An Institutional City: Aspirations, Disappointments, Continuity

1832-1846
Kingston from Fort Henry circa 1828 by James Gray. Source: Library and Archives Canada.Pinterest
Kingston from Fort Henry circa 1828 by James Gray. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

As Kingston approached its fifth decade, its metropolitan prospects seemed favourable. The completion of the Rideau Canal in 1832 ensured the town’s transhipment role in the Great Lakes, Ottawa River and the St. Lawrence connection to the Atlantic. It also promoted the strengthening of military fortifications at Fort Henry. There were soon other all indicators of metropolitan aspirations: Provincial Penitentiary (1833); Board of Trade (1839); Chronicle and Gazette (1833) and British Whig (1834); Regiopolis College (1837); incorporation as municipality (1838); Kingston General Hospital (1838); Queen’s University (1841). Following the 1840 Act of Union of the Province of Canada by the union of Upper and Lower Canada, Kingston was proclaimed capital in 1841. The repudiation of Kingston’s capital role (1842) damaged Kingston’s aspirations and dreams, but it was incorporated as a City (1846) and its original institutional, military, educational and service functions continued into the future.