It wouldn’t be the holidays in Kingston without the release of the Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area (BIA)’s pewter ornament collection… At least, not for the past 26 years.
Each year since 1993, the Downtown Kingston BIA has released a collection of collectible pewter ornaments, each ornament depicting a well-known historical Kingston landmark. Based on submissions from the public online, a committee selects the buildings and landmarks for each year’s collection. And, while all suggestions are considered, the submissions are curated and “thoroughly examined to ensure a collection that is balanced, attractive, and representative of Kingston’s historic nature,” the BIA said in a press release.
The 2019 pewter collection features The Pilot House, Newcourt House, Douglas Library, Fairfield House, and the Royal Kingston Curling Club. Each ornament can be purchased for $10 with the presentation of $25 worth of receipts from downtown businesses. Receipts dated on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 or later from all downtown businesses are applicable, from your go-to grocery store to your chiropractor, and, of course, holiday purchases. Quantities are limited, and the ornaments will only be available for as long as quantities last. The ornaments have a regular retail value of over $20, the BIA said.
The 2019 Limited Edition Pewter Collection will be available at the Grand Theatre Box Office at 218 Princess Street, the Visitor Information Centre at 209 Ontario Street (Confederation Park), and the Leon’s Centre Box Office at 1 Tragically Hip Way. The following is the list of when each ornament will be released, beginning on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019.
- The Pilot House: Monday, Nov. 18, 2019
- Newcourt House: Monday, Nov. 25, 2019
- Douglas Library: Monday, Dec. 2, 2019
- Fairfield House: Monday, Dec. 9, 2019
- Royal Kingston Curling Club: Monday, Dec. 16, 2019
Please note that, after a heartfelt campaign by Reid and Ben from 98.3 Fly FM, the Downtown Kingston BIA conceded that Coffee Way Donuts, located at the corner of Division and Concession Streets, was worthy of being acknowledge in the 2019 collection. However, it was too late in the year to have it included in the official collection. As Kingstonians may have heard on the local airwaves, the BIA awarded Fly FM the honour of dispersing a Coffee Way pewter keychain instead. For those interested, the keychains will be available for a $20 donation to the Fly FM Toy Drive. There are a very limited number of keychains available (less than 200), and they will go on sale by donation beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 at Coffee Way.
Below are renderings of each 2019 ornament with a brief background on the building from the Downtown Kingston BIA:
The Pilot House (265 King Street East)
This building operated as a pilot house in the early 1900s. Pilots for St. Lawrence River-going vessels would eat and sleep here, awaiting the next ship needing a pilot to take them down river. Design influence from St. George’s Cathedral across the street can be seen in the triangular shapes on both sides of the building. When the building was purchased and opened as a restaurant/pub in 1981, it was named to honour the history of the building.
Newcourt House (100 Portsmouth Avenue/St. Lawrence College)
Built in 1842 for Joseph and William Wilson, this building is the only example of a large Regency-style house left in the city of Kingston. The house is a large rectangular block with the projection from its centre and features a lovely wide verandah. It was home to the Women’s Medical College, then a residence for the Ontario Hospital farm and more recently a lab school for Early Childhood Education at St Lawrence College and a daycare centre. Recent major renovations which include a LEED certification have allowed it to open as the new St Lawrence College Centre for Behavioural Studies.
Douglas Library (93 University Avenue/Queen’s Campus)
Douglas Library, named for Chancellor James Douglas, was completed in 1924 and was designed by Shephard and Calvin. It is the oldest of Queen’s libraries. The northern section of the building was added in 1966 and features three underground floors. Originally built to house the entire library collection, as well as the office of the Principal, its functions have evolved over the last few decades. Once the Stauffer Library was completed in 1994, Douglas Library was renovated extensively, re-opened in 1997 and renamed the Engineering and Science Library.
Fairfield House (4574 Bath Road/Fairfield Park, Loyalist Parkway)
Willian and Abigail Fairfield and their nine children came to this location, Cataraqui Township No. 2, as a Loyalist family in 1784. By 1793, they had added this farmhouse which would be the family home for 180 years. The house itself reflects traditional building techniques of the era – a post-and-beam frame with pine clapboards. Minor modifications in 1802 allowed the family to operate as a licenced tavern until 1860. In 1959, descendants of the family donated Fairfield House to the Province of Ontario for preservation. On September 27, 1984, after opening the newly designated “Loyalist Parkway,” Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became the first visitor to Fairfield House.
Royal Kingston Curling Club (130 Days Road)
The Royal Kingston Curling Club was established in 1820, making it Ontario’s oldest curling club and Canada’s second-oldest. Originally located at the foot of Earl Street, the club has had five locations, the longest stay being at 75 Clergy Street. In 1993, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted permission for the use of the title “Royal.” In 1996, the club was re-incorporated as a non-shareholder corporation with each full-time member becoming an equal partner with full voting rights. The club moved into its current state-of-the-art facility in 2005 and is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year.