Kingston Penitentiary and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour Getting Re-Purposed

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV

Kingston City Council has approved a plan for the community visioning of Kingston Penitentiary and the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour properties.     However that approval comes with an amendment — to get local heritage involved.     Mike Postovit has more.


It’s a huge piece of Kingston and Canadian history — and now — Kingston Penitentiary will get a closer look when it comes to it’s re-purposing.

Bryan Paterson/Kingston Mayor

“It’s a signature piece of Kingston waterfront — it has such a tremendous history attached to it.”

In a marathon meeting — council voted 11 to nothing in favour of the prison vision that included more than a year of community input.


“One of the first steps in moving forward is to consult with our heritage committee and to look at designations and to look at all that detailed work that will be involved in preserving that heritage work — so at the end of the day i thought that that was a reasonable compromise.”

Peter Stroud/Heritage Committee Chair

“The Kingston Heritage Committee is members of the Kingston community who understand Kingston’s heritage.”

That’s councillor Peter Stroud — he’s the chair of the heritage committee.


“The St. Lawrence Parks who made a great presentation last night pointed-out the trip motivators — so Fort Henry and the Pen are Kingston’s two greatest trip motivators — things that we have that are out of the ordinary — that people flock from all over the world to see.
The Kingston Pen is one of those places.”

Jennifer McKendry/Architectural Historian

“There’s bigger issues involved here — there’s culture, there’s history, there’s the importance of the country — not just the city.”

Jennifer McKendry was one of numerous delegations that spoke ahead of the council vote.
She says everyone must now look at not only what will be saved — but what will be built.


“There’s the potential for 3 up to 25 story towers — what effect will that have on the heritage character of this very special site that is so coherent now.     And also for Portsmouth Village and the harbour — do we want high rise development right on the shoreline.

Now the work shifts to implementing the vision which involves technical and much, much more.


“The Portsmouth Olympic Harbour side will be a little bit simpler to work with — and that’s something the city will take the lead with because that’s our property.     On the Kingston Pen side — it’s more complex because it’s a federal government property it’s going to be Canada Lands that’s going to take the lead with that but certainly we’ll still work in partnership with them.”

As of now — it’s unclear when the technical work will get underway.     Mike Postovit, CKWS News, Kingston.

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