Queen's University Queen's University

​Discover Kingston

Kingston is a home-away-from-home not only for students from Queen’s, but also for those attending the Royal Military College and St. Lawrence College - nearly 30,000 in all!

Described by students as both “quaint” and “eclectic,” Kingston is big enough to provide all the conveniences of modern life, and small enough for students, staff, and faculty to feel instantly comfortable and at home.

In 2012, Kingston ranked as the third best place to live in Canada. (Source: moneysense.ca)

A Little History

Founded in 1673 on a First Nation site called Katarokwi, the settlement was eventually referred to as "the King's Town" in honour of King George III, with the name shortening to "Kingston" by 1788. Kingston is also nicknamed the "Limestone City" because of the many historic buildings built with local limestone.

Kingston has a storied military and political history. Kingston was chosen as the first capital of Canada on February 15, 1841, and served in that role until 1844. Kingston was also the home of Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.

There are 21 National Historic Sites of Canada located in Kingston, and in 2007, the Rideau Canal, along with the fortifications at Kingston, was designated a World Heritage Site.


The City of Kingston is located in eastern Ontario, where Lake Ontario flows into the St. Lawrence River, about 200 km from Canada's capital city of Ottawa, about 250 km from the centre of our provincial capital of Toronto, and about 300 km from Montréal, Québec.

  • [photo of residents enjoying Movies in the Square]
    Residents enjoying Movies in the Square
  • [photo of shops on Princess Street in downtown Kingston]
    Shops on Princess Street in downtown Kingston
  • [photo the Kingston lakeside in the summer]
    Kingston lakeside in the summer
  • [photo of produce at the Farmer's Market in Springer Market Square]
    Produce at the Farmer's Market in Springer Market Square
  • [photo of Kingston City Hall]
    Kingston City Hall
  • [photo of people sailing by the Kingston Yacht Club]
    Sailing by the Kingston Yacht Club
  • [Water fountain in Confederation Park]
    Water fountain in Confederation Park
  • [photo of people enjoying Confederation Park in downtown Kingston]
    Confederation Park in downtown Kingston
  • [A memorial by Lake Ontario]
    A memorial by Lake Ontario
  • [Time Sculpture at Breakwater Park, Kingston, Ontario]
    Time Sculpture at Breakwater Park, Kingston, Ontario
  • [photo of shops on Princess Street in downtown Kingston]
    Shops on Princess Street in downtown Kingston
  • [Fall in Kingston by the waterfront]
    Kingston waterfront in Fall
  • [Kingston waterfront]
    Kingston waterfront just steps away from campus
  • Plants at the Farmer's Market in Springer Market Square
    Plants at the Farmer's Market in Springer Market Square
  • [Pump House Steam Museum by the lake]
    Pump House Steam Museum by the lake
  • [Kingston Yacht Club]
    Kingston Yacht Club
  • [Confederation Tour Trolley]
    Confederation Tour Trolley in downtown Kingston


Kingston is also one of the most consistently windy cities in Canada (take note, sailors!). While temperatures have been known to reach upwards of 34 degrees Celsius in the summer and as low as -34 degrees Celsius in the winter, on most days Lake Ontario has quite a moderating effect on Kingston weather:

  • an average January day charts a low temperature of -12° and a high of -3°;
  • an average July day charts a low of +16° and a high of +25°;
  • over the course of the year, Kingston sees a lot more rain than snow

Queen's has its own weather station too. The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science has been measuring temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and solar radiation since the spring of 2004 from the top of Walter Light Hall.

Government and Economy

Mayor Bryan Paterson Go to Bryan Paterson's web page...
Member of Provincial Parliament for Kingston and the Islands Sophie Kiwala Go to Sophie Kiwala's website...
Federal Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands Ted Hsu Go to Ted Hsu's website...

Kingston's most important sectors are: health care; education; government (including the military and correctional services); tourism; culture; and industry.

Tourism and Culture

[Kingston Yacht Club]

There is a lot to do and see in Kingston. Here are just a few links to get you started:

Historic Walking Tours

Self-guided Tours | Haunted Walk | In Sir John A.'s Footsteps

Museums, Galleries, and Historic Sites

Fort Henry National Historic Site | Bellevue House | Penitentiary Museum | Pump House Steam Museum


Portsmouth Olympic Harbour | Confederation Basin | Collins Bay | Treasure Island