Located on Lake Ontario and at the headwaters of the St. Laurence Seaway, the waterfront city of Kingston, Ontario is one of Canada’s most exceptional and historic destinations. Steeped in Canadian cultural history, Kingston is home to over 20 museums; including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fort Henry where military interpreters garbed in the British colonial uniforms offer tours and insight to life in early Canada. Kingston takes pride in its heritage as the oldest city in Ontario. Costumed guides provide walking tours of city hall and the historic district. Town criers are present at the city’s more than 250 annual events and festivals. For the brave, tour guides in traditional Victorian clothing conduct night time haunted walking tours by old-fashioned lamp light, explaining the city’s ghostly legends as they go.
Kingston has an extensive waterfront and nature lovers will enjoy the scenic landscape. Boat tours are popular for taking visitors on day trips through the Thousand Islands water district. The tour is beautiful at any time of year, and exceptional from late September to mid-October, when the leaves on the forested islands begin to change colour, offering amazing views as boats wind their way through the island chains. Boat tours also take visitors up the historic Rideau Canal, a 200 year old engineering marvel that connects Kingston to Canada’s capital city of Ottawa. Along the way are quaint villages, pretty churches and beautiful natural scenery.
Although Kingston has many year-round attractions, outdoor activities, festivals and cruises are best enjoyed during the warm weather months from May to September. Travel costs tend to be slightly higher during these months, particularly in May and August when students are travelling to and from Queen’s University. June and July weather is pleasantly warm, and considered the best time for water activities and cruises. July 1 is Canada Day, a national holiday with plenty of free outdoor festivals and events. During off-peak travel times from December to March, Kingston’s Springer Market Square is converted to a public ice skating arena.
Kingston has an excellent bus system that provides reliable transportation to all major destinations for a very small cost. It is also a very pedestrian-friendly city and a wide variety of shops, museums and scenery can be accessed by foot from the city centre core.