Kingston – The limestone city’s hottest ticket of 2016 is back and this year people can go even further behind the walls of Kingston Penitentiary. The 2017 attraction offers 40-tours a day and more than 180-thousand tickets.
Geoff Waycik/Manager of Historic Sites
“First tours start on May the 9th and we go all the way to October 29th. It’s going to be 6 days a week until about mid-June and then 7-days a week and then back to 6-days in September.”
Online ticket sales halted within minutes due to the high volume of traffic. There are two tours this year. The standard route is 90 minutes and is an updated version of last year’s tour. The premium tour is 2 and half hours. Groups of ten will have access to virtually everything the moth balled institution has to offer.
Vinnie Rebelo/Kingston Penitentiary Tours Manager
“It’s historically significant people want to experience what exactly the inmates that were in here how they lived, what they did. It’s an important part of Canadian history, an important part of Kingston history.”
Also new this year – limited walk up, first come first serve tickets will be available twice daily.
“Close to 60-thousand people visited Canada’s most notorious prison in 2016. The sell out tours generated more than 5-million dollars for the city. But this year’s expanded season could more than triple that. Officials estimate the 2017 tours will have an economic impact of 17-million dollars.”
Bryan Paterson, Kingston Mayor
“Last year was the biggest year for tourism that we’ve ever had and clearly the KP tours were a large driver of that so we’re looking forward to another amazing year of tourism.”
Last year the United Way received more than 320-thousand dollars from the tours, and will benefit again this year.
Bhavana Varma/President & CEO, United Way KFL&A
“We’ve invested in youth because we believe that the more we can do in preventative services is going to help us. So we’ve introduced pilots to help youth with gender identity, mental health issues.”
Meanwhile the KP tours will help young job seekers, as more than a hundred students and seasonal staff have been hired to lead the tours. Nikki Jhutti, CKWS News Kingston