Zavikon Island – Zavikon Island, Ontario - Atlas Obscura

Zavikon Island

Zavikon Island, Ontario

The purported world's shortest international bridge connects a homeowner in Canada to his backyard in New York. 


Zavikon Island is home to a bridge that, at only 32 feet in length, is considered the shortest international bridge in the world. It connects a Canadian island with an American island in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River.

The boundary agreement that was drafted between Canada and the United States declares that no island can be split into two territories. Two-thirds of the islands in this bunch, the Thousand Islands, belong to Canada, but the total area of the Canadian islands is roughly equal to the other one-third, which are considered to be American territory.

It just so happens that these two islands were joined by a bridge because the smaller island is owned by the same person who owns the house on the larger, Canadian island (at left in the accompanying photographs). They use the smaller island as a backyard. However, the truth of this has been questioned as a tourist ploy since the 1880s, with both islands being in Canada according to some sources. 

The Thousand Islands chain that Zavikon is a part of is an archipelago of islands that straddle the Canada-US border. They stretch for about 50 miles from Kingston, Ontario, with the islands on the American side belonging to New York. There are over 1,800 islands in the archipelago and they range from larger islands with an area of over 40 square miles to tiny piles of rocks that are used by migrating birds and other waterfowl. That number of islands, 1,864, was determined by only counting those that remain above water 365 days a year and support a living tree.

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