Winner Announced for Win an Island for a Week Contest

River rat returns to beloved roots through
1,000 Islands Tourism “Win an Island for a Week” contest


For James Freeman, returning to the 1,000 Islands has been more than 30 years in the making.


Freeman, who hails from Buffalo, is the winner of a typical and old fashioned island stay in the 1,000 Islands through 1000 Islands Tourism and the Thousand Islands Accommodation Partners. Entries in the award-winning “Win an Island for a Week” contest poured in from around the world for the chance to stay in an authentic island cottage with shopping, food and activities included.


The 43-year-old said he was shocked to win the contest, which closed in early December. He entered the contest on a whim when an ad on his Facebook feed flooded him with warm memories of time spent along the St. Lawrence River as a boy.


Now, as the winner of the Gananoque, Ont.-based 1,000 Islands contest, Freeman has the opportunity to return to the fabled island paradise he holds dear to his heart – and introduce his own young family to the magic.


Freeman’s roots in the 1,000 Islands started growing even before he was born. His family started visiting
DeWolf Point state-side on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in 1971, two years before his birth. The family returned each summer for more than 10 years, which meant Freeman was a river rat from the time he was a baby until almost a teenager.


That carefree feeling of island life never left him, as he has fond memories of his mother and father as well as much older brothers being accompanied by his uncle and cousin to their island retreat, renting cabins close to the water for the full experience.


“I remember fishing with my Dad in the bass boat or on the pier, watching my brothers and cousins from the rocks behind the cabin as they water skied,” he said, reminiscing. “In later years, my parents would let me bring my best friend and we would ride our bikes. I remember there being a little store just down the road and my Dad would take me there to get worms for fishing. Whatever anyone caught we cooked for dinner.”


In fact, those times are so special to Freeman that he has a photo of his late father and him clowning around on the rocks at the edge of the St. Lawrence River featured on his desk and as his computer wallpaper. His Dad is shown re-stringing a fishing road while Freeman mugs for the camera.


It’s that cherished time with his father that makes Freeman nostalgic for his childhood experiences in the 1,000 Islands. “My father worked a lot,” he said. “When we went on those trips, I was able to get his undivided attention… I really enjoyed my time with him when we went.”


He is hoping to foster the same love of the 1,000 Islands in his own young family when they visit this August. His wife, Eileen, will accompany him as they plan on celebrating their 19th anniversary while in the area. Also coming along are his son, Tyler, and his daughter, Joan. Other family members are invited, in addition to his best friend who may be making the trek from Sweden.


Freeman said the family is already looking forward to making its own memories in the 1,000 Islands. “For the week, we’re planning on naming the island ‘Freemandia’,” he said, noting that his niece is already working on a flag and his oldest brother is working on the anthem.


“I want to see my kids’ reaction to the whole experience,” he said. “I really want them to have it be a vacation they remember when they’re older.”

Aspects of the prize include elite dinners, a helicopter tour, theatre tickets, golf, kayaking, spending vouchers at shopping establishments and a day of bass fishing in tribute to his memories of fishing with his Dad.


To learn more about the 2017 contest and your opportunity to enter to Win a Week on an Island please visit The new contest will launch in April 2017.


Congratulations and welcome to the 1000 Islands, James!


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