The Thousand Islands is an archipelago consisting of exactly 1,864 islands that straddles the Canada-U.S. border in the Saint Lawrence River as it emerges from the northeast corner of Lake Ontario.
They stretch for about 80 km on St. Lawrence Seaway, but the largest clustering of islands falls between Cape Vincent and Alexandria Bay in the United States and Kingston and Rockport in Canada.
The islands range in size from over 40 square miles to smaller islands occupied by a single residence, to even smaller uninhabited outcroppings of rocks that are home to migratory waterfowl. The number of islands was determined using the criteria that any island must be above water level all year round, have an area greater than 1 square foot, and support at least one living tree.
The largest of these islands is Wolfe Island which is about 29 km long and 9 km at its widest point. It has a resident population approximately 1400 people. By comparison, the very aptly named “Just Room Enough“ is the tiniest island that squeezes a single house and a couple of wrought-iron benches pushed hard up against the shingles onto its banks.
A large number of these islands are inhabited, often bearing a single and at times a tiny house, and are serviced by ferry boats from the mainland. Today most of the islands boast of having hydro electric power and telephone service being carried by underwater cable from island to island.
Around twenty of these islands form the Thousand Islands National Park, the oldest of Canada's national parks east of the Rockies. The park hosts campgrounds, inland walking trails, annual family events, as well as a national heritage building. The Thousand Islands-Frontenac Arch region was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2002.
Photo: Boldt Castle, located on Heart Island in the Thousand Islands.