The town originally embraced hydroplane racing in the mid-1940s, when the International Nickel Cup Regatta was run among the 1,000 Islands. At that time, the event was made possible through the support of Frank LaQue, the Vice President of the International Nickel Company – who hailed from Gananoque.
The races grew to welcome thousands of spectators, with crowds lining the waterfront to watch the exciting action. It was known as one of the largest and most integral hydroplane regattas held in North America. The Gananoque event was highly regarded by both drivers and teams, who entered boats from as far afield as Florida, Texas, California and across Canada.