A beautiful small town known as "The City of the Thousand Islands"
Brockville Ontario is known as the “City of the Thousand Islands” and is located approximately halfway between the cities of Kingston and Cornwall along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River at the downstream end of the Thousand Islands chain which start near the City of Kingston approximately 80 kilometres (48 miles) away.
Originally called Elizabethtown it was renamed Brockville in honor of the fallen British general Sir Isaac Brock.
First Nations peoples have inhabited the site of Brockville for thousands of years with the first “European” settlers being United Empire Loyalists fleeing from persecution after the American Revolutionary War in 1785. William Buell Sr. is credited as being the first permanent settler and the small settlement that sprung up came to be known as Buell’s Bay with the formal name of Elizabethtown coming into existence in 1810. During the war of 1812 local residents petitioned to have the town renamed in honor of the hero commander of British forces in Upper Canada: Sir Isaac Brock.
The name was readily accepted and Brockville Ontario came into legal existence just shortly after the death in battle of this fallen “Canadian” hero. Brockville Ontario is one of the oldest urban centres in the province and was actually incorporated as a town in 1832, two years before the town of Toronto. The town grew rapidly and it became one of the leading industrial centres of the fledgling province. Then, as now, this community of 40,000 residents has always been dominated by the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands that lie just offshore and being the “City of the Thousand islands” tourism plays a major part of the local economy today.
Location of Brockville Ontario
How to get to Brockville:
The City of Brockville sits on Ontario’s main east-west transportation corridor Highway 401. When traveling to the city simply navigate to Highway 401 and then head either east or west depending upon your departure point.
By Public Transport
Sitting along the main transportation corridor between Toronto and Montreal Brockville is well serviced and easy to get to by bus. For more information visit:
This historic railway community still sits along the main east-west railway line linking Toronto to Ottawa and Montreal. As such there is regular via rail passenger service. For more information visit: www.viarail.ca
Brockville Municipal Airport located 9 kilometres (5.4 miles) northeast of the city does not have regular passenger service. The closest airport for domestic flights would be Norman Rogers Airport in Kingston while Ottawa International Airport would be the closest airport for international flights.
The city is so well served by other means of public transport it is highly recommended that if flying into either Ottawa International or Pearson International in Toronto visitors should simply transfer to these other modes of transportation to complete the trip to Brockville Ontario.
Brockville Ontario Attractions and Activities:
Brockville has long been a shipping and boating destination as it offers a large deepwater marina and full marine commercial refueling and repair services. No longer suitable for the large commercial freighters that journey down the St. Lawrence Seaway System it is nevertheless still a preferred destination for the many pleasure craft that utilize this highly trafficked waterway.
With a large municipal marina and several private commercial marinas it is one of the busiest port of calls in the region and rental slips and boats are available.
Boat cruising amongst the Thousand Islands is a popular summer activity and the excellent port at Brockville allows for some magnificent commercial cruising. Cruises of varying lengths and destinations are available and there is also a high-speed adventure aboard a state of the art high-speed catamaran. For more information visit: www.1000islandscruises.com
Insider Tip: If you are in the region I highly recommend you schedule some time for a 1000 Islands boat cruise as the scenery is some of the best in the province.
The City of Brockville is a haven for paddlers as there are many small islands and channels to be explored. Just offshore in the middle of the St. Lawrence River is the Brockville Islands group which contain a number of municipal parks and a portion of the Thousand Islands National Park.
On any given summer day you will see many participants partaking in this hugely popular recreational activity in the waters just offshore.
The whole Thousand islands region is a haven for scuba divers as there are shipwrecks to be found everywhere due to the narrow and shallow navigation channels throughout the numerous islands. Brockville has become one of the leading ports from which a number of dive operators operate boats that take divers to the various sites.
Brockville Railway Tunnel
The Brockville area was one of the first industrialized areas of the province. Lying on the main route between Montreal and Toronto it also became one of the oldest railway centres in Canada with the opening of the Grand Trunk Railway. With the development of the Ottawa region a second railway was opened connecting Brockville to Ottawa.
The Brockville and Ottawa Railway was extended to the town’s waterfront to allow for goods from the Ottawa region to be shipped worldwide. As such it had to cross the Grand Trunk’s line and the decision was made to construct a tunnel to accommodate this. The Brockville Railway Tunnel was completed in 1860 becoming the first railway tunnel in Canada and today sits under the city’s downtown core passing directly under city hall.
The tunnel operated until the 1970’s and after it’s shelving, its owner: Canadian Pacific, donated the tunnel to the community of Brockville in 1984. The community restored the southern end of the tunnel and installed a wooden walkway in the first 85 feet that today is open to the public for viewing. A historical novelty it is worthy of a short visit.
Located in the east end of the city this historic mansion was once the home of Senator George Taylor Fulford. At the time of his death in 1905 he was one of Ontario’s richest men having made a fortune marketing “Dr. Williams Pink Pills for Pale People” around the world.
Today his palatial 35-room home is owned and operated by the Ontario Heritage Trust as a museum and tea room with original furnishings from his era.
This small museum located on the waterfront in the historic city centre is dedicated to Brockville’s United Loyalist heritage. With exhibits and artifacts from the period it is worth a short visit when checking out the beautiful downtown core of this historic community.
Brockville sits at the eastern end of the 40 kilometre (25 mile) long Thousand Islands Parkway that runs from Brockville to Gananoque. This scenic riverside route is a cycling and hikers nirvana and makes for a great way to spend an Ontario summer day.
As with all other locales in the 1000 Islands region Brockville Ontario offers some of the finest fresh water fishing in the world.
Some of the most sought after fresh water game fish are to be found in the waters just offshore including:
- Northern Pike
- Muskellunge (muskie)
- Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass
- Yellow Perch