We are a group of community volunteers dedicated to the preservation of built and cultural heritage in southeastern Ontario, Canada. Based in the City of Kingston, we succeed because of the support of our valued membership and generous sponsors. We accomplish our objectives by delivering informative heritage related tours, talks and workshops and by recognising heritage property owners, architects and contractors for their contributions to heritage conservation. Learn more.
WATCH COMMITTEE ALERT!
KINGSTON PENITENTIARY & PORTSMOUTH OLYMPIC HARBOUR
PROBLEMS WITH THE EMERGING VISION
Penitentiary architecture presented architects with an opportunity to merge stone and mortar with social theories on how a society should operate. The complex behind the walls on King Street West was called “a school of reform” in 1834 but “a complete failure as a moral school” in 1848. Social theories come and go, but what remains is a set of handsome limestone buildings — some contributing significantly to Canada’s built heritage.
A map of the Kingston Penitentiary Site is available here: KP Buildings of Value Map
The Emerging Vision, released by the City on February 27 has a number of problems. The significant heritage elements in the KP/POH Vision have not been reviewed in a public fashion, and conservation or adaptive re-use of buildings has not been addressed in detail.
Adaptive re-use of the historic penitentiary buildings is not clarified. Any proposal to demolish parts of the prison walls needs a critical review from the perspective of a master plan that identifies the overall heritage conservation goals for the prison property.
Use of well-used public parkland for private residential development is questionable as is demolition of the historically important Portsmouth Olympic Harbour building. It easily qualifies for designation under the Ontario Heritage Act, with the site having been created to host the international Olympic sailing competitions in 1976.
Three locations suggested for residential buildings 8 to 12 storeys high would significantly reduce views of Lake Ontario from Aberdeen Park. Envisioned is a high number of residential units without the parking needs being outlined.
The Frontenac Heritage Foundation has urged the City of Kingston to release the draft heritage designation bylaw to foster a wider discussion in the community about multiple factors that are in play regarding the historic cell ranges and shop wings that are within the walls of the prison. This critical piece of Kingston’s waterfront is deserving of more review – making a hurried decision on the future use of this complex and expansive property is not right. The public good is not being adequately addressed in the vision that has emerged so far. Residents should contact their district councilors to have their views known.
For an overview of some of the features at KP, please see the following brochure:
Please contact Ed Grenda (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Gus Panageotopoulos (email@example.com) for more details.
Later this year, the Foundation is collaborating with the Dry Stone Walling Association of Canada to hold a Dry Stone Wall Festival in Barriefield on Sept. 30th – Oct. 1st. Dry Stone Canada has held successful festivals across the region for several years, including Alton (2013 & 2014) Amherst Island, 2015, and the Town of Perth, 2016. Adults interested in dry stone wall construction will be able to take a workshop.
If you have any questions, call S. Bailey at 343-363-1901.