Kingston City Hall (Ontario)

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Kingston City Hall
Location Ontario, Canada
Nearest city Kingston
Built 1844
Original use City hall, market, custom house, post office, police station and jail
Current use City hall
Architect George Browne
Architectural style(s) Neoclassical
Governing body City of Kingston
Designated 1961

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]

Market Square[edit]

Springer Market Square, located directly behind city hall, holds a seasonal farmers' market, the Kingston Public Market, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from April until November. It is the oldest public market in the province.[3][4] An antiques market operates in the square on Sundays.[5] The square was revitalized during 2005-2007, creating an outdoor skating rink and small amphitheatres in the north and south courtyards of city hall.[6]

The square was created as part of the original town plan of 1784[7] and was the site of an informal market established in 1788. It was the location where the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe, proclaimed the Constitutional Act 1791 which established Upper Canada as a separate jurisdiction and was, almost 75 years later, the location where Canadian Confederation was proclaimed. The Kingston Public Market was officially established by the City of Kingston in 1801. The market square was the centre of commerce and trade in the city and through the 19th century public buildings, hotels, and shops developed around the square including Kingston City Hall which was built in 1844.[7] As the city grew, the market came to consist of ramshackle wooden stalls known as the market shambles, which were destroyed, along with many of the surrounding buildings, in the Great Fire of 1840.[8][3][7]

Police Department[edit]

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.

Market Battery was added 1846 to 1848 during Oregon Crisis. The batter consisted of:

  • guard room
  • two magazine rooms
  • one 32 pt gun
  • officers guard room
  • 7 guns/cannons
  • shoot furnace

The battery was removed and some stones reused to build train station 1885.

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;[9] The Battle of St. Eloi, 1916;[10] the Battle of Sanctuary Woods, 1916;[11] the Battle of Jutland, 1916;[12] the Battle of Lens, 1917;[13] the Battle of Vimy Ridge, 1917;[14] the Battle of Passchendaele, 1917;[15] the Battle of the Somme, 1916;[16] the Battle of Mons, 1917;[17] the Battle of Amiens, 1918;[18] the Battle of Cambrai;[19] and the Battle of Scapa Flow.[20] 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]


  1. ^ a b Kingston City Hall National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "Market Square". Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  4. ^ "About". Kingston Public Market. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Events". Kingston Public Market. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Springer Market Square". City of Kingston. City of Kingston. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c "Market Square History". City of Kingston. City of Kingston. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  8. ^ "History". Kingston Public Market. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  9. ^ Battle of Ypres Memorial Window
  10. ^ Battle of St. Eloi Memorial Window
  11. ^ Battle of Sanctuary Woods Memorial Window
  12. ^ Battle of Jutland Memorial Window
  13. ^ Battle of Lens Memorial Window
  14. ^ Battle of Vimy Ridge Memorial Window
  15. ^ Battle of Passchendaele Memorial Window
  16. ^ Battle of the Somme Memorial Window
  17. ^ Battle of Mons Memorial Window
  18. ^ Battle of Amiens Memorial Window
  19. ^ Battle of Battle of Cambrai Memorial Window
  20. ^ Battle of Scapa Flow Memorial Window

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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