Kingston Things to Do Tips by Bwana_Brown Top 5 Page for this destination
Kingston Things to Do: 61 reviews and 81 photos
The neo-classical main entrance building
One of the most impressive sights of the whole trip was suddenly confronting Collins Bay Institution, a 485-cell medium security prison located on 800 acres of federal land beside Highway 33 as we crested a hill on our drive into the city from the west. This is often mistaken for Canada's oldest prison, Kingston Penitentiary built in 1835, and it is no wonder, since the area is home to nine correctional facilities of one kind or another! This one was built in 1929, makig it the second oldest federal institution for male offenders in the Ontario Region. The sudden view of the vivid roof and walls of its ornate entrance building, lit up before us by the west setting sun as they jutted up from the large treed estate, really caught our attention! At first I thought it must be some sort of cathedral or monastery and was amazed to find out this was, in fact, a federal prison!
Directions: Between King St. West and Lake Ontario where Highway 33 enters Kingston. I almost got an inside look too, as a guard rushed over to me in a pickup truck and told me I was not allowed to be on the grounds!
Looking west - pleasure boats await
On our return drive from Toronto to New Brunswick, we decided to get off the busy 401 superhighway near Trenton to see what the pace of life was like in Ontario on some of its less travelled roads. Our route very quickly took us out onto the large isthmus of Prince Edward County, which juts out into Lake Ontario and is joined to mainland by a narrow sliver of land. As we crossed this strip of land we were very surprised to suddenly find the Murray Canal, shown here, and even more surprised when the road gates came down just after we had crossed over!
This canal was built between 1882-89 to connect Presqu’ile Bay in the west with the Bay of Quinte in the east, allowing shipping traffic to cross the approximately 8-km (5-mile) land barrier here, saving them a much longer trip of 200-km (120-mi) if they had to try to navigate the shores of the isthmus.
We hopped out of the car for a better look as the road bed (supported by a steel bridge built in 1935) swung open in the 2nd photo and then started to close again (3rd photo). The gates and bridge were controlled by a man in the control building shown in the 4th photo, beside a sign saying that this canal is part of the 386-km Trent-Severn Waterway linking Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay (part of Lake Huron). Pleasure boats such as the ones we saw are the main users of the Murray Canal today because the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway changed the traffic patterns of the larger freighters.
Address: 'Loyalist Parkway' Highway 33 south of Trenton
Directions: At Brighton Bridge, close to Carrying Place, where Highway 33 crosses onto the Prince Edward isthmus
A typical rural scene east of Adolphustown
We made a long approach to Kingston on the 100-km (62-mile) Loyalist Parkway, which starts near Trenton and takes a scenic route along the Lake Ontario coast via the isthmus of Prince Edward. It was a relaxing way to go, with speed limits varying between 60-80 kph for the most part and dropping down to 50 kph in the series of small communities dotted along its length. Many sections go through very rural areas with no signs of human intrustion while others provide great views over the water. From the Loyalist Parkway website:
"The Loyalist Parkway follows the course of Loyalist settlement which commenced in 1784 following the American Revolution. As a living monument to the Loyalist settlers it presents a rich source of information for those with interests in Heritage Tourism, Genealogy, Canadian History and Early Canadian Architecture... It also offers a wide choice of accommodation, sightseeing and recreation for the whole family. A 1-meter wide paved shoulder has been provided for cyclists along its length. There are over 40 listed Archeaologic sites and at least 125 notable heritage buildings adjacent to the Parkway.
Following the American Revolution of 1776, individuals who had supported Britain or had wished to remain neutral on religious and ethical grounds were persecuted, deprived of property and often their lives. Survivors fled to areas of British protection around the globe. Those who had fought with the British joined the exodus. The first legal British settlement in Canada other than military establishments took place in western Quebec and what is now eastern Ontario. The settlers were made up of soldiers from volunteer regiments , European mercenaries and civilians. Many were from lower New York State and the Mohawk Valley and included many Mohawk Indians. They suffered terribly from cold, starvation and disease but persevered to become major participants in the formation of Ontario and ultimately Canada. The Loyalist Parkway is a commemoration of their loyalty and determination."
Directions: Ontario Highway 33 between Trenton and Kingston along the northern shore of Lake Ontario at its eastern end
Old stone buildings on Glenora's waterfront
The Loyalist Parkway passes through many small communities along its route, going straight through on the main streets of places such as Wellington, Rosehall, Bloomfield, Picton, Glenora, Adolphustown, Sandhurst and Bath. As we drove along, we were impressed by the number of historic old buildings dating from the late 1700s and first half of the 1800s, as well as the numerous huge old oak, beech and elm trees lining the streets. The towns take obvious pride in their heritage and looked like they would be fun to explore if we had been able to make more time available.
Directions: Along Loyalist Parkway (provincial Highway 33)
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