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Kingston to,Gananoque

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Tannum Sands...
posts: 17
reviews: 2
Kingston to,Gananoque

We are senior Australians travelling from Quebec to Toronto. We have not booked a train, bus or car yet but were leaning toward the train. However we do want to do a 1000 Island cruise. How do we get to Gananoque from Kingston? Would there be a bus or can we book a trip? We plan on staying overnight in Kingston if we travel by train. Can anyone give us suggestions? We leave Quebec City on the 11th May and fly out of Toronto on the 16th for Vancouver. What are the must do's. As we will be doing a lot of driving over the West including the Alaskan highway we did think train would be more relaxing.

thanks.

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 53,684
reviews: 65
1. Re: Kingston to,Gananoque

Hi chad42;

Gananoque is approx. 18 miles / 28 km east of Kingston. The only means of transportation between the two towns is by taxi.

Gananoque has its own VIA Rail station, but it is located about 3 miles / 5 km north of town, is unmanned, and the trains that do stop at Gananoque are infrequent. You will require a taxi to get into town, and will need to use the pay telephone at the station to call for one.

Highway 401, the main east / west highway across the province, passes just north of both towns, and provides direct access from Quebec City to Toronto. Most visitors to the 1000 Island Region travel there by car.

Best Regards

Niagara Falls, ON
Destination Expert
for Niagara Falls
posts: 6,253
reviews: 40
2. Re: Kingston to,Gananoque

There is a boat tour available out of Kingston. It doesn't go as far east as the ones from Gananoque, but would still give you a good feel for the St.Lawrence and the islands and save the trouble of getting to Gananoque.

http://www.1000islandscruises.on.ca

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 53,684
reviews: 65
3. Re: Kingston to,Gananoque

Hi chad42;

Fallsdude is correct that there are tours that start from Kingston, however, Kingston is in Lake Ontario. Tours that originate from Kingston must travel to and from the St Lawarence River, as the 1000 Islands are located in the St Lawrence. For this reason, Gananoque is known as the "Gateway to the 1000 Islands".

Best Regards

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 13,859
reviews: 50
4. Re: Kingston to,Gananoque

Hi Chad42,

You have received some great info so far.... I would add:

If you take a look at GOOGLE MAPS you will indeed see that Kingston is at the mouth of Lake Ontario, where it drains into the St Lawrence River... and notice that Gananoque is another 28 Kms to the East.

The 1000 Islands are sort of divided into 3 zones... West - Middle - East. The most dense area of islands is the Middle, and like RESCUE TEAM has said part of the reason that Gananoque is known as the "Gateway (or heart of) the 1000 Islands".

The boat tours that FALLSDUDE refers to spend most of their tours travelling around the large islands known as the Frontenac Islands (Amherst - Wolfe - Howe)... as any purist will tell you these are not part of the 1000 Islands... but rather islands more part of Lake Ontario... and the boat tours that scoot around them, don't give the Traveller a real feel for what the 1000 Islands truly are. The 1000 Islands is mostly about small islands, some with only one cottage on them, specs in the St Lawrence River... you'll have to use close-up mode in GOOGLE MAPS to get a better feel for what I mean (or switch to Satellite View).

I have done several boat tours in the 1000 Islands (as they are so close, and so magnificent we do at least one tour every summer... as one cannot tire of this gorgeous area). I can highly recommend the Gananoque Boat Line Tours out of Gananoque (the absolute best tour company I've ever travelled with). They have 1, 2-1/2 and 5 Hour Tours. They travel around the smaller islands in the "heart of the Islands" (there really are over 1000 Islands equally divided between the USA & Canada).

The only difference between the 2-1/2 and 5 Hour Tour, is the longer one allows you to make a stop at Boldt Castle (an amazing love story). But they both showcase the islands well... and cover the history, and the stories about the rich, famous, infamous and villans (smugglers) that have made this area their summer homes for over 100 years. They also tell stories of the many shipwrecks (even a couple of modern day ones... as the shipping channel is quite narrow and the depth varies greatly from under 30 feet to several 100s).

The tours that traverse thru the central core of these dense islands (such as Gananoque Boat Lines) will allow you to see just how unique these islands are... there are National Parks / Provincial - State Parks / Wildlife Conservation Areas / Cottages, Houses, Mansions and even Castles / Shipwrecks and of course the main channel of the St Lawrence - Great Lakes Seaway (where giant ocean going ships from afar known as Lakers traverse from the Atlantic into central Canada & the USA to the Great Lakes). The better tours allow one to really see these aspects and learn the history... on the Canadian side they depart from the more central areas - Gananoque, Ivy Lea and Rockport (from west to east). So as RT said, Gananoque would be the closest to Kingston.

As to the rest of your Quebec and Ontario adventure... here are the suggested minimum timeframes needed to explore the cities in the corridor:

Quebec City (3 or 4 Overnights)

Montreal (2 Overnights)

Ottawa - Canada's Capital City (2 Overnights)

Kingston or Gananoque - the 1000 Islands Region (1 Overnight)

For more info on all these Destinations see their TA Pages and respective TRAVEL FORUMS:

QUEBEC CITY - MONTREAL - OTTAWA - KINGSTON - GANANOQUE

Also... so you are aware (as it comes as a shock to many) intercity transportation in Canada tends to be quite expensive (plane - train - bus) this is due to the fact that we have a vast landmass but a scant population... (Canada is about the size of all of Europe, but we only have 34 Million residents, while Europe has over 731 Million).

In Canada our cities tend to be 2 to 8 hours apart... and the absolute best part of Canada (that amazing scenery that we are known for.... like the 1000 Islands) lies between our cities. And without a car getting to see that is well... either difficult, or impossible.

Public transit although extremeley good within our cities (has to be, no one really wants to drive here in the wintertime to get to work... huge headache) transportation between cities leaves a lot to be desired. Besides the expense, schedules tend to be inconvenient, and the service isn't all that comfortable (although I much prefer the train over the bus)... you'll also find that the train here is like a plane... the earlier you book the better the pricing. There are also passes you can buy to use within a given timeframe for unlimited travel.

Still though the car is king... with a car you can get everywhere you want to go (public transit uses the shortest possible route... rarely scenic). A car will give you great flexiblility in setting your own schedule... for example if you had a car in the Quebec Ontario corridor, not only could you easily see the 1000 Islands, but you might find you could clip a day or two off your Itinerary because you wouldn't be "held hostage" by a train or bus schedule. For example, from Kingston, Ottawa is just 2 Hours, and Montreal or Toronto only 3 Hours by car.

Personally with the trip you have in mind, I'd take the train between Quebec City and Montreal... and then rent a car for the Montreal - Toronto leg (as there is certainly a lot to see beyond the cities in that corridor - The Laurentians - The Quebec Foothills - the Gatineaus - Ottawa & The Capital City Region - Rideau Lakes - The 1000 Islands - PE County, etc). Also, it is a well travelled route by visitors so getting a one-way rental at a reasonable price is easier (otherwise you'd be looking at high drop fees).

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 4:44 pm, February 22, 2010
Ottawa, Canada
posts: 13,859
reviews: 50
5. Re: Kingston to,Gananoque

Ooops,

I should have added a bunch of links for you to learn more about the area:

Wikipedia – The Thousand Islands = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thousand_Islands

Gananoque Boat Line = www.ganboatline.com

And for a look at an assortment of photos... you might want to just GOOGLE the words - 1000 thousand islands (and then hit IMAGES).

I got a lot of hits... and there are some great photos.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Tannum Sands...
posts: 17
reviews: 2
6. Re: Kingston to,Gananoque

Hi Wine 4-2,

You have given us an ideal itenerary. I have had to persuade my husband that the best way to see the country is by car. You have convinced him. Many thanks.

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 53,684
reviews: 65
7. Re: Kingston to,Gananoque

Hi chad42;

If you decide to stay in Gananoque overnight, I strongly recommend the Islandview Inn Bed & Breakfast, which is located only 1 block from where the tour boats dock, and the St Lawrence River.

tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g182143-d619664-…

www.islandviewinnbb.com/

The Holiday Inn Express would be my second choice, but is located at the opposite end of town.

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g182143-d578912…

For more info on Boldt Castle and the 1000 Islands;

tripadvisor.ca/Travel-g182143-c131828/Ganano…

www.1000islandsgananoque.com

www.visit1000islands.com/

www.1000islandsinfo.com/

Best Regards

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 13,859
reviews: 50
8. Re: Kingston to,Gananoque

Hi Chad42,

You are very welcome... glad to be of help... as I say this is my BIG Backyard (lol the area that I regularly play in over the summertime spans from the NH Coast to Niagara Falls... we tour around by car every weekend, heading off in any direction that catches our fancy... in 6 to 8 hours radius I am lucky to be within some of the most scenic places in the East).

Being Seniors, if you are somewhat reluctant to drive, I can make another suggestion (it'll cut down on some driving for you).

You can take the train between Quebec City and Montreal, and then even catch another (or a bus) to Ottawa. Pick up the car there, you'll have it for the 1000 Islands (which as I said is otherwise difficult to get to). You can then drop it in either Toronto or even Kingston (where you can catch the train to TO).

By renting in Ontairo and dropping in Ontario that too will keep down the drop-fees.

If you choose this option, using public transit between Montreal and Ottawa, you might also want to plan a few hours to wander over to the Quebec side (with the car) to see the Gatineau Hills & Montebello (Chateau Montebello & Parc Omega).

For more info on that and all that the Ottawa - Capital City Region has to offer check out the OTTAWA TRAVEL FORUM. (I can answer any specific Questions regarding your Ottawa stay there).

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Tannum Sands...
posts: 17
reviews: 2
9. Re: Kingston to,Gananoque

Wine 4-2 Again many thanks for your suggestions. Pays to talk to a local and an expert at that. Is it worth visiting Niagra Falls? I can see we might have to change our departure date from Toronto. We are so excited about visiting Eastern Canada. Have just seen Canada win the Gold medal in Ice Dancing, brought tears to my eyes.

Regards.

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 13,859
reviews: 50
10. Re: Kingston to,Gananoque

Hi Chad42,

Thanks for your kind words... as for the Olympics, I've been crying all week... both for the joy and heartbreak of our Canadians as well as others from afar... the Olympics are such a great event... truly something we should all aspire to in that it brings us all togther... and that is always good, the more we understand one another the better a place this world is.

Ok back to Travel...

Niagara Falls is a MUST DO. There are just not words to describe this Natural Wonder of the World. Expect to spend one full day to see The Falls etc

I always recommend at least one overnight in the region (then you can catch the Illuminations and/or the Fireworks). You can get to NF from Toronto by organized Motorcoach Tour, Bus or Train. If you are comfortable driving in and around Toronto (the most traffic in all of North America) then go for it... otherwise you can rent a car once in in NF to spend a day exploring the Niagara Region in addition to just The Falls area.

The Niagara Region is important to both Canada and the USA due to Geography (the Escarpment), History (War of 1812 - Terminus on the Underground Railway), Agriculture (Ontario's premier wine region - and one of Canada's main fruit growing areas), Arts (Shaw Festival - Art Galleries and Concerts) as well as Transportation (the Welland Canal and the BIG Locks at Thorold).

You could do also a wine tour out of NF (they will pick you up at your Hotel and drop you back) but they just concentrate on the wine aspect... so no real time exploring the other facets of the Region. As I say you could rent a car out of TO or just get one for the one day you are there... it is a matter of economics, you'll have to look at what is the cheaper option, and how comfortable you are with driving in and around TO.

You'll get a ton more info on the TA NIAGARA FALLS and NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE TRAVEL FORUMS (I am a DE for NOTL) so browse thru the FORUMS or post other Questions there.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2