Brewers, Bakers & Boilermakers: walking tour of Ontario Street South

By Abigail Beckett

If you are looking to know more about one of the oldest parts of Kingston, join The PumpHouse Museum on a 60-minute walking tour along historic Ontario Street. Learn about Kingston’s late 18th, 19th, and 20th-century history of local brewers, property owners, boilermakers, and more.

This tour provides a unique experience that fuses contemporary Kingston business with historic architecture and stories. Starting at The PumpHouse, the tour begins with a brief walk along the Waterfront Pathway up to the Marine Museum and returns to Ontario Street until The Prince George Hotel, where the tour ends.

On this tour you will learn about the many challenges the people of Kingston faced to keep their businesses and services alive. The 1800s posed to be a particularly rough time with cholera epidemics and the Great Fire of Kingston in 1840 that affected the livelihoods of many. Some of the sites on the tour no longer exist and have been replaced by modern amenities. However, a substantial portion of the tour includes preserved buildings that are home to local establishments like SENS Café, PJ Murphy’s Gastro Pub, and Dianne’s Fish Shack. One of the reasons why these places still stand today is because of the city-wide mandate to use stone, mostly limestone, as building material to avoid further destruction from fires.

The informative tour guides are sure to point out details like additions to buildings, underwater rail tracks, and hitching posts, which enhance the stories being told. Questions are always welcome. Just as the name suggests, the tour covers a wide variety of topics like Kingston breweries, foundries, boat docks, gristmills, Victorian hotels, train stations, oyster bars, and more. Check out the PumpHouse walking tour to discover the authentic history of Ontario Street, the lives of Kingston locals, their stories, and the history of the city by walking in the footsteps of the past. The PumpHouse is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm with a variety of opportunities and events.

Details: Offering tours Thursday – Saturday at 11 am and 2 pm for $5+HST per person.

Book your tour.