Queen of the St. Lawrence River

Discover the steam ship SS Kingston, once a popular ferry for travel down the St. Lawrence River.

The great paddle steamer SS Kingston and other ships like her were hugely important to transportation on the mighty St. Lawrence in the days before buses, trains and cars carried people great distances over land. Our discovery centre allows adventurers to engage with the lifestyle of a bygone era, when taking a trip to grandma’s house might have meant embarking from a river port and chugging down the river on a massive steam-powered paddle wheeler!

In our replica of the SS Kingston, explorers can engage with an interactive touchscreen to discover more about the 1000 Islands region. You can even compete against a friend in a trivia game based on interesting facts about the sites you would see on a boat trip up the St. Lawrence River!

Built in 1901 for the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co. Ltd of Montreal, the Kingston was a paddle steamer, a type of riverboat that used the power of steam to turn large paddle wheels that propelled it through the water. The SS Kingston was owned by Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) from 1914 to 1948 and operated as a transportation vehicle for people and goods. Her service was discontinued in 1949 after the tragic burning of another CSL ship, the SS Noronic. The massive fire cost many lives, and all ship service with CSL was halted. The Kingston never ran again.

The SS Kingston Fast Facts:

  • The SS Kingston was 288 feet long and displaced 2925 tons! Our discovery centre’s trivia game and matching challenge may test explorers’ knowledge of these and other facts.
  • The Kingston was the second of three paddle steamers built by the Bertram Engine Works Company of Toronto: the Toronto, the Kingston, and the Montreal.
  • Arendt Angstrom, the chief naval architect of the Bertram Company, designed the Kingston.