Monday, August 8, 2016

2016 - Kingston / Ottawa - Day 1 (Kingston)

Off for another long weekend trip and I know that we have been to Ottawa a number of times but the purpose of this roadtrip is to visit the Kingston Penitentiary which has a limited run of guided tours available during this year and we were lucky enough to get some tickets for Friday evening. After Kingston, we will head to Ottawa to do some things that we haven't and it will be our first time visiting Ottawa outside of Winterlude.

Kingston Penitentiary
Unfortunately, it took us 5 hours to get to Kingston from Toronto, normally a 2.5 hour trip due to the crazy amount of traffic. We stopped at a Burger King for dinner, so no much to comment on there.

Kingston Penitentiary
Our Kingston Penitentiary tour starts at 7:20pm and we made it there for 6:30pm, it is advised that you arrive 20 minutes before your tour start. Parking is free and available right next to the penitentiary. If you have time, you should visit the museum just across the street (although we did that last time we were here).

Kingston Penitentiary
The tour lasts roughly 1.5 hours long, it is a 1km walk in total and you do visit a majority of the grounds and you end up going in and out of most buildings. It was neat to see an actual penitentiary in Canada since we just saw two in Ireland. We could see the differences and similarities and I thought it was an interesting stop. If you have never visited one before, you can't go wrong here. My one complaint would be that since the guided tours are managed by teenagers, it took away from my experience just from an mannerism perspective. Our guide was a teenager who would say a lot of umm's, ahh's, uhh's. Nobody could be done about this though since it is clearly a popular attraction and it was probably done this way for cost purposes.

Kingston Penitentiary (prisoner mail boxes)
Another issue which is minor is that since the tours are 20 minutes apart, you do end up running into other groups, with no dedicated audio headsets for everyone, you end up having troubles listening to your tour guide if they end up being someone who speaks lower than the other guide. Overall, I would still recommend seeing it if you can, nobody knows what will happen to it down the road so it may not be possible to see if in the future.

Kingston Penitentiary
We stayed at Quality Inn & Suites, which was a roughly 15 minute drive away from Kingston. I chose this location due to the reviews and the cost. The site is new, the reception staff actually said that the site was open 4 months ago and it does show. Everything seems very new and we were happy with the room so far.

Kingston Penitentiary (prisoner cell, yup, that's a Nintendo 64 and yes, that's what was in a cell)
Tomorrow, we visit Kingston City Hall and then head to Ottawa and try to fit in what we can.