Kingston Facts

Motto: "A Civil And Creative Community with a Proud Past"


Located in the province of Ontario, the city of Kingston is of great historical importance to Canada. Settled in the 1600s, Kingston is the first capital city of Canada as it was declared in 1841. But unfortunately, this only lasted until 1844 because Kingston was too close to the United States, at a time when the US was building its empire and expanding – a cause of concern for Canada. The city is now the most populated in the Kingston area, with over 125,000 residents. It is also known as an industrial and military center of Ontario in addition to hosting one of the country's largest university.

12:03 mins video of Kingston

  • 1. The first European explorers to visit Kingston were the French in 1673′s Samuel de Champlain, who named it "King's Town" because he said it was "a place of great strategic importance." The name changed hands several times as France and England fought for control over the area. In 1783, Great Britain took over and renamed it "Kingston".
  • 2. The first church in Kingston was built in 1814 and became the first place where a school was held. By 1860, there were already 2,000 people living in Kingston and the town was incorporated in 1792.
  • 3. The city is home to 21 National Historic Sites of Canada.
  • 4. Fort Henry is a National Historic Site of Canada and is museum today, welcoming lots of people from all over Canada and the world, eager to learn about military history. It was built during the war of 1812 with the United States.
  • 5. By 1841, Kingston became Canada's capital but was later replaced by Ottawa because it was within easy reach of the United States of America.
  • 6. The first king of Canada was crowned here on July 1st, 1860 as King Edward VII ascended to the throne in England. George VI would become king in 1936 after Edward's death.
  • 7. Queen's University was established here in 1841 and is one of Canada's top universities. In addition to its main campus, the university also has outlying campuses in Limoilou, Oka, Brockville, and more. The University employs over 5,000 full-time instructors and over 40,000 students studying at any of its several campuses.
  • 8. Kingston is home to Canada's largest water treatment facility which provides water to over half a million people in the surrounding area. The city also has a Nuclear research facility that produces medical isotopes for 30 percent of the world.
  • 9. Kingston was an important military headquarters during both World War I and World War II because its location is so important to Canada and its defense.
  • 10. Kingston is home to some of the oldest libraries in Ontario with their cornerstone being laid in 1833, before Queen's University even opened up its doors for the first time. The library saw many iterations until becoming what it is today.
  • 11. By 1846, Kingston had an estimated population of 6,423 people.
  • 12. The city is famous for being the resident of John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister.
  • 13. The oldest church building in Kingston was built in 1829 and is now called Christ Church Cathedral, making it one of the oldest churches in Ontario (the current cathedral is over 100 years old).
  • 14. The Kingston Penitentiary is located in the city. The prison was first opened in 1836 and saw many incarnations until its current form.
  • 15. The great fire of 1840 destroyed downtown Kingston (most of the buildings were built with wood), as well as the old city hall. Today, many buildings are constructed using brick and stone in order to limit the damage caused by such fires.