K.C.V.I was Kingston's only secondary school until the opening of Queen Elizabeth Collegiate and Vocational Institute (Q.E.C.V.I.) in 1955 and Loyalist Collegiate and Vocational Institute (L.C.V.I.) in 1963.
In 2012, K.C.V.I. was ranked by the Fraser Institute as the top performing school in the Limestone Board and in the top 10% of public schools in Ontario.
KCVI is scheduled to close in 2018 upon completion of a new high school being constructed on the former QECVI site to replace both it and QECVI.
KCVI's history starts with the Kingston Grammar school in 1792. In 1807, the school was renamed Midland District Grammar School. From c. 1825–30, the future first prime minister of Canada, John A. Macdonald, attended the school. In c. 1853 the school moved to a new location - now Sydenham Public School - and was renamed Kingston County Grammar School. It was renamed Kingston High School in 1871, becoming Kingston Collegiate Institute (KCI) in 1872. Girls were first admitted as students in January 1877, and the school has remained co-educational ever since. Fifteen years later, at the institution's centenary in 1892, the school moved to its present site on Frontenac Street. Finally, with the addition of a technical and commercial teaching wing in 1931, the school was renamed Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute (KCVI), the name it retains to this day. The oldest remaining wing of the school is the 1915 wing, which now houses science laboratories. The original wing was destroyed by fire and has since been replaced. The school celebrated its bicentenary in 1992 and is now 225 years old. The school is commonly recognized as the oldest public high school in Ontario and the second oldest in the country.
The team colours are blue and white. The team name for all sports is "Blues" and the mascot is a blue bear. The school competes in various sports including, but not limited to: rowing, cross-country, track and field, football, rugby, hockey, basketball, volleyball, soccer, mountain biking, curling, tennis, badminton, baseball, golf, swimming, and skiing, along with various other sports.