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History and Heritage

Kingston is strategically positioned at the meeting point of the St. Lawrence and Cataraqui Rivers with Lake Ontario and holds historical importance for Indigenous peoples. Settled by Europeans in the 17th century, it became Canada's First Capital in 1841.

Evolving through waves of immigration, Kingston is known as the 'Limestone City' and a center where 'history and innovation thrive.' Collaborative work with community partners has resulted in a more inclusive approach to our rich history. 

Heritage sites 

Our city has a lively cultural history, with a long tradition as a meeting place for Indigenous Peoples. We also have many special places like buildings, monuments, and landscapes that tell stories about our past. 

Explore our Heritage Conservation Districts and our culturally significant properties including UNESCO and national historic sites. Learn more about our heritage planning to preserve these resources.

Join our Heritage Hour 

Join us on Thursday, June 27 at noon, at Memorial Hall in Kingston City Hall. This session will talk about Indigenous Slavery in the Galley Fleet of Louis XIV: A Global Haudenosaunee History.

Learn about Kingston’s rich history during Heritage Hour. These sessions take place every 3 months and feature speakers from across the community who discuss Kingston’s past and living heritage. You can also watch previous Heritage Hour talks on our YouTube channel

Heritage Hour talks are held in Memorial Hall, on the second floor of City Hall, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. unless otherwise specified. No registration is required and everyone is welcome to attend. 

Discover our Heritage Resource Centre (HRC)

Learn more about our Heritage Resource Centre, which is located in the Market Wing of City Hall. It serves as a place where people can get advice and information about preserving Kingston’s history and culture. The Heritage Resource Centre also has a gallery where you can learn more about our past. 

The City of Kingston acknowledges that we are on the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat, and thanks these nations for their care and stewardship over this shared land.

Today, the City is committed to working with Indigenous peoples and all residents to pursue a united path of reconciliation.

Learn more about the City's reconciliation initiatives.

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