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Barnum and Bailey’s “Greatest Show on Earth” Comes to Kingston, 1895

Barnum and Bailey's, Greatest Show on EarthThe circus is coming! Later in January Cirque de Soleil will be coming to Kingston which provides us with the opportunity to reflect on past visits from other travelling performers who have stopped in our fair city. This photo is of the Barnum and Bailey Circus arriving in Kingston: they are pictured here travelling up Brock Street, between Ontario Street and King Street. The photographer is taking the photograph from the vantage point of City Hall. There are two possible sites for where the circus itself took place, anecdotally it has been said that the circus was held in the courtyard behind Vandervoorts, but there is also some recounts that put the “Circus Grounds” at the corner of Sydenham and Johnson. Barnum and Bailey’s “Greatest Show on Earth” was in Kingston on July 26th, 1895 and then moved on to Belleville and Toronto in quick succession.

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Queen's Archives

Queen's Archives regular column on Kingstonist showcases our city's rich history via assets sourced from their vast collection. Their contributions stimulate dialog regarding the places, people and events that have shaped Kingston. Learn more about Queen's Archives...

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