Kingston City Hall

One of the finest architectural wonders of the 19th century

Trade exchanges with First Nations

Kingston is located on the traditional lands of the Huron-Wendat and Mississauga peoples of the Algonquin nation. For local aboriginal peoples, this area has long been known as Katarowki, meaning 'a place where there is clay.' 

In 1673, the Comte de Frontenac, Governor General of New France, met with First Nations representatives to encourage them to trade with the French. He established a fortified fur trading post on the river's edge. This was the beginning of the European presence in the Kingston area! 

Until the Battle of Fort Frontenac in 1758, when the French surrendered to the British two years later, the expansion of the Canadian colony into the North American interior, the Great Lakes region and the Ohio Valley was in full swing. 

Cultural and artistic dynamic life

Today, Kingston is a tourist city, enriched by an active arts and culture scene. Many festivals and events are held here. Don't miss the Kingston Canadian Film Festival, the Reelout Queer Film Festival, the Multicultural Arts Festival, the YGK Craft Beer Fest, the Corks & Forks, the Limestone City Blues Festival and the Back to the Farm Beer and Music Festival. 

Otherwise, Fort Frontenac and Fort Henry are must-sees, while the Museum of Healthcare, PumpHouse and Frontenac County Schools Museum will appeal to families. 

For those curious about nature, preparing a picnic on the beach or in a park is always a great idea. Grass Creek Park and Breakwater Park, which have a public beach, are favourites.

Visit to Kingston Penitentiary under heavy guard

A rare opportunity to visit a maximum-security prison... and Canada's oldest! 

If you're a thrill seeker, treat yourself to this guided tour (available in French), which will plunge you into one of the most fascinating prison worlds. Three tour options are available: a 45-minute express tour of the main areas of the prison, a 1.5-hour tour of the living and working areas, some of which date back to the 1830s, where you'll hear from former staff and learn about the history and daily routines, including tales of escapes and riots. And another two-and-a-half-hour tour takes a closer look at the history of other spaces, such as the hospital, gymnasium and school. 

The cells, the canteen, the infirmary... you'll find out all about the mythical characters who frequented the prison!

Olive Oil Co. gourmet grocery store

Enter Olive Oil Co. gourmet grocery store in Kingston and sample top-quality olive oils. You'll be greeted by Denise, who'll be offering all kinds of culinary specialties in her tasting bar.

Geneva crepe cafe : an European-style crêpes ?

Here, not only do we serve European-style crêpes, but also Belgian-style waffles, soups, salads and sandwiches, always made from fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. 

Be sure to try one of their hot chocolates... a pure delight! 

Open daily from 7a.m. to 11p.m. (until midnight on Friday and Saturday).

Kayak or scuba diving for exploring Kingston

From Kingston, Ahoy Rentals and its owner Andrew Kelm will also welcome you in French. He offers kayak and bike rentals for exploring Kingston and the Thousand Islands.

If you're a shipwreck enthusiast, you're in for a treat! Did you know that the region boasts 1862 shipwrecks in its shallows? The Neptune et Salacia company offers scuba diving and snorkelling from Kingston. All in French. 

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Discover the Kingston City Hall, one of the finest 19th-century architectural marvels ever built in Ontario! 

Neoclassical in style, the building stands out from its surroundings. Its landmark tholobate and dome make it instantly recognizable and a Kingston landmark.

After a fire in 1840 destroyed much of downtown Kingston, the construction of a new municipal building was proposed. At the time, Kingston was the capital of the new province of Canada, and a magnificent city hall was the obvious choice. Construction of Kingston City Hall began in 1843, using limestone. When the seat of government was transferred to Montreal in 1844, space in Kingston's City Hall was leased to businesses such as saloons, haberdashery, churches, banks and post offices.

Don't miss the 45-minute guided tour, in French, available Monday to Friday from June onwards. A National Historic Site of Canada, City Hall is an excellent starting point for exploring this pretty, pedestrianized and vibrant city, home to Ontario's oldest public market and Canada's hippest music scene. Take a stroll through its narrow streets, which hide beautiful antique markets, fine restaurants and dozens of museums and historic sites.

Just steps from City Hall, enjoy a picnic at Confederation Park, where you can see the restored historic 'Spirit of Sir John A.' train or the old railway station. Or take a culinary tour with Kingston food tours, a brewery tour or the Kingston Haunted Walk.

Extract of
Thousand Islands Region Sightseeing and Discovery Tour

Thousand Islands Region Sightseeing and Discovery Tour image circuit

Presented by : Société économique de l’Ontario

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