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Springer Market Square & the heart of Canadian culture

Reading of the Proclamation of Confederation, 1867
Reading of the Proclamation of Confederation, 1867, Market Square, Queen’s Archives

Springer Market Square has served as the heart of Kingston and the heart of Canada. As a gathering place and commercial hub for the exchange of goods and ideas, Market Square has and continues to be the cultural core of Kingston. There has been an operating market on this site for more than 200 years, making the Kingston Public Market the oldest in Ontario. The Square remains a place where Kingston residents and tourists find local foods, artisanal crafts and vintage treasures, catch up with friends over a cup of coffee, or skate on a cold winter’s day. Being in the Square makes Kingstonians and visitors a way to enjoy our vibrant community.

It was here where Canada was first declared a nation to the people of Kingston and of Canada. One hundred and fifty years ago, on July 1, 1867, the Royal Proclamation of Confederation was read in Market Square, announcing the creation of the Dominion of Canada. People came from far and wide to witness this historic event and to take part in the celebrations and festivities marking Canada’s birth.

Market Square, Tragically Hip Concert, August 20, 2016
Market Square, Tragically Hip Concert, August 20, 2016

On Aug. 20, 2016, Kingston hosted The Tragically Hip’s final concert and the band’s poignant homecoming. The Hip’s sold-out performance at the Rogers K-Rock Centre was attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and broadcast nation-wide and commercial free by the CBC to 11.7 million viewers. An estimated 20,000 fans gathered in Springer Market Square to watch the broadcast and to take part in the nation’s celebration of Canada’s most iconic band. It was one of Kingston’s biggest – and most historic – celebrations ever. Today, a memorial stone in the Square marks the occasion with a lyric from the Hip’s Blow at High Dough: “Everybody was in it from miles around.”

Kingston is at the heart of Canada’s story - shaping our past and building our future.