Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
January 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia




[This article was published in 1948. For the exact citation, see the end of the document.]

Kingston, chief city of Frontenac county, Ontario, on the north-eastern shore of lake Ontario, near the head of the St. Lawrence, at the mouth of the Cataraqui river. It is the southern terminus of the Rideau canal, and is on the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways, 163 miles north-east of Toronto and 170 miles south-west of Montreal. A settlement was begun here by the Indians as early as 1672, under the name of Cataraqui. In 1673 Frontenac personally superintended the construction of a fort where the city now stands, the site having been recommended by La Salle. The following year this fort with surrounding lands was granted as a seigniory to La Salle, who named the post Fort Frontenac. The fort was afterwards in the possession of the Indians, was blown up during the wars between French and English, was rebuilt in 1695, and remained a strategic post, protecting the St. Lawrence route to the interior from the hostile Indians, until nearly the end of the French occupation. In 1758 a British expedition under Colonel Bradstreet captured and destroyed the place. It was refounded in 1784 by United Empire Loyalists, who gave it its present name in honour of King George III. Kingston was prosperous during the War of 1812 as the Canadian naval base. It was incorporated as a city in 1838. From 1841 to 1844 it was the capital of United Canada. The building which housed the first government of Upper Canada is still standing, as is Fort Henry, rebuilt in 1841-4, replacing the fort used in the War of 1812. The first Canadian river and lake steamboat was launched here in 1812. To-day there is a splendid fleet of river steamers, and a good harbour for this, the eastern terminal of the Great lakes .


Kingston is the seat of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishoprics and cathedrals. Queen's University, a school of mining and agriculture, the Royal Military College, and a Dominion penitentiary are prominent institutions. There are numerous churches, good schools, four parks, and three military hospitals for artillery men stationed here. The proximity of the Thousand islands has made Kingston a resort for summer visitors.


The chief industries are locomotives, textiles, engine shops, ship and motorboat building, piano factories, grain elevators, and dairying. An evening newspaper (Whig-Standard) serves the city and a thickly populated district. See A. H. Young, The parish register of Kingston 1785-1811 (Kingston, 1921), A. M. Machar, The story of old Kingston (Toronto, 1908), W. G. Draper, History of the city of Kingston (Kingston, 1862).

Source : W. Stewart WALLACE. Ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. III, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 396p., pp. 339-340.


© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College