Thousand Islands is the name of an archipelago of islands that straddle the Canada and U.S. border in the Saint Lawrence River as it emerges from the northeast corner of Lake Ontario. They stretch for about 50 miles (80 km) downstream from Kingston, Ontario. The Canadian islands are in the province of Ontario, the U.S. islands in the state of New York.
The islands, which number 1,793 in all, range in size from over 40 square miles (100 km2) to smaller islands occupied by a single residence, to even smaller uninhabited outcroppings of rocks that are home to migratory waterfowl. The number of islands was determined using the criteria that any island must be above water level all year round, have an area greater than 1 square foot (0.093 m2), and support at least one living tree growing on it.
Around twenty of these islands form the St. Lawrence Islands National Park, the smallest of Canada's national parks. The Thousand Islands-Frontenac Arch region was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2002. The U.S. islands include numerous New York state parks, including Wellesley Island State Park, and Robert Moses State Park - Thousand Islands located on an island in the St. Lawrence. Powerhouse, Heart Island (Boldt Castle)
The largest island in the group, Wolfe Island, is located entirely in Ontario. Adjacent to Wolfe but part of New York is Carleton Island, the site of a ruined fort, Fort Haldiman, 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 today.
Thousand Island Dressing
The Thousand Islands gave their name to the popular Thousand Island Dressing around the turn of the 20th century when Sophie LaLonde of Clayton, New York who served the dressing at dinner for guests of her husband, a popular fishing guide, gave the recipe to Clayton hotel owner Ella Bertrand and New York City stage actress May Irwin. Irwin shared it with hotel magnate George C. Boldt.
Thousand Island dressing was named for the chain of islands by Irwin who thought the dressing looked like the thousand islands region in regards to the islands as being the chopped vegetables.