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Kingston Ontario

Historical and charming Kingston is the gateway to the famous 1000 Islands and the newly designated UNESCO heritage site, the Rideau Canal.

A Canadian city originally settled in the mid-1600's by the French with the establishment of Fort Frontenac, the British later took control after winning the Seven Years War in 1758. The settlement grew with the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists and First Nations groups from the United States. During the War of 1812, strategically-located Kingston was the base for the Great Lakes British Naval fleet. Historical Fort Henry and a number of Martello Towers were built soon after in 1832 to protect the 125-mile (202 km) Rideau Canal. The canal, the oldest continually-operating canal system in North America, provided a safe trade route between Montreal and Kingston using the Ottawa River, thus bypassing the vulnerable St. Lawrence River against possible American attacks.

Kingston, also known as the "Limestone City" as many of the historic buildings are built from local limestone, was the capital of the united Canadas (Upper & Lower Canada) from 1841-1844 as well as home to Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald.

Today, Kingston boasts a population of 150,000, has a bustling arts and entertainment life, and is home to two famous degree-granting universities, Queens - one of Canada's oldest, and the Royal Military College - Canada's only military university.

City Tour Including Fort Henry

Kingston Ontario

Being met at the pier, your private tour will include an historical overview of the city and visits to: Bellevue House, in traditional Georgian architecture built in the 1840's by a successful grocer and later home to Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A MacDonald; Agnes Etherington Art Centre on the grounds of the famous Queen's University, whose permanent collection is one of the most notable in Canada. The "Agnes" features an extensive collection of historical and contemporary Canadian art as well as one of the finest public collections of African art in Canada. Time permitting; a visit will be made to St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral or to St. George's Anglican Cathedral. Visit Fort Henry National Historic Site, an authentic 19th century British military fortress. The majestic fort is set high above the Kingston harbour on Lake Ontario, the gateway to the St. Lawrence River and the Rideau Canal. As you pass the Sentry guarding the citadel entrance, you will experience life set in the year of Canada's Confederation, 1867. Set your watch by our Noon Gun while men and women interpret their daily chores of the era. The garrison parade takes place daily at 3pm.

Duration: 7-8 hours

Fort Henry Sunset Ceremony (Wednesdays)

July 7, 14, 21 & 28
August 4, 11, 18 & 25

Experience the pomp and pageantry of the British Military of 1867 with music by the Drums of Fort Henry and the Drill Squad and Artillery Units. Be sure to attend one of Fort Henry's most celebrated events - the spectacular Sunset Ceremonies! Gather in the parade area as the Fort Regiment performs split-second bayonet drills and field maneuvers, recreating the exciting battle tactics of over a century ago. The Ceremonies are more than a visual display of movement and colour - sound is also very much part of the experience! Listen to period military music and prepare yourself for thundering gun salutes, complete with a fireworks finale.

Be served a three-course dinner by soldier servants in the officers' dining rooms and then be escorted to prestige seating with V.I.P. Balcony Seats: (seating on the covered balcony overlooking the fort parade square performance area)

Duration: approx 4 hours (5PM - 9PM)

Fort Henry Tattoo - Sat July 24, 2010

Military tattoo featuring world-class military bands from across Canada. The Tattoo is one of Fort Henry's premier events and showcases the drill and musical skills of the Fort Henry Guard combined with drill and musical skills from international acts. The special celebratory evening includes a fly past of the Canadian Air Force and a dazzling fireworks finale.

Be served a three-course dinner by soldier servants in the officers' dining rooms and then be escorted to prestige seating with V.I.P. Balcony Seats: (seating on the covered balcony overlooking the fort parade square performance area)

Duration: approx 4 hours (5PM - 9PM)

Rideau Canal & Kingston Mill Locks

Leaving Kingston, pass by the remnants of Fort Frontenac, built in 1673 and the Royal Military College. Kingston Mill is the site of the first mill built on the Rideau, the King's Mill, built here at Cataraqui Falls in 1784 by the British Government. The site today features a lovely set of three locks, a turning basin, a detached upper lock and the Robert Anglin Visitor's Centre. The main CN rail line crosses over the lower locks on a bridge originally built for the Grand Trunk Railroad in 1853. One of the four blockhouses on the Rideau is located here. It's open during the summer months, the inside outfitted as soldier's barracks. The falls, first used to power mills, still generate power today, a small hydro-electric station was built here in 1913.

The Kingston Mill Locks are the first set of locks on the northward journey of the Rideau Canal, completed in 1851 and declared a World Heritage Site in 2007.

Duration: 4 hours

Kingston Ontario

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Lakeshore Excursions
Lakeshore Excursions