Boldt Castle: A Romance Frozen in Time

A place where you can still see George and Louise Boldt walking the grounds holding hands.

Situated on the Lawrence River between the U.S. and Canadian border is a small island known as Heart Island. Heart Island is one of the many 1000 Islands in the Lawrence River but unlike the other islands, Heart Island is home to one of the most tragic love stories of the Northern Hemisphere: Boldt Castle. 

Boldt Castle

In 1900 George C. Boldt, famous for the Waldorf Astoria Hotels, decided to give his wife Louise a surprise gift to show his love for her: a castle. He spared no expense in its design marking its architecture with hearts, which gives the islands its name today. Boldt Castle was to be a six story, 120 room wonder to shower his wife with love. Tragically in 1904, Louise Boldt suddenly died having never seen her husband’s labor of love. George Boldt was so depressed he immediately halted all construction of Boldt Castle and he never returned to the island. The Castle laid in ruin for seven decades before the Thousand Island Bridge Authority acquired its ownership. Today it’s a tourist attraction still being restored after so many years of neglect.
Today you can visit Boldt Castle from Gananoque, a small town in Ontario just 20 minutes east of Kingston, an hour and a half south of Ottawa or three hours east of Toronto. The Boldt Castle stopover boat tour runs roughly 5 hours total with a 2 hour stopover at Heart Island so visitors can tour the Castle. A passport is required when visiting from Gananoque as the island resides in U.S. waters. Tickets can be purchased online for approximately $50.00 per person at

Boldt Castle
A discount is given for seniors and children five years of age and younger are free. Some people living in the 1000 Islands drive their own boats to Heart Island for a visit to the castle which is only $9.50 for entrance alone. You can also see the Castle by helicopter, which also leaves from Gananoque and cost about $135.00-150.00 per person.

Boldt Castle

I visited Boldt Castle this past summer with my parents and we were all taken aback by the castle’s craftsmanship and the dedication in its design. The outside resembles a castle but the inside is a lavish manor. The love once poured into the castle’s construction permeates throughout the grounds. My dad said he could almost see George and Louise Boldt walking the grounds holding hands. 

If you want to read more by  Laura Hosford, check out her website here at

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