Ontario’s Wondrous Archipelago

Soak up the stunning scenery of the 1000 Islands, Ontario’s most treasured wilderness: a wild and widely varied ecosystem stretching nearly 80 kilometers.

Join us on a majestic journey to where the mighty St. Lawrence meets Lake Ontario: at this watery intersection lies a landscape of over 1800 islands ranging in size from nearly 100 square kilometers to those only large enough to support the life of a single tree!

Like so many visitors, the beauty of the 1000 Islands region and its unique river-centric culture inspired poet Walt Whitman:

“O boating on the rivers,
The voyage down the St. Lawrence, the superb scenery, the steamers,
The ships sailing, the Thousand Islands…”

– A Song of Joys, 1855

Whitman was right about its majesty, but he too undercounts the number of islands that dot the surface of the St. Lawrence. With 1864 islands found here, the 1000 Islands of Ontario region is an internationally recognized environmental and cultural treasure trove. Your voyage of discovery at the many RiverQuest attractions in the 1000 Islands area may cross two hugely important boundaries:

  • Part of the region comprises Canada’s Thousand Islands National Park.
  • UNESCO has designated the entire Thousand Islands-Frontenac Arch region as a World Biosphere Reserve.

Be careful as you explore the waters of attractions in the 1000 Islands, as great fluctuations in depth make this section of the St. Lawrence Seaway one of the most hazardous stretches of maritime highway in the world. But have no fear: it’s all on view for you from the safety of the Aquatarium’s pristine panoramas.

1000 Islands Fast Facts:

  • You guessed it: the 1000 Islands of Ontario lend their names to the popular salad dressing. The wife of a popular early 20th century fishing guide in the region coined the name.
  • The 1000 Islands archipelago is formed at the intersection of two great geological features: the Canadian Shield to the north and the Adirondacks to the south.
  • In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the area was a hugely popular summer resort, home to an array of grand hotels and other attractions in the 1000 Islands catering to the toniest tourists and other well-to-do landowners of both Canadian and American heritage.