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Canadian senator wants castle to be port of entry

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CHIPPEWA BAY — Canadian Sen. Robert W. Runciman is pushing for Singer Castle’s designation as a seasonal port of entry to boost tourist along the St. Lawrence River and create more jobs in the North Country.

The castle, a century-old grand mansion turned into a tourist attraction, sits on Dark Island in the heart of the Thousand Islands and was used as the setting for the unaired pilot episode of TNT’s new reality TV competition show, “The Great Escape.”

“The castle’s potential to become a major tourism draw in the Thousand Islands has never been realized as Canadian tour boat operators are prohibited from travelling directly from a Canadian port to Dark Island,” said Mr. Runciman, Brockville, Ontario, in a recent letter to U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer.

Canadian boat operators currently have to make a detour to Heart Island for customs clearance, he said, which adds more than an hour to a trip to Singer Castle.

“Designation of the island as a Port of Entry would undoubtedly enhance business opportunities for Canadian tour operators, but it would also significantly improve the bottom line for the operators of Singer Castle and enable them to make investments to ensure not only the continued operation of the castle, but also its evolution into a significant international tourism draw,” Mr. Runciman said.

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