120 Clarence St
Ontario Tourism Region : The Great Waterway
- Postcards above used with permission from A Great Lakes Treasury of Old Postcards 2007 Lorenzo Marcolin, MD 176 pp. For Copies call the Huronia Museum 705 526 2844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pop. 110,327. In Frontenac C., on L. Ontario at the head of the St. Lawrence R. and mouth of the Cataraqui R. and Hwy 401 and C. Rds. 2,10, & 33, 75 km. E of Belleville.
In 1671, fur trader Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle recommended the building of a fort and fur-trading post at the site of present-day Kingston, then called Cataraqui, a First Nations Peoples word for "rocks standing in water." Two years later Count Frontenac, governor of New France, met with local First Nations Peoples chiefs to assure them his intentions were peaceful.
He then built Fort Frontenac, appointing LaSalle as commander. The following year, LaSalle was granted the fort and surrounding lands as a seigneury. In 1756 the fort was used by French commander-in-chief Montcalm to attack the British during the Seven Years War for control of Canada.
In 1758 the fort was captured by the British under Col. John Bradstreet. The walls were destroyed, the garrison withdrew to Montreal, and French rule at Cataraqui ended.
In 1783 surveyor John Collins laid out the town plot of Kingston, and the following year a group of United Empire Loyalists arrived to build homes. They named the place Kings Town after George III, but the name soon contracted to its present form. Because of its location at the head of the St. Lawrence R. where goods were changed from river to lake boats, Kingston soon became an important trading centre.
In 1792 it became the seat of government of Upper Canada. Lt.-Gov. John Graves Simcoe did not feel Kingston was a suitable site for a capital, so he named Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) as capital, and then York (Toronto). During the War of 1812, Fort Henry was built at Kingston at enormous cost to the British. Thanks to errors in American strategy, Kingston was overlooked in the war, and today the magnificent fort is one of Ontarios premier tourist attractions.
In 1841 Kingston became the capital of United Canada -- the name given newly united Upper and Lower Canada -- and in 1843 the town began building a grand domed hall that is a magnificent example of British Renaissance Tuscan Revival-style architecture and 19th-century craftsmanship in limestone. The hall was no sooner completed than the government moved the capital to Montreal.
Another of Kingstons many historic buildings is Bellevue House where Canadas first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, lived for a year. The house is an Italian-style villa built between 1838 and 1840 and is furnished as it likely was during Macdonalds tenancy. It is operated by Parks Canada which maintains the grounds in the style of the 1840s and there is a visitor centre with films and an extensive display introducing Macdonalds life and career. A plaque in Confederation Park recalls The Kings Royal Regiment of New York
also known as the Royal Greens and Sir John Johnsons Corps.
The loyalist regiment was raised in 1775 from the Highland Scottish and other settlers on Johnsons estates in New York. The "Royal Yorkers" was the largest loyalist corps in the Northern Department (the old province of Quebec) during the American Revolution. When the regiment was disbanded, many of the men settled in townships bordering the St. Lawrence R. Rev. John Stuart (1740-1811), the first resident Anglican priest in Upper Canada, settled at Cataraqui in 1785 and ministered to First Nations Peoples and loyalist settlers in the Quinte area and as far west as the Grand R. (Kitchener area).
A plaque at St. Pauls Church recalls Molly Brant (1736-1796). Her First Nations Peoples name was Degonwadonti and she was highly respected by her fellow Mohawks and governing officials. She was born in the Ohio Valley and played a leading role in persuading the Iroquois Confederacy to support Britain during the American Revolution. She fled to Canada in 1777, living first at Niagara and later on land granted to her at Cataraqui.
Kingston native Sir Oliver Mowat (1820-1903) was Ontarios third premier, and held the office for almost 25 years, from 1872-1896. He also served as postmastergeneral of the Province of Canada and lieutenant-governor of Ontario; in 1847 the potato famine brought a wave of immigration to North America and with it, a major outbreak of typhus. In Kingston, 1,400 people died of the disease.
The first optical astronomical observatory in Ontario was established in Kingston in 1855 after a solar eclipse aroused public interest in astronomical study. The observatory produced barometric readings, fixed meridians for surveying purposes, provided a time service and recorded astronomical observations. The city is home to Royal Military College of Canada, Queens University, and Kingston Penetentia;y. Kingston "Pen" is likely the best known of Ontarios 14 prisons, but there are others in and around Kingston.
From Ontario Place Names 2007 David E. Scott Ph. 866 471 4123 or 905 680 7884
Natural Resources Canada in Frontenac County.
Address of this page: http://www.ruralroutes.com/kingstonontario