We went on this tour put on by Kingston Walks and enjoyed it. It was less walking than we thought for a 45 minute tour, but we stopped along the way alot. The guides wore charming period costumes and were knowledgeable and charming. They took us around the Kingston Harbour, through City Hall (lots about Sir John A...) then up the limestone block to see the old buildings. One of the best parts - it was cheap! 7 bucks a person! The setting was so intimate too, with lots of 1-on-1 questions and discussions with the guides. I would reccommend the tour to anyone interested in Kingston or is just looking for something to do to kill an hour or so while spending some time in the downtown core.
The haunted walks of Kingston provide a special evening activity that you won't find just anywhere. As the original capital of Canada, Kingston has many buildings that date from the 18th century and more than a few residents who have never left. For a really special evening, check if the Haunted walk at Old Fort Henry is available.
Reservations are usually recommended but always during Halloween.
One of the most impressive sights of the whole trip was suddenly confronting Collins Bay Institution, a 485-cell medium security prison located on 800 acres of federal land beside Highway 33 as we crested a hill on our drive into the city from the west. This is often mistaken for Canada's oldest prison, Kingston Penitentiary built in 1835, and it is no wonder, since the area is home to nine correctional facilities of one kind or another! This one was built in 1929, makig it the second oldest federal institution for male offenders in the Ontario Region. The sudden view of the vivid roof and walls of its ornate entrance building, lit up before us by the west setting sun as they jutted up from the large treed estate, really caught our attention! At first I thought it must be some sort of cathedral or monastery and was amazed to find out this was, in fact, a federal prison!
On our return drive from Toronto to New Brunswick, we decided to get off the busy 401 superhighway near Trenton to see what the pace of life was like in Ontario on some of its less travelled roads. Our route very quickly took us out onto the large isthmus of Prince Edward County, which juts out into Lake Ontario and is joined to mainland by a narrow sliver of land. As we crossed this strip of land we were very surprised to suddenly find the Murray Canal, shown here, and even more surprised when the road gates came down just after we had crossed over!
This canal was built between 1882-89 to connect Presqu’ile Bay in the west with the Bay of Quinte in the east, allowing shipping traffic to cross the approximately 8-km (5-mile) land barrier here, saving them a much longer trip of 200-km (120-mi) if they had to try to navigate the shores of the isthmus.
We hopped out of the car for a better look as the road bed (supported by a steel bridge built in 1935) swung open in the 2nd photo and then started to close again (3rd photo). The gates and bridge were controlled by a man in the control building shown in the 4th photo, beside a sign saying that this canal is part of the 386-km Trent-Severn Waterway linking Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay (part of Lake Huron). Pleasure boats such as the ones we saw are the main users of the Murray Canal today because the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway changed the traffic patterns of the larger freighters.
The Loyalist Parkway passes through many small communities along its route, going straight through on the main streets of places such as Wellington, Rosehall, Bloomfield, Picton, Glenora, Adolphustown, Sandhurst and Bath. As we drove along, we were impressed by the number of historic old buildings dating from the late 1700s and first half of the 1800s, as well as the numerous huge old oak, beech and elm trees lining the streets. The towns take obvious pride in their heritage and looked like they would be fun to explore if we had been able to make more time available.
A small yet fascinating museum looking at the history of Canada's federal penitentiary system. My personal highlight was the confiscated make-shift weapons made by inmates...creepy!! Other interesting displays include models of Victorian and modern prison cells, collections of keys, uniforms, etc., and punishment devices used throughout the years. Be sure to chat with the employees at the museum, they are full of information and have a lot of interesting stories about the penitentiary and the museum.
The museum is housed in the original Kingston Penitentiary Warden's residence, which was built by inmate labour in 1873.
Summer Hours (May-Oct): Weekdays 9am-4pm; Weekends 10am-4pm
Winter Hours (Nov-April): Weekdays by appointment only (phone ahead)
No entrance fee. The museum is supported by donations to the Friends of the Penitentiary Museum Charitable Organization. There is also a small gift shop (cash only).
This beautiful gothic styled cathedral was completed in 1848 and built from limestone quarried on the spot. It features ribbed buttresses and a central tower standing 221 feet tall. Inside you can view the large arched windows with magnificent stained glass. It was our first Prime Minister, and Kingston's native son, Sir John A MacDonald who facilitated the acquisition of these marvelous windows from England in the 1880's.
If you are interested in life on the Great Lakes and the art of shipbuilding, then you would enjoy spending a few hours at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. There are excellent artifacts on display here depicting the life of sailors and shipbuilders.
See the website for hours of operation and admission charges. The retired 3000 ton Coast Guard Icebreaker, the Alexander Henry is docked next to the museum and can also be toured.
Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald immigrated to Kingston from Glasgow, Scotland with his family at the age of five. He grew up in Kingston, and began training in the legal profession at the age 15. He set up practice here in 1835 and entered political life in 1843 and became Canada's first Prime Minister in 1867.
He died in Ottawa in 1891 following a stroke at the age of 76, but was returned to Kingston to rest in the family plot at the beautiful Cataraqui Cemetary. His grave is marked with a simple stone cross as he requested.
Kingston's City Hall was completed in 1844 with the intention of housing Canada's National Parliament. However, by this time Kingston was no longer deemed the best position for Canada's capital city and the impressive building was instead used as the centre of municipal government in the City of Kingston.
You can take a free guided tour of the splendid interiors of the building from May 31 to Sept 18, Monday to Friday.
For $12, you can take a tour of historic Kingston aboard it's bright red trolley. The tour lasts about 50 minutes and will take you past the RMC, Bellevue House, the Kingston Penitentiaries and Fort Henry and more.
See the website for departure times.
The best way to really see and appreciate Kingston is to do it on foot. It's a lot of fun to walk down Princess Avenue and Ontario Street, and you can also improvise a self-guided tour of historic Kingston and Queen's University campus to admire the many 19th century limestone homes and the red brick Victorian architecture that are characteristic of this beautiful city.
Founded in 1876, the Royal Military College of Canada is located on Point Frederick, overlooking Lake Ontario, just east of downtown Kingston.
The view, the buildings and the grounds of RMC are beautiful and visitors are allowed to walk around the campus. There's also a museum in the martello tower. Definitely worth the short detour!
The Kingston haunted walk takes you on a 90-minute walking tour of historic Kingston. The tour guides, who wear cloaks and carry a lantern, are excellent! Groups walk from one haunted spot to the next, and actually get to stand right next to the haunted buildings as their guide relates really spooky stories. A really cool way to start the evening!
The Pump House and steam Museum is very close to the Marine museum, close to the west end marina. It's worth a visit. Interesting machinery is displayed to the public showing how local people handled water with primitive, yet motorized engines.
The Pump House Steam Museum was abandoned for a long time before it was restored in 1973 by the City of Kingston.
It was my first time staying in Inn. The place was nice, clean and calm. The ladies that are working...more
Wonderful views of Kingston harbour makes these rooms one of the best views in town 12 months of the...more
1550 Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 4X6, Canada
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo