There are many ways to get to Kingston, most of which are unknown to travel agents from elsewhere. This page first describes the principal methods of doing so and then provides more detail for those who are driving. The City of Kingston web pages include useful information and maps.
Six Ways to Get to Kingston
- Fly to Toronto and then on to Kingston. This is the only method that most travel agents from outside Kingston will suggest. If the connection is convenient and the fare is reasonable, it can be a good way to go, provided you do not mind flying on a small plane (many have 18 seats). There are generally seven flights a day each way between Kingston and Toronto, but connections can be a problem. If you are arriving from outside Canada, you will need to go through customs and may need to change terminals. Thus it is important to have a fair amount of time to make the connection. Note that US-bound passengers have to clear customs in Toronto. The only flights between Kingston and Toronto are provided by Air Canada.
- Fly to Toronto and then take the train. This may or may not be cheaper than flying all the way, and it can even be faster in some cases. You can take an express bus from the airport to the Royal York Hotel, then walk through the tunnel from the basement of the hotel to the train station across the street. For train times, see the website of Via Rail. Allow at least two hours for the connection when arriving at Toronto airport, and at least three hours when departing. Note that US-bound passengers have to clear customs in Toronto. Via offers first class service (VIA 1) which is quite good and includes meals on many trains. If you are coming directly from Toronto, the train is usually the best alternative.
- Fly to Toronto and then take a Coach Canada (Trentway-Wagar) bus from the airport directly to Queen's. There are buses at 14:30, 19:00, and 21:30. They leave Terminal 1 from Post P6 - Ground Level at the indicated times and Terminal 3 from Post C8 five minutes later. Check with the ground transportation desk first, in case these times or locations have changed. Going the other direction, buses leave the John Deutsch Centre (across the street from the Economics Department) at 01:40, 06:00, and 11:30. Call 800-461-7661 for more information. Because they make a lot of stops, these buses take about four hours to get to Kingston. But they are relatively cheap, since no other ground transportation is needed if you are going to Queen's. They can be the best way to get to Kingston, especially if your flight arrives late in the day.
- Fly to Montreal and then take the train. Dorval airport is only a mile from Dorval train station, and there is a shuttle service between them. Trains take between two and two and a half hours to get from Kingston to Dorval station. This is often more convenient than going via Toronto, although there are not as many trains. Allow at least an hour and a half for the connection when arriving at Dorval and at least two and a half hours when departing. Note that US-bound passengers have to clear customs in Montreal. If you are coming directly from Montreal, the train is usually the best alternative. Trains from downtown (Central Station) take about twenty minutes longer than trains from Dorval.
- Fly to Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, or Syracuse, and then drive (see below for details). It is a little over 2 hours from Ottawa airport to Kingston, less than 2 1/2 from Syracuse, somewhat less than 3 hours from Montreal, and about the same from Toronto if there are no traffic delays. For the other three cities, the airport is on the Kingston side of town, but the airport in Toronto is on the other side, and there can be delays at times of heavy traffic. There is also an airport in Watertown, NY, which has two or three US Air flights a day from Pittsburgh. It is less than an hour and a half from Kingston. If you are coming directly from Ottawa, the train may be a good alternative to driving.
- Fly to Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, or Syracuse, and then let someone else drive. Several Kingston companies provide limousine service. Although it is rather expensive for just one person, it can be cheaper than flying, and it is generally quite economical for two or more. Companies in this business include ExecuTrans (613-384-8412). It is probably best to let someone at Queen's make the arrangements.
Driving to Kingston
Kingston is located at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, where the lake flows into the Saint Lawrence River. It is about halfway between Montreal and Toronto. The main highway between those two cities, Highway 401, skirts the northern edge of the city.
From Toronto, just get on Highway 401 and keep going east. The traffic will probably be extremely heavy until you are east of Oshawa. If you are west of Toronto to begin with, you may be able to save time by taking Highway 407, a toll road that runs north of and parallel to Highway 401. Unfortunately, it does not yet connect directly to Highway 401 on the eastern side of Toronto. You will need to drive south for a few miles on Brock Road to get to 401 from 407.
From Montreal, take either Highway 20 or Highway 40 going west. The two highways eventually join and lead into Highway 401. Highway 20 has some traffic lights, so 40 is usually faster.
From Ottawa, take Highway 416 to Highway 401 and then proceed as if you were coming from Montreal. If you are starting from Ottawa Airport, you can access Highway 416 from the Hunt Club Road. The primary exit from the Ottawa Airport is the Airport Parkway. Take either it or Uplands Drive going north until you come to Hunt Club Road. Turn left (west) on it and follow it until you reach Highway 416, and then take 416 south. Alternatively, especially if traffic is heavy, turn left from Hunt Club Road onto Riverside Drive (just before you cross the Rideau River). It changes its name to the Rideau River Road. Follow it to Highway 416 (quite a long way).
From Syracuse or Watertown, take I-81 north. Follow I-81 until it ends at the 1000 Islands Bridge. This is a toll bridge. Recently, the toll was US $2.50 going north and C$2.50 going south, but this may have changed. Make sure to get a receipt. Once in Canada, get on to Highway 401 and head west, towards Kingston and Toronto. Kingston is about 30 miles west of the bridge.
Driving within Kingston
The best route to take if you are arriving from the west is to leave Highway 401 at the Sir John A. Macdonald exit and go south (the only way you can go) for quite a while. Other routes may be a bit quicker if driving from the east; see below. Major cross streets will include Counter Street, Princess Street, Bath Road, and Johnson Street. At the next light after Johnson Street, turn left on Union Street. It will be the second-last set of lights. You will see the (now defunct) Prison for Women just ahead on the right, and you should see a bit of lake Ontario beyond the last set of lights, some distance ahead.
The Economics Department is in Dunning Hall, 94 University Avenue, which is on the southwest corner of Union Street and University Avenue. This is the second traffic light you will encounter after turning onto Union Street; the first is at Albert Street, which is essentially the western boundary of the University. If you are going directly to the hotel, skip to the paragraph after the next one. Parking may be a problem. There is a new underground lot under construction a little bit west of Dunning Hall. Once it is completed, in the fall of 2008, it will probably be the most convenient place to park. After you park, proceed to Dunning Hall. Go in either the Union Street or University Avenue entrances and take the stairs to the second floor. The main office is in Dunning 209.
There is an older underground lot a bit further from the Department. To get to it, continue on Union Street to the light, turn right onto University Avenue, and then turn left at the bottom of University Avenue. Then turn left again, very soon afterwards, into the underground parking lot. The exit of the lot is immediately to the east of University Avenue, and the entrance is just beyond it. After you park your car, you should be able to get out of the underground lot via a staircase at the north end, near University Avenue. Walk back to Dunning Hall, go in the main entrance, and take the spiral stairs to the second floor.
If you are going directly to the Hochelaga Inn, do not turn right on University Avenue. Instead, keep going on Union Street. There will be no more traffic lights. Two blocks past University Avenue, Union Street ends. Turn right for about 15 metres, and then immediately left. There will be an imposing courthouse on your left and a park on your right. At the next stop sign, turn left (north) and proceed a very short distance to the parking for the Hochelaga Inn, which will be on your right.
The parking for the Hochelaga Inn is behind the hotel. The main entrance of the Hochelaga is on Sydenham Street, which you would get to by going straight ahead at the stop sign instead of turning left. If you cannot find a parking place in the hotel lot, just proceed in a northerly direction, then turn right and right again at the first opportunities, and the hotel will be on your right. The person at the desk will presumably give you instructions about parking.
If your room is at the Secret Garden Inn, it is best to take a different route. Turn left from Sir John A. Macdonald at Johnson Street. This is the traffic light before Union Street. It is a one-way street. Go about two km to Sydenham Street. Turn right and proceed to the end of the first block. The Secret Garden is on the left at number 73.
If your room is at the Hotel Belvedere instead of the Hochelaga Inn, it is best to take yet another route. Instead of turning left onto Johnson or Union Streets from Sir John A. Macdonald, continue to the last traffic light on the latter and turn left on King Street. Then follow it for about two kilometers to the hotel. The Hotel Belvedere will be on your right, shortly after Ontario Street, which is the second traffic light you will come to on King Street, at the far side of the park. The entrance to the parking lot, which is behind the hotel, is just before the hotel itself.
If you are going directly to one of the downtown hotels, you should also take King Street instead of Union. The Four Points is on King, a few blocks past the Belvedere. The Radisson Hotel, Howard Johnson Confederation Place Hotel, and Holiday Inn are on, or just off, Ontario Street, a few blocks past the intersection of Ontario and King.
For those driving from the east and going to either the Hochelaga Inn or the Secret Garden Inn, there is a somewhat quicker route. Get off Highway 401 at the Montreal Street exit. This is the second Kingston exit from the east. Go south on Montreal Street until it ends (several miles from Highway 401). At this point, you will clearly be in downtown Kingston. Turn right on Brock Street, a one-way street where Montreal Street ends. Then turn left at the first opportunity, on Sydenham Street. The Secret Garden will be on the left at the end of the second block at 73 Sydenham Street. The Hochelaga Inn will be on the right after about three blocks, at 24 Sydenham Street. For parking, continue past it, turn sharp right, and the parking will be on your right.
If you are driving from the east and going to one of the downtown hotels, it is also somewhat quicker to use the Montreal Street exit. Turn left from Montreal Street onto Princess Street, which is the last cross street before Brock. Continue all the way to the end of Princess if you are going to the Holiday Inn. Otherwise, turn right on King Street for the Four Points or the Hotel Belvedere, and turn right on Ontario for the Howard Johnson and the Delta Kingston Waterfront Hotel. Ontario will be the last set of traffic lights, and King will be the second-last.
Another possibility, which works well if you are going directly to the University from either direction, is to exit Highway 401 at Division Street. Take it south until it ends at Union Street, a block east of University Avenue. The last mile or so on Division is rather slow. At Union, turn right to go to either the Mackintosh-Corry parking lot or the underground lot, and turn left to go to the Hochelaga Inn.