Over 4,000 Objectsand art in our Artefact Collection
More than 3,500 linear feet of Records in our Archival Collection
More than 50,000 Ship Plans and over 3,500 linear feet of records in our collection
A broad range of instruments, tools and equipment used by mariners and shipbuilders
More than 31,000 Photos professional and amateur over many decades

Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston

55 Ontario Street, Kingston, Ontario K7L 2Y2

613 542-2261


Walking Directions from City Hall

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From City Hall - 7 minutes walking

New Hours
Open Monday - Friday, 10:00 - 4:00

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Upcoming Exhibit: Sir John A. Macdonald’s Dry Dock: A National Historic Site

Sir John A. Macdonald’s Dry Dock: A National Historic Site

Come join us for the Grand Opening of an exciting new exhibit that tells the story of Sir John A. Macdonald's involvement in establishing the Kingston Dry Dock. Funded by the City of Kingston Heritage Fund to celebrate the bicentenary of Sir John A. Macdonald's birth, this new outdoor exhibit features seven interpretive panels that include archival images, original architectural drawings and documents related to the building and history of the first federal dry dock in the Great Lakes, built by Public Works, Canada.

Sir John A. Macdonald held a vested interest for the city of Kingston. Having immigrated to Kingston from Scotland as a child, he became prominent as a lawyer in Kingston and was elected in 1844 by Kingston to the legislature of the United Province of Canada. Declaring to his Kingston voters that he had “a desire to advance the interests of the town in which I have lived so long and with whose fortunes my own prosperity is linked,” Sir John A. Macdonald laid the First Stone at the bottom of the Kingston Dry Dock on June 19, 1890, which would be his last official act in his Kingston riding as prime minister of Canada before his death the following year.

The exhibit tells the story of Sir John A. Macdonald’s resolve to build dry dock in Kingston to ensure its continued growth and prosperity, his symbiotic relationship with Kingston, the construction and history of the dry dock over two World Wars and up to its closing in 1968, and its unique heritage features. Designated as a National Historic Site in 1978, the dry dock is one of the last remaining vestiges of Kingston's industrial maritime history, and a lasting tribute to the vision of Canada's first prime minister.

Please join the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes and Mayor Bryan Paterson for the Grand Opening of this exciting new exhibit, Sir John A. Macdonald’s Dry Dock: A National Heritage Site, on Wednesday, December 2, at 11:00 a.m., at the Marine Museum. All are welcome to this free outdoor event.

Many thanks to the City of Kingston Heritage Fund for making this project possible!


Welcome to the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes

The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston was founded in 1975. Located on 55 Ontario St. at the only federally built dry dock on the Great Lakes, the Marine Museum houses the original pumping station and steam engines built in 1891. 

The Museum has on display a wide ranging collection of marine artifacts and exhibits, a significant fine art collection, and is home to the Gordon C. Shaw Study Centre, and Audrey Rushbrook Memorial Library.  Current exhibits highlight the growth of ship building and shipping technologies, the history of boat building, the life of the sailor, as well as regional Kingston's maritime history and our place on the Great Lakes.  The recently opened Eco Gallery focuses on environmental issues/successes related to the Great Lakes.

The Museum Ship Alexander Henry was built in 1959. A former buoy tender and light icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard, the Alexander Henry is a fine example of shipbuilding from the last century. With its twenty ton crane, block and tackle, hydraulic ram and other functional machinery, visiting students can learn first hand about this purpose built structure, and about ice breaking in Canadian waters. The ship is available for tours from May - October, weather permitting.

In The News: Marine Museum of The Great Lakes (Kingston, Ontario) - by Alex Binkley, Canadian Sailings Magazine

Museum News

The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston
invites you to the Grand Opening of the special exhibit
Sir John A. Macdonald's Dry Dock:  
A National Historic Site  
Wednesday, December 2, 2015, at 11:00 a.m.  
 at the  
 Kingston Dry Dock beside the Marine Museum
55 Ontario St., Kingston, Ontario
All are welcome to this free outdoor event

Refreshments served inside the Marine Museum