Whether you have a week or a weekend in Kingston, here are 8 things that must be on your to-do list for your next trip.
You may have gotten to know Canada’s First Prime Minister in the history books, but you’ll feel like you’re meeting the real deal when a cast of characters, including John A. himself, take you on a theatrical walking tour of Kingston. From passing by the home of one of John A’s biggest rivals, to seeing some of his favourite haunts with lively songs and sketches in between, this tour isn’t your average historic walk. Did you know? The tour has been led by several famous Canadians including past Prime Ministers, Don Cherry, and broadcasters Steve Paikin and Lloyd Robertson.
No trip to Kingston is complete without a visit to Fort Henry, built in 1832 to defend the Kingston harbour and Rideau Canal. Today the Fort has been restored to the time period, and costumed interpreters bring the fort to life. Plan your visit on a Wednesday or Saturday during the summer to experience the Sunset Ceremony, featuring the Fort Henry Guard Drums, Drill Squad, and Artillery Detachment. They recreate 1860s military music, drills and artillery manoeuvres, including a mock battle, and top it all off with a beautiful fireworks display above the fort. For full performance details click here.
Kingston is at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, and is the perfect starting point for a cruise of the Thousand Islands. From sightseeing cruises to dining cruises there are plenty of options to choose from. If you want to take a peek at some of the famous cottages on the islands, book the Heart of the Islands cruise, which takes you through the The Admiralty Islands – home to the highest concentration of small cottage islands.
One of the best ways to introduce yourself to Kingston is on board one of the Kingston Trolley Tours. With nine hop-on, hop-off stops you can spend as much time as you like at each check-point of the tour, or stay on board the trolley to get an overview of the city. Just one of the must-see stops is Bellevue House National Historic Site of Canada, the former home of Canada’s First Prime Minister.
Did you know that Kingston is home to more restaurants per capita than almost any other city in Canada? The list of dining options is lengthy, from local foodie favourites, to the famous Kingston Public Market. Plus, Kingston’s close proximity to Prince Edward County’s wine region means lots of local Ontario wines featured on the menus. Bonus: If you love dining outdoors, you’ll find more than enough patios to fit the bill – from the new rooftop patio at Jack Astors, to the Kingston Brewing Company’s quaint courtyard.
Love checking out local shops while travelling? Kingston has some fantastic gems to explore. City & Cargo features handcrafted leather goods, and next door the Kingston Olive Oil Company has premium olive oils and balsamic vinegar. Across the street you’ll find Cooke’s Fine Foods & Coffee’s which dates to 1924!
If a helicopter ride has always been on your bucket list, this is the perfect place to make your dream a reality. Fly over the Thousand Islands, and get a bird’s eye view of beautiful landmarks like Boldt Castle, Singer Castle and the Thousand Islands International Bridge. You may even see one of the large shipping vessels making it’s way down the St. Lawrence Seaway. Find out more about the 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours here.
Kingston is a waterfront city, and the perfect place to enjoy the view is from the new Delta hotel overlooking the Kingston harbour. Whether you admire the water from your room, the pool area or the lounge, you can take in Kingston’s bustling waterfront at all times of day. The Delta hotel is also home to one of Kingston’s most buzz-worthy restaurants – AquaTerra by Clark.