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Explorers

Explorers

We have 35+ art galleries, museums and historic sites for you to visit! Check them out here.

Upcoming Events

Aug 29 to Dec 6
Shannon Bool’s recent practice takes on many forms, including tapestries, silk paintings, collages, sculptures and photograms.
Aug 29 to Dec 6
A special blend of wicked libidinal affects—exploring the quivering line between perfection and abjection—is one result of Chantal Rousseau’s chosen medium mashup: painstakingly detailed watercolours transmuted into animated GIFs.
Sep 5 to Dec 6
Garden Studies draws wide linkages between the gardening proclivities of Agnes Etherington, artistic depictions of plants and flowers from the Agnes collections and Kingston’s colonial architecture and prison cultures.

The John Counter Boulevard project is in its final phase. As I followed the project over the past few years, I saw truck after truck deliver a massive amount of rock to serve as the foundation for the bridge over the railway tracks. Recently, my interest turned to the name, John Counter. Who was this man? What would he have thought about this major infrastructure project? 

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The John Counter Boulevard project is in its final phase. As I followed the project over the past few years, I saw truck after truck deliver a massive amount of rock to serve as the foundation for the bridge over the railway tracks. Recently, my interest turned to the name, John Counter. Who was this man? What would he have thought about this major infrastructure project?  A reading of John Counter’s accomplishments certainly points to a civic-minded individual who fought hard to attract business to Kingston. He understood that success in business does not depend solely on business acumen. Success is also supported by dependable and efficient public infrastructure. It is perhaps that understanding that prompted Counter to run two careers in parallel: prominent businessman and multi-term mayor. In the end, however, a conflict of interest brought an end to his civic career. Counter, born in England in 1799, settled in Kingston in his early twenties when his parents immigrated to Canada. Within a few years, he had established a bakery located at the corner of Barrie and Clergy Streets. He was able to gain several major contracts to supply bread locally and soon had ample funds to invest in real estate, transportation and industrial ventures. Counter saw the potential for Kingston to become a transportation hub and started a car ferry to Cape Vincent to promote trade between Canada and the US. His own enterprises included a marine railway company, a sawmill, and an iron foundry. Credit: Maritime History of the Great Lakes website Counter’s business interests were coupled with his activism to promote Kingston. He was instrumental in the incorporation of Kingston as a town in 1838 and served three terms as mayor of the town. In 1846, when Kingston became a city, he was its first mayor. Probably, the most enduring contribution relates to his efforts in the early 1840s to build a magnificent town hall. In 1841 when Kingston was named the capital of the Province of Canada (after the merging of Upper and Lower Canada), Counter thought Kingston’s municipal building should have a grandeur befitting a capital city. Aware that Kingston did not have adequate funds for such a building, he travelled to England by steamer in 1842 and returned with a loan of £20,000. City Hall in 1919. Credit: Queen’s University Archives By 1842, however, prominent politicians had decided that Kingston was not the best place for the new capital and had named Montreal as the capital instead. Nonetheless, work proceeded on the magnificent town hall, with more than ample space for civic meetings, Kingston’s police department, town market, rental space for tenants such as the Bank of British North America, which later became the Bank of Montreal, churches, saloons and the post office. Bank entrance, south wing of City Hall. Credit: Queen’s University Archives After the opening of the building in 1844, Counter was elected to the position of mayor several times. While carrying out these duties, he continued to extend his business and real estate holdings, borrowing heavily to finance them. His last term in office ended prematurely with his resignation in June 1855 when his shares in the local gas company were considered a conflict of interest. Three months later, he was unable to meet a large mortgage payment and had to file for bankruptcy. He died penniless in 1862 at the age of 63. City Hall as seen from Confederation Park. Credit: Helen Cutts John Counter leaves us with a fine legacy: our City Hall is now a nationally designated heritage site. If we could reach Counter today, I’m sure he would be proud of the City Hall’s designation. Undoubtedly, he would also approve of the overpass on John Counter Boulevard that will keep the traffic moving high above the 50 trains that pass along the tracks daily. Drawing of the new overpass on John Counter Boulevard. Credit: City of Kingston Credit for cover photo of John Counter: City of Kingston Civic Collection Helen Cutts, KAM Visitor in Residence, Writer

Welcome to the Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries & Historic Sites!

We are a not-for-profit professional network and collaborative resource hub supporting the Kingston region's cultural heritage sector. 

The Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries and Historic Sites, otherwise known as KAM, first emerged 40 years ago as a community-initiated, professional support network to promote public awareness and increase engagement across Kingston’s cultural heritage sites through collective promotional and programming initiatives. KAM is also engaged in supporting its membership through the dissemination of information, sector best practices, and professional development opportunities.

Our members range from federally owned sites with professional staff, to sites which are member-owned and volunteer operated. Some operate seasonally; others are open year round.  Many have specialist collections that tell the stories and histories of our communities from local, regional and national perspectives. From its inception, KAM was driven by the ideal that by working collaboratively, despite differences in size, mandates and resources, cultural heritage sites and organizations could quite simply; do better together, improving practice and strengthening their connections within and across communities.

2020 marks our 40th anniversary and we have much to celebrate. As the professional network and resource hub within Kingston’s cultural heritage landscape, KAM is committed to facilitating a resilient, innovative and responsive cultural heritage sector within the Kingston and area community.

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