2019 Travels May thru December travel blog

Welcome to Canada

Homes in "our" neighborhood

Our Digs

Did we bring enough???

Tiny Bathroom

House Rooms

House Rooms

Aba, our hostess

Toronto Sights

Toronto Sights

Sights of Toronto

Sights of Toronto

Sights of Toronto

Sights of Toronto

Park with Statues of 27 Different Dogs Spouting Water

Sights of Toronto

Julieann's 75th Temple

Subway Map -- I'm still learning

Sights of Toronto

Our Welcoming Birds

Sights of Toronto

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Niagara Tour

Sights of Montreal

Sights of Montreal

Sights of Montreal

Sights of Montreal

Sights of Montreal

Sights of Montreal

Sights of Montreal

Sights of Montreal

Sights of Montreal

Sights of Montreal

Sights of Montreal

Sights of Montreal

Sights of Montreal

Sights of 1000 Islands

Sights of 1000 Islands

Sights of 1000 Islands

Sights of 1000 Islands

Sights of 1000 Islands

Sights of 1000 Islands

Sights of 1000 Islands

Boldt Castle, Heart Island, Power Plant & Boathouse

Boldt Castle - Outside

Boldt Castle - Outside

Boldt Castle - Outside

Boldt Castle - Outside

Boldt Castle - Outside

Boldt Castle - Outside

Boldt Castle - Outside

Boldt Castle - Outside

Boldt Castle - Inside

Boldt Castle - Inside

Boldt Castle - JC & Power Plant

Yep, I'm DONE !!


We left Rochester, New York (and suburbs), but not before my Aunt “arranged/pressured” my cousins into throwing us a going away steak BBQ. I definitely have the best aunt/cousins and I love them all dearly. I can’t believe that I was dumb/lazy/stupid enough to let almost FORTY years go by without any contact with any of them. I don’t deserve the love they have shown us over the recent years.

My brother called to invite us to a spaghetti dinner the night before we left. How could we refuse? My sugar count (Yeah, in addition to everything else wrong with me, I am Diabetic) is already over 230 (supposed to be around 110-130) so what’s the difference? He also stored a couple of really full suitcases and a number of boxes to hold for us that I did not want to haul over the border to Canada (or explain to anyone what was in them). After all, we were only be gone for 11 days before we come by his house again so how much “stuff” do we need? Obviously, we needed a LOT more than what I had envisioned (I don’t do the packing).

We had a fairly uneventful ride through upstate New York to include Buffalo and Niagara Falls to Brampton Ontario, outside of Toronto. My GPS wouldn’t work for Canada unless I purchased more maps so we used the GPS in my phone, which worked just fine as long as I was near WiFi.

As we got closer to the address I had for the “motel” I was beginning to question my GPS. The neighborhood obviously belonged to some very wealthy people. The homes were HUGE (at least 5,000 sq ft) and grounds were large and very well kept. After going up and down the street a few times I finally parked in front of the home which had the address I was looking for. I half expected to be told that there was another street with the same name a few miles away, but when I entered the front area a nice lady met me and confirmed that we were in the right place. Say what??!?!?

You really have to stop and look at the photos now. The lobby/entry area, dining area, grounds, etc. I later discovered that this building/home cost the owner 4 million dollars (US/CA?), has ten various sized bedrooms, each with its own bathroom (and maybe a Jacuzzi) and a huge basement that will someday be a gym/spa. Also had a big swimming pool that was already covered for the winter and a few acres of “wild” land to just walk around. The different rooms had different views. Some had outside lanais (patio); ours was a corner room with excellent viewing windows overlooking the pool, a lot of the grounds and many wild animals that came by almost every morning to say “hi”.

We’ve never been to a B&B, but I’m guessing that this is something like that. It definitely was NOT the “motel” I was expecting. All this plus breakfast, Wi-Fi, cable TV in the room and outstanding service from the staff cost us around $70 a day. Our main contact and the owner’s right-hand was named Aba, a beautiful young lady originally from Africa. She was a total joy to be around and was constantly asking if she could do anything for us. She pretty much ran the place and I’m pretty sure she worked 20 hours a day because she was ALWAYS available. Wish there were more like her.

Another "lesson learned". As I mentioned earlier, I will do what I need to do to NOT drive in big cities. Since Toronto is similar to New York City with it’s expensive to non-existent parking spaces, I opted not to drive thru that town (after driving through it ONCE --- that was enough). But, we needed to be downtown to catch the tour bus so, I did some computer searching and found that I could drive for about 20 minutes to a subway stop that would take us all the way to our meeting place plus offered FREE parking. I am not a subway-type guy so this is going to be another “live and learn” experience for me.

When we got on the subway our destination towards Toronto was "South". After our tour returned us to the same area it found us we "assumed" (I hate that word) since we traveled South to get here we would need to travel North to get back to our car. Luckily I checked with the uniformed guy who told me that we needed to catch the "Southbound" train. HUH??

If you look at the map attached you'll see that yes, we DO travel South to start, but then the train turns North. All by itself, DUH!!!

Before taking this tour to the falls, we had already taken a very interesting tour of Toronto (Friday) and learned a lot we didn’t know. This is the first time we’ve been to Toronto so our “knowledge” bank was almost completely empty. We learned many things and really liked the mix of old and new buildings downtown. We probably would have seen older structures if it wasn’t for the two major fires that caused Toronto to rebuild in the 1800’s and 1900’s. They also have almost 100 miles of underground walkways that connect various businesses and is used by over 200,000 people a day. I really liked the town, but we were here in August. Don’t think I’d like it so much in December under a blanket of snow.

So here’s your history/information item for today: Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario, is 4th largest city on the world and the largest in Canada. The city is the anchor of the Golden Horseshoe, an urban agglomeration of over nine million people surrounding the western end of Lake Ontario. The city is an international center of business, finance, arts, and culture, and is recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world. More info: An average of 50 people move here everyday, current population is 6 million, more than 50 percent of residents belong to a visible minority population group, while the majority of Torontonians speak English as their primary language, over 160 languages are spoken in the city and over 200 distinct ethnic origins are represented among its inhabitants.

People have traveled through and inhabited the Toronto area, located on a broad sloping plateau interspersed with rivers, deep ravines, and urban forest, for more than 10,000 years. After the broadly disputed Toronto Purchase, when the Mississauga surrendered the area to the British Crown, the British established the town of York in 1793 and later designated it as the capital of Upper Canada. During the War of 1812, the town was the site of the Battle of York and suffered heavy damage by United States troops. York was renamed and incorporated in 1834 as the city of Toronto. It was designated as the capital of the province of Ontario in 1867 during Canadian Confederation. The city proper has since expanded past its original borders through both annexation and amalgamation to its current area of 243.3square miles.

Toronto is a prominent center for music, theater, motion picture production and television production, and is home to the headquarters of Canada's major national broadcast networks and media outlets. Its varied cultural institutions, which include numerous museums and galleries, festivals and public events, entertainment districts, national historic sites, and sports activities, attract over 25 million tourists each year. Toronto is known for its many skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, in particular the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, the CN Tower.

The city is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange, the headquarters of Canada's five largest banks, and the headquarters of many large Canadian and multinational corporations.[39] Its economy is highly diversified with strengths in technology, design, financial services, life sciences, education, arts, fashion, business services, environmental innovation, food services, and tourism.

On Sunday we took a tour (again) of Niagara Falls and added a tour of Niagara On The Lake, Niagara Wine Country and the Niagara College of Canada which offers studies in wine making.

Niagara Wineries. Now, I am not a “hard core” wine drinker and I don’t know much about wines, but I have learned a LOT during our travels the last 12 years. First thing I learned was that almost every state produces great wines, not just California. Of course, my friend Dano can tell you a whole bunch more about wines than I ever could so if you have any questions you’ll find him on FaceBook (you’re welcome, Dano ;-)

Besides discovering that Niagara even had wineries, more than 50 or so, our biggest lesson learned today was that there such a thing as Ice Wine. Ice wine is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing for a more concentrated grape juice to develop. The grapes' “must" is pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine. With ice wines, the freezing happens before the fermentation, not afterwards. Only healthy grapes keep in good shape until the opportunity arises for an ice wine harvest, which in extreme cases can occur after the New Year, on a northern hemisphere calendar. This gives ice wine its characteristic refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity. When the grapes are free of Botrytis, they are said to come in "clean".

Ice wine production is risky (the frost may not come at all before the grapes rot or are otherwise lost) and requires the availability of a large enough labor force to pick the whole crop within a few hours, at a moment's notice, on the first morning that is cold enough. This results in relatively small amounts of ice wine being made worldwide, making ice wines generally expensive.

Ice wine production is limited to that minority of the world's wine-growing regions where the necessary cold temperatures can be expected to be reached with some regularity. Canada, Australia and Germany are the world's largest (or only?) producers of ice wines. About 75% of the ice wine in Canada comes from Ontario.

Although this wine is more expensive than the “normal” wine, I “had” to buy some for friends. I, with my uneducated tongue, did not care for Ice Wine much. Probably, like most things I don’t like, it’s an acquired taste. In this case I think I could put a few drops of Vodka on a sugar cube and suck it. Yes, Ice Wine is EXTREMELY sweet.

Then we finally made it to the falls. What can I say? The photos do most of the talking. But, as friend Steve mentioned, the Niagara Falls is in the same category with the Grand Canyon and such places; photos do not do it justice – you have to visit in person. Also, although I have visited the falls a number of times over the years, I still manage to learn something new every visit. For example ONE second of water coming over the falls can fill an Olympic sized pool. And, only 60% of the water is allowed to go over the falls during the day and 30% at night. Reason? The tourist want to see the water, but the “authorities” want to stem the constant erosion caused by the water. Ergo – compromise.

Our final stop on this tour was Niagara-on-the-Lake, a town in Ontario, Canada. It is located on the Niagara Peninsula at the point where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, across the river from New York. Niagara-on-the-Lake has a population over 17,000 is in the Niagara Region of Ontario, and is the only town in Canada that has a Lord Mayor. Niagara-on-the-Lake is important in the history of Canada: it served as the first capital of the Province of Upper Canada, the predecessor of Ontario, called Newark from 1792 to 1797. During the War of 1812, the town, the two former villages of St. David's and Queenston, and Fort George were the site of numerous battles following the American invasion of Upper Canada, and the town was razed. Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to the oldest Anglican and Catholic churches in Ontario, and the oldest surviving golf course in North America. Today, Niagara-on-the-Lake draws tourists with its quaint colonial-style buildings, the Shaw Festival, Fort George, wineries, an outlet mall on the highway, and its proximity to Niagara Falls. The Niagara Region has the second-highest percentage of seniors in Ontario. Niagara-on-the-Lake has been rated among the best places to retire in Ontario according to Comfort Life, a publication for seniors.

We stopped by The Duke of Wales Hotel, built in 1864, on the advice of our guide. He said that the owners have gone to great lengths to ensure that the hotel looked the same as it did in 1864. Except for a few modern additions the inside was just as it probably was a hundred plus years ago.

This area is also know for its Maple Syrup, although the Quebec area is the ruling King of the Sap. Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, although it can also be made from other maple species. In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before winter; the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in late winter and early spring. Maple trees are tapped by drilling holes into their trunks and collecting the exuded sap, which is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup.

Maple syrup was first collected and used by the indigenous peoples of North America, and the practice was adopted by European settlers, who gradually refined production methods. Technological improvements in the 1970s further refined syrup processing. The Canadian province of Quebec is by far the largest producer, responsible for 70 percent of the world's output; Canadian exports of maple syrup in 2016 were about US$ 360 million, with Quebec accounting for some 90 percent of this total.

Maple syrup is graded according to the Canada, United States, or Vermont scales based on its density and translucency. Sucrose is the most prevalent sugar in maple syrup. In Canada, syrups must be made exclusively from maple sap to qualify as maple syrup and must also be at least 66 percent sugar. In the United States, a syrup must be made almost entirely from maple sap to be labeled as "maple", though states such as Vermont and New York have more restrictive definitions. Maple syrup is often used as a condiment for pancakes, waffles, french toast, oatmeal or porridge. It is also used as an ingredient in baking and as a sweetener or flavoring agent. Culinary experts have praised its unique flavor, although the chemistry responsible is not fully understood.

NOTE: If you ever visit Ontario and want to buy some souvenirs, save your Maple Syrup shopping for Quebec. The Maple Syrup is HALF the price in Quebec compared to Ontario.

Just as we were finishing up our tour of the town, the clouds opened up and soaked most of us who couldn’t find shelter. The ride back to Toronto was very quiet, peaceful and damp. Just happy that I wasn’t driving in that holiday traffic in the rain. Also, as we were driving back in the rain we did learn another little tidbit. Some large grocery stores had a huge banner over its entrance announcing “We Have Beer”. Being a true American I didn’t “get it” as almost all our stores have beer, but in Canada they just began selling beer in grocery stores two years ago. They have Beer Stores that sell only Beer, Wine Stores that sell only wine (and some cider) and then you have the all inclusive Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) that sells anything with alcohol in it and their selling criteria is very restrictive.

We left Toronto for Montreal on Tuesday, stopping overnight at the town of Gananoque. We passed a number of motels to get to ours, which was owned and operated by a Chinese family who also worked the Chinese Restaurant located on their property. As I checked into the motel I saw a sign that said that the restaurant was closed. I told them that I was disappointed as I had planned to have a Chinese dinner that night. They said that they would definitely cook for us. I asked why they had closed. The owner told me that they and their staff had worked every single day for over three months and now that they had gotten past the Labor Day weekend, everyone needed a day off. That generated another question: this town is fairly small, but has a lot of motels. What is the attraction(s) I asked? The answer – 1000 Islands, of course…...Duh!!

During my first 17 years of life in Rochester, New York I knew some of my “well to do” friends would go to the 1000 Islands or the Finger Lakes for a couple of weeks every summer. In my family, going to the local amusement park or Lake Ontario once a month was our summer treat so I didn’t know much about those other places.

When we were traveling in our motor home we did camp out at the Finger Lakes for awhile and got that out of the way, but I hadn’t even thought about the 1000 Islands until now. We don’t have time in our schedule to visit now, but we will on the way back from Montreal heading to New York.

We left the 1000 Lakes area and traveled to Montreal, a fairly quiet drive until we hit the city area. Traffic and construction – no fun. We arrived at another hotel that was like a BnB. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The rate of $60 a night was reasonable and included WiFi and “breakfast” (just carbs and coffee, no fruit or protein). According to my phone’s GPS, there were a number of restaurants near our hotel so I decided we would go for a healthy walk. I didn’t realize that so many restaurants open and close when THEY feel like it instead of when the potential customers would arrive, my GPS quit working when we ran out of WiFi and the "healthy" walk was beginning to get painful. By the time we found a place that was open, we were dragging butt and were really hungry, so we weren’t too fussy on finding a “nice” restaurant.

We saw a portable sign on the sidewalk in front of what we guessed was some kind of restaurant. Although everything was in French, including the posted menu, I saw the word “Pizza” on the sidewalk board and we went in. This was a very old building with wooden floors, an “old time” bar and older decorations. I approached the bartender and asked about the Pizza. She said that it was “very good”, but it’s not really a Pizza, but almost a Pizza. Huh? What’s an “almost pizza”? It’s more like a large cracker with feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes and other vegetables. “No meat or tomato sauce or mozzarella cheese?”, I asked. No, sorry, she said. What other food do you have? (She hands me a menu in French and tells me to look and ask her about anything on the menu). I tell her that I have a question about the whole menu, like what does it say? We determined that I wanted something substantial to eat as my stomach was grinding against my spine. Salad, she suggested? No thanks, I need more than that. How about a burger she asks. O.K. I say, I can do a burger. Well, she says, it’s “almost” a burger. There were three "almost" burgers on the menu; the first was a veggie burger, the second she could not describe in English, but it didn’t sound like any type of burger I recognized and the third was a pulled pork sandwich. That’s a burger, I ask? Well, it’s in a burger bun. O.K., we’ll take two of those. Something to drink, she asks. How about a Cola, I say, not sure if they had Coke or Pepsi. Well, we have something like Cola and she begins naming off Carbonated Cranberry Juice, Tonic Water, Seltzer Water, Carbonated Orange Juice, some other drinks I’ve never seen before and a Ginger Ale – FINALLY, something recognizable. We’ll take one Ginger Ale (Julieann prefers water).

When our sandwiches were ready they were delivered to us by a female cook who came out of the kitchen carrying our food while wearing a tank top with no bra and had more hair in her armpits than I had on my head.

So that was our first dinner in Montreal. No, it tasted like it all sounds --- BADLY. We’re taking a tour of Montreal tomorrow and I am determined to find a restaurant with a normal menu.

We took an Uber to the center of Montreal and caught (our favorite) Hop On, Hop Off bus for a two hour tour. The tour was uneventful, but we did learn a few things. I didn’t know that Montreal is an island (OK, just ME, right?). I knew they spoke French here, but I didn’t know that most of the folks here speak ONLY French. We were able to find a nice IRISH Pub that had menus in French AND English (go figure; a restaurant in a tourist town using more than one language). Had great dinner (finally – now stop your laughing). And, once again, I liked the old buildings mixed with the new. Since Montreal has absolutely NO more land to build on, they have to tear down the old to make room for the new. They do, on occasion, keep a peace of the old and incorporate into the new as a memento of times past (see the photo of the hospital that torn down the church, but kept the steeple). We were also told of a group of high rise window washers who have increased their wages by doing the job dressed as a super hero (Spiderman, Superman, etc.) and wash the windows at the Children’s hospital. Great idea (IMHO) – how come no one in the states have come up with that idea?

And for your history lesson: Montreal is the most populous municipality in the Canadian province of Quebec and the second-most populous municipality in Canada. Originally called Ville-Marie, or "City of Mary", it is named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the heart of the city. The city is centered on the Island of Montreal, which took its name from the same source as the city. It has a distinct four-season continental climate with warm to hot summers and cold, snowy winters.

In 2016, the city had a population of 1,704,694 with a population of 1,942,044 in the urban agglomeration, including all of the other municipalities on the Island of Montreal. The broader metropolitan area had a population of 4,098,927. French is the city's official language and is the language spoken at home by 49.8% of the population of the city, followed by English at 22.8% and 18.3% other languages. In the larger Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 65.8% of the population speaks French at home, compared to 15.3% who speak English. The agglomeration Montreal is one of the most bilingual cities in Quebec and Canada, with over 59% of the population able to speak both English and French. Montreal is the second largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris.

Historically the commercial capital of Canada, Montreal was surpassed in population and in economic strength by Toronto in the 1970s. It remains an important center of commerce, aerospace, transport, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, education, art, culture, tourism, food, fashion, gaming, film, and world affairs. Montreal has the second-highest number of consulates in North America, serves as the location of the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization, and was named a UNESCO City of Design in 2006. In 2017, Montreal was ranked the 12th most livable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit in its annual Global Liveability Ranking, and the best city in the world to be a university student in the QS World University Rankings.

Montreal has hosted multiple international conferences and events, including the 1967 International and Universal Exposition and the 1976 Summer Olympics. It is the only Canadian city to have held the Summer Olympics. As of 2016 the city hosts the Canadian Grand Prix of Formula One, the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Just for Laughs festival. In addition, according to our guide, Montreal hosts over 100 “festivals” every year. That’s one festival every three days. I asked what kind of festival do they have in February when the temperature is hanging around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit and he quickly answered “That’s the Igloo Festival”. I guess you just make the fun happen regardless, eh?

The following day I took Julieann to visit the Montreal temple. This business of the GPS on my cell phone losing its way every time I lose the Wi-Fi connection is getting old. Montreal doesn’t have that many McDonald's (with their FREE Wi-Fi) to connect to. I ended up back-tracking to the Mormon Temple where those folks helped me connect to Wi-Fi so I could find my way back to the hotel.

We leave at Oh-Dark-Thirty tomorrow morning to drive back to where we came from (Gananoque) to finally visit the 1000 Islands. More later.

The next morning we left Montreal around 0600 and arrived at the dock for the 1000 Island Cruise around 0900. We had three cruise choices: (1) a one hour cruise that navigates through the narrow island channels and viewing of a number of 5th and 6th generation cottages for USD $15.15 (Senior); (2) Lost Ships of the Islands Cruise (plus #1) for $22.82; and (3) #1 + #2 + a three hour cruise with a two hour stopover at Boldt Castle for $29.62, the one we took (definitely the best deal).

The Thousand Islands constitute an archipelago of 1,864 islands that straddles the Canada–US border in the Saint Lawrence River as it emerges from the northeast corner of Lake Ontario. They stretch for about 50 miles downstream from Kingston, Ontario. The Canadian islands are in the province of Ontario and the U.S. islands in the state of New York. The islands range in size from over 40 square miles to smaller islands occupied by a single residence, or uninhabited outcroppings of rocks.

To answer the question that MUST be twirling in your head, to count as one of the Thousand Islands, emergent land within the river channel must have at least one square foot of land above water level year-round, and support at least two living trees.

The largest island in the group, Wolfe Island, is entirely in Ontario. Other large islands in the archipelago include New York's Grindstone Island and Wellesley Island, and Ontario's Howe Island.

Adjacent to Wolfe Island but part of New York is Carleton Island, the site of a ruined fort, Fort Haldimand, built in 1779 by the British during the American Revolutionary War. The island was captured by three American soldiers during the War of 1812 and remains part of the United States. Deer Island, about two miles north of Alexandria Bay, is owned by the secret society of Skull and Bones.

A pair of islands southwest of Grenadier Island are collectively called Zavikon Island. A popular but incorrect tale is the larger island is in Canada, while the smaller one is in the United States, and the foot bridge between them is the shortest international bridge in the world. Zavikon Island is entirely in the Canadian territory and belongs to the Leeds and Grenville municipal unit. Longue Vue Island is the only artificial island in the region.

Ironsides Island is home to one of the largest Great blue heron rookeries in northern New York State, where over one thousand herons return to breed each April. The uninhabited rocky island near Alexandria Bay, New York is owned by The Nature Conservancy and was listed as a National Natural Landmark in 1967. Calumet Island is near Clayton, New York. The privately owned island formerly featured a "castle" mansion belonging to New York tobacco tycoon Charles G. Emery, and later hosted a marina in the 1960s. Just Room Enough Island is the smallest inhabited island in the United States.

Heart Island (originally “Hart Island” until George Boldt purchased the whole island and changed its name) is an island in the Town of Alexandria within the Saint Lawrence River, along the northern border of New York. The island is one of the most prominent within Thousand Islands and home to the Boldt Castle.

Boldt Castle is a major landmark and tourist attraction in the Thousand Islands New York. Open to guests seasonally between mid May and mid October. Originally a private mansion built by American millionaire George Boldt, it is today maintained by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority as a tourist attraction.

George Boldt came to America in 1864 from Prussia, the son of poor parents. A man of tremendous organizational skill daring and imagination, he became the most sucessful hotel magnate in America managing and profit sharing the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, as well as the Bellevue-Stratford in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the president of several companies, a trusteee of Cornell University and the director of the Hotel Association of New York. Boldt Castle stands as an eternal monument to the memory of the man whse dreams were no more far-fetching than his capabilities.

Boldt and his family enjoyed an earlier frame cottage on Heart Island for several summers, which they greatly expanded. In 1900, George Boldt launched an ambitious construction campaign to build a huge masonry structure, one of the largest private homes in the United States. He engaged hundreds of workers for a six-story "castle" as a present to his wife. In addition, four other masonry structures on the island are architecturally notable. Equally distinctive is a huge yacht house on neighboring Wellesley Island, where the Boldts had another summer home and a vast estate, incorporating farms, canals, a golf course, tennis courts, stables, and a polo field. The castle was to be the testimony of the unsurpassed love of a man for his wife. The magnificence of the structure was to be equaled on by George Boldt’s adoration of Louise, who was the love of his life and reason for the construction of such an elaborate summer home.

The construction of Boldt Castle ceased abruptly in early 1904 after the death of Boldt's wife, Louise Kehrer Boldt. Boldt never returned to Heart Island, leaving this structure as a monument of his love. For 73 years, the castle and other stone structures were left exposed to the harsh winter weather and occasional vandals. The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired Heart Island and the nearby yacht house in 1977, for one dollar, under the agreement that all revenues obtained from the castle operation would be applied towards restoration, so that the island would be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. In the two decades after acquiring the property, the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority spent some $15 million for restoration and improvements here, and work continues annually. The initial goal of the restoration of Heart Island was not to finish what had not been completed, but to restore the island to the state it was in when construction was halted. Improvements have gone beyond that stage, however; a stained glass dome, marble floor, and grand staircase woodwork, for instance, now seen in the main hall, were not original but are modern innovations.

This was a nice, relaxing and information tour. We recommend it for all to see except for one thing. The day we went was “Princess Day”. I don’t know why or the purpose of it, but hundreds of little girls were dressed as a princess, their mothers dressed as Queens and males dressed as pirates. Now, these kids were off ALL ages and as we all know, the younger ones are NOT always the best behaved. We were having a problem trying to find a quiet place on the island to get away from the screaming, running, fighting, crying, etc. and to just enjoy the beauty of the place.

The next day we headed back to New York where we will be staying with the Niagara Falls Air Force Reserve base for a week. Looking forward to it.

Share |