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A New Wheelhouse in Gananoque

For many years the Arthur Child Heritage Museum in Gananoque has dreamed of undertaking a unique exhibit to be housed in the turret of the quaint Victorian building overlooking the St. Lawrence River. The iconic tower with its panoramic view of the river provided an ideal location to house a Ship's Wheelhouse.

The project gained momentum over the spring of 2013 as the Exhibit committee explored the latest technology available to produce a multi-media presentation, allowing the visitor a virtual scenic tour of the 1000 islands as they pilot a vessel through this historic waterway.

At the same time, a fundraising plan was launched to finance the project with the Arthur J.E. Child Foundation generously agreeing to match up to $20,000. for equal funding provided by the Museum.

Steve Shaw Productions of Oakville was selected to develop and execute the project with a projected cost of $40,000. The museums annual fundraiser, "A Summer Evening in the Islands", was held last July with a view to reaching a goal of $20,000 towards the project.

That goal was achieved, in fact slightly overachieved, to the delight of an exuberant crowd who generously stepped up to the plate, making the project a reality. This annual summer fundraiser has grown since its inception six years ago and continues to delight and surprise the community with the loyalty and generosity of its attendees. 2013 proved to be the most successful to date, not only reaching the goal for the Wheelhouse project, but achieving a record net profit for a single nights event of an additional $20,000.

With the Child Foundation matching the fundraising goal, the Museum is now well into the construction, retrofit and soon to be installed Wheelhouse exhibit with an anticipated unveiling at the 2014 Season Opening on May 3rd.

A film crew with Shaw Productions visited the area this past summer to capture the experience. The first excursion was filmed aboard a Tall ship decked out with crew in period costume sailing from Kingston to Gananoque as part of an 1812 re-enactment event. The second journey was filmed on a Classic Mahogany boat and a Key West boat as they meandered through the Admiralty Group of Islands. The third outing cruised the Navy Group and captured the iconic scenery surrounding the Ivy Lea Bridge and Boldt Castle.The three voyages will be projected on large, wrap around high definition screens, while the visitor gets to select which voyage to take.

The museum extends a special thank you to everyone who helped make this dream come true, allowing the Museum to expand, educate and promote the beautiful 1000 Islands area.

You are invited to visit this year and tour the new Wheelhouse as well as the 2014, seasonal exhibits which include: "Through the Lens: The Photography and Art of Lorne Prosser", "Remembering WW1: The 100th Anniversary", and "Threadworks 2013: Water", a juried Needle Art Exhibition. Browse in the Canadiana Gift Shop for distinctive Canadian-made gifts and mementos and be sure to visit the Museum's exciting new website at for details on our Exhibits and upcoming events, including the Annual July Fundraiser and other special programs throughout the year.

Important Dates for Summer 2014

May 3rd: Opening Day, open daily until October 31st from 10 am

July 1st : Canada day Cake and Lemonade  beginning at 12 noon until gone.

Speaker Series: Every Wednesday evening from 7 – 8 pm in the Rotunda. Check website or call for more details.

July 10th: 7th Annual Summer Evening in the Islands at the Riva beginning at 6 pm.  Order tickets now:  $125, person.  ($70 tax receipt)  

Once again, there will be Lemonade on the Veranda and Summer Afternoon Teas in July and August, Dates to be Confirmed.

More programs and events will follow so check our  museum’s website often! or call the Museum 613-382-2535

Address: 125 Water St, Gananoque, ON K7G 3E3
Phone:(613) 382-2535

By Pat Colby

Pat Colby lives in Gananoque with her husband Bill.  After 10 years as summer residents on Tremont Island they moved from Ottawa to the mainland in Gananoque.  They continue to be active supporters of the Arthur Child Heritage Museum.  Pat not only hosted the first “Summer Evening in the Islands on Tremont Island in 2008”, but has been the event’s co-chair annually.

  • Arthur Child Heritage Museum, Gananoque, ON

    Arthur Child Heritage Museum, Gananoque, ON

  • The backlit scene of Half Moon Bay

    The backlit scene of Half Moon Bay

  • the story of the Golden Era

    the story of the Golden Era

  • The enchanted doll house

    The enchanted doll house

  • On your way upstairs to the exhibits...

    On your way upstairs to the exhibits...

  • The model ships are a favourite display

    The model ships are a favourite display

  • Not a friendly nighbour

    Not a friendly nighbour


Posted in: News Article
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Raymond and Yelisa Pfeiffer
Comment by: Raymond and Yelisa Pfeiffer ( )
Left at: 8:29 PM Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Thanks, Pat, for the wonderfully informative article about the new Ship's Wheelhouse and the progress of the Arthur Child Heritage Museum. This is an essential part of Gananoque, and has been supported by the Town Council and summer residents alike on a broad scale. We need the Arthur Child, and we need you and your wonderfully successful efforts!
Yelisa and Raymond Pfeiffer
Carol Reesor
Comment by: Carol Reesor ( )
Left at: 7:27 PM Sunday, April 27, 2014
Brava, PAT,
You have captured a memorable aspect of these magnificent islands, and their visitors. It is significant to have a Wheelhouse that actually takes us through passages, and makes us all want to see more. Imagination is magic.
Carol Reesor,
Curator, Corridor Art Gallery,
Brockville General Hospital
Comment by: Andrea ( )
Left at: 6:52 PM Tuesday, April 29, 2014
To the author, Pat - Congrats on the fundraising event. Nice to see volunteers such as yourself so passionate about their communities.