Kingston Ontario – Confederation Basin Marina (Port #112) ; July 24,25

Jul 24 – Tue
Unlike Monday when Lake Ontario was a nice happy puppy, on Tuesday Lake Ontario was whipped up like an angry Lion & provided our worst ride since crossing Lake Michigan into Chicago last August.

The ride was not so rough, but the ability to steer & the rocking back and forth was not fun. We had following seas at our port stern corner (waves behind the boat at a 45 degree angle). It was only a 41 mile trip, but took 5 hours and felt like 8 hours.
While attempting to steer straight, the boat would sometimes take +/- 45 degree turns induced by the following seas. We attempted some changes in speed & tack which helped a bit, but also extended the distance from our desired route.

When we arrived at Kingston, the wind was howling at 25-30mph, with gust to 40mph. The dockhands had their hands full, there were about 4 boats ahead of us, so we had to wait in the bay for about 30 minutes for docking assistance.

After being called in by the dockhands we entered the marina.
Unlike most marinas we go to, we usually know our slip and research where it is at in the marina ahead of time. At Kingston they assign the slips as you arrive, and talk you in on the fly.
Well, we are now on Port #112.
That means during entry & exit, we have had 224 chances for something to go “not so well”.
We had our 2nd contact to another boat, again hitting another boat’s anchor while docking.
The good news was no damage to our neighboring boat, and only a small gelcoat repair on our poor little baby, Gettin’ Looped. Our neighboring boat is owned by Alan, he is Canadian, very friendly, and was very understanding given the conditions.

The anchor contact on our little 43′ baby

Lesson of the Day #1 (already knew this, but violated both rules) = Don’t go out above 25mph winds, and head into the wind when docking (I was somewhat inhibited by this due to the unknown marina, slip location, and limited area to turn around and head into the wind).
Lesson of the Day #2 = Buy a Boat with Bow/Stern Thrusters, or don’t go out into foreign marinas on days with winds above 25mph. We are the only Looper boat that I am aware of greater than 40 feet, without thrusters. But we are also one of the oldest vessels doing The Loop.


After gettin’ tied up, we spent most of the afternoon getting used to our new mode of operation in a foreign country.

First step was to call into Canadian Customs.
I had prepared my list of answers to the questions AGLCA had advised us of –
> Port of Entry = Kingston Ontario, Confederation Basin
> Vessel Registration = MC  4744 LF (Michigan Registration)
> Destination in Canada = Doing Loop, Trent Severn-Georgian Bay, exit at Meldrum Bay
> Length of stay in Canada = est 29 days
> Purpose of Trip = Great Loop Pleasure Boating
> Names, DOB, Passport #s = Mike & Nellie
> Anything to Declare = No
> Do you have any Fire Arms = No
> Do you have any Alcohol or Tobacco = Yes, we are carrying a legal amount of  SHIPS Stores !

In case you are interested, legal ships stores for Alcohol & Beer is ;
> Spirits/Wines = (40 Oz) x (# People) x (# Weeks in Canada) = 40x2x4=320 Oz (13 bottles)
> Beer = (288 Oz) x (# People) x (# Weeks in Canada) = 288x2x4=2304 Oz (8 cases)

I had my list ready, but we had a very nice Customs inspector, and the process went very smoothly with the Legal Ships Stores answer.
We received our Canadian Customs Clearance Number.
We posted the Clearance Number on both sides of the boat.
We raised our small Canadian burgee, as a common courtesy while in their country.20180725_084050


Our 2nd step of Entering a Foreign Country, was to deal with our phones & IPAD.
I had called Verizon weeks ago and made sure that we had unlimited international data for our cell phones & IPAD.

Upon entering Canada, we got the expected notice on the phones & IPAD of “Do you accept Roaming Mode”, we answered yes !
My phone & the IPAD updated to Canada without issue.
Nellie’s phone had a strange pop-up happening every 2-3 seconds “process”.
The phone was basically unusable, you could not activate any apps because of the repeated, cycling pop up every 2-3 seconds.
So I went into action to save the day !

To make a long story short – I tried to backup Jonell’s phone & do a factory reset.
The Good News = The Factory Reset got rid of the pop up, the phone is again usable.
The Bad News = I did not do the data backup correctly.
I lost all of Jonell’s Contacts, Text Message History, and Photos !
I felt terrible, we started to rebuild her phone contacts last night at dinner.

Note to Friends & Family = If you see this note !
> call or text Jonell’s phone
> leave a voice message or text message with your name (the caller ID will be unknown).
> this will allow her to rebuild her contact list more easily.

For dinner we walked around downtown Kingston for a while on a rainy night.
There are MANY choices for dining.
Kingston is an old city, with original settlements in 1673 & first organized as a city in the 1780’s.
But Kingston appears a very cosmopolitan/modern city.
We walked around for a while, and ended up for dinner at a place called Jack Astor’s Bar & Grill.20180724_19192220180724_19250620180724_192449

After dinner we went for a short walk and saw a little of the town on the rainy, wet night.

Confederation Basin Marina
Visitors Center
Engine 1095, also known as ‘The Spirit of Sir John A.’ has provided a favorite photo op for tourists visiting Confederation Park for more than 40 years.
It is a reminder that Confederation Park was once an active train yard, that the Visitor Information Center was once the K&P Railway station and that Kingston was once home to the Canadian Locomotive Company for over 100 years. That company built more than 3,000 steam, electric and diesel engines for the Canadian Pacific Railway, including ‘The Spirit of Sir John A.’.
This Confederation Fountain is designed in honor of Canada’s Confederation in 1867. The arch represents the aim of the Fathers of Confederation to unify the provinces from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts. The fountain cycle lasts 10 min and at night it is illuminated by 58 underwater lamps.                                                                                                                                                                The Fountain was not active tonight due to high winds !
The city hall was completed in 1844, with its scale and design reflective of Kingston’s status as capital of the Province of Canada at that time. The architect chosen for the project in 1841 was George Browne, and the building was believed to be one of Browne’s most outstanding works.
The building was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1961

It was a long, fatiguing, stressful day.
We were very ready for lights out !
“Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you’re only a day away” !

Jul 25 – Wed
Wednesday started off as another wet, dreary day.
But that did not stop the adventurous team Murphree.
We started the day with a little research of “things to do & see in Kingston”.
Holy Smokes , I found out that there are no less than 10 Museums in Kingston (maybe more) – The Miller Museum of Geology, Kingston Archaeological Centre, Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, Pump House Steam Museum, International Hockey Museum, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, Royal Military College Museum, Military Communications and Electronics Museum, Corrections Canada Museum, & the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum.
There is also a shit-load of historic buildings & 3 Art Galleries.

I apologize, but me & the Mrs Murph are a little burnt out on museums, art galleries, & historic buildings.

We had only one day left in Kingston, and decided to cover the most ground in the least amount of time, get an overview of the city, and not expend a lot of energy – a Trolley Tour !

Prior to gettin’ our tickets for the Trolley, we took the mandatory KINGSTON Welcome Sign photos, where the visitors become the “I” in the word KINGSTON. The “I” became somewhat distorted by umbrellas.20180725_12385120180725_123923

We also got another shot of the Confederation Basin Fountain, and today the fountain was on.20180725_124115
After the photo shoot at Confederation Basin, the Trolley arrived and we started our discovery of Kingston.20180725_18045220180725_151023

The Tour included 8 stops at –
> The City Hall
> Fort Henry
> Market Square
> The Pump House
> The Bellevue House
> The Kingston Penitentiary
> Queen’s University
> The Royal Military College of Canada

The City Hall – Shown in yesterday’s post !

Fort Henry 
Fort Henry is located on a strategic, elevated point near the mouth of the Cataraqui & St. Lawrence Rivers at the northeast end of Lake Ontario. The St Lawrence River is essentially the beginning of the Rideau Canal Waterway, leading from Canada’s original capital city of Kingston to the current capital city of Ottawa. The fort and the point on which the fort was built were named after Henry Hamilton, former Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Quebec.20180725_13261220180725_13275220180725_133014

Notice all the Wind Turbines on Wolfe Island.  The wind farm consists of eighty-six 2.3-megawatt (MW) Siemens model Mark II wind turbines situated on the western portion of Wolfe Island. The 86 Turbines provide enough energy for 75,000 homes !

Market Square
Market Square was created in 1784 and was the site of an informal market established in 1788. It was the only location in Kingston where farmers could sell their produce, which was brought in by wagon or cart. It was the center of commerce and trade in the city and through the 1800’s. Public buildings, hotels, and shops developed around the square including Kingston City Hall which was built in 1844. As the city grew, the market came to consist of ramshackled wooden stalls known as the market shambles, which were destroyed, along with many of the surrounding buildings, in the Great Fire of 1840. After the fire, the market area was rebuilt with a new market building, which was attached to the new city hall, and the market was deeded to the city in 1848.
Market Square was renamed “Springer” Market Square in 2008 to recognize the donation of $1 million to the City of Kingston by the Springer family to help pay for the revitalization of the square (businessman Norm Springer, not Jerry Springer).
Archaeological investigations that took place in 2002-2003 in preparation for the revitalization project provided evidence of the history dating back to the late 1700’s.20180725_151403

The Pump House
The Pump House is located in one of Canada’s oldest water works plants – where steam-powered pumps provided the first running water to Kingston residents as far back as 1850. Only six similarly preserved water pumping plants remain in North America.
The museum’s most incredible artifacts are the original pumps, which are animated and visitors can discover exactly how they worked. Tours show how steam power was an essential element of the industrial development of Canada and how pumped water played a key role in Kingston’s history.

The Bellevue House
Bellevue House National Historic Site of Canada was the home to Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John Alexander Macdonald from 1848 to 1849.
We did not get out of the trolley car for this one, it was a bit of a walk & covered with old trees.

The Kingston Penitentiary
Constructed in 1833–34, and opened on June 1, 1835 as the “Provincial Penitentiary of Canada”, it was one of the oldest prisons in continuous use in the world at the time of its closure in 1981. It was the home of 2 famous riots in 1954 & 1971.
On August 14, 1954, a two-hour riot broke out in the penitentiary—the worst in its history up to that point, involving 900 inmates. During the riot a breakout was attempted, but was foiled by the guards aided by 160 Canadian Army troops and a squad of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers.
On April 14, 1971, a riot lasted four days and resulted in the death of two inmates and destruction of much of the prison. Security was substantially increased and prison reforms were instituted. Six guards were held hostage, but all were eventually released unharmed.
The Penitentiary was replaced by Millhaven Prison.
In 1990, Kingston Penitentiary was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.20180725_14321320180725_143439

Queen’s University
Queen’s University at Kingston is one the most prestigious public research universities in Canada. Founded in 1841 via a royal charter issued by Queen Victoria, the university predates Canada’s founding by 26 years. Queen’s is organized into ten undergraduate, graduate, and professional faculties and schools. The campus was quite large and had a LOT of buildings. It’s most famous grad may be Elon Musk of Tesla & Space-X fame.20180725_14582220180725_145923

We also passed some stuff that was not on the tour, but makes for good Kingston info.

We passed the K-Rock, Rogers Centre
Also known as “Leon’s Centre”, it is an indoor stadium in downtown Kingston. The arena is the home of the Kingston Frontenacs ice hockey team of the Ontario Hockey League. It is also the venue of many rock concerts, with the home sweethearts being the rock band Tragically Hip, of Kingston Ontario.
They have even named the attached street after the band.

The RMC (Royal Military College)

The Royal Military College of Canada (Collège militaire royal du Canada), commonly abbreviated as RMCC or RMC, is the military college of the Canadian Armed Forces. Established in 1876, the RMC is the only federal institution in Canada with degree-granting powers. The RMC is Canada’s equivalent of West Point (1802).
Like West Point, the campus was huge.

Old Homes
We also saw many old homes of late 1700’s / early 1800’s vintage. Below are 3 of the coolest ones.


Overall Kingston was a really cool, metropolitan city, with a lot of ancient history too.
It was even nicer late in the day when the rain finally subsided & the sun came out.
Totally different vibes with the sun out (& people).

Last thought on Kingston 
Do you know where the first hockey game ever was played in Canada ?
You guessed it – Kingston !
Montreal is quoted as hosting the first Indoor game in 1875, but the first game ever played is recorded on the Kingston Harbour Ice back in the 1840s, using a square wooden puck. The game was between Queen’s University Royal Military College & Soldiers from the Horse Artillery at CFB Petawawa.

Next Stop = Trenton Ontario, and the entrance to the famed Trent Severn Waterway, the Peterborough Lift Lock, and the Big Chute !


7 thoughts on “Kingston Ontario – Confederation Basin Marina (Port #112) ; July 24,25

  1. Another great write up, including the fact on the square wooden hockey puck! I’m surprised your legal ship store inventory is not in an Excel spreadsheet!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I admit I’ve fallen WAAAAAY behind on your adventures but this story was wonderful reading under a full moon with a glass of wine tonight! So – will your travels up the Trent Severen tank you anywhere near Port Carling? That is the 1940 birthplace of our new addition to the fleet! I see Peterborough on the itinerary as well. Very beautiful mahogany boats were built there and many live on Lake Muskoka. That whole area you are entering is a bucket list place for us! I will follow with interest! Enjoy!! Ps. Verizon has a way to sync all your contacts to their cloud. I think it’s free. My Verizon is the app. Check to see if Nellie somehow had that backup active – maybe you’ll be out of the doghouse!


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