Our History is the Story that Binds Us.
The name “Gananoque ” has the distinction of having several meanings; “ Water Rising over Rocks” or “Garden of the Great Spirit”. Equally colourful is the life of our founder, Joel Stone who arrived in 1793, a refugee Loyalist, who became a prosperous entrepreneur, who started with 700 acres and a flour mill, and then saw potential to develop our industrial foundation. Lumbering, mining, and milling, the Gananoque River was lined with factories on both banks from its mouth to the upper falls, and these establishments depended on water as a prime source of energy. By the early 19th century numerous mills, a tannery, tool manufacturing plant and harness and carriage factory were thriving industries.
Gananoque also played an essential role as a forwarding point on the supply line moving up the St Lawrence River from Montreal and Cornwall to Kingston. An incursion of regulars and militia led by the Captain Forsyth of the 1st US Rifle regiment made an attack here (September 1812). A detachment of the 2nd Leeds militia, under Colonel Joel Stone, offered some resistance, but withdrew its force of two subalterns and about 40 soldiers. American forces seized the stores, burned the government depot, and withdrew.
The influence of the St. Lawrence River to the Town of Gananoque continues today, for the residents of the town, those that summer on the islands and visitors to this region. The natural beauty of this region has been a conduit for the creative community. We are a region blessed with great history, unique cultural assets, and natural resources and boasting a large creative population who participate in many arts related activities, whether musicians, visual arts, crafts, or dance, theatre, boat building, story telling, photography and historians all who realize the importance to celebrate our past, while building for our future.
For more history read about Gananoque's involvement in World War II