Alt Landmarks in Kingston

alternative landmarks, Kingston, Ontario

If you close your eyes and concentrate on a definitive symbol that represents the Limestone City, whether it’s a building, an over-sized sculpture, or a distinct district within the city, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? The folks who designed the City of Kingston logo featured the tholobate and dome of our iconic City Hall, while more elaborate versions of the logo include wavy lines and fireworks, both of which serve to highlight Confederation Basin and our renowned waterfront.  While this logo may be the first thing that greets visitors both to the city’s website and as they approach via the 401, outsiders are likely conjure up images of other landmarks, both good and bad, that represent Kingston.  With that in mind, this week’s poll questions asks:

[poll id=”49″]

When discussing Kingston with visitors and outsiders, a vast majority envision a city that is home to many prisons as well as former prisoners and their families.  While we have a significant concentration of correctional institutions, I’m not sure what the exact stats are on the number of families of current and former prisoners who remain in the Limestone City.  Perhaps it’s an unfounded stereotype?  A more positive runner up is the City’s downtown, and anything and everything constructed out of our favourite building material, limestone.  While visitors and current residents are likely to have differing opinions about what Kingston’s second most recognizable landmark is, what symbol do you think is the most significant? Does history trump all other factors?

Special thanks to Napanee Gal for today’s photo, which shows off Kingston’s skyline and some of the most renowned icons: Fort Henry, the Royal Military College, two Murney Towers,  downtown Kingston, and of course, City Hall.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

11 thoughts on “Alt Landmarks in Kingston

  • City hall and Confederation basin
    Why oh why is ONE church on this list! And, St. George's, with it's history of the pedophile in its midst and the coverup that the elders, etc did! Children died because of this place!! What in hell are you thinking by putting this up for votes? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • I'm certainly not ashamed that we included St. George's on this list, rather I'm embarrassed that I know very little about it's history. Obviously it was not included in the poll to stir up negative emotions or controversy. From the outside, it's one of the most recognizable downtown landmarks due to it's similar appearance to City Hall. What went on inside St. Georges is certainly worth considering when casting your vote, there's no denying that.

    For what it's worth, while they are two totally different tales of woe, I think one could easily uncover just as many horror stories inside the walls of Kingston Pen as well. We didn't pick these places because they are akin to amusement parks, rather they were selected as they are steeped in history, warts and all.

    • There are plenty of horror stories that have taken place in amusement parks, for that matter.

      A landmark is a landmark for better or worse. A gallows could be a landmark, for instance.

      • Fully agree. If you've ever done the haunted walk, which weaves throughout the Sydenham district, the guide usually points out various older homes with balconies strategically oriented towards the court house. These balconies and viewing areas were built so that the families could watch sentences carried out at the court house (ie old school forms of punishment). Interesting yes, but disturbing never the less.

  • I chose the Kingston Pen, simply because when I left Hamilton to go to Queen's, that was the running joke (and still is) when I tell people from other places that I live in Kingston. They always say "ah, serving some time huh?" or something to that effect. It seems to be one of the things we are very much known for to outsiders.

    • If the poll asked "what symbol represents kingston" I may agree. However I hope it's not our *best* symbol!

  • The best landmark not on your list is Kingston's martello towers.

    Note that only one is called the Murney Tower–that's the one that's a museum in Macdonald Park. The two in your photo are the Cathcart Tower on the left and Fort Frederick towards the centre, now part of the RMC campus. The fourth–the Shoal Tower–is just out of sight in the photo, in Confederation Basin behind City Hall.

    I'd argue that these towers are actually seen on a regular basis by more Kingstonians and tourists than Fort Henry, Kingston Pen or St. George's Cathedral. I mean, you've even got one in the Kingstonist logo.

    • Thanks for the information. Obviously I have been incorrectly lumping all of the towers under the name Martello. In a way I see these as extensions of Ft. Henry, even though they are geographically separated from the Fort.

  • The Martello Towers are worth considering for sure. As is City Hall and Confederation basins, which have previously been mentioned. Or even Collins Bay Penitentiary – which many people briefly assume to be a castle of some sort. There's also Bellevue House, the Olympic Harbour, the Pump and Steamhouse Museum, The Spirit of Sir John A, the Gaskon Lion or even the very new Wolfe Island Wind Farm.

    I think it's pretty obvious that *the* landmark in Kingston is City Hall, but what is second to City Hall is up for grabs.

  • Perhaps the most iconic image of city hall is the ever-present scaffolding as they slap yet another layer of copper cladding on the roof.

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