Wallpaper April 2011

Wallpaper April 2011

I had been hoping to tease out a few stories about TI Park’s early days, but alas, no such luck. My good friend Paul Malo was a great friend of the Park, working for many years with a number of caring residents to help preserve the historic charm of the place, not always the easiest thing to do.

Paul once explained to me how “TI Park was saved by poverty.” Tough times following the Depression and World War II meant that nobody could afford “improvements” and by the time they finally could, the Park’s architecture was no longer considered old fashioned, but something to be celebrated and preserved. The entire village was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1982.

TIP faced other challenges too, including two devastating fires in 1890 and again in 1912, both destroying dozens of cottages plus the grand hotels the Park hosted at those times, initially the Thousand Islands Park Hotel and later its replacement, the Columbian.

Wallpaper March 2011

From the comments posted, I think this one form Dale Hull is worth highlighting:

“I call this 'home,' have been on the river all my life, and remember going to the 'Guzzle' and looking at all the penny candy in the case, my kids do that now, also going to the main dock to race sunfish sail boats, my dad was commodore of the sailing club for years... Good memories, thanks for the pictures, always look forward to them! As for Abby Hoffman, yes, he was 'holed' up there, lived in Fineview (just up the road from T.I. Park) under the assumed name of Barry Freed. He was instrumental in forming Save the River in the early days of the organization. Talked with him several times, never knowing he was Abby Hoffman. Just a sidebar to all the memories.”  Dale Hull, Weedsport, NY

Many thanks Dale. Six 8 by 10 prints are heading your way.

For those of you who may have tried to show distant friends and family how exceptional the 1000 Islands actually are, you might want to look at and share these two videos. 1000 Islands VOICES and 1000 Islands PASSION were produced as a community service by Linda Gayle Ross to help build a greater appreciation for the place.

Linda put in a major effort with a group of St. Lawrence College students and Todd Morgan Productions in Toronto to try to do justice to our River. The VOICES video alone required a dozen remote tapings, resulting in over 30 hours of video. Don’t be shy to leave your comments as to how you feel about her efforts or the place.

For this month I’ll share a view of a somewhat lesser known island group but definitely amongst the wildest and most beautiful. Don’t be shy to share stories to help others learn more about this corner of heaven.


Ian Coristine

Wallpaper April 2011

Download wide-angle version


Gorgeous. Thank you for this beautiful scene this morning. Right now in Pennsylvania it is spitting rain and trying to snow. Blech! On April first of all days. I have always been a huge fan of the 1000 Islands. Having spent at least one week each year there since I was 5 or 6 years old (I am 33 now!) My dad "discovered" the area on a fishing trip with friends in the late 60s. And hasn't stopped returning yet. Each year we vacation in Gananoque and enjoy our favorite fishing spots in the islands like Howe, Wolf, and the many others in that general area. In 2010 I continued the tradition for our family when my husband and I brought our 5 month old daughter with us for the first time. I hope we can continue to enjoy this area, its beauty, its people.

posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

Oh! How awesome that view of the Lake Fleet Group! How wonderful to see the island, Wyoming Island, from that high in the air, when it has been so cold and dreary recently! I know that WE ALL are ready for the summer and the river activities to come again and SOON!

Woodie Stevens posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

We are truly blessed to be able to see these wonderful photographs and get a real sense of the beauty of islands. It has taken hours of work and research to bring these to us. We are fortunate to be able to see them. Thank you!

Catharine Van Sickle posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

What a fabulous photo of the Lake Fleet group, from Sugar Island in the lower right all the way up to Leek (Admiralty group), with Gananoque off in the distance uinder the cloud cover. And of course Red Top Island, which is how I was sure this is a photo the Lake Fleet group! These islands look like ships, which is a perspective I wouldn't have without your marvellous photos. Can't wait to get the skiff out and start rowing among these lovely islands again this summer.

Marilee Sherry posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

The videos are spectacular. Having finally bought our own place at the Islands, I sent the videos to my family and friends who will be visiting to get them as anxious as I am for spring and to get back to the river.

Liz Aldridge posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

The Lake Fleet, sailing majestically up the river in battle formation. Often when I sit on my front deck and look down at the water as it moves endlessly past the western-most point of Axeman Island (in the foreground of this shot), it gives me the illusion that the island is moving up the river. So I've installed a ship's wheel on my deck to heighten the illusion! I was "born" to this wonderful island legacy, left to us by my grandparents, Marjorie and Frank Breyer. I was three weeks old when I was first brought to Axeman. By then, my family had owned the island for 20 years. Our extended family still gathers here for the last week in July and the first two weeks in August every year to share our family heritage, lives and stories (legends?). The Lake Fleet has been my second home all my life (maybe my first home?), and our neighbors have been life-long friends. I often marvel at the foresight of my grandparents--I can think of no better gift to give your family.

Scott Ritson posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

Cheers Ian, Spring snow here today and I have to say that I am beginning to ache for the River. I can see your plane coming from down river to shoot the Lake Fleet Group. Your approach illustrates so well how the Group name, and island names, came to be. I believe that the names recall the names of the original British navel fleet which made the Crown survey. It's a scary lot: Deathdealer, Bloodletter, Axeman, Belabourer, just to name a few. The group even recalls a bit of navel trivia. Towards the downriver end are Barge, Gig and The Punts all nestled up to each other. In the British Navy a Captain's personal launch was, and is, called his "Gig", an Admiral had his "Barge", and the small general purpose boats were referred to as "Punts". See you on the River,

Michael Brink, VT/Ramsden Island posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

Ahh! The Lake Fleet Group. The first image out of my mind was the Axeman Island Regatta. In the early 1960s our family, from Champagne Island trekked up to the regatta and 2 of my sisters and I entered the sailing race in our O'Day Day Sailor, The Neried. I seem to remember winning some prize of something or other but we young girls in a bigger boat were no match for the Sunfish, Albacores and such. 50 years later we are still at Champagne Island and the Neried is still there but in storage. Ian, thanks for the memories. Georgina

posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

I am in warm Florida today but soon to return home. I live in Brockville at the beginning of the 1000 Islands, the 3 sisters. I also had grandparents who built a house on the river in Maitland and I spent my summers with a 10' plywood boat and 7.5 Martin motor. I used to head out for the waves from the "Kingston" and the "Rapids Prince". This means of course that I am probably much older than most of your readers. I have always been a boater and traveled up through the islands from the 3 Sisters to the Admiralty Group. It is great to see the wonderful pictures that I get each month and I love to share them with the my neighbours here in Florida. They didn't realize that we in Canada live in paradise as well. Keep up the good work. Ian & Mary Ellen

Ian Stphenson posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

Lizzy, welcome to God's country! Danno

posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

All you have to see is Redtop and you'll know where you are. I painted my first boat red in respect for her. My grandmother first took me to visit there when I was a girl. I got to go all the way up to the "top"! I grew up spending summers on Belabourer and the Lake Fleet Group couldn't be finer for kids...and parents too!

Carolyn McCarney posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

Lake Fleet Islands! We own Psyche and it has been in my wife’s family since 1957. Can’t wait for the season.

John Winter, Psyche Island posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

Many neighbors and my cousin Scott (write in above.) Like Scott says, came in my first year of life and that is long ago (before WW II; even after the bridge went up in 1936 the ferry ran. I remember a young boy awake listening for the deep throttled chug chugging along at night from the back of an open cabin at the foot of Axeman.) Lake Fleet: Sugar to Niagara, principally. You KNEW you weren't going to have to prompt anyone with this shot, Ian. You knew at least 'Rafter Jack' would be along! So great to hear Georgina talk about the Regatta. Thank you, Georgina! We LOVED doing those regattas! Was so neat of Nana and Bampy to host that end of season party. Held it for nearly fifty years I think- with great aid from Lightning, is it, sailors from TI Park! I'm looking there at a lifetime in that photo, Ian; so many of us on Axeman and amongst the isles you picture are as well. Thanks.

Jack Patterson, Axeman Island posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

Dear Ian, the flash-back from Dale Hull, above, discussing wonderful Thousand Island Park, and Barry Freed, triggered a delightful recall. My open-line show, Hotliine with Floyd Patterson, on CKWS radio, often discussed the big public debates in Eastern Ontario and Northern New York; I had been following a scheme, invented by the U.S. Corp of Engineers, to keep the St. Lawrence Seaway operating 12 months of the year by preventing the main ship channel and the locks from freezing up in the winter. The environmental groups on both sides of the border steadfastly opposed this idea - it would massively interfere with the habitat of fish and other wildlife and the whole natural environment of the River ruining eco-tourism, undermining the economy of the whole Thousand Islands archeipelago, and so on. I contacted the Save the River group in Alexandria Bay and asked them to send a representative to my show to discuss this issue. They said their media spokesman, Barry Freed, would be there and probably another member of their group, a Miss Lawrenson. Freed was one heck of an articulate show-guest and we had a great two hours discussing this issue. It was on a date in 1975, I break into laughter when I remember this guest, his subsequent arrest on a list of charges, and the revelation that he was really the notorious Abbie Hoffman of "The Chicago Seven," and so on. He had jumped bail in New York, gone undercover, changed his facial appearance, and had been living in a two-storey white clapboard house at Fineview on Wellesley Island. Had somebody tipped me off about who was sitting across from me in the studio, we'd have made the biggest broadcast news story in North America, the topic would have changed, and the Program Director would have stuck his head in the door to say "Go as long as you want." That is, if a joint force of local, provincial and New York police had not formed a ring around the building and moved in. Another funny bit - the program director was Lorne Freed, and, after "Barry Freed" had departed, I asked Lorne if he was any relation to Barry Freed. He said "....don't think so, never heard of him." What a klutz I was, missing the big story of my career when it was right there two feet in front of my nose. - Floyd Patterson,

Floyd Patterson posted on: Friday, April 01, 2011

Those endless summer days of childhood are things that are easier to dream of than to recapture, though the want to do just that lingers so close to the surface it is hard to ignore. This month’s wall paper brings it closer to the surface than it was yesterday. The river was at prime temperature for swimming, the sun set late and rose early. There was not a care in the world. It was summer in the thousand islands and for my self and my family it meant summer on an island. Life consisted of being barefoot and most the day spent in a bathing suit, on or in the water or enjoying the undisturbed natural habitat of the island. We stayed in a cabin on the western point of Sugar Island which is known to other Sugar Islanders as Hurricane Point. So named because it catches the predominate SW wind that builds over the 2-3 mile fetch from Leek Island. The cabin is small, there is no electricity or running water, the evening light comes from a propane powered chandelier, our food is cooled in a small fridge by a propane fire, and the bathroom is outside. Head down the trail, take the first right and don’t wander off the trail or the raspberry brambles will get you. Mixing up these ingredients creates a perfect base for summer family life. Inside the cabin, when you look North, East or West and you see water and islands. Look south and you see a wall of books. Stand still and you hear the bird songs, the water greeting the shoreline and perhaps a snake making its way under the bushes, a fish landing after a jump, or a mink rustling in the undergrowth or the shrilling cicadas of summer.There are more than enough memories about summer living on Sugar Island, it is difficult to pick just one to share. I could share the details of the conversations with Grandpa while fishing from the dock, or the memories of circumnavigation Sugar Island in a half sunken (intentionally) 6 foot long sail boat or the volleyball and campfires shared with other islanders at the main camp each August, or the experience of floating on a swim raft far from the shoreline in the pitch black of night under a star filled sky, or the endless hours of canasta played on the table which abutted the single pane picture window during a rain soaked day. Over a half a century under my belt in the islands I find it most interesting to note the differences in the changing environment in the islands. My non scientific observations as a part time visitor to the islands include the appearance and disappearance of a selected of flora and fauna in a few locations. I vividly recall a large wild juniper bush growing in a location that is now barren rock. In a location only a few feet away there is now a 20 foot tall cedar tree where there used to be a small grassy field. A small choke cherries grove has come and gone. One spring I find an oak tree to be heavily covered in catkins, and the next the catkin cover is thin and light. Some years the wild blueberries yield bumper crops and others you are lucky if you find enough for one small pancake. In the river, the smooth “green hair” seaweed which grows on the rocks just at the water level grew with vigor years ago compared to the growth in recent years. Some summers would bring frogs aplenty, and others they would be hard to find. Long before the zebra mussels arrived I recall a summer where a small snail totally covered the rocky river bottom. The previous and following summer those snails lived in light numbers. All this thinking and rambling does in fact make me long for days of splashing and running and romping about in the islands! Thanks for posting the photo of this area Ian.

Kathy Kempson, Sugar Island posted on: Monday, April 25, 2011

The Notification List

One afternoon at a book signing, a lady shared with me a profound statement. "The River chooses some". Those of us who were chosen, spend winters longing to get back. To help my winter longings and yours too, each winter month I enjoy sharing a computer screensaver image to help infuse a little summer warmth into your day. I also outline the latest additions to ThousandIslandsLife.com online magazine. If you would like to receive these images and updates, please add your email address to the notification list using the form below. It will not be shared elsewhere.