If you’ve been anxious to get inside the walls of one of Canada’s most talked about penitentiaries, or if you’ve already been inside and just want to see more, get ready for next Monday.
The St. Lawrence Parks Commission (SLPC) has announced that tickets for the 2019 Kingston Penitentiary Tours will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Monday, Mar. 18, 2019.
This season’s tours have new pricing and longer hours, with tours running five days a week (Wednesday to Sunday), from Wednesday, May 8 to Sunday, Jun. 20, and then again from Wednesday, Sept. 4 to Sunday, Nov. 3. During the summer months in between, the tours will run six days a week (Tuesday to Sunday) from Tuesday, Jul. 2 to Sunday, Sept. 1. Each day of the tours, the first tour will start at 8:40 a.m., and the last will start at 7 p.m., with tours running every 20 minutes throughout the day.
“Kingston Penitentiary Tours offer a unique opportunity to go behind the walls of Canada’s oldest and most notorious maximum-security prison,” SLPC said in a press release on Thursday, Mar. 14, 2019.
“A National Historic Site which predates Canadian confederation, the tours offer two options in either a one-and-a-half-hour Standard Tour or the Extended Tour lasting two-and-a-half-hours, both of which bring historic, architectural and criminological components together into a one-of-a-kind experience.”
Standard Tours are one-and-a-half-hours in length, guided with groups of up to 30 people. Groups visit various areas of the penitentiary including: cell and segregation ranges, Indigenous Grounds and the Regional Treatment Centre’s Gymnasium featuring a mural dedicated to the inmates and staff of Kingston Penitentiary. Other areas include the north gate, G-Range (cell range) programs wing, main cell dome, segregation/dissociation wing, shop dome, metal shop, and recreational yard.
Standard Tour pricing is $35 for adults and senior (19+), and $25 for student and youth (five to18 years old). All pricing is plus $3.00 service fee and HST.
Extended Tours offer a smaller guided group size with up to 15 people, and a longer, more in-depth tour over two-and-half hours. Groups visit all areas on the Standard Tour plus additional areas such as the Canvas and Upholstery shops, Laundry Room and Hospital of Kingston Penitentiary.
Extended Tour pricing is $70 for adults and senior (aged 19+), and $60 for students and youths (aged five to 18). All pricing is plus $3.00 service fee and HST.
A limited number of tickets will be available for walk-up visitors each day. Tickets will be available on a first-come first-serve basis, and are available as soon as the box office opens in the morning (date and time restrictions may apply). Once again, Kingston residents receive $5 off the Standard Tour (plus HST and online ticket fees) on Wednesdays all season long. Kingston area residents can simply enter their postal code as a promotional code to receive the preferred local rate (proof of ID for residency may be requested upon arrival for the tour).
The SLPC said that the 2019 tour schedule includes accessible tour options for persons with vision loss and mobility needs integrated into the tour times. For American Sign Language (ASL) tours, guests can contact Vinnie Rebelo by email at KPASL@parks.on.ca to make arrangements for interpretation. In all instances, if a visitor requires a companion for their visit, simply identify when booking tickets. Companions accompanying a visitor with a disability will be permitted complimentary admission when their assistance is necessary for the party with a disability to visit the site.
Special rates are available for Tour and School Groups of 20 or more. School groups and tour operators should contact the SLPC Customer Service team at 800-437-2233 or 613-543-4328 for information or to book their tour.
According to the SLPC, net proceeds of the tours will support tourism and destination marketing initiatives, as well as to support the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington.