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Kingston celebrates First Capital Day as history comes to life in City Park

June 10, 2014 -

Each year, Kingston celebrates its unique role in history as the First Capital of United Canada. While June 15 is officially First Capital Day – the day that then-Governor General Lord Sydenham declared parliament open in Kingston in 1841 – activities are being held on June 13 this year so that school children can enjoy the festivities and learn about Kingston history during their school day. 

Residents are also invited to join in to celebrate Kingston's key role in the nation's history with FREE 1841-era activities scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in City Park.

(School groups should see the First Capital Day listing for June 13 at for special school group details and how to book certain activities).

First Capital Day Activities

City Park (King Street East and Barrie Street)

9:30 a.m.: Official Opening begins with Kingston's Town Crier Chris Whyman, followed by a First Nations Welcome featuring Paul Carl on behalf of the Kingston Aboriginal Community and Chief Jim Bob Marsden, Alderville First Nations.

10:30 a.m.: The Paddling Puppeteer presents "Honest Frankie's Shoreline Review"

12:30 p.m.: Freshwater Trade – Celtic style musicians will have kids singing and clapping along to songs of the lumberjacks, Great Lakes sailors and dynamic peoples of early Canada.

Ongoing demonstrations and displays (available from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), including:

  • Interactive Displays and demonstrations by the Pump House Steam Museum, MacLachlan Woodworking Museum, Museum of Health Care, Bellevue House National Historic Site and the Kingston Area Museums organizations
  • Suzanne Angle, Frontier Creations, English Travelling Merchant of 1812
  • Dr. Greg Baron, 1800s Surgeon
  • Sutler Cyrus Wakefield's old time medicine show, complete with monkey, music and magic.
  • Haunted Walk Tour (this 20 minute tour must be booked in advance at 613-549-6366 or
  • Kingston Public Library Story Time and Pig Picnic Puppet Show (shows at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
  • Rope Maker Don Green
  • Kingston Handloom Weavers and Spinners Guild
  • Fort Henry Guard
  • Historic Costume Display
  • Scottish Country Dancers (9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.)
  • Butter Churning by Lucy Lockett
  • Dr. Phineus Parkhurst Quimby
  • Blacksmithing
  • The Grenville Militia will do rifle display and musters
  • Rideau Roundtable Voyageurs
  • Sir John A. 2015
  • Public Wagon Rides - For the general public, there is one wagon available at 10:10 a.m., 10:50 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:20 p.m., 1 p.m., and 1:40 p.m.  It will follow a route which includes the former First Parliament site at Kingston General Hospital.

In addition to tours of City Hall, a number of other historically-relevant local museums and tour companies are also offering tours that may be of interest to First Capital Day celebrants, including: the Museum of Health Care (in the historic Ann Baillie Building), the Murney Tower National Historic Site, Penitentiary Museum, Bellevue House (once home to Sir John A. Macdonald), and St. Georges Cathedral.

The road that runs through City Park, will be closed to the general public throughout the day (except to patients of the cancer clinic) to accommodate the wagon rides. 

Buses may drop off and pick up on Bagot St. at the park building, but will not be allowed to remain parked at that location.

Plan to get there by bus:


Media contact: For more information contact Cindie Ashton, Media Relations Officer, 613-546-4291, ext. 3116. Or call Communications at 613-546-4291, ext. 2300.

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