Kingston Penitentiary & Portsmouth Olympic Harbour - About

Aerial view of Kingston Pen and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour


In the spring of 2015, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) informed the City of Kingston that it would seek to dispose of the of the Kingston Penitentiary property. This process would involve Canada Lands Company (Canada Lands), an arm's-length, federal Crown corporation responsible for the development and disposal of surplus federal properties, such as the former Kingston Penitentiary. 

More recently, CSC approached  Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to partner in the disposal process by including the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour site

Various meetings were held in the summer and fall with representatives of CSC, Canada Lands, DFO (including Small Craft Harbours) as well as City officials to identify a process by which all parties could work together to plan for the future of the two surplus federal sites as well as the City-owned property next to the DFO's Portsmouth Olympic Harbour site. 

The parties agreed to work together in a community visioning exercise for the three properties.

This visioning exercise will take place in 2016 and will be led by Canada Lands in partnership with the City of Kingston.

It will give the community and interested stakeholders an opportunity to voice what they would like to see for these sites. Meetings, interviews and public consultation will form part of the visioning exercise. No decisions will be made about the future of the properties (with the exception of CSC land on the east end of the harbour that will be set aside for relocation of the Canadian Coast Guard Kingston lifeboat station) until public consultation has taken place. This includes decisions about municipal heritage designation.

Questions and answers

Which properties are included in the visioning exercise?

There are three properties involved. They are: the Kingston Penitentiary owned by Correctional Services Canada, an adjacent property and water lot owned by Fisheries and Oceans Canada at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, and the City-owned lands where the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour Community building is located.

What is a visioning exercise?

It's a process to talk about what these three waterfront properties might look like and how they can be used in the future. The federal government and the City will reach out to the public to get ideas that will give direction on this future use.

Who is leading the process?

It will be led by Canada Lands, acting on behalf of the other two federal departments, and the City of Kingston.

When is it taking place?

This visioning exercise will take place in 2016

What will the process be?

A plan is being developed. The public will have the opportunity to be involved in a number of ways including through the City website, social media and at public meetings. We may use other tools as well. We will share the process as soon as possible.

What input will the public really have on the future of the properties?

All parties have agreed that – with the exception of DFO's intention to replace the Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat station within Portsmouth Olympic Harbour – the visioning exercise should be completed before any decisions are made on the future of these properties as well as on any municipal heritage designation.

Have any decisions already been made? Has there been any discussion about possible future use?

No decisions have been made with the exception of DFO's intention to replace the Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat station within Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. We want to hear from residents of Kingston first. We are looking forward to discussions about this exciting opportunity for Kingston's future.

How much will this process cost?

The City is investing $50,000 to ensure that we hear from the public. Canada Lands will also be contributing money to the process.

Who is responsible to maintain the Kingston Penitentiary?

The penitentiary continues to be maintained by the federal government.

Will the properties be given municipal heritage designation?

The community visioning exercise will be completed before any decisions are made on the future of these properties. The City will ensure that a municipal heritage designation is in place before the Kingston Penitentiary is redeveloped, but only after the visioning exercise is completed.

Why is Canada Lands involved?

Canada Lands is the arm's-length, self-financing federal Crown corporation responsible for the management, development and sale of former Government of Canada properties. The company has more than twenty years of real estate development and consultation expertise and has extensive experience in dealing with these types of engagements. 

Will the properties be sold to Canada Lands?

This visioning exercise will assist the City and the federal government to determine a way forward, including the future management and ownership of these sites. Selling the federal properties to Canada Lands is a possibility, noting that part of the CSC land on the east-end of Portsmouth Olympic Harbour is being set aside for a Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat station.