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Kingston, Ontario

Kingston, Ontario, with a population of approximately 120,000 people, is located at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, where the lake runs into the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands begin. Kingston is nicknamed the "Limestone City" because of the many historical buildings made from the local material which still stand.

Kingston is roughly half way between Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec along the three major east-west transporation routes in central Canada: the Saint Lawrence Seaway, Ontario Highway 401 (the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway, which turns into Quebec Autoroute 20), and the Canadian National Railroad[?] main line. Kingston also lies at the south end of the Rideau Canal, originally built to connect Lake Ontario with the Ottawa River to provide a safe transportation route far from the American border. Kingston's airport, Norman Rogers Airport[?] (CYGK), has regularly-scheduled air service to Toronto.

The European settlement of a traditional Mississauga[?] First Nation site began in 1673 by France with the etablishment of Fort Frontenac[?], and was captured by the British at the end of the Seven Years' War. A receiving centre for fleeing refugees from the American Revolution, it became the primary community of south-eastern Upper Canada.

During the War of 1812, Kingston was the base for the Lake Ontario division of the Great Lakes British naval fleet[?] and engaged with a vigorous race with the American fleet based at Sackett's Harbor, New York[?] for control of Lake Ontario. After the war, Britain built Fort Henry[?] and a series of distinctive Martello towers to guard the entrance to the Rideau Canal (the fort is still standing and is a popular tourist destination).

Kingston was one of the contenders for the capital of the united Canadas before confederation, but after a brief stint from 1841 to 1843, it lost out first to alternation of the capital between Montreal and Toronto, and then later to Ottawa, Ontario; it was, however, the home of Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Kingston was an important Great Lakes port and a center for shipbuilding and locomotive building, including the largest locomotive works in the British Empire (the Canadian Locomotive Company - later Fairbanks-Morse - closed in 1969), but most heavy industry has now left the city and employment is now primarily in the institutional, military, and service/retail sectors.

Kingston is the site of two universities, the Royal Military College[?] of Canada and Queen's University, as well as St. Lawrence College[?]. The city is famous for its fresh-water sailing (it hosted the sailing events for the 1976 Summer Olympics) and has a thriving downtown with several major festivals every summer.

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