The Thousand Islands Parkway follows the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, and was formerly designated Highway 2S (for Scenic). It was constructed as the alignment of Highway 401 through the area during the 1930s and 1940s, and was in signed as such between 1952 and 1968, when a new alignment of Highway 401 was completed further to the north.
The Thousand Islands Parkway extends easterly from an interchange with Highway 401 in Gananoque for approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) to the community of Butternut Bay, in Elizabethtown-Kitley, west of Brockville. The parkway begins at a split with Highway 401 on the outskirts of Gananoque. There is no access from westbound Highway 401 to the parkway nor from westbound on the parkway to eastbound Highway 401. However, immediately east of the split, both highways interchange with the sole remaining portion of Highway 2 under provincial jurisdiction.
East of this point the three diverge into the rugged terrain of the Frontenac Arch, a protrusion of the Canadian Shield southward into New York state. In this area, the soil is underlain by layers of Paleozoic limestone and a granite bedrock. The granite often extends above the ground surface as large rock outcroppings. Both layers are prominent in the Jones Creek ravine.
At its midpoint, the parkway interchanges with Highway 137, an extension of Interstate 81 which serves as the Ontario approach to the international Thousand Islands Bridge.
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