Kingston sits between Toronto and Montreal in Canada and is nicknamed as the ‘Limestone City’. You can spot numerous historic structures in limestone construction, especially in the downtown area. It also has a marketplace which is the oldest public market in Ontario. Here is the list of architectural places one must visit in Kingston.
1. Fort Henry National Historic Site
Fort Henry is a national historic site located in Kingston, Ontario state, Canada. It was constructed in the year 1812 and has recently been termed a UNESCO world heritage site. Currently, it is administered by Parks Canada. Visitors are given presentations and tours of the fort, showcasing the history of British military life. Young members amongst the visitors are made to be dressed in period uniforms and are taught to march by a qualified member of the Guard. A precious ceremony known as the ‘Sunset Ceremony’ is conducted every Wednesday and Saturday in July and August. The ceremony has shows introducing the historic drill, music and artillery.
2. Kingston City Hall
Kingston City Hall is a monumental town hall which was purely built of stone in the 19th century. It was considered to be a national historic site in the year 1961 due to its Neoclassical style architecture. The building was constructed by architect George Brown, who emphasized the massive scale of the dome and elements like the portico. Kingston City Hall is situated in the centre of Kingston’s historic downtown which faces the waterfront. It was the first building to combine both the functions of a town hall and a marketplace; where, marketplace is in the rear part and town hall and its associated properties in the front.
3. Bellevue House National Historic Site
Bellevue House, situated in Kingston, was constructed in 1840 for the architect of the Canadian Confederation and Canada’s very first prime minister, Sir John A Macdonald. It is one of the rare examples of ‘Italian Villa Architecture’ in Canada. The house serves as a memorial for Sir John A Macdonald. His contributions to the development of Canada have been huge, and all of them and his belongings are preserved there for the visitors to see, explore and learn. The exhibits kept there commemorate his life and career, and costumed staff is hired, who present about his family and their daily lifestyle.
4. Cathedral of Saint Mary
The Cathedral of Saint Mary, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, belongs to a Roman Catholic style of architecture. It is one of the four churches which is in the proximity of 600 m along Clergy Street. It was built by architect James R. Brown. The construction began in 1842 and was officially opened on October 4, 1848. In 1869, it was enlarged and further designed by Joseph Connoly. The spire of the church is about 242 feet high, and it’s the tallest structure in the city. Major renovations were carried out afterwards, including the reconstruction of the north wall and replacing the 50-year-old asbestos roof with slate tiles.
5. Confederation Park
The Confederation Park is situated in front of the City Hall. The market battery was one of the defensive installations of previous times alongside the Lake Ontario Shore. In 1975, there was no point in using the battery, and hence, it was decided that it would be converted into a park. After ten years, the rail yard took over, which used to serve the South terminus of the Kingston and Pembroke Railway. In 1967, the significance of the waterfront declined, and it turned back into a park. The locomotive of the rail yard is still kept in the park as an exhibit.
6. Murney Tower National Historic Site
Murney Tower National Historic Site is one of the community museums which is situated in Kingston. It is administered by Kingston Historical Society in partnership with Parks Canada. It is one of the famous towers out of the 4 Martello towers of Kingston, Ontario. It is now considered a UNESCO World Heritage site belonging to the Rideau Canal and Kingston fortifications. It consists of thousands of domestic and military artifacts. Visitors are provided with tours and programming and are allowed to see exhibits. The soldiers used the tower as barracks. Later on, the military people also used it as a residence.
7. St. George’s Cathedral
St. George’s Cathedral was started in 1825 in a smaller structure. In 1862, the church became a cathedral. The core of the existing church was built of stone, which was designed by architect Thomas Rogers in the year 1825. The building was further enlarged in the 1840s with the addition of a nave bay, a large clock tower and an entrance portico with a pediment of four columns. In 1975, under the Ontario Heritage Act and in 1981, the Ontario Heritage Trust secured a heritage easement on the church.
8. Frontenac County Courthouse National Historic Site
The Frontenac County Court House is a large building made up of limestone. The courthouse was built in the mid-19th century .The architectural style or character adopted by this building is that of Neoclassical style, thus it has a lot of architectural dominance in terms of the public buildings. Its important features are the columned portico and dome, which give a wide expanse of view starting right from the park to the shoreline of Lake Ontario. It is located in downtown Kingston, specifically in the residential area of the town.
9. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
The St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church is located in the centre of the city of Kingston. It has a rich history. Its first service took place in the year of 1822. The building was reconstructed in the year 1889, although preserving much of the original design remains hence not hindering its authenticity. St. Andrew church is famous for its stained glass windows. One of the most notable windows depicts the story of the saint himself. There is a small chapel which was built behind the church in the year 1967, where numerous stained glass windows can be seen depicting various stories.
10. St. James Anglican Church
The St. James’ Church is an Anglican church located near the Queen’s University in the city of Kingston. It is one of the most historic churches in the city and boasts a long history and significance. Since many Christians here still visit the church and maintain its glory, it remains an important destination in Kingston. The active Christian community still understands the value of preserving the church and leading the future generations so that they are aware of the history. The architecture of the church is unmatched and magnificent. It has a huge square tower seated on four spires showing power of faith and harmony.
11. Chalmers United Church
The Chalmers United Church is situated in the centre of the city of Kingston. It is an impressive church with an enormous history behind it. It is located near the famous Queen’s University, within 600 meters, on Clergy Street. This church was built in the year 1890, and it is a Free Presbyterian Church. It was named after one of the famous persons, Thomas Chalmers. The structure has features like domed windows and balconies adorning the tower of the church.
12. Royal Military College Museum
Royal Military College Museum, situated in Kingston, has an assembled collection of art, objects and archives which tells about Point Frederick and his colleagues. It tells about the people who have lived, learned, taught and laboured here. The existence of RMC museums has been observed in various forms since 1922. The students who have studied there have given their belongings to the college to commemorate the future generations. During the Second World War, the Museum was closed, and the objects were placed for storage purposes until 1961 when the Museum was reopened. Since then, the RMC Museum has expanded with more artefacts.
13. Kingston Penitentiary Museum
Kingston Penitentiary Museum is an award-winning museum which is dedicated solely to the preservation and interpretation of the history of Canada and its federal penitentiaries. It is located at the birthplace of the Correctional Service of Canada in Kingston. The museum is set up within the former Warden’s residence of Kingston Penitentiary Museum. The unparalleled collection of penitentiary-related artefacts and photographs dates back to the 1960s.
14. The Grand Theatre
The Grand Theatre is one of the main cultural venues in Kingston and serves as the prime venue for performing arts. The venue is best for hundreds of professional and amateur performances which are held annually, including ballet performances, family programming, modern dance, theatre, musicals, comedy and much more.The theatre is open on each day of the whole year. The purpose of the theatre is to encourage and respect all sorts of art and artists which might be willing to perform. It also helps to build a relationship with the history, art and the community of today’s era.
15. Thousand Islands National Park
Thousand Islands National Park was formerly known as St. Lawrence Islands National Park. The national park covers an area of mainland, islands, and islets in southeastern Ontario province, Canada, on the banks of St. Lawrence River between Kingston and Brockville. The small mainland reservation, which is called Mallorytown Landing, is about 12 miles to the southwest of Brockville. There are about 18 heavily forested islands and 80 rocky islets, which are all a part of the Thousand Islands region. The park was established in 1904 with a total area of 1,013 acres.