Film in Kingston: past and present

By Visit Kingston

Learn about Kingston’s rich film history and the 2024 Kingston Canadian Film Festival.

Alias Grace
“Alias Grace” Day 62/65 Photo: Jan Thijs 2016

To celebrate the upcoming 2024 edition of the Kingston Canadian Film Festival, we’re taking a look back at some of Kingston’s film landmarks and history. To explore Kingston’s film history further, take a free Creative Kingston film walking tour. These tours give insights into Kingston locations used in productions from Star Trek: Voyager to Murdoch Mysteries, share archival photos of historic film landmarks, and explore Kingston connections in the world of film.

The Screening Room was the site of the first Kingston Canadian Film Festival in 2001 and it will play a host once more for the 2024 festival. Kingston’s only independent movie theatre, The Screening Room offers a variety of new releases, cult classics, art-house films, and family-friendly movies on its three screens.

Steacy’s Department Store. Courtesy of The Screening Room

The Screening Room building at 120 Princess Street was originally the home of Steacy’s Department Store, which operated from 1903 to 1983.

Two blocks up Princess Street, Kingston Grand Theatre was originally the Grand Opera House, designed for live performances and built in 1901–02 on the site of an earlier opera house. But for several decades, The Grand operated as a movie theatre.

two people holding hands in a doorway
Still from Carry on Sergeant! by Bruce Bairnsfather (1928)

In 1928, The Grand featured Carry On Sergeant!, a silent World War One drama that was largely filmed at studios in Trenton as well as locations in Kingston including the Plaza Hotel (at Montreal and Queen Streets) and Canadian Locomotive Company (along the waterfront on Ontario Street between William and Gore streets). Carry On, Sergeant! was screened at the 2010 edition of KCFF.

The Movie Man
The Movie Man

The recently announced line-up for KCFF 2024 includes a number of premieres, including the world premiere of AJ Edmonds’ documentary Dark Highway and the Canadian premiere of Matt Finlin’s documentary The Movie Man. A number of this year’s films have Kingston connections, including Fitting In, a movie by Queen’s University film graduate Molly McGlynn.

Local Shorts: The Local Motion
Local Shorts: The Local Motion

The festival had so many great locally made submissions for its short film program, it is offering two events to highlight the best: LET’S GET LOCAL, on March 1 and The LOCAL MOTION, on March 3. Both events are held at the Kingston Grand Theatre.

In addition, the third annual Slaight Music Video Showcase returns as part of the festival. Ten new music videos will be premiered on March 2, representing the collaboration between Kingston musicians and filmmakers.

The 2024 Kingston Canadian Film Festival passes and tickets are now on sale.