Though there are varying stories on the early specifics of the history of the Gananoque Boat Line, it is known that the first tour boat operator in Gananoque was a local mailman who delivered mail to the island residents and took passengers as a sideline to his mail delivery business. Soon the sideline outgrew the mail route and he started what is now the Gananoque Boat Line.
As the 1950’s arrived, three local Gananoque men realized the ever-growing demand for a larger venue to provide tours of the popular 1000 Islands. In 1951, Waldin Beckstead, Grant Lucy and Art Bringlow began the Gananoque Boat Line as we know it today with the Linda 7; a wooden tour boat, which carried 55 passengers.
During the 1950’s, Gananoque Boat Line expanded its business, to offer several cruises per day. At this time they added the Linda 4, the Miss Rockport 2, the Island Wanderer and the Pickle; all wooden, single-decker boats. The Linda series of boats all carried between 55 and 90 passengers.
The 1960’s brought the double-decker boats to Gananoque Boat Line when the Miss Gananoque I and Miss Gananoque II was added to their growing fleet. The Miss Gananoque I was made of mahogany and the Miss Gananoque II was the first metal vessel owned by Gananoque Boat Line.
In 1972, Gananoque Boat Line christened the first of their triple-decker aluminum vessels. They hired local boatbuilder Ted Larski and went in search of a designer. Canadian born John O`Neil, a naval architect with Marine Design Associates, West Palm Beach, Florida, was the man they chose.
The Thousand Islander cost almost $400,000, and was a 100 foot long, three-deck, 350 passenger vessel. It was the first tourist-carrying all-aluminum passenger vessel in North America.
The Thousand Islander was named after a steamboat that was built in Toledo in 1912; and designed for cruising the 1000 Islands. That boat, which later sank during a storm on Lake Huron while en route to a new berth in Georgian Bay, was the first vessel to use steam power for steering.
Today, Gananoque Boat Line owns five triple-decker vessels ranging in capacity from 350 passengers to 500.
Computerized commentary is available in several languages and is gps driven.
They offer 1-hour, 2.5-hour, and Boldt Castle Stopover Cruises. The boats are available for wedding and corporate charters and host several themed evening events during their season.