The City of Kingston is located halfway between Montreal and Toronto, Canada's two largest cities. Kingston is an eclectic mix of old and new "where history and innovation thrive".
Comprising the former City of Kingston, former Kingston Township and former Pittsburgh Township, the new City of Kingston came into being on January 1, 1998. Approximately one half of the total population (113,000) lives in the former city area, although the land base is predominately rural.
Renowned as the fresh-water capital of North America, Kingston is a major port to cruise the famous Thousand Islands. Every August the city is a hub of activity when hundreds of sailors converge for C.O.R.K., the annual Canadian Olympic Training Regatta.
Steeped in history and tradition, Kingston is the resting-place of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister. History buffs can visit Fort Henry, a 19th century British Military Fortress, or one of the seventeen museums that showcase everything from woodworking tools to military and technological advances.
Kingston's economy relies heavily on public sector institutions and establishments. The most important sectors are related to health care, education, government (including the military and correctional services), tourism and culture, manufacturing, and research and development. Of Kingston's major industrial employers of the 20th century, the Canadian Locomotive Company and Davis Drydock are long closed, and the former Alcan and DuPont operations employ far fewer persons than in the past.
Canadian Forces Base Kingston (CFB Kingston) houses CFSCE (Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics), the Canadian Forces' military communications training centre. CFB Kingston, the region's largest employer, is located east of downtown, and is comprised of the Vimy(residential) and MacNaughton (operations) Barracks. Kingston, with its strategic location at the head of the St. Lawrence River as this drains the Great Lakes, near the border with the United States, has been a site of vital military importance since its founding in 1673 as Fort Frontenac. The establishment of the Royal Military College in 1876 further emphasized Kingston's central role. A large wooded operational training area is part of the MacNaughton Barracks. The Garrison Golf and Curling Club, also on MacNaughton, is the Base's primary recreational outlet.
Kingston has developed a thriving artistic and entertainment life. The city hosts several festivals during the year, including the Limestone City Blues Festival, the Kingston Canadian Film Festival, Fanfayr, the Kingston Buskers' Rendezvous, Kingston Sheep Dog Trials, Kingston Jazz Festival, Kingston Dragon Boat Festival, Canada DanceSport, the Festival of Trees, Feb Fest, the Limestone Classic, and the Chilifest.
The International Hockey Hall of Fame, established in 1943 and erected in 1965, is located in Kingston, near the Kingston Memorial Centre. This is the oldest hockey Hall of Fame in the world. Currently under construction is the Kingston Sports and Entertainment Centre, located in the downtown core; completion is scheduled for early 2008.