Queen's University




​Discover Kingston

The City of Kingston is a home-away-from-home not only for students from Queen’s, but also for those attending the Royal Military College and St. Lawrence College – more than 30,000 in all!

Described by students as both “quaint” and “eclectic,” Kingston is big enough to provide all the conveniences of modern life, and small enough for students, staff, and faculty to feel instantly comfortable and at home.

Kingston is located in eastern Ontario, where Lake Ontario flows into the St. Lawrence River, about 200 km from Canada's capital city of Ottawa, about 250 km from the centre of our provincial capital of Toronto, and about 300 km from Montréal, Québec.

  • [Waterfront view from Battery Park]
    Lake view from Battery Park
  • [photo of Kingston City Hall]
    Kingston City Hall in the spring
  • [photo the Kingston lakeside in the summer]
    Kingston lakeside in the summer at sunset
  • [Kingston Yacht Club]
    Kingston Yacht Club
  • [Confederation Park in downtown Kingston]
    Confederation Park in downtown Kingston
  • [skating in Market Square]
    Skating in Market Square
  • [photo of shops on Princess Street in downtown Kingston]
    Shops on Princess Street in downtown Kingston
  • [photo of produce at the Farmer's Market in Springer Market Square]
    Produce at the Farmer's Market in Springer Market Square
  • [photo of people sailing by the Kingston Yacht Club]
    Sailing by the Kingston Yacht Club
  • [Water fountain in Confederation Park]
    Water fountain in Confederation Park
  • [photo of residents enjoying Movies in the Square]
    Residents enjoying Movies in the Square
  • [A memorial by Lake Ontario]
    A memorial by Lake Ontario
  • [photo of shops on Princess Street in downtown Kingston]
    Shops on Princess Street in downtown Kingston
  • [Fall in Kingston by the waterfront]
    Kingston waterfront in Fall
  • Plants at the Farmer's Market in Springer Market Square
    Plants at the Farmer's Market in Springer Market Square
  • [Winter in Kingston by the waterfront]
    Winter in Kingston by the waterfront
  • [lakeside in winter]
    Kingston waterfront in the winter
  • [Time Sculpture at Breakwater Park]
    Time Sculpture at Breakwater Park, Kingston, Ontario. (Photo by Yiyi He)
  • [Richardson beach]
    Richardson beach is just a short walk from campus. (Photo by Scott Day)

Tourism and Culture

Find things to do and see in Kingston by visiting Tourism Kingston and Downtown Kingston. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

Museums, Galleries, Historic Sites, Walking Tours

Fort Henry National Historic Site | Bellevue House | Penitentiary Museum | Pump House Steam Museum | Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries | Self-guided Tours | Haunted Walk


Portsmouth Olympic Harbour | Confederation Basin | Collins Bay | Treasure Island

A Little History

Founded in 1673 on a First Nation site called Katarokwi, the settlement was eventually referred to as "the King's Town" in honour of King George III, with the name shortening to "Kingston" by 1788. Kingston is also nicknamed the "Limestone City" because of the many historic buildings built with local limestone.

Kingston has a storied military and political history. Kingston was chosen as the first capital of Canada on February 15, 1841, and served in that role until 1844.

There are 21 National Historic Sites of Canada located in Kingston, and in 2007, the Rideau Canal, along with the fortifications at Kingston, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Kingston is also one of the most consistently windy cities in Canada (take note, sailors!). While temperatures have been known to reach upwards of 34 degrees Celsius in the summer and as low as -34 degrees Celsius in the winter, on most days Lake Ontario has quite a moderating effect on Kingston weather:

  • an average January day charts a low temperature of -12° and a high of -3°;
  • an average July day charts a low of +16° and a high of +25°;
  • over the course of the year, Kingston sees a lot more rain than snow

Government and Economy

Kingston's most important sectors are: health care; education; government (including the military and correctional services); tourism; culture; and industry.

[rainbow over a Kingston marina]

10 things you'll LOVE about Kingston

  1. The BBC named Kingston as one of the top 5 university towns in the world. 

  2. Nearly 30,000 students (from Queen’s, RMC and St. Lawrence) call Kingston home every year. 

  3. It’s big enough to have all the conveniences you want and small enough to feel like home. 

  4. It is just a 10-minute walk from campus to shopping, dining, theatres and water sports in Kingston’s downtown. 

  5. Kingston is half-way to everywhere – Toronto, Montreal, New York State. 

  6. Getting here is easy – by train, plane, bus or car.
  7. We know good food. Kingston has more restaurants per capita than any other city in Canada.
  8. The Leon's Centre! See some of the world’s best performers in a smaller venue.
  9. Winter! Skating on Market Square, FebFest and tobogganing on campus are just a few activities to enjoy.
  10. As Canada's first capital, Kingston’s history is long and storied: enjoy a Ghost Walk, visit Bellevue House (home of Canada’s first Prime Minister) or Fort Henry.

Accommodations Off Campus

Visiting Queen’s and Kingston for a few days? Special accommodation packages designed to help you experience the city are available from local providers.