1000 Islands Tower

Simply Breathtaking Views


Ever since we took over the operations of the 1000 Islands Tower we have received tremendous interest and met so many wonderful people. The Tower in the Media is a part of this, please enjoy reading a bit more on the why's and when's



Watertown Daily Times




OTTAWA Citizen

Konrad and Heidi Linckh have purchased the Skydeck observation tower near the Canada- U.S. border on Hill Island.

Newcomers buy Thousand Islands Skydeck tower







Photograph by: Evan Campbell , Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — Four-year-old Jonathan Linckh will enjoy serious bragging rights in kindergarten: this week his parents bought a 400-foot-tall observation tower in the Thousand Islands.

Of course, you never think you can actually make it happen,” said his mother Heidi Linckh, a tourism professional from Dusseldorf, Germany. “It’s always other people who do crazy stuff like that, not you.”

The 1000 Islands Skydeck sits on Hill Island in the St. Lawrence River between New York State and Ontario, on the Canadian side. It’s about an hour-and-a-half drive south of Ottawa. Built in 1965, the tower offers a panoramic view of the Thousand Islands and the river. On a clear day, you can see 65 kilometres from the top.

It’s terrific,” said Heidi, 39. “It’s amazing. This is why we came here. This is Canada.”

Proprietors Leonard Stratford, 86, and his wife Jean, 69, put the circular concrete tower on the market nearly two years ago. The .5-million price included 10 acres of land. After 30 years of running the business, they were ready to retire.

Enter Heidi and her husband Konrad, a 41-year-old engineer.

We’re just delighted,” said Jean Stratford. “We can’t go on forever. They’re a lovely couple and they’re really ambitious and energetic.”

The Linckhs fell in love with the region during their 2006 honeymoon. They married in Fenelon Falls in the Kawartha Lakes area, then visited Kingston and Gananoque.

On a boat cruise of the Thousand Islands, Konrad said: “I want to live on an island.”

Heidi joked. “Did I marry a millionaire?”

Konrad had always dreamed of living abroad and so the couple applied for permanent residency. In 2011 they moved to Gananoque, quickly discovering the 360-degree view at the Skydeck. It features three observation decks; only the lower one is glass-enclosed. A high-speed elevator shoots to the top in 40 seconds. The 540 stairs on the exterior are verboten.

Konrad just loved it,” said Heidi. “The sky is above you. You just see water and green.”

Struggling to find work, they began to search for a tourism business. Konrad worked briefly as a lab technician at Queen’s University. Heidi sold home baking at the Kingston market. “I sold a lot of German cookies.”

Last summer, Konrad got fired up when he read the tower was for sale. “I was like, ooh the asking price was a little high for me,” said Heidi, who had worked as a tour organizer in Europe.

She worried about resale. “Who would buy a tower if we can’t make it?”

Meanwhile, about eight serious inquiries came forward. A Muslim group from Toronto pondered a prayer tower; Chinese investors set their sights on property development; an engineer from Ottawa wanted to build vacation time-shares; an American amusement park operator showed interest.

Though the Linckhs lacked sufficiently deep pockets, real estate agent Michelle Caron persuaded the Stratfords to meet them.

We don’t have tons of money,” said Heidi. “We told them, this is our life savings we want to put in the business. But there’s nothing else.”

The Stratfords decided the immigrant family could have the Skydeck for a reduced price (undisclosed), minus the 10 acres.

I don’t want to talk to anybody else,” Leonard Stratford said, according to Caron. “It’s not about the money. It’s about who’s taking it over.”

The tower opens for the season on April 22. Heidi hopes to boost attendance — about 30,000 people a year — by marketing the experience throughout Canada and Europe, promoting group tours and hosting special events.

Why not have a wedding up at the tower?” said Heidi. “Or a movie night with popcorn?”

Almost five decades ago, the tower attracted 100,000 visitors. Admission was 25 cents. Today it’s .95 for an adult.

This Mother’s Day, women producing a photo of their child will pay half price. A community day will welcome local residents.

We have the feeling they haven’t been up there for 30 years,” said Heidi.

As an added attraction, Heidi’s fresh baked goods will be for sale.

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