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Kingston: Queen’s University and living history

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In 1841 Kingston was the capital of Canada, a distinction it held for only one year, but it still feels and looks like a capital city.


Located at the opening of the Rideau Canal, about half way between Toronto and Montreal and an hour plus drive south of Ottawa, Kingston is perfectly located for visiting as a tourist. And there is a lot to see and do in Kingston, starting with Old Fort Henry, a restored and staffed historic site complete with live battles and a full complement of historically dressed guides.


History is also alive and well in the city center of Kingston. Over 700 heritage properties, mostly in limestone, make this city an excellent place to explore on foot. These buildings provide a backdrop for dozens of festivals, some highlighting the many musical talents of Kingston (Bryan Adams and the Tragically Hip call Kingston home) and the Canadian Film Festival.


Market Square is Canada’s oldest continuously operating market and is a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture.


Queen’s University is one of the best Universities in the country and the thousands of students add lots of life, boost the pub culture of Kingston and help support the many micro breweries led by the Kingston Brewing Company, which brews and serves natural ales and lagers in a cozy setting.


Kingston is also the gateway to the Thousand Islands, a magical stretch of the St. Lawrence River which has been the playground for the rich and famous of both the USA and Canada for over a hundred years. Explore castles built for unrequited love and see beautiful wooden boats race between the islands. There are many cruises operating through the islands which are especially beautiful in the autumn when the leaves change colour, clocking the islands in brilliant red, yellow, gold and orange.


Getting there:


  • 3 hour drive east of Toronto on Highway 401
  • Fly into Kingston at the Norman Roger Airport, only 8 km west of downtown. Air Canada has daily flights from Toronto Pearson International Airport into Kingston.
  • Regular VIA train service from Toronto and Montreal