The French originally settled upon a traditional Mississaugas First Nation site called Katarokwi (Cataraqui in the common transliteration, and according to French pronunciation rules should be said “kah-tah-RAH-kee,” although it is generally pronounced “kah-tah-ROCK-way”) in 1673 and established Fort Cataraqui, later to be called Fort Frontenac. The fort was captured and destroyed by the British in the Battle of Fort Frontenac during the Seven Years’ War in 1758. A receiving centre for fleeing refugees from the American Revolution some years later, Kingston became the primary community of southeastern Upper Canada.
Fort Frontenac is situated on the west side of the Cataraqui River as it enters Lake Ontario and is one of the earliest sites of permanent European habitation in Ontario. Louis de Baude, Comte de Frontenac and Governor of New France, established the first fort in 1673. The first Commandant, Robert Cavalier, Sieur de LaSalle, who was to become one of Canada’s great explorers, used the Fort as a base for his explorations into the interior of the continent. The Fort was often used as a staging area for, and occasionally the scene of, numerous battles between natives and French, French and British, and British and Americans.
Under British control in 1783, the military garrison of Fort Frontenac attracted merchants who established businesses in the area. In time, this merchant settlement developed into the City of Kingston. Fort Frontenac was the original home station of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (RCHA) from 1905-1939. Today, Fort Frontenac is home to the Canadian Land Force Command and Staff College, elements of LFDTS HQ, the Fort Frontenac Officers’ Mess and the Army Library.
United Empire Loyalists formed a significant part of an expanding population in the area at the end of the 18th century. Loyalists who had originally sought refuge at Carleton Island during the Revolutionary War arrived at Cataraqui after the area was surveyed in 1783. One of these Loyalists was Molly Brant (the sister of Six Nations leader Joseph Brant). A large group of Loyalists led by Captain Michael Grass arrived in 1784, having sailed from New York and up the Saint Lawrence River. Fort Frontenac was restored to accommodate a military garrison that would defend the new community.
- Did you know that Kingston is home to:
Canada’s oldest degree-granting institution, Queen’s University
- The Royal Military College and the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics
- St. Lawrence College
- Kingston Canada’s oldest daily newspaper The Kingston Whig Standard
- Canada’s oldest law enforcement agency, the Kingston Police Force, formed in 1841
- Home to Ontario’s – Fort Henry, the Rideau Canal and Kingston’s fortifications
- Is the fresh-water sailing capital of the world and Portsmouth Harbour was the venue of the 1976 Yachting Olympics.
- Is the birthplace of Ontario’s brewing industry
- Popular recording artists The Tragically Hip and Sarah Harmer, Georgette Fry, among others
- Award-winning authors like Helen Humphreys, Diane Schoemperien, Peter Trueman and Mary Alice Downie and Nobel Peace Winner Art McDonald.
Kingston is a choice destination for the growing trend in extreme sports with a wealth of opportunities for rock climbers, mountain bikers, scuba divers and other adventure seekers.
Is the birthplace of the world famous 1000 Islands Salad Dressing
Was the original birthplace of Hockey in 1870
Is home to North America’s oldest operating 19th century canal
Is home to Canada’s oldest operating Farmer’s Market
That there are actually 1,864 islands within the 1000 Islands
That there are 4 wilderness conservation areas within the city limit and over 40 provincial, federal, and state parks within an hours drive
Is a migratory route for over 325 bird species
Is the birthplace of Tanith Belbin, 2006 Winter Olympics Ice Dancing Silver Medalist with partner Ben Agosto in Torino, Italy
Is the birthplace of Jamie Forsythe, 2006 Canadian Jr. Mens Bronze Medalist and former member of Canada’s National Figure Skating Team; Skate Kingston is his home club. Following retirement from amateur ice dance competition he began coaching full time in Montreal, Quebec.
Is home to Jayna Hefford, member of the 2006 Canadian Olympic Women’s Hockey Team, that captured the Gold medal in Torino, Italy scoring 3 goals and adding five assists in five games for Canada.
Is where 2006 Skating with Celebrities winner Lloyd Eisler was Program Director for SHARP (Skaters High Achievement Readiness Program) for competitive skaters at the West Kingston Skating Club during 2005 and 2006. Kristy Swanson, an actor, was Lloyd’s Skating with Celebrities partner. Lloyd and his former competitive skating partner Isabelle Brasseur were the 1993 World Pairs Champions and earned the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics Pairs Bronze medal.