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The Market Square Heritage Conservation District is located in the heart of downtown Kingston. The District is bounded on three sides by a diverse yet harmonious ensemble of commercial and institutional properties dating from the early 19th century, located on an historic grid of streets including King Street East, Clarence, Market, Ontario and Brock Streets. This ensemble of exceptional individual properties includes repre­sentative examples of architectural styles and types that demonstrate nearly two centuries of social, economic and political change and development in the City.

The centre of the District is the site of the historic marketplace, Springer Market Square, dating from 1801, and Kingston's City Hall, a National Historic Site (built originally in 1843 -1844).  Springer Market Square is associated with many people and events of great signif­icance to the history of both Kingston and Canada. The Square was shelled by Col. John Bradstreet's British troops during the battle of Fort Frontenac in 1758. A military blockhouse was located onsite during the War of 1812. The area also served as the assembly ground for troops going to fight in the Northwest Rebellion, the Boer Wars and the First and Second World Wars.

Many significant political events took place at Springer Market Square, such as the proclamation of Upper Canada as a separate jurisdiction by Governor John Graves Simcoe in 1792, the proclamation and celebration of Confederation on July 1, 1867 and the funeral procession of Sir John A. Macdonald in 1891.

Springer Market Square, the surrounding sidewalks, street pattern and properties remain an active part of Kingston's downtown core and continue to accommodate many of the market, civic, commercial and residential uses that have existed there for more than two centuries.   

In 1985, the City of Kingston passed a by-law designating the Market Square Heritage Conservation District and implementing the District Plan based on the Market Square, Kingston, A Heritage Conservation District Study by Dr. Harold Kalman and Lily Inglis.

The Market Square Heritage Conservation District Plan was updated in 2013 based on a report that reviewed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the 1985 District Plan prepared by ERA Architects Inc. on behalf of the City.