Canadian Antique Boat Museum Coming to Thousand Islands Region?

The Thousand Islands Antique Boat Museum Trust is planning to establish a Canadian Antique Boat Museum in the Thousand Islands region in Ontario.  The Trust is working in partnership with the US Antique Boat Museum based in Clayton, New York, which features a collection of more than 320 classic boats ranging from eight to 110 feet in length.

“Our focus would be similar to the Clayton museum on a smaller scale,” says John Simpson, museum proponent and trustee with the Thousand Islands Antique Boat Museum Trust. “We would focus on preserving Canadian boats, expanding education not only in boat building but on the history of the river and Canadian boats. We're also considering teaching sailing and boat building.”

The Trust has retained the services of the Economic Planning Group, a tourism-consulting firm, to investigate possible locations for the museum. “Once a location has been found a feasibility study will be conducted followed by a fund-raising campaign,” explains Simpson.

“Finding the right location will be critical to the overall success of the Canadian museum,” says Simpson.  “We want to be in the Thousand Islands. We're looking at land between Brockville on the east and Kingston on the west. We need a site that will provide us 20,000 square feet for the museum, workshop space, an education area, parking and ideally access to the water.”

By establishing a museum in Canada, the Trust and other promoters are hoping to achieve the same level of success as that of the US museum.  The Antique Boat Museum, located in Clayton, NY was first established more than 40 years ago.  It has since grown to become a major feature of the Village of Clayton and Upper New York State. However, Simpson says that although there would be strong links between the two locations, the Canadian museum will be Canadian owned.

“Our goal in building a Canadian museum is to provide an exciting destination for Canadian and American tourists in the Thousand Islands region and to serve as a solid anchor that will attract economic activity for area businesses,” said Joe Pal, a trustee and supporter of the project.  “As many area communities have suffered through tough economic times, we are confident this project can go a long way to increase the vitality of the area and build on the natural treasure of the Thousand Islands.”

A proposal in 2007 to establish the museum in the Town of Gananoque, ON was not able to proceed due to complications at the time in securing the necessary commitments. Members of the Trust and supporters of the museum are confident that through this new process, they will meet with success in securing a final location and home for the museum.

For more information contact John Simpson at