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The 12 Things You Must Do In Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Hridya
Updated Mar 04, 2019

Kingston is a city in Canada located on Lake Ontario, at the beginning of the Cataraqui and St. Lawrence Rivers. It is referred to as “Limestone City” owing to the fairly large number of grand 19th-century buildings built from limestone, one main one being the lakeside Kingston City Hall. The city of Kingston has historic landmarks, museums, and also a vibrant downtown that is filled with an abundant number of restaurants and pubs.

If you are considering a short trip over the weekend, these are the things you must do in your time here. Read on to find out what’s waiting for you in Kingston:

1. Lake Ontario Park

Lake ontario park   kingston on

Lake Ontario Park is Kingston’s largest urban waterfront park. After a lot of renovation, it was opened once again for the public a few years back. It offers a noteworthy natural landscape that attracts both residents as well as visitors for picnicking and walking along the waterfront. The park is open every day of the week from 8 am until dusk.

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2. Kingston City Hall

Kingston’s City Hall is a national historic site, and remains the city’s administration and governing centre. Kingston City Hall is one of the best 19th-century buildings in Canada and is a nationally-nominated heritage site. The City Hall is visited by several thousand tourists as well as local citizens every year. The City Hall, apart from housing banks and governments also contains the body of Sir John A. Macdonald, the first prime minister of Canada. The City Hall is open on weekdays from 8.30 am until 4.30 pm to visitors.

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3. Murney Tower

Murney Tower is a Martello tower, small defensive forts that were built in the 19th century throughout the British Empire. The construction of this tower dates back to 1846, built for the Oregon crisis (a border dispute). It was officially named Murray Tower, but the locals referred to it as Murney Tower since it was built on Murney Point. The name was eventually changed to match the local usage. This 19th-century tower makes for a nice short visit. The tower is open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm on all days of the year.

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4. Fort Frederick

Source: iStock

Fort Frederick is an important military building that is located on Point Frederick, and situated on the grounds of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston. The construction of this building also dates back to 1846, constructed during the Oregon boundary clash (Oregon crisis). The RMC museum that is housed in the Fort Frederick Martello Tower is a National Historic Site and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The museum tells the story of the oldest military college in Canada.

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5. Penitentiary Museum

Source: Wikipedia

The Kingston Penitentiary is actually a former maximum security prison that is located in Kingston, near Lake Ontario. The museum is closed from November to January. You can visit the museum by appointment from February to April, and from May until October. The museum is open on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm and on weekends from 10 am to 4 pm. Timings are slightly different from June to September, with extended evening opening times. Donations are accepted for entry fees.

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6. Kingston Waterfront

Source: iStock

If you are looking for a fun walk that has a variety of views, the Kingston Waterfront is the place to go to. Visitors say it is truly worth the time spent there. This place is highly recommended for families with young children. You can easily burn your energy and also have great fun at the same time as a family. There are lots of local eats that you can try here, so after your activities you can munch on some great food that is sold here. Apart from this, being a waterfront, you can expect to see some boats, walk along the shore, or walk or bike along the pathway at the waterfront.

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7. Bellevue House

Bellevue House is yet another National Historic Site of Canada. It was home to Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John Alexander Macdonald, from 1848 until 1849. It is noteworthy for its Italian Villa style of architecture, a non-symmetrical style at that. Bellevue House is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, open on the rest of the days of the week from 10 am to 5 pm. The entry fee is 3.90 CAD (approximately 3.00 USD) per adult. If interested, you could also choose to take the guided tours that are available on weekends.

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8. Kingston Mills / Rideau Canal


Kingston Mills were built as a result of a series of falls on the Cataraqui River. The British built a grist mill and a saw mill to help the new settlers in that region. Kingston Mills is located at the southernmost end; it is one of the 24 lock stations of the Rideau Canal. You can camp here; an entry fee of 4.90 CAD per head (approximately 4.00 USD) is charged if you wish to camp here in groups.

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9. Cathedral of St Mary

The Cathedral of St Mary is a Roman Catholic cathedral. It was extensively renovated some years back, and today it stands in its full restored glory. The church is open every day, with masses held at various times; you can check the timings on their website.

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10. Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area

Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation area, Kingston Ont. March 2013. Photo by me.

Posted by Katherine Ann Howe on Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Explore some authentic local wildlife, at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area! Featuring a stunning array of local, natural sights and sounds, many of them indigenous to the region itself, the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area is your effective introduction to the wonders of lush, Ontario life. No matter the season, there’s always a wonderful series of recreational opportunities in which to partake, from cross country skiing in the winter, to kayaking and canoeing in the summer, to hiking through easy paths characterized by crisp leaves in the fall!

The entire conservation area is laid out in a visitor-friendly structure, typified by frequent bridges, open spaces, and photo opportunities! The area is set well within the city limits, so you’re not going to have to travel far from the center of town to get in on this unique shade of natural rejuvenation. Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area is also one of the ideal Ontario locations for bird watching! Catch a sensational variety of local aviation, from chicadees to robins to blackbirds to Canadian geese!

Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area

Address: 1641 Perth Road, Glenburnie, ON [no name], Canada

Website: Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area

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11. Military Communications and Electronics Museum

Radio Operator GIN Palace

Posted by Military Communications and Electronics Museum on Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Military Communications and Electronics Museum is a military signals museum located in Kingston, Ontario. Lonely Planet describes this museum as a “comprehensive and well-designed museum offering chronological displays on communications technology and sundry military gadgets”. This museum traces the development of military communications from 1903 through the World Wars, during various other war times and peace-keeping missions right up till today, the era of communication satellites. The museum is highly recommended for people of all ages.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kingston and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Kingston

12. Memorial Centre Farmers' Market


You’re in for a delicious treat when it comes to the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market! A wonderful synthesis of sights and sounds, together with some of the finest tasting ingredients to be found in the immediate and extended Ontario area, are yours for the taking at the farmers’ market. Proving equal parts a recreational, outdoor walking experience and effective introduction to some authentic Ontario culture and cuisine alike, the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market easily succeeds in delivering the best of that which was grown locally, right to your doorstep!

The Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market is set near the center of town, so it’s indeed a short journey to the beginning of the market itself. Locals love picking up a bite to eat at any one of the local eateries, before venturing through the streets, discovering the constantly changing flavors and natural offerings of the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market. A bevy of top-tier flavors are available for your sampling, including the market’s famed giant pretzels, as well as their locally harvested carrots, apples, and preserves! You’ll find yourself the privileged guest of a constantly shifting portfolio of booths, each a respectively different local flavor or offering, each facilitated by a friendly local, willing to answer all of your questions! If you’re looking to kill time in Ontario, or if you’re looking to finish off a recipe with that ideal, locally grown ingredient, there isn’t an easier way to elevate a dish of an afternoon than the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market!

Memorial Centre Farmers' Market

Address: 484 Albert St, Kingston, ON K7K 1R7, Canada

Website: Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kingston and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Kingston

How to get around Kingston

Should you plan on using public transport to get around Kingston during your holiday, here are a few options that you would find useful!

1. Kingston Transit

What is it? It is a bus service that travels within the urban area of Kingston.

Fares: 3 CAD (2.30 USD) per adult, free for children below 14

Website: Kingston Transit

2. Kingston Trolley Tours

What is it? It is a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Kingston’s historic old town and shopping district. During summer, the trolley would stop at six of Kingston’s most renowned attractions, including Fort Henry and the Kingston Penitentiary.

Fares: 32 CAD (24 USD) for an adult day pass, 21 CAD (16 USD) for a child day pass

Website: Kingston Trolley Tours

3. Ferries

What is it? Should you wish to explore the gorgeous Wolfe Island, a ferry would be the only way to get there.

Fares: It is free of charge.

Website: Ferry services

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kingston and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Kingston

History-lovers and fans of nature should visit!

As you can see from the above list, Kingston is filled with history. It ensures that the important history of Canada is conserved and passed on to future generations. There’s interesting architecture to admire, peaceful parks that are perfect for relaxing, and sights and activities aplenty. Plan your visit to Kingston, Ontario, Canada!

This article was originally published on Aug 28, 2016

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