MORRISBURG - PRESCOTT
IROQUOIS - CARDINAL
For large ID map click here Marina Information Here
We will continue our west to east progression and group these destinations as part of the Thousand Islands.
Prescott , founded in 1784 by the United Empire Loyalists (who had crossed the St. Lawrence after the defeat of the British in the USA War of Independence) has one of the newest harbours on the St Lawrence river.
Your approach to the harbour is from downstream through a slight dogs-leg cut in the stone break wall, with the historic Fort Wellington guarding it. This is a deep harbour offering an average of 14 feet docksides with 145 berths. The harbour is close to the town centre where you will find everything a visitor requires. The entire town is beautifully restored and walking the main street is a pleasure.
This is a place you can stop with the kids and not have them get bored. During the summer there are concerts held in the open band shell. There is an active dive community here and you will often catch entire schools of divers diving just off the break wall so watch for them
We spent some time looking at the historical aspects of the 1000 Islands, beginning at Prescott and the Johnstown- Ogdensburg International Bridge, since this is where the St Lawrence river played an important part in Canada's early history.
On the USA shore is Odgensburg which is a worthwhile visit. Ogdensburg , is noticeable by the Port sheds on the waterfront and the spires of the church. As new York States oldest town it played an important part in Canadian history during the 1812 1814 war. Originally settled by the french during the mid 1700's it soon became a home for those seeking to overcome the british.
After the 1837 rebellion many rebels fled to the United States and joined American sympathizers to overthrow the British colonial rule. This secret organization made one of the first attacks on what was to become Canada (then known as Upper & Lower Canada, and which are now the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec). Keeping to the Canadian shore we pass under the silent guns of Fort Wellington which acted as a deterrent to the Americans in 1800's.
In 1838 they landed 190 men at a site now marked by the Windmill light, seizing both the windmill and surrounding buildings. The local settlers remained loyal to the crown and within a few days 2000 militia and regulars supported by locals and British Navel vessels retook the mill. This resulted in 11 executions and 60 of the invaders being exiled to Australia.
A few kilometers east of the Old Windmill landing site is the town of Johnstown is marked by a large grain elevator on the north shore perhaps 0.5 km west of the bridge itself. The Bridgeview Marina and Restaurant is tucked into a shallow cove to the north of the grain elevator and is approached via a marked channel. Visitors would do well to pay heed to this channel as the bay itself has numerous wrecks and industrial obstacles hidden below the waterline.
Prescott - Ogdensburg bridge, running from Johnstown on the Canadian shore to Ogdensburg on the USA shore of the river is on the eastern edge of town
CardinalFive miles down river from Johnstown and the Johnstown Ogdensburg Bridge on the Canadian shore is the small community of Cardinal. From the river the large Canada Starch building mark it location. All marine facilities are found to the west side of town where the town dock provides a deep water dock. Facilities are limited however there is a gas dock, ice, phone, convience store and playground.
Iroquois is the first of the Seaway locks and maintains Lake Ontario's water level. It offers two different areas above and below the lock for visiting boaters along with some questionable looking backwaters where the adventuresome may well find a free spot to nose a steel boat ashore.
If you do not need to shop in town which is almost 2 kilometers away Iroquois Marine Service which is found upstream of the lock would be my choice. You reach the marina by following a privately buoyed channel that runs between Iroquois Island where the visitors center and lock are located and the old canal. Watch for the red 112 buoy which marks the entrance to its west. Giving the marina a call on 68 may well help you find your way in.
Iroquois Marine Service was a surprise and is one of the best working yards for boat builders and restorers in eastern Ontario. Our visit found several familiar vessels now residing there waiting for refit or launch. To a builder you should note that the dry storage is excellent with high fences and good lighting which will provide security. There are in fact two different marine facilities reached from either above or below the lock proper.
The seaway locks themselves are a pretty amazing feat and worth a visit. There is a informative visitors center along with snack shop and even a souvenir stand!.
For those in a larger boat or who perhaps want to stay a while Iroquois East looks interesting if not outright sleepy. The marina itself lives in one of the old locks now long abandoned. There is not much in the way of facilities and once you tie up check in at the green building. There is a port-a-john and picnic tables but that is about it.
Waddington is tucked on the United States shore behind Ogden Island a little west of Morrisburg roughly 5 milles downstream from iroquois. To reach Waddington you turn to the south of Ogden Island at red 88. However the water shoals at both ends of the island and maintain a running fix on your position. Other than the shoals you should have no trouble providing you watch for the tour boats which dock downtown.
There is no marina as such however the town docks usually have space for a half dozen visiting vessels. Pay attention to the commercial operators dock signs and you will in all probability find a space. there are stores nearby along with a good selection of small resort town restaurants and recreation facilities.
Approximately 8 kilometers downstream from the Iroquois lock is Morrisburg. There is not much to say regarding Morrisburg as there is no marina, however there is a day use park that transient boats with 4 (inside) to 6 feet (outside) may tie up at. You will have no obstructions on approach, but no shelter from wakes either. The area in front of the dock is dredged and there are washrooms ashore.
Crysler Park Marina is another renewed marina thanks to the St Lawrence Parks. Situated a few hundred yards off the river proper behind a rock break wall Crysler Park is located in a deep bay. Your turning is directly north of quick flashing buoy 72, once you have turned you will find port and starboard marker spar buoys to guide you through the break wall entrance to the inner harbour. Depth are good reportedly maintained to a depth of 10 feet.
The entire marina has been recently been rebuilt and shows all the signs of another waterfront marine park from it modern docks to attractive buildings. Total available slips for transient and seasonal boaters is 100 with 25 reserved for transient traffic. Depth will vary from 6 to 10 feet dock side with slips ranging from 25 feet to 40 with a break wall suitable for larger vessels.
The bay itself offers productive fishing from the banks and docks which there are the normal range of parks facilities available. The washrooms are clean and modern with showers with a full range of amenities. There is a kids playground as well as laundry facilities for the family or visiting boater on site.
Upper Canada Village
Upper Canada Village is a tourist destination which began as one of the relocated towns created by the building of the seaway in the 50's. During the summer season there is an active crafts and trade marketplace featuring the lifestyles of the 1860's.
Coles Creek Marina (315) 388 4237 is on the USA south shore across from Crysler Park off the flashing green buoy 73. From the main channel skirt the west end of Hill Island watching for the red and green buoys which will lead you u the creek and around the bend into the small tributary where Coles Creek Marina is situated.
CAUTION should be exercised when rounding Nichols Hill Island as there is a shallow bar in the mouth of the creek entrance which can be difficult to see if there is a chop on the river. Depth were reported to be 8 to 10 feet with washroom showers and repairs available at the marina.