This lonely spot haunted by a murder mystery became a wartime lifeline.
During the War of 1812, the protection of vital supplies as they moved up and down the St. Lawrence was critical for soldiers and civilians. Chimney Island was chosen as an ideal spot for the construction of a fortified British garrison. During the war, nearly all supplies were moved along the St. Lawrence River and the protection of those supplies ensured the well being of not only the soldiers but also the civilian population. The fear was that the Americans would try to cut off the transfer of supplies in order to weaken the British forces. With its close proximity to shore and clear vantage points up and down the river, the island served as a supply depot and a base for British gunboats. By 1814 the island housed a blockhouse and a circular battery and was maintained by the 57th Regiment and artillerymen until the end of the war when it was allowed to fall into disrepair.
But the islands history is not limited to a wartime garrison. Before that it was the home to a wealthy frenchman and his beautiful Aboriginal wife. Their log home was well furnished and offered hospitality to passersby traveling on the River. History tells us little of the generous couple, but their story ends mysteriously with the discovery of the gentleman murdered in his canoe and his wife never to be seen again.
What remains on the island is a chimney, though not the original to the wartime Blockhouse, that can be viewed from the shore along the Thousand Islands Parkway. The site was recognized as a National Historic Site in 1936 by the Historic Sites and Monument Board of Canada. A plaque stands at the shore looking out at a site steeped in mystery and patriotism.
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Plan Your Visit
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How to get to Chimney Island
Driving: The historical marker is located 2.3 km east of Mallorytown Landing along the Thousand Islands Parkway.
Cycling: The Waterfront Trail runs the length of the Thousand Islands Parkway along the north side stretching from the east side of Gananoque to approximately 10 km west of Brockville.
Paddling: There are many paddling routes that pass by Chimney Island. Launch from Mallorytown Landing and paddle east.
How to explore Chimney Island
Chimney Island can be viewed from the shoreline and from the water by canoe or kayak. The St. Lawrence Park Commission maintain a small parking area for viewing. The island itself is privately owned, so please be respectful and enjoy the site from shore or from the water.
While you are traveling down the Thousand Islands Parkway, check out some of the many sites including the Mallorytown Landing, Landon Bay Centre, and Brown’s Bay Campground with its new Skywood Ecoadventure Park.