Get a street map as soon as you arrive; this isn't one of those cities where a handy sign is available on every corner. A good way to get acquainted with the town is aboard the Confederation Tour Trolley (tel. 613/548-4415), a bus made to look like a streetcar. It leaves from in front of the Tourist Information Office every hour on the hour from mid-May to Labour Day 10am to 5pm (July and Aug 10am-7pm). The tour lasts 50 minutes and costs C$15 adults, C$10 seniors and children ages 6 and up. If you want to explore Wolfe Island, there's a free 25-minute trip aboard the car ferry from downtown Kingston; it departs frequently from the dock near the intersection of Queen and Ontario streets. Or, if you want to do some serious hiking, the Rideau Trail runs 390km (242 miles) along the Rideau Canal from Kingston all the way to Ottawa. For details, contact the Rideau Trail Association at tel. 613/545-0823.

Kingston was built for defense. The attack never came, however, which is why there are walls, forts, and other strategic structures in good condition. You can view some of these along the waterfront, where Confederation Park stretches from the front of the old 19th-century town hall down to the yacht basin. Several blocks west of the park is one of the city's finest Martello towers, built during the Oregon Crisis of 1846 to withstand naval bombardments. The moated, cylindrical Murney Tower (tel. 613/544-9925) is now a museum where you can see the basement storage rooms, the barracks room, and the gun platform. Mid-May to Labour Day, it's open daily 10am to 5pm, charging C$4 adults; admission is free for kids.

While exploring downtown or ambling along the waterfront, visit City Hall at 216 Ontario St. (tel. 613/546-4291); free guided tours are offered weekdays from 10am to 4pm, weekends from 11am to 3pm. If there isn't enough time, at least take a look at the stained-glass windows upstairs in Memorial Hall, each one commemorating a World War I battle. It's open weekdays from around 8:30am until 4:30pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.