Leeds Grenville is recognized throughout the world for our scenic 1000 Islands, the Rideau Canal, our award-winning businesses and industries, our well-preserved landscape and a creamy salad dressing.
We're home to two UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) designated areas: the Rideau Heritage Route and Rideau Canal and the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve. The photo at right, by local photographer Ken Watson, shows the lock at Jones Falls. Both the Biosphere and the Canal are recognized by UNESCO for having natural, historical and cultural significance.
Both the Town of Gananoque and the City of Brockville, two larger urban settings in Leeds Grenville, are the gateways to the Thousand Islands Region. With the abundance of rivers and lakes, tourism is a major economic sector in the area.
Leeds Grenville companies have received international, national and provincial recognition:
Kriska Transportation, with its headquarters in Prescott, is a Platinum Club member of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies Award Program. It has made the top-50 list for several consecutive years. Kriska has qualified every year since 2000. Kriska was selected as one of North America's 20 Best Fleets to Drive For by the Truckload Carriers Association in 2015. It is also the recipient of the Kraft Foods' 2014 Regional Award for Transportation Excellence in Canada. President and CEO Mark Seymour received the 2015 Ontario Trucking Association's Shaw Tracking/Service to Industry Award. The company has made recent acquisitions to give birth to the Kriska Transportation Group.
Rockport Boat Line (Rockport Cruises) was selected by the Canadian Tourism Commission as one of 30 Signature Experiences in Canada (out of 163) to attend the annual UK trade and networking event in London, England. The Canada-China Tourism Association has recognized Rockport Boat Line for its continued efforts in promoting and maintaining a tourism exchange between Canada and China. As mentioned above, Rockport Cruises is one of Canada's Signature Experiences - one of the best attractions that Canada has to offer which help show why this country is such an authentic and engaging place to visit. Rockport's "Palaces and Palisades of the 1000 Islands" cruise is one of the priority, high-quality tourism experiences which the Canadian tourism Commission will include in its marketing campaigns in 11 countries around the world.
3M Canada's Brockville Tape Plant is the first facility in Canada and the second in the world to attain accreditation for the ISO 50001 standard for energy management as well as reach Platinum Level under the Superior Energy Performance program.
Mrs. McGarrigle's Fine Mustards and Fine Food in Merrickville is the recipient of several international awards. Company president Janet Campbell earned a gold medal at the 2010 Worldwide Mustard Competition in Napa Valley, California. The home-grown firm has a total of five international awards. Janet, the company's founder, earned the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Leeds and Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre in 2016.
For more than five years, Burnbrae Farms Limited has been nominated for the Canadian Grand Prize New Product Award. Burnbrae is located in the Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley.
Ed Huck Marine of Rockport is listed in the top 10 of favourite marinas by www.mynewwaterfronthome.com. The local marina is listed as No. 2.
Leeds Transit Inc., based in Elgin in the Township of Rideau Lakes, is a company which has been expanding in recent years. The company has acquired the distribution rights to the Quebec market and since 2008 has operated in that province under the name Autobus Leeds Transit. Leeds Transit has earned both North East Region Dealer of the Year and the North American Dealer of the Year awards.
George C. Boldt, who built Boldt Castle on Heart Island at the turn of the 20th century, was the millionaire owner of Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York and the Bellview Stratford in Philadelphia. Boldt's wife, Louise, created the dressing for her guest, actress May Irwin. It was Miss Irwin who gave it the name "Thousand Islands," representing the region in the St. Lawrence. Boldt began building his 120-room castle in 1900 as a monument of love for his wife. When she tragically died in 1904 construction of the castle was stopped. In sat vacant for for more than seven decades until the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the property and began extensive restoration and rehabilitation of the castle and other Heart Island structures.
In the 1950s, Thousands Island dressing (photo at right) became a standard condiment, used on sandwiches and salads alike. It is widely used in fast-food restaurants in America. It's commonly used on hamburgers; in particular, McDonald's Big Mac sauce is a form of Thousand Island Dressing with mustard.
The Rideau Canal is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Canadian Heritage Site. This 19th-century construction covers 202 kilometres of the Rideau and Cataraqui rivers from Ottawa south to Kingston Harbour on Lake Ontario. It was built primarily for strategic military purposes at a time when Great Britain and the United States vied for control of the region. The site, one of the first canals to be designed specifically for steam-powered vessels, also features an ensemble of fortifications. It is the best-preserved example of a slackwater canal in North America, demonstrating the use of this European technology on a large scale. It is the only canal dating from the great North American canal-building era of the early 19th century to remain operational along its original line with most of its structures intact.
Frontenac Arch Biosphere
Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve representatives signed the National Geographic Society's GeoTourism Charter in 2010, only the 9th such charter in the world and the third in Canada. This vast landscape was designated a UNESCO site in 2002. The Thousand Islands, the southern half of the Rideau Canal, much of the Land O' Lakes, the upper St. Lawrence River; and the towns, villages and farms are the mosaic character of this globally significant region. Five forest regions merge and intermingle on the Frontenac Arch, perhaps the most bio-diverse region in Canada. Numerous plants, fish, birds and animals are species at risk, with refuge here because their essential habitats still exist. The Frontenac Arch Biosphere has more than 40 per cent forest cover, another 30 per cent is made up of lakes, rivers and streams. It has a rich heritage with it being the site of Canada's first glassworks, Ontario's oldest standing stone bridge and Upper Canada's first iron foundry. First Nations' settlements can be found here dating back to just after the last ice age.