Kingston, Ontario

Kingston is the largest city of the region, and offers the richest range of amenities, from high culture to popular entertainment, from its symphony orchestra to its street fairs. Kingston is a university town and a tourist destination, vibrant in the winter with throngs of young people, vibrant in the summer with throngs of visitors. The city has historic character and a scenic situation.

When Paul Malo originally created this community page, he placed photographs on the page with descriptive text.  In December 2008, when the new format for ThousandIslandsLife.com was given a new look, we present  the original photographs in a slide show format,  and we have placed the text in the list below.   Over time, we will make additional changes.

About Kingston:

Kingston is richly historic, retaining monumental stone buildings of exceptional style and character. The City Hall, designed by George Brown, was completed in 1844 when Kingston was capital of Canada.

Kingston is not merely a historic river town, but a Great Lakes City. Its nautical heritage is celebrated by the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. Less a commercial shipping port now, the city is a favored yachting destination. At the juncture of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, it is also at the juncture of the river and the Rideau Canal. This historic waterway, currently nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, affords a scenic cruise, passing through hand operated locks. The canal connects some of the many Rideau Lakes and links Kingston to Ottawa.

Kingston is urbane. Sidewalk cafés, outdoor produce and flea markets, specialty boutiques give the city a European flavor, enhanced by a remarkable collection of historic buildings.

Kingston has been called "the Limestone City" because of extensive stone contstruction of buildings, many monumental in ambition and refined in design.

Queens University is often referred to as "Canada's Harvard" because it attracts top international students. Established by Royal Charter of Queen Victoria in 1841, it was the earliest degree-granting institution in the united Province of Canada and has educated many of the country's most notable political and cultural figures.

The large Queens community enlivens Kingston during the winter. The university has more than 16,000 full-time students from over 70 countries, with a thousand faculty members and 2,200 staff.

Kingston is a city of art as well as history. The Agnes Ethrington Art Center on the Queens University Campus contains a collection of some fourteen thousand objects, many shown in its eight exhibition spaces. Outdoor sculpture enriches the urban scene.

The Memorial Arch of the Royal Military College is a splendid architectural monument raised in memory of military cadets killed in World War I and other conflicts. Rather poignantly the inscription concludes, "...who gave their lives for the empire." Today young people first enter the college by marching through the gates then never pass again until marching out on graduation. Others who know the tradition respect it, so always walk through the small openings at either side rather than though the arch.

Point Frederick, site of the Royal Military College, has had a miltary presence since the late eighteenth century. During the War of 1812 the main naval station of Upper Canada was situated here (the counterpoint to the United States installation at Sackets Harbor on Lake Ontario, not far off). Ships built here were critical to detering invasion of Canada by the United States.

Kingston's historic charm attracts many yachting parties. When the sun is over the yardarm, visitors stroll from the harbor adjoining Confederate to nearby sidewalk cafés restaurants and shops.

Elaborate fortifications blend historic with marine character. The mouth of the Cataraqui River, the entrance to the Rideau Canal, forms a large, natural harbor.

Island cruises from the downtown shore offer dining and entertainment as well as scenery.

Kingston is home port for the Canadian Empress, built here for more extended St. Lawrence River cruises.

The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes recalls Kingston's history as a port and shipbuilding center. Focusing on larger commercial ships, it suppliments Clayton's Antique Boat Museum which focuses on smaller recreational boats.

Visitors derive an intimate sense of Kingston's maritime heritage when staying at a unique bed-and-breakfast accommodation, the Alexander Henry.

Several historic buildings likewise are models of preservation by adaptive use, now providing fine lodging for visitors.

A city of culture and affluence, Kingston offers the widest range of fine dining in the region. Kingston's vibrant joie do vivre is nowhere more evident than in its many pubs.

Kingston is a place for all seasons and all ages. The city has active sailing programs for youngsters and young adults.

Kingston has hosted the sailing Olympics, and in 2007 will be the site of the International Sailing Federation's Youth Sailing World Championship. Sailors don't leave the water, even when frozen.

Kingston is a city where the nautical is juxtposed with the urbane--a city of water and sidwalks. The old town, at the water's edge, is a pedestrian's delight.

A downtown Renaissance has restored buildings, many occupied by inviting shops.

Adaptation of interior alleys, many lined with old stone buildings, contibutes to Kingston charm.

Other sections sample distinctive regional shopping, dining, and lodging in Kingston and elsewhere. Another fine website is devoted to Kingston alone.

Kingston is renowed for its choral music. Several choirs perform regularly. A service at St. George's Cathedral is a memorable experience, although the choir may be on vacation during the summer. Also memorable is the famous annual outdoor performance by the Kingston Symphony of the 1812 Overture at Ft. Henry.

Always a lively city, Kingston is its most vibrant when the streets come alive with festivals such as the annual Buskers' Rendevous.

The hip art scene: Gas The Modern Fuel. By artists, for artists, the mission of this gallery and art centre is to "explore wide-ranging aesthetics and probe a broad scope of formal and socio-cultural questions."

A model of a small city's development, Kingston is acutely aware of its resouces and is vigilant about retaining its identity, as a destination and an enviable place to live. City government has been assisted by institutional and private input in planning and development, such as the Kingston Development Corporation(KEDCO) and Kincore Holdings, Ltd. Among projects that enhance the quality of historic Kingston is Kincore's recent restoration of a prominent landmark, the British Whig Building. A fine presentation of the history of the building and its changes is on line.

The vitality of the St. Lawrence north shore, especially compared to the south shore, may be explained in large part by demographics and transportation. Whereas rail connection to cities farther south once made the southern side accessible to visitors from populous urban centers, that shore now is relatively inaccessible from metropolitan cities. In contrast, the "main line" of Canada--once the Grand Trunk Railroad and now the 401 arterial highway that links Toronto and Montreal--runs along the north shore. Kingston and Brockville both have airports accomodating private jets. Some affluent islanders residing across the international boundary use these facilities regularly.