Kingston is a city in eastern Ontario, Canada. It is on the eastern end of Lake Ontario, at the beginning of the St. Lawrence River and at the mouth of the Cataraqui River (south end of the Rideau Canal). The city is midway between Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. The Thousand Islands tourist region is nearby to the east. Kingston is nicknamed the "Limestone City" because of the many heritage buildings constructed using local limestone.
Growing European exploration in the 17th century and the desire for the Europeans to establish a presence close to local Native occupants to control trade led to the founding of a French trading post and military fort at a site known as "Cataraqui" (generally pronounced "kah-tah-ROCK-way") in 1673. This outpost, called Fort Cataraqui, and later Fort Frontenac, became a focus for settlement. Cataraqui would be renamed Kingston after the British took possession of the fort and Loyalists began settling the region in the 1780s.
Kingston was named the first capital of the United Province of Canada on February 10, 1841. While its time as a capital city was short (ending in 1844), the community has remained an important military installation. Kingston was the county seat of Frontenac County until 1998. Kingston is now a separate municipality from the County of Frontenac.
A number of origins of "Cataraqui", Kingston's original name, have been postulated. One is it is derived from the Iroquois word that means "the place where one hides". The name may also be derivations of Native words that mean "impregnable", "muddy river", "place of retreat", "clay bank rising out of the water", "where the rivers and lake meet", or "rocks standing in water".
Cataraqui was referred to as "the King's Town" or "King's Town" by 1787 in honour of King George III. The name was shortened to "Kingston" in 1788. Cataraqui today refers to an area around the intersection of Princess Street and Sydenham Road, where a village which later took that name was located. Cataraqui is also the name of a municipal electoral district.