The 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail is welcoming three vibrant new garden experiences to its highly acclaimed trail this year. Two North Grenville locations return to the list: A Labour of Love, Oxford Station, and Rideau Woodland Ramble, 7210 Burritt’s Rapids Road.
The 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail is part of Canada’s Garden Route and features 13 locations throughout Leeds Grenville. It gained national notoriety in 2017 when it was the only trail given the ‘Canada 150 Garden Experience Designation.’ It features many unique gardens with added experiences that include native butterflies, honeybees and birds, two monarch butterfly Way Stations, fountains, ponds, contemporary art exhibits, statuary and so much more.
“This is a special year as we celebrate our fifth anniversary,” said Ann Weir, Economic Development Manager for the Counties and Co-Chair of the Trail. “It was an honour to be nationally recognized, the Garden Trail has truly been a tourism success story.”
Helping launch this year’s trail were Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MP Michael Barrett, and Rideau Lakes Township Mayor Arie Hoogenboom.
The event recognized Diane and Keith Haskins, of Haskins Gardens, Doug Hall and Gord MacDonald, of Machal Gardens, and Jean and John Pilutti, of Wilstead Manor, who as former hosts take up their new role as Ambassadors to promote Leeds Grenville as a Must-See Garden Tourism Destination.
The Leeds Grenville Economic Development Office launched the 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail initiative in 2015, linking private, public, businesses and non-profit gardens and garden centre displays throughout Leeds Grenville.
The Counties have taken a leadership role in facilitating collaboration to develop new tourism products that result in increased visitation and spending. In 2018, approximately 17,000 visitors were seen at the different gardens with 34 bus groups. An increase of guests from Quebec was also seen with visitors from across Canada, US and around the world – including Egypt, Japan, and the Czech Republic.
The trail kicks off the season this month with other sites opening in June and continuing into October. Residents and visitors will enjoy a full season of flora and fauna. In addition to the local gardens, members of the 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail include:
Chillane Gardens, Mallorytown; Gardens of Brockville; Garden of Hope and Faith Walk, Lyn; Gardens of Gananoque; Healing Circle Labyrinth, Johnstown; The Ivy Lea Club, Lansdowne; Maitland Garden of Hope, Maitland; The Opinicon Dining and Resort, Chaffey’s Lock; Shakespeare’s Gardens, Prescott; Thousand Islands Farms, Mallorytown; and Van Berlo Gardens, Maitland.