Ontario Street: Brewers, Bakers & Boilermakers, 1830 to 1970


Ontario Street is a place of transformation and change, a space inhabited for 1000s of years before the arrival of European settlers. The exhibition, Ontario Street: Brewers, Bakers and Boiler Makers focusses on the years between 1830 and 1970, a period when the workers, entrepreneurs and residents of Ontario Street on the Lake Ontario waterfront represented the changing face of Kingston from a military post and commercial port to a post-industrial wasteland awaiting renewal (much of which in 2019 has become high-rise residential).

The street is also home to the PumpHouse itself, which is a product of the 19th-century industrial era and the emerging sense of municipal social responsibility seen at that time. The exhibition is an urban history with a sociocultural focus on the people who called Ontario Street -- long the industrial and commercial engine of Kingston -- their places of employment, residence, provision and leisure, and their intergenerational social and commercial connections with each other and with larger themes that define the street and Kingston more generally. 

“Oh, what a street old Ontario has been!” – Edwin Horsey, Historian