Gan museum launches walking tour app

·3 min read

After months in the making, the Gananoque Heritage Walking Tour app has officially been launched by the 1000 Islands History Museum.

The new Heritage Walking Tour app allows people to explore Gananoque, from its early industrial history to a town of tourism.

While the museum was closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it couldn't offer its traditional programing, but the walking tour app will give the opportunity to pursue an interest in the history of the area while maintaining social distancing and staying safe.

The free walking tour app was officially launched last week on the Apple Store, with the app now available on Google Play since Sunday. The web-based tour was recently launched as well.

The walking tour app idea was started sometime in the spring, when the students began looking for platforms for the apps. Then the museum applied for funding and received $5,000 in support from the Town of Gananoque through the Community Grants Program before starting development in late August and early September, explained Mathew Thivierge, museum coordinator.

The tour starts at the 1000 Islands History Museum and allows participants to explore major heritage buildings throughout Gananoque.

The app is interactive and explores the importance of heritage buildings in Gananoque; it uses archival photos and allows the user to see the shifting or constant use of Gananoque built heritage over the last 200 years, museum officials noted.

"The idea is to look at heritage and if it has a place in society, and the changing use of heritage buildings over time, whether or not the buildings have changed in their uses," said Thivierge.

Just like some heritage buildings in Gananoque, how people view history is changing.

According to Thivierge, the town created a paper-based walking tour many years ago, which was the basis of the tour used for the app. Paper maps, guidebooks and guided tours are limited and are being replaced by interactive mobile apps that come with a variety of functions, museum officials added.

The app, however, "takes advantage of technology and paper maps are kind of a thing of the past; now you have it on your phone and it also brings history alive, you get to see how things have changed over time or whether they haven't changed," said Thivierge

There are 50 different locations throughout Gananoque that the Heritage Walking Tour app features. People can use the museum's free WiFi to download the app or have it downloaded before they start. The tour was finalized in time before winter, but can be used year round.

The walking tour app takes the user down Water Street, from the museum along the shoreline all around King Street, delving into the industrial history and many of the old business that were once there.

It allows the user to explore through residential areas and tourist attractions like the Bandstand and Swing Bridge.

The app is ready to be downloaded, and is listed as the "Gan Heritage Walking Tour" in both the Apple Store and Google Play. The web-based version can be found at gananoque.stqry.app/.

(Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times

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