Fly Wheel

The PumpHouse is located in one of Canada’s oldest original water works – where steam-powered pumps provided the first running water to Kingston residents from 1850. Only six similar preserved water pumping plants remain in North America.

The museum’s most incredible artefact is the museum itself – where the original pumps are animated and visitors can discover exactly how they worked. Guided or self-guided tours show how steam power was an essential element of the industrial development of Canada and pumped water played a key role in Kingston’s history.

The Exhibition Hall 
Visit the Exhibition Hall, a flexible exhibition space in the PumpHouse. This beautiful room, complete with original limestone walls and a great view into the massive steam boilers, is home to special exhibits and is available for community events. This year the hall features the exhibit Ontario Street: Brewers, Bakers & Boilermakers, 1830 to 1970

The PumpHouse is home to a stunning collection of model trains. An elaborate mutli-level O scale train can be set in motion by the push of a button, and the HO scale train set from the opening of the iconic CBC children’s show ‘The Friendly Giant’ is on display.

The Discovery Centre
Come experience the refurbished Discovery Centre, an interactive space dedicated to children and learning. All new hands-on activities highlighting science, engineering, math and technology will spark the fascination of children and adults alike. For teachers: all activities have been designed with curriculum-based learning connections.

Ontario Street: Brewers, Bakers & Boilermakers, 1830 to 1970

Ontario Street is a place of transformation and change, a space inhabited for 1000s of years before the arrival of European settlers. The exhibition, Ontario Street: Brewers, Bakers and Boiler Makers focusses on the years between 1830 and 1970, a period when the workers, entrepreneurs and residents of Ontario Street on the Lake Ontario waterfront represented the changing face of Kingston from a military post and commercial port to a post-industrial wasteland awaiting renewal (much of which in 2019 has become high-rise residential).

The street is also home to the PumpHouse itself, which is a product of the 19th-century industrial era and the emerging sense of municipal social responsibility seen at that time. The exhibition is an urban history with a sociocultural focus on the people who called Ontario Street -- long the industrial and commercial engine of Kingston -- their places of employment, residence, provision and leisure, and their intergenerational social and commercial connections with each other and with larger themes that define the street and Kingston more generally.

“Oh, what a street old Ontario has been!” – Edwin Horsey, Historian

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23 Ontario St., Kingston
  • Kingston
  • The Great Waterway
  • Tourism Kingston
  • Ontario Heritage Trust