Visit the Gilded Age
(Brockville) – Next year, visitors to the 1000 Islands region’s newest tourist attraction will be able to board the cabin of a 1901 yacht and travel to various destinations including Singer Castle. The Aquatarium’s Magedoma Exhibit promises to take visitors back to the Gilded Age to experience a simulated cruise aboard the famous steamship that was purchased in 1904 by wealthy Brockville businessman George T. Fulford.
Tourists will experience the feeling of being on a moving boat complete with rocking movement and river sounds as they travel to a destination they select such as Singer Castle, Boldt Castle or Half Moon Bay.
Visitors enter the Magedoma cabin to find themselves in a smallish room that holds perhaps a dozen, with a row of “windows” down each side. The windows are actually monitors that are displaying the virtual trip to the locations filmed. A switching device allows for the selection of a destination. For example, take Singer Castle. As the visitors stand in the room, the fog clears on the monitors and they see a man, the captain, dressed in 1920’s attire, who appears on one side of the boat through the windows. As he moves along the deck he talks to the people inside, explaining where they are going. He disappears from sight as he goes around the front, reappearing on the “dock side” where he converses with a dock hand and they throw the lines off. The people in the room have the impression that they are on a boat and leaving the dock. They hear the conversations, engine sounds and a bell or whistle.
As they move out into open water the Captain says something like “Well look who is here” as he looks backward, “it’s Gadfly”. Gadfly pulls up under power and parallels the Magedoma as the Captain talks about her. Then on the other windows, Zipper approaches and the Captain says “Look at her” as he crosses around to look closer. Zipper does a loop away and comes back as the Captain explains what kind of boat Zipper is. Everyone in Zipper is in period costume as well. The captain says “And here comes Singer Castle, our destination for this trip”. Singer comes into view and the captain explains who built it and when as the Magedoma approaches the dock. Period dressed dock hands appear and catch the lines. He says “This is a great place to visit, even today so when you’ve finished your visit at the Aquatarium, why not take a boat from Brockville and visit. Or head over to Clayton and the Antique Boat Museum and actually book a ride out on the River in Gadfly, Zipper or any other number of classic Woodies!
The Magedoma yacht was built at the Pusey and Jones Shipyard in Wilmington, Delaware. Its first owner was Michigan lumber mogul Charles Canfield, who named the yacht Cangarda, a combination of his name and that of his wife Belle Gardner. When Fulford purchased the vessel, he rechristened it The Magedoma, after his family (MAry, GEorge, DOrothy, MArtha).