Inn & Spa, 550 Stone St South, ☎ +1 613-382-2165, toll-free: +1-888-565-3101, fax: +1 613-382-7912, e-mail: email@example.com. 1870s historic inn (hotel/motel and former carriageworks) with restaurant.
- The Socialist Pig: food for everyone (the pig), 21 King St E.
- Stonewater B&B Pub and Irish Eatery, 490 Stone St South, ☎ +1 613-382-2542 (B&B), +1 613-382-2116 (Pub).
- Gananoque Brewing Company, 9 King St East. Brewed locally, this beer is on tap at various local watering holes.
- Athlone Inn and Restaurant, 250 King St West, ☎ +1 613-382-3822, toll-free: +1-888-382-7122, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Historic 1870's bed-and-breakfast house, French cuisine. C$120-200.
- Various hotel chains are represented on King Street East (Highway 2) between the downtown and Hwy 401 (exit 648). There are also a few independent motels on King Street West as the old road leaves Gananoque for Kingston.
- Bed and breakfast is available in central locations, including Stone Street South near the water.
- All About Books, 126 King St East, ☎ +1 613-381-9105, fax: +1 613-381-9106. Internet café and used book store.
- Gananoque is close to the Saint Lawrence Islands National Park and the Thousand Islands. Follow the 1000 Islands Parkway eastward through the 1000 Islands region to Brockville.
|Routes through Gananoque|
|Toronto ← Kingston ←||W E||→ Brockville → Montreal|
|Toronto ← Kingston ←||W E||→ Brockville → Ottawa|
|Oshawa ← Kingston ←||W E||→ Thousand Islands and Mallorytown → Montreal|