The Springer Market Square and Kingston City Hall

Kingston Springer Market Square

Springer Market Square is right in the middle of the historic heart of Kingston. Located at King and Brock Street right behind Kingston City Hall, it is where the community comes together to meet. Residents and visitors flock to the market vendors selling their goods—everything from fresh baked goods to artisan crafts and also to take in the live musical entertainment. It is believed to be the longest-running and oldest market in Ontario.

The Springer Market Square is bustling most days, but it is buzzing with activity on Market days. Vendors are eager to see residents and tourists to sell them everything from fresh meats, produce, baked goods, clothing, crafts, plants, and flowers. Also, the Market is a great place for unique antiques, artisan gifts, and collectibles. Sunday is the Antique Market day. Today cars and trucks have replaced the old horse and wagon market days.

Through archeological research, it is a site with a rich history. There is evidence from archeological testing done in 2002 and 2003 that shows proof of a market in the early 1800s. The testing also uncovered significant stone steps leading to a lower level of the 1840s City Hall Market, a market weigh house, limestone drains, and water pipes for the horse fountain. In 1811 the first market regulations were published, and wooden shambles were built for vendors.

Back in 1834, the town Magistrates had the vision to build a market square and Townhall. A catastrophic fire destroyed the Market and much of the downtown in 1840. Within a few years, the town council approved a Town Hall and Market Hall construction, which was completed in 1844. Unfortunately, a fire in 1865 destroyed the large west wing, but it was rebuilt and continues as a thriving market today.

Springer Market Square remains vibrant on non-market days with live concerts, public events, and evening film screenings during the spring, summer, and fall. In winter, the square is converted to an ice rink where visitors come to have a free skate.

One of Kingston’s most prominent landmarks is the Kingston City Hall. It sits on the beautiful Kingston waterfront, where it was built in 1844 (Town Hall). The design and scale reflect Kingston’s status as the Province of Canada’s capital city. George Brown was the chosen architect, and it was said to be one of his most impressive works. An outstanding 19th-century limestone landmark that faces Lake Ontario and occupies an entire city block, it has been deemed a world heritage site. It is open for tours throughout the week, but advanced reservations are suggested.

In 1844 Kingston fell into a recession, and to help cover the construction costs, it rented out space in the grand City Hall. Some tenants included a post office, The Masons, an amateur theatre, custom offices, a dry goods store, the Orange Order, a saloon, and the Scottish Free Church. Meetings, bazaars, and balls were held in the rented West Wing. Twelve stained-glass windows in the Memorial Hall pay tribute to those who fought in several World War I battles. Sir John A. MacDonald passed away on June 6, 1891, and was laid in state here. 

Kingston City Hall and Springer Market are a massive part of the city’s history. They played a vital role in the early Kingston community and still do today as well. So when in Kingston, take a tour of the beautiful and impressive City Hall and then walk back and enjoy a taste of the Springer Market.

Check out The Kingston Waterfront which is in Kingston ON too.

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