Kingston Penitentiary Tours to Continue Next Year

Published on: 2016/12/05 - in Featured News

The City of Kingston announced today they have partnered with Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) and the St. Lawrence Parks Commission (SLPC) to continue the  will continue public tours of Kingston Penitentiary (KP) public tours for the 2017 tourism season.

Don Head, Commissioner Correctional Service Canada, welcomed Correctional Service of Canada’s participation in next year’s tours and another year of increased support for the United Way, adding: “The public interest in KP is extraordinary and I am proud of CSC’s distinguished history in Kingston and the contributions that our employees continue to make in this community. We have a strong partnership with the City of Kingston and St. Lawrence Parks Commission and I look forward to seeing what the 2017 tour season brings.”

The tours have been very popular with the Kingston public and tourists, welcoming over 60,000 visitors in its inaugural season that ran from June to October 2016.  Its estimated to have benefited the region’s economy with $5 Million, employed 40 students and a number of retired CSC staff.

“The opening of Kingston Penitentiary (KP) for tours proved an amazing success. As we welcomed visitors from across the country they not only experienced the rich history within the walls of KP, they discovered all that Kingston has to offer,” said Bryan Paterson, Mayor of Kingston. “Beyond the tourism boost, KP tours have enhanced the lives of youth in Kingston through a significant contribution to our local United Way. As we look ahead to 2017, the City of Kingston is proud to building on the great partnership with Corrections Canada and St. Lawrence Parks Commission to continue and enhance KP tours for the 2017 tourism season.”

According to a City release, 2016 tours net proceeds benefited local tourism and destination marketing initiatives, and youth programs through the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington.

The St. Lawrence Parks Commission presented the United Way with a cheque for $322,421 that represents the 2016 contribution.

“Kingston Penitentiary is a cornerstone of Kingston’s heritage. This renowned Canadian landmark represents Kingston’s long-standing commitment to creating and maintaining a fair justice system and rule of law in Canada,” Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, Mark Gerretsen, said. “The success of the tours this past summer underscores the interest in our history, both on the local and the national scale. Once again, the Kingston community has made me proud to be a Kingstonian, and even more proud of our storied history as an influential Canadian city. I encourage everyone to tour Kingston Penitentiary, and immerse yourself in Kingston’s illustrious history.”

2017 public tours, with more tour options and days of operation, will begin in May and run to October with the SLPC continuing as the official operator. Darren Dalgleish, General Manager and CEO of St. Lawrence Parks Commission, reports they will be greatly expanding the scope and volume of tours, including the addition of areas previously off limits.

“The continuation of Kingston Penitentiary tours is great news for our community and province. Bringing tourism, revenues and youth employment to our region is extremely valuable and is in line with our provincial commitment to build Ontario up,” said Sophie Kiwala, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kingston and the Islands. “KP should be proud of their accomplishments and their work to educate the public of our city’s rich history with the Correctional Service of Canada. I wish KP and partners great success in the new year.”

The Kingston Penitentiary is a former maximum security prison constructed in 1833–34 and opened on June 1, 1835.  In 2012, the Federal Government announced plans to close the Kingston Penitentiary and it officially closed on September 30, 2013

It was recently a location shoot for filming of the upcoming Netflix / CBC miniseries “Alias Grace”, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood.

Tickets will be available for the public to purchase beginning in February. For updates on the 2017 tour season please visit

Photo: Bill Badzo (cc)