Meetings & Events

The 2019 Reports of the Society’s activities are here. The Financial Statements for 2019 are here.

View Outside Events of Interest


We usually meet at the Central Library, 130 Johnson Street. Refreshments will be available from 6.30 and the meeting starts at 7.00. The meetings include a brief business report and a guest speaker followed by a question period. Talks are usually illustrated and cover many aspects of regional history. Guests and visitors are always welcome.

Virtual talks.

Wednesday, January 20th @ 7:00pm

Dr. Tim Cook spoke on “Forgetting, Remembering and Remaking Canada’s Second World War.”

If you missed this talk, and would like to hear download a recording, please send an email to  You do NOT have to be a member to receive the download.

Wednesday, February 17th @7:00 pm via Zoom

To register, and to receive all the details of how to connect, please contact us:

Victoria Cosby will speak on “Kingston through Her Eyes: Harriett Dobbs Cartwright and Her Adopted Home” as part of the Society’s celebration of Heritage Month in Kingston.

Harriett Dobbs Cartwright emigrated from Dublin. Ireland to Upper Canada upon her marriage to Anglican minister Robert David Cartwright in 1832. Her voluminous correspondence chronicles her active engagement in the local affairs of her new ‘home’ in the colony of Upper Canada: as a wife, as a mother, and as a social activist. Cartwright played an incredibly important role in Kingston’s upper class community. She volunteered in the Female Benevolent Society and Orphans’ and Widows’ Friend Society, through which she contributed to the establishment of such major Kingston institutions as Kingston General Hospital, St. George’s Anglican Church, the Kingston Penitentiary, and Rockwood Asylum for the Insane. Harriett Dobbs Cartwright’s contributions to the community have had a lasting impact on the city of Kingston as we know it today.

Victoria Crosby is a fourth year doctoral student in the Queen’s History Department. Her research interests include nineteenth-century Canadian women, the British World, as well as gender and sexuality studies. She is currently working on a biography of Harriett Dobbs Cartwright.

Wednesday, February 24 @7:00pm via Zoom: The Annual General Meeting

Wednesday, March 3rd @7:00 pm via Zoom

Marc Seguin will speak on “The Lighthouses of Kingston: Guiding Ships through the Graveyard of Lake Ontario, 1828 to 1914

Throughout the 19th century, Kingston was the most important shipping port on the Great Lakes and ships sailing to or from Lake Ontario had to navigate through some of the world’s most dangerous waters, an area that became known as “the graveyard of Lake Ontario.” Over the course of 85 years, more than 45 lighthouses were built on the Canadian side of eastern Lake Ontario. These aids to navigation contributed immeasurably to the prosperity of Kingston and to the economic development of Canada. This talk is drawn from the speaker’s book For Want of a Lighthouse: Guiding Ships Through the Graveyard of Lake Ontario.

Marc Seguin brings his lifelong interest in history together with a passion for Canada’s built heritage to this talk on the early lighthouses of Kingston and eastern Lake Ontario. Marc holds a degree in history from the University of Western Ontario and is a founding member of the lighthouse preservation organization “Save Our Lighthouses.” He has authored two books focusing on Lake Ontario: For Want of a Lighthouse: Guiding Ships through the Graveyard of Lake Ontario & The Cruise of The Breeze: The Journal and Life of a Victorian Soldier in Canada. Marc lives on the shores of Wellers Bay in Prince Edward County with his wife and two sons. Please visit his website @

Wednesday, April 14th @7:00 pm via Zoom

Dr. Tabitha Renaud will speak on Without Words: The Communication Barrier between Indigenous Peoples and the Earliest European Explorers in North America.

For hundreds of years historians have glossed over how First Peoples and the earliest European explorers communicated with one another during their first meetings. How did they convey information back and forth? How effective was this process? This talk returns to seminal episodes of “first encounter” to closely examine how people in reality communicated and how our broadening understanding of this earliest interaction between the settler society and our First Nations can change traditional historical interpretations and why it matters so vitally today.

Dr. Tabitha Renaud completed her PhD in history at Queen’s University under the supervision of Dr. Jane Errington and specialized in studying early encounters between Indigenous peoples and European explorers in the Americas. Tabitha serves as the Managing Director and chair of the Murney Tower Museum Committee as well as a Councillor of the Kingston Historical Society.  She has also volunteered with the Kingston Association of Museums, Galleries and Historic Sites (KAM), Kingston Regional Heritage Fair, Beyond Classrooms Kingston, Smiths Falls Heritage house Museum Advisory Board and the Lower Burial Ground Restoration Society.

Wednesday, May 12th @7:00 pm via Zoom

Heather Home & Janice McAlpine will speak on Community Archiving: the Kingston LGBTQ Archives as Collaborative Model.”

Community archiving is a documentation strategy aimed at working with a community to create archives, the objective being to have stories of the past told by those intimately involved in the activities, and resulting outcomes, of that lived experience. It is not about establishing a history; it is about revealing a history. The presenters will look at this type of community work in the ground-breaking creation of the Kingston LGBTQ collection at the Queen’s University Archives.

Heather Home is an archivist at Queen’s University specializing in cultural and social records; Janice McAlpine is a Kingston community member.

During the pandemic, you might want to catch up on your reading about Kingston. We have produced a Reading List – click here to see it. ! Contact us here with suggestions for additions to the list.

Outside Events of historical interest open to the public

Frontenac Heritage Foundation

Mon. January 25, 7:00 p.m. PETER GOWER “Adapting White Elephants’. He will be looking at both successful and questionable attempts to repurpose buildings whose original purpose has changed.  He will present local examples from Kingston, and also other situations in North America and Europe.
– Join Zoom Meeting:

Marine Museum Virtual Meetings for the Winter months: registration required – fee $5.

Wed., January 13, 7:00 p.m. JONATHAN MOORE TBC
Wed. January 27, 7:00 p.m. DR ERIKA BEHRISCH: “Lady Franklin and the Lost Franklin Expedition” 
Wed. February 10, 7:00 p.m. JIM MCRAE “Seaway Queens”
Wed. February 24, 7:00 p.m. JOHN BREBNER “A Visual History of the Sandbanks”
Wed. March 10, 7:00 p.m.STEPHEN MEDD “If Lilacs Could Sing”
Wed. March 24, 7:00 p.m. MARK BOURRIE “Bush Runner: Early French and Indigenous Relations”
Wed, April 7, 7:00 p.m. ROB MAZZA “The Remarkable History of the Legendary Red Jacket, a Canadian Sailing Icon”

United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada

Sat, January 23, 2:00 p.m. “St. Alban the Martyr UEL Memorial Church in Adolphustown: Its History and Its Future”
– to register: – you will receive a Confirmation email.)
– The church was built in 1884, near the site where United Empire Loyalists landed in 1784. Diane Berlet, church historian, and Axel Thesberg, Chair of the Friends of St. Alban’s, will discuss the group’s plans for its preservation and re-imagined role in the community, now that it was deconsecrated in 2018.


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