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Island Names Updated, December 2008

This is the fifth online edition of “Pollack’s Gazetteer of the Thousand Islands of the United States and Canada in the St. Lawrence River.” It contains two major revisions since the fourth edition, which was posted in September, 2008.

Wellesley Island today
Photo by Ian Coristine ©


First, Sheet 1 has been rearranged to include verbal descriptions of the location of each island and feature in relation to better known islands and features. Second, Sheet 2 has been expanded to include map references to the islands shown on Canadian navigation charts 1435 to 1439, published by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Sheet 3 remains unchanged in this edition.

Click here to revisit the page explaining the origins of this project.

The Island Names Directory behind my Thousand Islands Gazetteer project first went live on Thousand Islands on October 31, 2007, with updates to the spreadsheet in February, 2008, and again in April, 2008. There was a second text accompanying the September, 2008, update. It explained a new layout, and explained that the best reason for distinguishing and locating the 1,865 islands in the first 50 miles of the St. Lawrence River, is to serve public safety. When there is a fire, a power outage, a navigational accident or a medical emergency, responders must know where to head, on either side of the border. That remains the focus of this new edition.

Click here to visit the updated Island Names Directory.

In addition to the finding aid added in the fourth edition -- latitude and longitude for the upper right corner of two-minute by two-minute boxes containing named islands – this edition adds verbal descriptions of the location of each island and feature in relation to better known islands and features. Along with the third major finding aid – the name of the municipality in which an island is located – the reader now has abundant information to see where in the 50-mile run of the River an island or feature is located. Of course, these finding aids also allow much more precise location of an island or feature, if the reader has access to one of the topographical maps or navigation charts indexed in the spreadsheet.

Two caveats are necessary. While you will see the outlines of these new finding aids in this edition, creating the verbal descriptions of island and feature locations and the addition of Canadian chart numbers are works in progress.

Many are published in this edition, but the remainder must await publication of the next edition in the April, 2009, issue of the magazine. Full indexing will be completed in the next edition.

The five Canadian navigation charts that have been examined and are being incorporated include:

Number 1435: Cardinal to Whaleback Shoal
Number 1436: Whaleback Shoal to Summerland Group
Number 1437: Summerland Group to Grindstone Island
Number 1438: Grindstone Island to Carleton Island
Number 1439: Carleton Island to Charity Shoal


These Canadian charts are beautiful examples of the printers’ art: at once highly readable and richly presented with great registration of the different colored inks. But government efficiency will soon eliminate the cross-checking possible with different US and Canadian charts of the same St. Lawrence River waters.

According to a spokesman for the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, navigational charts covering the same US-Canada border areas will no longer be produced by both nations, and water boundary areas will be divided between the nations for mapping purposes.

The plan is for the relevant stretch of the St. Lawrence River to be charted by the US alone. Eventually, these Canadian charts, numbers 1435 to 1439, will be obsolete and will be replaced by up-to-date versions of US charts 14770 to 14774 and 14802,

When that happens, this spreadsheet will treat US topo sheets, Canadian topo sheets and US navigational charts as Main Map Series and the data from the then-outdated Canadian navigation charts will be carried under Other Mapping.

Frequent readers will know that these Web pages were set up to aid me in readying my Gazetteer for print publication, and that remains a dream, perhaps to be realized in 2009. Time will tell.

Finally, I wish to thank our Editor, Susan W. Smith, and her team at Thousand Islands for their continued interest in my project and the data that is – at times slowly -- being amassed. You are invited to assist me by sending an e-mail to with information, corrections, family histories, anecdotes and other things you think might make this project more interesting, more accurate and more complete.

--- Ross D. Pollack, December 8, 2008

© Copyright Ross David Pollack 2008, All Rights Reserved

Ross D PollackRoss D. Pollack, a contributor to Thousand Islands since 2007, is a writer and communications consultant based in the Hudson Valley of New York.

He was Intranet Editor for IBM’s Personal and Printing Systems Group. His work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, USA Today, The Royal Gazette of Hamilton, Bermuda, and various local Hudson Valley and Westchester County, NY, newspapers and magazines. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, a former US Court of Appeals law clerk, and a former JAG Officer in the US Naval Reserve.

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Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


PT Lamphere III
Comment by: PT Lamphere III ( )
Left at: 1:18 AM Sunday, July 26, 2009
Years ago, as I child, I heard the story of how my great grandfather had "won" an island in a card game. The joke of it was that is was underwater more often than not.
I heard the story again today and prompted to some light research and came across this site. I did not see the name in the names directory, really didn;t expect too but just thought I would pass on the story and if there are more islands to find names or how to begin to search such an odd thing.

Comment by: Charlie ( )
Left at: 7:56 PM Tuesday, September 7, 2010
it doesnt help
Anonymous User
Comment by: Anonymous User
Left at: 12:17 PM Thursday, November 17, 2011
Ward Wilgus
Comment by: Ward Wilgus ( )
Left at: 7:24 PM Sunday, June 23, 2013
I just discovered your marvelous database from a google search for the identities of the "Thousand Islands". Nice work!!!

Back in 1999 I did a project for the U.S.Census to catalog
all of the Maine salt water islands. I occasionally became overwhelmed by the detail involved, and from that I appreciate all the more what you have accomplished here.

Thank you Sir.

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