This article is over 5 years old and may contain outdated information.

Mapping

A 200-year-old map offers a glimpse at Kingston's military past

Kingston, Ont. had tremendous military and strategic importance during and after the War of 1812

  • Sep 27, 2016
  • 202 words
  • 1 minutes
Edward A. Smith, A plan of the town, and adjacent fortifications, of, Kingston, 1816, Library and Archives Canada Expand Image
Advertisement

“It contains some good houses, and stores … and all the appendages of an extensive military, and naval establishment, with as much society as can reasonably be expected, in a town so lately created from the ‘howling desert.’ “

One wonders what Lt. Francis Hall would make of Kingston, Ont., today, 200 years after he penned this blunt assessment of the settlement for his travelogue Travels in Canada, and the United States, in 1816 and 1817.

As a British Army officer, Hall would have been keenly aware of Kingston’s military and strategic importance during and after the War of 1812, a fact acknowledged in the title of his otherwise bucolic painting Kingston Dockyards and Citadel from the Town, shown below. Indeed, Hall might have had much to discuss with fellow soldier Lt. E.A. Smith, who created the map above in the same month Hall visited Kingston, which in less than a decade would be twice as large as York, as Toronto was then known.

With files from Isabelle Charron, early cartographic archivist, Library and Archives Canada

Francis Hall, Kingston Dockyards and Citadel from the Town, 1816 or 1817, Library and Archives Canada, c003236k Expand Image
Francis Hall, Kingston Dockyards and Citadel from the Town, 1816 or 1817, Library and Archives Canada, c003236k (Courtesy Library and Archives Canada)
 
Advertisement

Are you passionate about Canadian geography?

You can support Canadian Geographic in 3 ways:

Ultimate Quiz

This story is from the September/October 2019 Issue

Related Content

Travel

Diving Kingston’s shipwrecks: The hidden histories of Lake Ontario

Taking a closer look at Kingston’s museums below the surface 

  • 1350 words
  • 6 minutes

Travel

1,000* things to do in the 1000 Islands

*Okay, just six — but it’s a start toward exploring this expansive border-straddling region of rocky islands, sparkling coves and hidden history

  • 913 words
  • 4 minutes
Assassin's Creed Odyssey landscape

Mapping

Inside the intricate world of video game cartography

Maps have long played a critical role in video games, whether as the main user interface, a reference guide, or both. As games become more sophisticated, so too does the cartography that underpins them. 

  • 2569 words
  • 11 minutes

People & Culture

As the RCAF turns 100, Cyle Daniels begins their own journey with the storied service

 A century after its creation, the RCAF is evolving to create space for Indigenous youth

  • 2677 words
  • 11 minutes