Morrisburg – The St. Lawrence Parks Commission (SLPC) has announced that tickets to 2017 Kingston Penitentiary tours will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 24, 2017. First public tours will start on Tuesday, May 9 and run 6 days per week (closed Mondays) until June 30. Tours will be offered daily from Monday, June 19 through September 3 Fall schedule will see tours revert to the 6 days per week schedule from September 5 to October 29 and including Thanksgiving Monday, October 9. Tours will run every 15 minutes starting at 8:30 a.m., with the last tour departure at sunset. Tours are not recommended for children. Pricing: o Standard Tour – general admission tickets are $35 per person for the 90 minute standard tour. o Premium Tour – general admission tickets are $55 per person for this new 2.5 hour tour. o All prices are plus HST and fees. Tickets can be purchased online at www.kingstonpentour.com. All ticket inventory will be released for sale at once. Hotel packages are available through Kingston Accommodation Partners, with details at www.visitkingston.ca.
Kingston residents can take advantage of a special local Tuesday rate on the Standard Tour of $30 per person (plus HST and fees). Kingston area residents will simply enter their postal code as a promotional code to receive the preferred local rate. Proof of ID for residency may be requested upon arrival for the tour.
Tours through Kingston Penitentiary offer a rare and unique opportunity to go behind the walls of Canada’s oldest and most notorious maximum security prison. Closed in 2013, the guided tours offer an up close look at this amazing historical building and National Historic Site, which predates Canadian confederation.
Standard Tour – 90 minutes The standard tour route has been updated and modified. New additions include: Reinstalled furniture in the cell and segregation ranges, which will help visitors to imagine the lives of former inmates at Kingston Penitentiary. Re-authentication of the Indigenous Grounds with the aid of Indigenous offenders on work releases. Addition of the Regional Treatment Centre’s Gymnasium to the standard tour route, which has since Kingston Penitentiary’s closure been unseen by any public tours. The Gymnasium includes a mural dedicated to the inmates and staff of Kingston Penitentiary that is truly a feast for the eyes. The standard tour also includes the muster area (visitation and correspondence area), north gate, GRange (cell range) programs wing, main cell dome, segregation/dissociation wing, shop dome, metal shop and recreational yard.
Premium Tour – 2.5 hours An exclusive new Premium Tour has been developed in response to the keen interest of visitors to see more parts of Kingston Penitentiary. The Premium Tours consist of smaller groups (up to10 people) and allow for more informal interactions with the retired Correctional Service Canada staff stationed at 6 posts throughout prison. Available twice daily at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., the tours will allow visitors to see virtually all that Kingston Penitentiary has to offer, including rooms and entire buildings not accessible through the Standard Tour. The Premium Tours will bring historic, architectural and criminological components to the tours to create an overall more in-depth and immersive experience. This tour will include many areas on the Standard Tour plus:
- Canvas and Upholstery Shops
- Recreational Yard
- Regional Treatment Centre Gymnasium
- Regional Treatment Centre Cell Range
- Main Gymnasium
- Laundry Room
EXPANDED TICKETING & EXPERIENCE OPTIONS In an effort to make tickets as accessible as possible to all, new options have been added:
Walk up tickets – a limited number of tickets will be available for two tour times at 11:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day to accommodate walk up customers. Tickets will be available on a first come first serve basis and may be purchased as soon as the box office opens in the morning. Some date restrictions may apply.
Tourism Kingston’s Visitor Information Centre will have tickets for a 2:00 p.m. tour slot each day available for sale. Staff can assist with purchase of the tickets.
COMBOS Kingston Penitentiary / Sunset Ceremonies — Fort Henry and Kingston Penitentiary are iconic sites in Kingston and form the perfect combination visit. During July and August, a combo ticket for Fort Henry’s Wednesday evening Sunset Ceremonies and a Kingston Penitentiary visit will be available for tour times from 2:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. and for the 8:00 p.m. Sunset Ceremony performance.
Platinum Kingston Penitentiary Passport to the Past One of the best ways to take advantage of all of the tourism experiences that the Parks of the St. Lawrence has to offer is with the purchase of a Platinum Kingston Penitentiary Passport to the Past. The pass provides admission to Kingston Penitentiary and includes the option to purchase an additional ticket from a reserved inventory. This pass also includes access to Upper Canada Village and Fort Henry as well as visits to SLPC fall and winter special events including Fort Fright, PumpkInferno, Alight at Night and Lumina Borealis plus many other benefits. The Platinum Kingston Penitentiary Passport to the Past costs $108.95 (adult) and limited quantities are available.
The tours offer tourists another reason to visit and extend their stay in the beautiful City of Kingston and surrounding area. In 2016 the tours sold out with approximately 60,000 visitors and generated an economic impact of more than $5 M with net proceeds benefitting local tourism and destination marketing initiatives and youth programs through the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington. More than 30 students were hired as tour guides.
With an expanded season and greater capacity on the tours (over 180,000 tickets available), it is estimated that the 2017 tours will generate an economic impact of approximately $17 M and will create employment for over 100 students and seasonal staff.
The Kingston Penitentiary Tours have been made possible through a partnership between the City of Kingston, Correctional Service of Canada and the St. Lawrence Parks Commission who will deliver the tour experience. Net proceeds of the tours will support tourism and destination marketing initiatives, as well as to support youth programs through the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington.
QUICK FACTS The St. Lawrence Parks Commission, an agency of the Government of Ontario, operates facilities in 16 municipalities stretching from Kingston to the Quebec border, including Upper Canada Village, Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Crysler Park Marina, Upper Canada Golf Course, Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary and 12 campgrounds and beach day-use picnic areas including the Long Sault and 1000 Islands Parkway.