Don’t miss Gananoque’s art scene: where to dine, explore and watch a show in the “Porte des Mille Îles”
Halfway between Toronto and Montreal, at the intersection of the Gananoque and Saint-Laurent rivers, is the town of Gananoque (population: approximately 5,000). It’s the heart of the Thousand Islands region and known for its waterfront access, vibrant sunsets and – if painters Steve Behal and Jeannie Catchpole have anything to say about it – a scene flourishing artistic.
“There are an incredible number of world-class artists and musicians who live in this city,” says Catchpole, also vice president of the Gananoque Arts Network, which was recently founded to support large-scale creative endeavors. “There are fashion designers, potters and glassmakers,” she adds.
The couple also continue to paint vibrant abstracts on a large scale in their live work studio in the historic downtown area, tucked away in a building that houses the O’Connor Gallery on the ground floor. Just a five-minute walk away, a brasserie can be found next to a new delicatessen, Lighthouse Provisions, while an ice cream shop, Pistachio Café, is expected to open daily.
“Everyone has said, ‘Wow, this place is about to open up’ in the last 50 years,” says Behal de Gananoque. “I think it has started. Check out some of their favorite spots when you drop anchor.
(Regional travel guidelines and access to specific locations can change quickly; always check for official updates before you go.)
For the local theater: Thousand Islands Theater House (185, rue Sud and 690, rue Charles S., Gananoque)
With two stages – one in a former fire station and the other in a former canoe club by the water – the Thousand Islands Playhouse is the perfect place to see “shows that inspire, challenge and delight”, explains Catchpole. Tickets are on sale now for the 2021 season, which is slated to begin August 5 and includes “Sexy Laundry,” “Back in ’59,” “Serving Elizabeth” and “Miss Caledonia”. You can even watch certain dates from home via the live broadcast.
For refined cuisine: Graydon’s Restaurant (250 King Street West, Gananoque)
Located in the Woodview Inn, a lovingly restored Victorian mansion with 12 rooms, the Graydon Restaurant showcases upscale classics such as beef tenderloin and pan-seared Pacific sea bass in a brown butter sauce with sage and lemon. “Their food is top notch,” notes Behal. “When we want something special, this is where we go. »Inside, find white tablecloths in an intimate dining room. Outside, a cocktail on the terrace awaits you.
For the river cruise: Gananoque Boat Line (280 Main Street, Gananoque)
“My parents drove here on their honeymoon in 1942 to take a boat cruise,” says Catchpole, citing what continues to be the Thousand Islands’ biggest draw: the St. Lawrence River. Gananoque Boat Line is the oldest cruise line in the area and offers day trips that ply the many islands and luxurious cabins.
For casual fashion: Steel-style garage (23 King Street East, Gananoque)
This trendy boutique meets your vacation needs. You’ll find Smash + Tess rompers and Billabong boardshorts, as well as lifestyle items like Hook, Line & Tinker embroidery kits and Salt & Stone deodorant. “It’s in a historic stone building,” says Behal. “Young people manage it. He has a great attitude.
For panoramic cycling: Confederation Park (2 King Street East, Gananoque)
With a 12-kilometer-long ring trail and several loops that run through town, Gananoque is easy to explore by bike. Just be sure to walk through Confederation Park, which is on either side of the Gananoque River, to see the sculpture park. Beyond the outdoor art, there are plenty of swans in the water, Behal notes. “It’s unique and very picturesque.”
The Star understands travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. But like you, we dream of traveling again, and we publish this story with future trips in mind.