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City Hall

Built in 1844, Kingston City Hall is a prominent landmark and a national historic site. Architect George Browne designed it when Kingston was the capital of what was then called the United Province of Canada. The building serves several purposes including space for local government, a market and public assembly. It contains many municipal services and showcases the history of Kingston, which can be explored through tours to view the artifacts and artworks on display.

  • 1842 
    On June 15, 1842, the town of Kingston announced a competition for architects and builders to design a town hall and market. The estimated construction cost was 10,000 pounds. 
  • 1843
    On June 5, 1943, Governor General Sir Charles Metcalfe laid the City Hall corner stone. 
  • 1844 
    Completed in December 1844, the building cost more than expected due to changes to the original design. 
  • 1865 
    A fire destroyed the market wing's end block, which originally housed City Hall’s clock. The original clock, a gift from John Counter and John A. Macdonald, was then moved to the main dome. 
  • 1908 
    A fire damaged the cupola atop City Hall's dome, but it was rebuilt in May 1909. During the reconstruction, a new Seth Thomas clock and bell were installed, which remain in the dome today. 
  • 1921
    Memorial Hall was named in memory of those from Kingston who died in the First World War and the stained-glass windows were installed. 
  • 1956
    The front columns of City Hall were removed due to structural issues; it took until 1966 to replace them.
  • 1972
    City Hall was closed until 1973 for a major renovation project that revitalized much of the building.
  • 2002 
    A renovation project included a new copper roof and clock tower reconstruction. The clocks were temporarily removed to repair their stained-glass faces.

Market Wing Cultural Space 

The Market Wing Cultural Space showcases diverse exhibitions and events to enrich the community experience in Kingston. 

City Hall tours 

Discover the interesting history and beautiful design of Kingston City Hall with a free tour. Learn about the fascinating people, events and stories connected to this landmark building.  

If you are interested in heritage architecture, stop by the Heritage Resource Centre in the Market wing. 

Guided tours 

During the summer months, take a free guided tour for exclusive access to the Victoria Library, 1840s police station and jail cells. Tours last about 45 minutes and are limited to 20 people. Start by visiting the tour desk in the main lobby or use the accessible Market Street entrance between 1 - 3 p.m. 

Interested in a guided tour in another language? Call 613-544-7867 or email CityHallTours@CityofKingston.ca to see if we can help.

Tours can be personalized to match different interests. For groups larger than six people and school groups, please contact us ahead of time. 

To book your City Hall tour: 

Self-guided tours 

Self-guided tours of public spaces on the first and second floors are possible during regular business hours. Grab a map at the tour desk and begin your journey! 

Become a tour guide 

Passionate about history and community? Join the Kingston City Hall Tour Guide Program! Share the rich history of the City of Kingston and City Hall with locals and visitors worldwide. 

Learn more about our tour guide positions. 

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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