Vacation Inspiration: Visit Kingston

From its vibrant waterfront, to its thriving arts scene, there are many reasons to visit (or re-visit) Kingston this summer! Here’s what’s new, and what’s a must-see for your Kingston summer getaway.

What’s New

Tour Canada’s oldest prison

Closed as an operating prison in 2013, this summer St. Lawrence Parks Commission is offering a rare chance to see behind the prison walls of Kingston Penitentiary. On your 90-minute guided tour see inside “the Dome”, the cell blocks, and marvel at the historic architecture. The tours are extremely popular, so be sure to book ahead.

 

 

Explore the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

Kingston’s newest performing arts centre opened in the fall of 2014, and boasts stunning views of Lake Ontario, a state-of-the-art performance hall, and beautifully re- purposed features, including pine, hemlock and spruce original to the site used throughout the lobby.

 

Juniper Cafe

Kingston’s newest waterfront patio is not to be missed. Enjoy one of their delicious meals or snacks, made with primarily local ingredients. On a sunny day, sit outside and take in the kite-surfing on Lake Ontario, and admire the views of Wolfe Island.

The Storefront Festival

Step into some of Kingston’s most interesting spaces, and take in live theatre during the Storefront Festival, where empty storefronts and iconic shops are transformed into theatre spaces.

Missed this year’s Storefront Festival? Kingston’s theatre scene is vibrant year-round thanks to the city’s professional theatre company, Theatre Kingston.

 

The Must-Sees

Fort Henry

Tour one of Kingston’s most iconic landmarks, the historic Fort Henry. See the Fort Henry Guard perform military drills, try your hand at firing a historic Snider Enfield Rifle or an Armstrong Cannon, and make sure to keep an eye out for the goat David X, the Fort mascot.

Bellevue House National Historic Site of Canada

Once the home of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A Macdonald, Bellevue House brings the 1840s to life with costumed interpreters, and historic grounds waiting to be explored. Watch for the items in the house originally owned by Sir John A, including the cradle in the nursery and the books in the study.

Canada’s Penitentiary Museum

Housed in the historic Warden’s house across from Kingston Penetentiary, the museum is home to a fascinating collection of prison artifacts, including weapons fashioned out of household items by prisoners, art painted by inmates during their time in jail and much more. Bonus: admission to the museum is free!

Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Did you know: Kingston is home to not one but three Rembrandt paintings! See one portrait and two beautiful character studies by Rembrandt at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Be sure to leave time to explore the other excellent exhibitions, including The Inspired “Amateur”: Kingston Women Artists 1890s to 1920s, which is a great way to get a glimpse of the city’s past. You may even notice some familiar buildings in the paintings!

Tips for your trip

Save yourself the hassle of driving, and take advantage of the Kingston Tour Trolley, which offers hop-on, hop-off service to many of Kingston’s top attractions. Find out more here.

Want to know more about Kingston, including insider tips, accommodation suggestions and lots of other highlights? Discover more here.

We want to hear your favourite things to see and do in Kingston! Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram by tagging your post #DiscoverON