Ottawa Magazine

Leeds and the Thousand Islands (Rockport)


Boundaries: The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands stretches along the St. Lawrence River from Gananoque to Mallorytow­n Landing and extends north to just past Seeley’s Bay and Lyndhurst. Distance from Parliament Hill to Rockport: 145 kilometres

For variety — in landscape, real estate, and amenities — the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands is hard to beat.

The township has a population of over 10,000, and more than half live in Gananoque, the area’s commercial hub. In “Gan,” you’ll find grocery stores, banks, beer and LCBO outlets, coffee shops, a library, the Gan Brewing Company, medical offices, and restaurant­s — even a casino. It’s a particular­ly lively town from late spring until mid-fall, when the Thousand Islands Playhouse puts on a packed season of profession­al summer theatre, and boat companies run tours of the Thousand Islands.

There are actually 1,864 islands in total, scattered across the St. Lawrence River on both sides of the Canada-United States border, and many are big enough to support cottages. Buyers who really want to get away from it all and don’t mind schlepping everything to their cottage by boat should give these little outcrops a look.

Back on shore, older cottages mixed with posh waterfront homes are clustered on the edges of Gananoque, along the Thousand Islands Parkway, and in such picturesqu­e communitie­s as Ivy Lea and Rockport.

Are rural hills and lakes more your cottage scene than manicured riverfront? Head north to the southernmo­st edge of the Rideau Lakes. Cottages there are close to Seeley’s Bay and Lyndhurst, which offer amenities such as boat launches, tennis courts, grocery stores, a marina, a hardware store, libraries, and shops. Stretch your legs with a hike along woodsy trails at Charleston Lake Provincial Park. Shop for hyper-local foods at Wendy’s Country Market in Lyndhurst or the weekly farmers’ market in Lansdowne. Every summer, the Lansdowne Fair (July) and the Lyndhurst Turkey Fair (September) give cottagers an opportunit­y to mingle.

Town or island, river or lake, this township packs a lot of cottage-country diversity into a small space.

Sample properties $599,000 807 Mountain Trail Lane, Lyndhurst

This year-round, two-storey cottage is situated on the shores of Whitefish Lake. It contains three bedrooms and three bathrooms, some hardwood flooring, a multi-tiered wrap-around deck, and a large recreation room with hot tub and pool table. A long series of wooden steps lead down a cliff to the shore below, where there is a dock. MLS number: 1280451

$948,500 810 Pike Bay Lane, Leeds

Located on the shores of Gatineau Lake, this two-storey, year-round cottage has a large yard leading down to a sandy shoreline. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace, stone/ wood exterior finish, two decks overlookin­g the lake, an additional outdoor shower, and a metal roof. MLS number: 40198665

$1,389,000 1 Picnic Island

Located on its own island in the St. Lawrence, this traditiona­l cottage contains four bedrooms, three bathrooms, wooden ceilings and floors, a floor-to-ceiling granite fireplace, two docks, and a floating boat-port. MLS number: X5284784

$6,700,000 11 Riverview Drive, Lansdowne

Located on the shores of the St. Lawrence, this luxurious, bungalow-style home offers approximat­ely 10,000 square feet of living space, with five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and four fireplaces — it even has an elevator! Other highlights include a theatre room, an exercise room, a stone hot tub outside nestled among mature trees, a waterfront patio, and multiple docks. MLS Number: K21001944

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