10 Best Things to Do in Kingston (Ontario, Canada)

Kingston is a small city that is halfway between Toronto and Montreal. It is an old city that was founded in 1673 and was once a trading post for the French.

Even now, you can still see the city’s history, especially in the downtown area. In fact, Kingston is called the “Limestone City” because of its beautiful old buildings made of limestone.

Kingston (Ontario, Canada)
Kingston (Ontario, Canada)

Kingston has a lot to do, and it’s also the place where you can get to the famous Thousand Islands. Let’s look at Kingston’s best things to do:

1. Explore a fort

During the War of 1812, Fort Henry was built to protect the Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard. It is now a national historic site and is a great place to go.

Explore the fort and learn about its history while military interpreters show you how life was in the British army. You can see historical reenactments, a garrison parade, and even fire a gun!

You can also go to a Victorian school, eat while taking in the views, and buy souvenirs. Stay until the sun goes down and enjoy a ceremony.

2. Visit a military museum

Visit the Royal Military College of Canada Museum if you’re interested in military history. The Royal Military College of Canada runs the museum, which is on its campus.

The Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard is part of the museum. It has a collection of artifacts, research, and records from the RMCC. The museum has more than 7,000 items, some of which date back to World War I.

See war trophies, such as the Sherman Tank, the Centurion Tank, and the Leopard Tank. There are also Blomefield SBML 32-pounder Gun, SBML 32-pounder Gun, and HMCS Huron (G24) X Guns.

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3. Tour a prison

Kingston Penitentiary was a prison with the highest level of security. It was shut down in 2013. It was known that some of the most dangerous criminals in Canada were kept there.

Today, anyone can visit the famous prison. Visit one of the oldest prisons in the country and see what it was like to be locked up.

A tour of the prison will take about 90 minutes and be led by a guide. You can bring a camera, so be sure to be ready.

4. Get to know the leader of your country

Sir John Alexander Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, lived in Bellevue House. It is now a national historic site and a museum.

The house was one of the first places in the country to be built in the style of an Italian villa, and it was also one of the best. It has three floors, balconies, windows in different shapes, and different kinds of roof gables.

It is a beautiful house that is full of artifacts and exhibits and also has videos that teach people about different things. Guides dressed in clothes from the 1840s will show you around the house and tell you everything you need to know about its history.

5. Visit a theater

The Grand Theatre is not only one of the best theaters in the city, but it is also a historical site. Since 1902, when it first opened, the theater has hosted many shows.

There are 776 seats in the main theater, as well as a stage and an orchestra pit. A black box theater with seats for 105 people is also there.

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Since 1964, the Kingston Symphony has called the theater home. It has also had big names like Sandra Bernhardt, Nellie Melba, and Eddie Palmieri perform there.

6. Live like it’s the 1800s

At Upper Canada Village, you can milk cows, ride a miniature train, walk a calf, or ride in a wagon. This village from the 1800s lets you live like people did back then.

The village shows what life was like in a small town in rural English Canada. It has more than 40 historic buildings. There are a few mills and trades buildings that are still in use, as well as a church and a doctor’s house.

A guide dressed in clothes from that time will show you around the village for an hour or two. For the full effect, you can even dress up yourself.

7. Sail up the St. Lawrence River

Go to Crysler Park Marina and sail along the St. Lawrence River in a beautiful boat. It is also possible to go kayaking, canoeing or paddle boarding.

You can either bring your own boat or find someone who will take you out on theirs. You can even stay the night in a cabin right by the river and relax.

You can have a picnic, eat at a restaurant, or go shopping for souvenirs after sailing along the river. You can also relax at Crysler Beach, which is a great place to go swimming.

8. Check out art

Check out art at a university. The famous and old Queen’s University has two galleries on campus. The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is one of them, and the Union Gallery is another.

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The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is a museum that puts a lot of emphasis on research and looks at great art traditions from the past and present. It has more than 16,000 pieces, some of which date back to the 14th century.

The Union Gallery is a modern art gallery where both students and artists from the area show their work. There is nothing here that will always be there.

9. Take a tour of the city hall

Kingston City Hall is not only a beautiful building, but it is also a Canadian National Historic Site. The building is in the neoclassical style and has a dome that is well-known.

Walk around the well-known landmark, which has been there since 1844. Learn about the building’s history and its beautiful design by taking a tour.

From May to October, you can take a 45-minute tour with a guide. If you’d rather explore on your own, the first two floors are open all year.

10. Walk along the water

During the winter, the waterfront isn’t as busy as other parts of the city, but when the weather warms up, it becomes one of the busiest places in town. The waterfront is eight kilometers long, and there are many things to do there.

You can walk, ride a bike, take a tour bus, or go by boat to see what’s along the water. There are beautiful old buildings as well as parks, beaches, cafes, and shops.

Along the waterfront, you can see places like the Rideau Trail, Kingston Penitentiary, Bellevue House, and City Hall.

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