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RiverQuest Discovered

Were you around this summer to see photographers and videographers with cameras in hand shooting from the air, on boats, ashore and underwater?  Actually hundreds of hours of River footage were captured by the River’s McLellan Group (from Wood Isle in the Lake Fleet) and put together for a very special project which is branded as RiverQuest (RQ).

There is a tall new building constructed on Brockville’s waterfront and in it will be one of the region’s most ambitious attractions – the Aquatarium.  When completed in 2014, its 25,000 square foot discovery centre will focus on all things water-related.

You probably already know that the Thousand Islands is made up of museums, castles, forts, theatres, art centres, environmental reserves and boat tours – all located on both sides of the River and the border.  How is it possible to bring everything together to allow a family visiting from New York, Boston, Toronto or Montreal to see it all?

Brockville’s Aquatarium decided not to stand alone, but to bring everyone together.   That initiative is branded as RiverQuest, and their new website launched on January 10th, connecting some of the region’s most important components.  “Click” on a “Quest” and you will discover an adventure that links several important River experiences.

With RiverQuest partners and friends working together and cross promoting each other (along both sides of the border) the stories and attractions of this special place will be shared with a far bigger audience in ways that no single entity could afford to do on its own. The best way to see what RiverQuest plans to be is to visit the new website:

All the information you need – descriptions  - hours of operations - what you will see when you arrive – is designed to help families plan a visit to the Thousand Islands that goes beyond a single place. For example, begin in Brockville and end in Clayton… or  go from Kingston to Brockville and then on to Prescott…

So… Let’s begin.

Here is the new Aquatarium.


Now what might you see if you get out on the River and explore?

RiverQuest - A Million Things to Experience

The really important aspect of RiverQuest is what it is doing for our area. If you’re on this site you’ll no doubt agree that the region is truly one of the most spectacular places in the world but it’s not particularly well known. Research shows that there are 50 million people within a 6 hour drive but unlike the glory days at the turn of the 19th century, very few people know it even exists, let alone all the wonderful places to visit.   So far the following have joined as partners or friends of RiverQuest:

  • 1000 Islands Accommodations Partners, Gananoque, ON
  • 1000 Islands Seaway Cruises, Brockville, ON
  • Aquatarium, Brockville, ON
  • Antique Boat Museum, Clayton, NY
  • Bottom Time Diving, Iroquois, ONThe list of Partners and Friends is growing...
  • Brockville Arts Centre, ON
  • Brockville Museum, ON
  • Cape Vincent Chamber of Commerce
  • City of Brockville, Brockville, ON
  • Downtown Brockville (DBIA)
  • Frederic Remington Art Museum, Ogdensburg, NY
  • Gananoque Boat Line, Gananoque, ON
  • Half Moon Bay, Gananoque, ON
  • Kingston 1000 Island Cruises, Kingston, ON
  • Lost Villages Historical Society, Long Sault, ON
  • Rockport Boat Lines, Rockport, ON
  • St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, Prescott, ON
  • St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation
  • Save the River, Clayton, NY
  • Singer Castle, Near Schermerhown Landing, NY
  • The St. Lawrence River Institute, Cornwall, ON
  • Thousand Islands Bridge Authority/Boldt Castle
  • Thousand Islands Land Trust, Clayton, NY
  • Thousand Islands Life Magazine
  • Thousand Islands Playhouse, Gananoque, ON
  • Uncle Sam Boat Tours, Alexandria Bay, NY

[Note:  Since publication on January 15, additional partners thave joined RiverQuest.  Check back again as we continue to update our list] 

Over the following months more partners and friends will be added as they come aboard adding further interactivity and building ever greater levels of mutual support.

Ian Coristine has generously provided many of his photographs to support RiverQuest and the Aquatarium and you can see them on their respective websites. Ian is someone who has been smitten by the River from the moment he first saw it from his ultralight. His award-winning eBook “One in a Thousand”, tells his story of discovery in major, multimedia detail.

There is one big challenge RiverQuest is facing. Whether to spell theatre and centre with a Canadian “re” or American “er” word ending. RQ is an international undertaking after all and they don’t want either side to think the other can’t spell!

By Susan W. Smith,

Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


Ian Coristine
Comment by: Ian Coristine ( )
Left at: 10:04 PM Monday, January 14, 2013
When I first met Paul Malo, it didn't take long to realize that this remarkable man was far more than an historian and professor emeritus. He was a visionary. He believed the Thousand Islands to be exceptional but under-appreciated and was determined to make a difference.

Incredibly generously, (with the help of Robert Charron), he organized several exhibitions, at which we would present together, with Paul revealing the islands’ extraordinary Gilded Age, reminding people of what this place had once been, while pointing to my images to convey what it still is. TI Life, now championed so effectively by Susie Smith, was another of Paul's strategies to make a difference, created with the sole intention of building a greater appreciation for the place.

Paul would have been overjoyed by RiverQuest and its potential to make more impact than any previous initiative. He’d instantly understand how the towns and attractions here will reach a wider audience with greater impact by supporting each other while presenting their collective assets to the world. The villages in Tuscany or Provence are little known on the world’s stage, but by pulling together, these regions have become tourism Meccas.

Thanks to another visionary - Simon Fuller - the RiverQuest initiative (and its Aquatarium, a $21M facility to showcase the very best in the region), the Thousand Islands has its best ever opportunity to achieve international acclaim.
William (Bill) Elliott
Comment by: William (Bill) Elliott ( )
Left at: 8:12 AM Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Excelent article. I am looking forward to the Auatarium, when it opens in 2014. This 25,00 square foot discovery centre will defenently be a one of a kind and something this fine city has never had. Hopefully it will be very educational and a attraction added to our fine city.
Anonymous User
Comment by: Anonymous User
Left at: 9:51 PM Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wallpaper February 2013
Bob Isaacs
Comment by: Bob Isaacs ( )
Left at: 11:14 AM Friday, February 1, 2013
I think that uniting Canada and the US in the TI region is a great idea. Unfortunately, the hard heads that work for Customs and Immigration go out of their way to make life miserable for boaters on the border.

I have a NEXUS pass, been to seminars, made phone calls, talked to customs agents--and I still can't get any straight answers on what to do when venturing into Canadian waters. It seems like they make up new rules every year.

The latest is that you're supposed to "report" any time you cross the border whether or not you land or anchor. When cruising the islands I'd spend the whole day on the phone!

Perhaps some informational packets written in plain English along with someone to talk to at popular landing points like Heart Island would help.
Anonymous User
Comment by: Anonymous User
Left at: 12:20 PM Friday, February 1, 2013
Wallpaper February 2013
Anonymous User
Comment by: Anonymous User
Left at: 1:44 PM Wednesday, February 27, 2013
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