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They Shot A Movie Once, In My Hometown… Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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FortHenryGuardCanadianBlogHouseMy Brother ~ A proud Fort Henry Guardsman ~ Circa 1977

“Everybody was in it, for miles around…”  These words, from The Tragically Hip’s hit song, “Blow At High Dough”, reference my hometown, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Kingston’s favourite sons, and Canada’s favourite rock band, The Tragically Hip, often reference this great city, which is also their hometown, in many of their famous songs.

Also known as the “Limestone City”, the “birthplace of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald”, and “Canada’s First Capital”,  Kingston is a gorgeous city situated on the north-eastern shore of Lake Ontario, where this great lake meets the St. Lawrence River and the Rideau Canal.   Eastern Ontario’s second largest city (population 159,000 – Census 2011), Kingston is conveniently located within a 2-3 hour drive from Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Syracuse, New York.

I no longer live in my hometown.  I dearly miss Kingston.  Deemed “Canada’s Happiest City” by Jetpac City Guides, Kingston is the kind of city that is full of things to see and do, yet still has that small town feel, and is easy to get around in.

Kingston is shining example of old and new architecture.  Beautiful old limestone buildings abound in the downtown core, especially in the old homes, the churches and the many great buildings that house Queen’s University and Royal Military College.  As the city is literally built on limestone rock, when visiting Kingston you will see limestone everywhere you go, including along the waterfront shoreline.  In the suburbs you will find many new and modern buildings, similar to other Ontario cities.

Kingston is full of charm, especially downtown Kingston.  In my opinion, you won’t find a more beautiful downtown waterfront in Canada (maybe with the exception of coastal cities), than you will in the Limestone City. Strolling along Ontario Street, you’ll find great pubs and restaurants, hotels, unique local shops, City Hall, Confederation Park, Kingston Trolley Tours, and of course, the beautiful views of Lake Ontario. Whether it’s a summer drink on the patio at The Merchant Tap House, a brunch or meal at The DOX (where you can enjoy beautiful views overlooking Kingston’s harbourfront), a mouth-watering meal at The Kingston Brewing Company (the Dragon’s Breath Pale Ale and Dragon Wings and Fries are MUST TRY menu items!), or an exquisite dinner at the famous Chez Piggy, Kingston is a city with an abundance of fantastic pubs & restaurants.

Visitors to Kingston can enjoy over 20 museums and National Historic sites during their stay.  From Sir John A Macdonald’s homestead, Bellevue House, to his burial place at the Cataraqui Cemetery, to Fort Henry and the Martello Towers that once helped to protect against a US invasion, Kingston is a city filled with great historical significance.

For nature lovers, Kingston will literally leave you breathless with all kinds of great conservation areas to explore such as Lemoine Pointe, and the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area.  Other lesser known, but still great, places to hike are found at Grass Creek Park, and Lake Ontario Park.  From Lake Ontario Park, you can literally stroll along the waterfront from the park, over to the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, enjoying the beautiful views of Lake Ontario, and Wolfe Island, with its infamous wind turbines dotting the landscape directly across the harbour from Kingston.

Kingston has a reputation for being known as a “government”, “university”, “military” (CFB Kingston), and even a “penitentiary” city. That’s right, prior to the year 2000, Kingston was home to 9 correctional institutions.  After closing two of Canada’s most notorious correctional facilities, the Prison For Women, Kingston Penitentiary and the Regional Treatment Centre, Kingston’s prison count has dropped to 6.  Visitors used to tell me that they would be “scared” to live so close to so many penitentiaries.  For those who live there, they probably feel safer in Kingston than in any other city in Canada.  We know the minute an inmate escapes they are more likely to run out of town – to Toronto or Montreal!

If you love festivals, Kingston has you covered:

Did you know that Kingston was host to the 1976 Olympic Sailing Events?  It was at the Olympics that my sister met her husband-to-be (they were Olympic volunteers with the Canadian Naval Reserve), I got to see Queen Elizabeth in person, and it was how Kingston’s Portsmouth Olympic Harbour came to be. Since then, Kingston has become well-known for its excellent sailing conditions on Lake Ontario, offering some of the best fresh-water sailing in the world.  Each year, sailing enthusiasts converge on Kingston to participate in the CORK Regatta.

A summer visit to Kingston isn’t complete without a cruise on one of a number of cruise lines operating out of Kingston harbour.  One of my favourites is the Island Queen.  Kingston’s queen of the waterways has been around for many years. The Island Queen takes passengers on a beautiful cruise down the St. Lawrence River towards the town of Gananoque, meandering its way through the start of the world-renowned Thousand Islands region. For those preferring a shorter cruise, the Island Belle will take you on a lovely cruise of the Kingston harbour.  You can even enjoy a great dinner cruise on the Island Star. Wanting to explore Wolfe Island, and perhaps spend some time at the public beach there (Big Sandy Bay), hop on the provincial government-run Wolfe Islander III for a short cruise across the harbour.

Kingston has so much to offer tourists and residents alike, from shopping malls like the Cataraqui Town Centre, and “big box” stores in the RioCan Centre and Kings Crossing, to all the wonderful unique boutiques and shops in the downtown core.  Shopping in Kingston can be just as good as the shopping options found in bigger cities like Ottawa and Toronto.

Love sports and the arts? Kingston has something for you too.  The 5,700 seat Rogers K-ROCK Centre in downtown Kingston plays host to some of today’s hottest musical acts.  It’s at the Rogers K-ROCK centre that hockey fans can also catch a Kingston Frontenacs hockey game.  For theatre lovers, or those who prefer smaller concert venues, the recently renovated Grand Theatre hosts numerous great live performances year-round.

Kingston has produced more than it’s share of famous Canadians, besides the members of the Tragically Hip. Recognize this great group of Canucks?  They call Kingston their hometown too:

  • Dan Aykroyd – Actor
  • Bryan Adams – Musician
  • Don Cherry – Former NHL Coach & Hockey Commentator
  • Doug Gilmour – Former NHL Player
  • Kirk Muller – Former NHL Player
  • Sir John A. Macdonald – Canada’s First Prime Minister
  • Hugh Dillon (The Headstones) – Musician/Actor
  • Ted Darling – Hockey Announcer – “Voice of the Buffalo Sabres”
  • Ryan Malcolm – First Canadian Idol Winner

By the way, they really did shoot a movie once, in my hometown.  In fact, they’ve shot a few.  Most famously, the movie, Blues Brothers 2000, was partially filmed in Kingston (with our very own Dan Aykroyd in the starring role). Another movie, Vendetta, starring Christopher Walken, was filmed in downtown Kingston, using many Kingstonians as extras in the film.

KingstonOntarioCanadaVendettaMovieSetKingston Brewing Company ~ Downtown Kingston ~ Filming Of The Movie “Vendetta”

I love my hometown and always will, no matter how far I venture.  If you’re passing by Kingston on the 401 sometime, don’t forget to stop in… and tell them Sandy from Canadian Blog House sent you 😉

54224y783wpiiyxb89icPS..I never realized, until I went to write this blog about my hometown, how few pictures I actually had of Kingston, its buildings, scenery and attractions.  Just a reminder to get out there and capture some great shots of your hometown.  One day you will be glad you did.



Be sure to check out all my fellow Canadian Bloggers who are participating in the Canucks Content Carnival!!


  1. August 10, 2016

    Jessica Foley

    I love this post! It’s great to find someone else who loves Kingston like I do! I see so many beautiful photos of the Limestone City but when I go out wandering to get some of my own they never look as nice!
    Not sure if you were aware, but the movie Crimson Peak filmed a few scenes in Kingston last year. There’s a beautiful shot of the back of city hall and market square (as a turn of the century marketplace) very close to the beginning of the movie. I watched some of the filming and it was very neat to see!

    • August 10, 2016


      Thanks so much, Jessica!! I adore Kingston. My heart will always be there. I hear you about the photos…at least you have some though! I can’t believe I hardly have any from around town after all the years I lived there. Very cool! I had not heard that about the recent filming. Kingston is so ideal for movies – the scenery and buildings are beautiful 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Jessica!

  2. May 16, 2014

    Kingston is likely the best kept secret film set in all of North America! 🙂

    • June 9, 2014


      I have NO doubt, SirJohnA! Thanks for stopping by to read and comment 🙂

  3. March 9, 2014


    I have driven near Kingston several times but sadly have never visited. Will need to rectify that mistake the next time I am near your hometown as it sounds like a beautiful city with lots to see and do!

    • May 16, 2014


      Oh Monica, you definitely must if you are heading that way again. I think you would really enjoy it there 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  4. March 8, 2014


    I remember visiting Kingston with my family when I was a little girl and just loving it. I guess it’s time for me to head back and see it again – your post really inspires me to want to visit!

    • May 16, 2014


      Thanks so much for saying so, Cyn! I hope you get back there some time! I know it’s my hometown…but it really is an awesome city 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  5. March 6, 2014


    Now I really want to visit Kingston! It sounds wonderful and wow, a lot of celebrities do come from there! My brother lives in Ontario and I love driving around there and looking at all the old architecture. It’s so gorgeous. I especially love downtowns because some of the oldest buildings are located there. And like you, I barely have any photos of my hometown. I really need to rectify that.

    • March 7, 2014


      Oh definitely! You need to take some pics of your home town, Brandy. I sure wish I had more in my collection. It’s a great reason to go out and play tourist in your own city or town 🙂 There certainly is some nice old architecture in our towns here in Ontario. Thanks for stopping by, Brandy!

  6. March 5, 2014

    Suzanne Rudge (MapleMouseMama)

    I love The Hip! The love for your hometown is so great Sandy. It has been a few years since my last visit to Kingston, but we plan to visit in the next few years. I love the 1000 Islands and want to take the kids. I did not know that tidbit about the ’76 Olympics, that is so cool! And to think that part of the Blues Bros was filmed there! My hubby will be thrilled to learn of that, LOL.

    • March 5, 2014


      I gather your hubby is a BB fan, eh? Yes, you and your family should definitely come spend some more time in Kingston. There’s so much to see and do and a stop in the 1000 Islands would be great. Yep…The Hip are definitely special to Kingston 🙂 They even have a street named after them now. Thanks for stopping by, Suzanne!

  7. March 4, 2014


    I have been to Kingston a few times, once for a soccer tournament which actually gave us time to drive around and explore. The other times, were just drive-thru’s dropping our daughter’s friend off at university. I would love to visit and stay a bit, because it does look lovely.

    • March 5, 2014


      I’m glad you’ve had the chance to at least stop in to Kingston a few times, AlwaysARedhead. Hope you do get a chance to go back and really experience some of the great sites and sounds…and eats, around town. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. March 4, 2014

    Kristen B

    This is awesome, I never knew so many famous Canadian came from Kingston. It looks like a wonderful city to grow up in. My friend visits her sister in Kingston often. I will have to tag along on her next trip to see all these nice sites.

    • March 5, 2014


      Kristen you should definitely come along with your friend next time! You will really enjoy checking out Kingston! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. March 3, 2014


    Kingston is a great city! I’ve been a few times and I love the architecture! When I think of Kingston I think of Queens and the prison! Your examples are much better! lol!

    • March 5, 2014


      LOL Jenn, my examples may be better, but yours are the ones everyone always thinks of 🙂 Yes, the architecture in Kingston is great! Thanks for stopping by!

  10. March 3, 2014


    I am SO glad I have visited Kingston and stayed there for a week while getting into the program at Queens. (Plans changed so I ended up going to the States). I was just telling my husband about how beautiful Kingston is – especially in the winter. It is definitely a city that one must either visit or live in even for a short time. It was definitely one of my favorite memories. I didn’t know that a lot of familiar celebs came from there! I would have thought there were more movies filmed there. It’s so beautiful. Hidden gem in Canada for sure!

    • March 3, 2014


      Very well said, DeBalino, “hidden gem” is a great way to describe Kingston! I’m so glad to read that you had the chance to visit Kingston yourself! Too bad you didn’t end up at Queen’s but it sounds like you had a great adventure elsewhere anyway 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  11. March 3, 2014


    Wow! That’s so cool that it has the title of happiest city! And wow, really rich with culture and fame. I loved hearing about your hometown, and while I’ve never been I do know many people from there! Thanks for sharing!

    • March 3, 2014


      Kingston is definitely rich in culture and fact, there are many “celebrities” that call Kingston home, that were not born there (so that is the only reason I didn’t include them). I’d have to agree with the “happiest” city award….I loved living in Kingston 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

  12. March 3, 2014

    Randa @ The Everyday Domestic

    I have never been to Kingston, but after you said it’s the Happiest City – I want to visit! It sounds like a great place to raise a family.

    • March 3, 2014


      You hit the nail on the head, Randa! It’s a great place to raise a family 🙂 Thanks for stopping by…and I hope you make it for a visit to Kingston one of these years!

  13. March 3, 2014

    Elizabeth L

    I had no idea there was so much going on in Kingston! I’ve never been to Kingston, but I’ve driven past it quite a few time. I guess it’s about time I go take a look around!

    • March 3, 2014


      Oh for sure, Elizabeth, you need to spend a little time there on your way by next time. So much to see and do…and so very pretty in summer 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  14. March 3, 2014

    Little Miss Kate

    I am not sure that I have ever actually visited Kingston, only stopped in on they way to Montreal for lunch. I should really make time to visit!

    • March 3, 2014


      Definitely time to visit, Katie! Like many towns and cities between Toronto and Montreal, Kingston is often a “stopping point” along the highway. If that’s all you see of Kingston, you are missing so much. Hope you get a chance to stay for awhile one day. Thanks for stopping by to comment!

  15. March 2, 2014

    Margarita Ibbott

    We loved Kingston. I went with my family for the first time last summer and we have to say it was wonderful. I wrote a blog post about the Geneva Crepe Bistro (which we loved). It gets a lot of hits on Trip Advisor. I cannot say enough about the charm that is Kingston. A must go if you are a Canadian with all that history.

    • March 2, 2014


      That is so great that you recently had a chance to visit Kingston, Margarita! Glad you enjoyed your stay so much! I have to admit, I have never heard of that Bistro before. Maybe they opened after I left. It sounds great! Thanks for stopping by!

  16. March 2, 2014

    Pinx JL

    Kingston has everything!! I have seen Blues Brother 2000 and so it was there that it was shot! Nice!! And I envy you for having seen the Queen, 🙂 I would love to see her and the Royal family someday! Anyway, if ever my family and I will be able to take on a road trip, we’ll stop by and look for you! Thanks for sharing your hometown!

    • March 2, 2014


      Yes, Kingston really does have everything, at least in my opinion 🙂 The movie was shot “partially” in Kingston…and also in a few other locations I think. Dan Aykroyd has a home on the outskirts of Kingston so that is why they filmed there. The Queen did not hang around long, but it was neat to see her in person, and something I’ve never forgotten. I think we have an old home movie of her somewhere. Hope you get a chance to visit the area one day, Pinx. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. March 2, 2014

    Jeanette Jackson

    I grew up in Amherstview (just outside of Kingston) and spent a lot of time in Kingston over the years. My family still lives around the Kingston area and I love to visit whenever I can.

    • March 2, 2014


      Yay, Jeanette! A fellow Kingstonian 🙂 Amherstview is a great family area and I absolutely love the drive along Bath Road/Hwy 33. Beautiful water views! Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂

  18. March 1, 2014

    Bonnie Way

    Kingston, for some reason, makes me think War of 1812. I’m trying to remember if my mom and I toured around there last time we were in Ontario… she grew up in St. Catharines so we’ve been back a few times to visit. I have a friend there right now – I should send her this post! 🙂 Or go visit her and head out to visit all these places with her! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    • March 2, 2014


      You have reason to think of the War of 1812 in relation to Kingston, Bonny. Kingston was definitely involved in the war…and Fort Henry played a pivotal role in the defense of Kingston/Canada. Oh definitely go visit your friend! You’ll have a great visit and get to enjoy Kingston. Go in the summer…best time to enjoy the beautiful scenery/lake. Thanks for stopping by!!

  19. March 1, 2014

    jodi shaw

    I have never been to Kingston and had no idea of its historic nature. That’s pretty cool meeting the Queen. I met her once in Vancouver with Lady Diana. Kingston has so many wonderful things to see. 🙂 Great post Sandy, such history.

    • March 1, 2014


      Yes, Kingston is certainly full of history, Jodi. I didn’t get to meet the Queen…just saw her up close 🙂 But you did? And Diana? Cool! Thanks for stopping by!

  20. March 1, 2014


    Love Kingston. Such a gorgeous city. I also do not have many picture of my hometown…. must get on that this summer!

    • March 1, 2014


      It sure is, eh Shannon? Yes! Take pics of your home town. I really can’t believe how few I have…and most of them are from the 1998 Ice Storm! lol Btw, where’s your home town, Shannon? Thanks for stopping by!

  21. March 1, 2014

    Lisa Marie

    Ooo! I remember Old Fort Henry when I was a kid. We would travel every summer, and I think we stopped there twice. Once, we were there around my brother’s birthday and went to the fort. They did their cannon demonstration and we told my brother it was for his birthday – hehe. 🙂
    I love seeing and hearing about all these amazing Canadian hometowns. Thanks for sharing!

    • March 1, 2014


      LOL, I love your Fort Henry story, Lisa Marie! I bet your brother believed that for a long time 🙂 So glad you’ve had an opportunity to visit Fort Henry (and Kingston) a couple of times. Thanks for stopping by!

  22. March 1, 2014


    I haven’t been to kingston since I was a little girl, and I don’t remember much. I would love to take my kids to Fort Henry – hubby and I used to watch “ghost hunters” and they did an episode at Fort Henry – it was neat to watch!

    • March 1, 2014


      Oh yes, your boys would love Fort Henry, Ashley!! Very cool! I didn’t know they filmed there. We’ve watched many of those episodes and never saw that one. I’ll have to check into that 🙂 Thanks for stopping by to read!

  23. March 1, 2014


    Next time you come out this way we should Meet up in Ktown and double date! 🙂

    • March 1, 2014


      That sounds fun, Manduh! Do you get there often? I haven’t been back in almost a year now 🙁 Thanks for reading and commenting!

      • March 4, 2014


        Ya we go a couple times a month I love shopping there! My go to stores are just a block apart, Canada Computers and Wallack’s Art Supplies.

  24. March 1, 2014


    Great post :). I am currently living in Kingston and it is such a great place to live.

    By the way, a lot of people who don’t know this but a part of a episode of Nikita (from season 3 I believe ) was filmed in Kingston just a few yeas ago .

    • March 1, 2014


      Oh wow, Chantale! I didn’t realize you lived in Kingston! Cool! I’m jealous, lol. As for Nikita…I had NO idea! Never heard that mentioned anywhere. Where did they do filming? Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂

      • March 1, 2014


        They were filming around city hall . I believe it was last March

        • March 1, 2014


          Oh fairly recently. Well that’s a great location. I love it down there by City Hall and Confederation Park 🙂

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