Kingston City Hall (Ontario)

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Kingston City Hall
National Historic Site of Canada
Kingston City Hall Andrew pmk.JPG
Province Ontario
Municipality Kingston
Original use City hall, market, custom house, post office, police station and jail
Current use City hall
Administrative body City of Kingston
Designated as a NHSC 1961
Other designations Focal point of the Market Square Heritage Conservation District, designated under the Ontario Heritage Act
Architect George Browne
Year built 1844

Kingston City Hall is the seat of local government in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Occupying a full city block facing Lake Ontario in Kingston's downtown, the city hall is a prominent edifice constructed in the Neoclassical style with a landmark tholobate and dome.

The city hall was completed in 1844, with its scale and design reflective of Kingston's status as capital of the Province of Canada at that time. The architect chosen for the project in 1841, was George Browne, an architect who had moved to Kingston, from Quebec, with the new government for 3 years. This building was believed to be one of his most outstanding works, but completed after the government removed itself to Montreal, and the building was never used as the capital of Canada.

The building was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1961.[1]


Kingston City Hall after a fire in 1908

Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister, lay in state here following his death on June 6, 1891. There was a fire July 24, 1908 caused by accident.[2]

Kingston Market[edit]

The area directly behind city hall serves as a seasonal farmers' market. During the winter, the market square is transformed into an outdoor skating rink.

The Kingston Police Department was based at city hall until 1971, when it was moved to a (then-new but now demolished) building of its own at 11 Queen Street. KPD 705 Division is currently located next to the city's public works department.

Confederation Park[edit]

A city park one city block in size, Confederation Park separates Kingston's city hall from the waterfront. Established in 1967 on formerly-industrial waterfront land, it is home to a large fountain and the Confederation Basin marina; a former Kingston and Pembroke Railway station which once served as the southern terminus of the now-defunct line is now a visitor information centre. A restored historic locomotive, the "Spirit of Sir John A.", recalls downtown Kingston's past role in locomotive manufacturing.

Stained glass windows[edit]

In 1920, Mayor Hugh Collamer Nickle suggested that “the windows in the City Hall be a memorial type, and that brass tablets be erected between the columns and a record kept of those who enlisted in Kingston.”[1] Stained glass windows commemorate the various battles of World War I: The Battle of Ypres, 1915;[3] The Battle of St. Eloi, 1916;[4] the Battle of Sanctuary Woods, 1916;[5] the Battle of Jutland, 1916;[6] the Battle of Lens, 1917;[7] the Battle of Vimy Ridge, 1917;[8] the Battle of Passchendaele, 1917;[9] the Battle of the Somme, 1916;[10] the Battle of Mons, 1917;[11] the Battle of Amiens, 1918;[12] the Battle of Cambrai;[13] and the Battle of Scapa Flow.[14] Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy (1862-1935) explained “These memorials are our homage to those who have given the greatest gift it is possible to give to us, but I like to think of them as a covenant between us and them, that their gift shall not be in vain, that our freedom purchased at the cost of their lives shall be an ennobled and idealized State that will give them joy to see if they can still keep watch on our earthly affairs.”[citation needed]


See also[edit]

Coordinates: 44°13′48″N 76°28′50″W / 44.2299°N 76.4806°W / 44.2299; -76.4806