Explore Kingston’s spookiest ghosts and mysteries

By Abbey McCauley

As one of Canada’s oldest cities, Kingston has a historic past, full of chilling and haunted tales. Curious souls have the opportunity to delve into the city’s mysteries through two tours on both lake and land: the Ghost and Mystery Cruise and Ghost and Mystery Trolley Tour 

Continue reading to learn more about these tours and the historical sites you’ll visit.  

The Island Queen on the Kingston shoreline at dusk / Credit: Kingston Destination Group

A cruise of ghostly discoveries 

The Ghost and Mystery Cruise sets sail from Crawford Wharf on the Island Queen, in the eerie glow of moonlight, to explore the ominous tales that shroud Kingston’s shoreline sites and Lake Ontario. For 90 minutes, you will be captivated by the stories that unfold, each one more spine-chilling than the last. The cruises depart at 8 pm on August 25, September 8 and 22, and October 6.  

The Ghost and Mystery Cruise turns into an adults-only party for the dates of October 13, 20, and 27. Experience the same spooky ghost stories, while enjoying music, dancing, appetizers and more on the water. Bring your Halloween spirit by sporting a costume on the cruise!  

The Ghost and Mystery Trolley Tour visiting the Rockwood Asylum at night / Credit: Kingston Destination Group

A spooky trolley ride 

On land, you can still explore Kingston’s haunted tales on a Ghost and Mystery Trolley Tour. Hop aboard Kingston’s red trolleys for a 90-minute evening tour. This tour takes brave souls on a journey from the Visitor Information Centre to notable sites and neighborhoods, where ghostly legends played a part in shaping the city’s early days.  

Tours are offered daily until October 29 at 6:30 pm, and it is recommended for guests 13 years or older due to the content discussed. This tour is included in the K-Pass, the all-inclusive attractions ticket to Kingston.  

Historic & mysterious sites you’ll visit…  

View of Kingston from Fort Henry at night / Credit: Kingston Destination Group

Fort Henry

Fort Henry, the 19th-century fortress, has been a location of paranormal encounters. On Fort Henry Hill, you may see the “Wandering Ghost,” an artillery brigadier who died when reloading a battery. This site is viewed on both the Ghost and Mystery Cruise and Trolley Tour.

Kingston Penitentiary 

Canada’s oldest maximum-security prison, Kingston Penitentiary, has a mysterious history. On both tours, you might catch a glimpse of the ghost of George Hewell, a prisoner who met his end in 1897, vowing vengeance.  

Skeleton Park  

Once Kingston’s Upper Burial Ground in the 19th century, McBurney Park, better known as Skeleton Park, was transformed into a park in the 1880s due to capacity issues and grave robberies. Locals now report stories of ghostly encounters in the Skeleton Park neighbourhood, so be on the lookout on your trolley tour.  

View from Fort Henry Hill of Cedar Island and the Cathcart Tower / Credit: Garrett Elliott

Cedar Island 

Did you know Cathcart Tower on Cedar Island is home of the fair maiden ghost Elizabeth? On both tours, you will learn of the secrets of Deadman’s Bay, the water surrounding the island.  

Marysburgh Vortex

The Marysburgh Vortex has gained notoriety as a location where so many ships have met their demise on Lake Ontario. Considered “the graveyard of Lake Ontario,” the area harbours about 270 shipwrecks and 40 planes. On the Ghost and Mystery Cruise, delve into the historic shipwrecks in this area.  

Rockwood Asylum visited by a trolley tour / Credit: Kingston Destination Group

Rockwood Asylum

Established in 1868, the Rockwood Asylum housed over 300 patients at once, many of whom were from nearby prisons and deemed “criminally insane.” Vacant since 2000, it is rumored to be haunted by the departed souls of patients and doctors. Peer through windows to spot ghosts while on your cruise or trolley tour.  

Both tours offer glimpses into Kingston’s past, a city that had lived through years of haunting tales. What sets these tours apart is their individuality; every tour guide is a local who shares their personal experiences and firsthand narratives, ensuring an unparalleled experience on each Ghost and Mystery Cruise and Trolley Tour.  

The brave souls who dared to embark on these experiences will be left with a newfound appreciation for the city’s history. But beware, for the tales you hear and the ghosts you encounter might just linger in your mind long after the journey is over. 

To book your tickets and learn more about the Ghost & Mystery tours, visit Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises and Kingston Trolley Tours.