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"Boat Museum Granted $100,000 for New Docks"

By Wayne Lowrie, Gananoque Reporter
January 26, 2016

The Thousand Islands Boat Museum will receive $100,000 in federal funds toward a dock at its Museum in Gananoque.

Tom Russell, executive director of the Thousand Islands Community Development Corporation, said the money is in addition to the $250,000 that the corporation already has given to the fledging Museum, which opened two years ago. Speaking to the annual Thousand Islands Gananoque Chamber of Commerce Mayors' Breakfast, Russell said the Boat Museum is now by far the largest recipient of TICDC money in its history.

He described the Museum as having the potential of being a “game changer” for tourism in the Thousand Islands. Russell said the Museum has sex appeal and it could become a “Disneyland for adults,” like the one in Clayton, N.Y. Along with the Aquatarium in Brockville, the Boat Museum could become an anchor for tourism at both ends of the Thousand Islands region, he said.

The docks will provide a berth place for boat exhibits visiting the Museum. The Museum is now raising money for a large boathouse at the docks to protect sensitive exhibits. Susanne Richter of the Boat Museum said the Museum is “slowly emerging out of its startup phase” and that the new docks would be a game changer, allowing the Museum to schedule more events.

Russell gave out two other cheques at the Mayors' Breakfast. The committee organizing hydroplane races in Gananoque got $15,000 in startup money to help revive the races that were popular in town during the 1940s and 1950s. Organizer Chris McCarney said the races, to be held June 4 and 5, would bring 70 boats to town as part of one of the largest hydroplane race circuits in North America. The races in Valleyfield, QC., attract 200,000 fans over three days, but the Gananoque committee figures to draw only a fraction of that number, he said. Still, the aim of organizers is to eventually attract as many spectators as the tourist facilities of Eastern Ontario would allow, McCarney said. He said the boat Museum will team up with the races to exhibit artifacts from the heyday of the Nickel Cup races in Gananoque.

The Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network received $20,000 to renovate its 50-year-old building on the Thousand Islands Parkway to better accommodate tourists. Don Ross of the Arch Biosphere noted that his organization is not in the tourist-information business but that tourists stop there anyway. Because of its location next to the Thousand Islands Bridge to the U.S., the building sees thousands of tourists stop, looking for information, Ross said. And the fact that the building used to be a tourist information building – and still looks like one– adds to the draw, he said.

The Arch Biosphere will use the TICDC money to renovate the building, which hasn't been changed much since it was built in the 1960s, Ross said. He said the Arch Biosphere hopes to partner with other tourist information groups in the area to help it better serve the visitors.


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