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Island In the Sky

Written by on June 16, 2015 in Boating

Konrad and Heidi Linckh are on top of the world. The German couple, the newest owners of the 1000 Islands Tower, are living their dream of doing business in the 1000 Islands. “This is where we wanted to be,” said Heidi of owning and running the iconic tourism attraction on Hill Island. “I just love the water, the islands, the whole concept.”

The 1000 Islands Tower's new owners from Germany, Heidi and Konrad Linckh, with son Jonathan.

The 1000 Islands Tower’s owners Heidi and Konrad Linckh, with son Jonathan.

The couple, in their 40s, bought the 130-metre tower that offers panoramic views of the 1000 Islands two years ago. This summer they are celebrating its 50th anniversary. Heidi has a

business degree in tourism and has worked in the industry in different countries and sees potential for the unique landmark. “The idea is to have fun with it.” The tower is for rent for special occasions. The attraction  includes two

gift shops, a 900-square-metre exhibition hall, an ice cream store and other retail space and parking on a four hectares of land. “I like it upstairs,” says the couple’s only child, six-year-old son Jonathan, who also is an avid fan of its ice cream shop. ‘Upstairs’ here means a trip up the tower’s high-speed elevator to three observation decks which offer spectacular  views of the St. Lawrence River and 1000 Islands.

Tourists from around the globe visit the 1000 Islands Tower on Hill Island.

Tourists from around the globe visit the 1000 Islands Tower. including famous Boldt Castle on Heart Island.

Until a few years ago, Konrad was an electrical engineer working as the C.E.O. for a German laser equipment manufacturer in New Jersey. “It’s quite a change in lifestyle and career,” he said. The couple, originally from Dusseldorf, applied for permanent residency in Canada in 2006. Their request was granted in 2010. They moved to Gananoque and began exploring business opportunities.

The 1000 Islands Tower looms over The Lost Channel.

The 1000 Islands Tower looms over The Lost Channel.

The sale of the tower in 2013 drew attention from potential buyers all over the globe including China, Toronto, Syracuse and Ottawa. However, the former long-time owner, Leonard Stratford of Hill Island, chose the German couple’s bid because of their love of the area and dedication to keeping it open as a tourism attraction. The tower attracted 100,000 tourists a year when it first opened on June 15 1965.

The 1000 Islands Tower on Hill Island overlooks the International Rift.

The 1000 Islands Tower on Hill Island overlooks the International Rift.

A Czech businessman purchased the land in the early 60’s to construct the tower, which took a year to build. The original owner also built a now-defunct theme park featuring fairytale characters called Never Never Land on the property. Stratford bought the tower in 1983. The Linckhs are looking forward to marking the scenic attraction’s milestone in style with a new generation of visitors from around the world this summer. In their business, the sky’s the limit.

Aerial view from 1000 Islands Tower.

Aerial view of Hill Island.

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