Home / Accueil

Frontenac County Court House National Historic Site of Canada

1 Court Street, Kingston, Ontario, K7L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1980/06/16

General view of the Frontenac County Court House, showing its exterior features, including classical detailing and composition, a bold portico, and a domed cupola, 2004.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2004
General view
No Image
No Image

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1855/01/01 to 1858/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/04/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Frontenac County Court House National Historic Site of Canada is a large, limestone court house, built in the mid-19th century in the Neoclassical style. Its imposing columned portico and dome overlook a wide expanse of park to the shoreline of Lake Ontario. It is located in a downtown residential area of 19th-century homes, adjacent to Queen’s University, in the city of Kingston. The formal recognition consists of the building on its legal property at the time of designation.

Heritage Value

Frontenac County Court House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1980 because:
- it is representative of a significant functional type;
- it features many of the traditional exterior elements of large-scale mid-19th century court houses.

Frontenac County Court House is representative of the large-scale, court houses erected in Ontario after 1850. The passage of the Municipal Act gave increased power to county government, justifying the construction of court houses on a monumental scale to accommodate multiple county functions. The Frontenac County Court House is one of several surviving court houses built during the boom in court house construction from 1852 to 1856. Designed by architect Edward Horsey, the building’s elaborate façade, comprised of a central portico, flanking wings and domed cupola, and the elaborate mix of Italianate and classical detailing, are typical of mid-19th century Ontario judicial buildings. The court house was rebuilt by architect John Power and contractor George Newlands in 1874 following a fire. The only significant exterior change was the central dome, which was given added height and emphasis.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, March 1980.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements which relate to the heritage value of the Frontenac County Court House include:
- its monumental scale;
- its exterior features typical of large-scale, mid 19th-century court houses, including classical detailing and composition, a bold portico, and a domed cupola;
- its Neoclassical style, evident in its form, composition and detailing;
- its symmetrical composition, consisting of a centre pavilion with central dome and pedimented portico;
- flanking end pavilions terminating in projecting bays with diminished and responsive pediments;
- regularly placed window and door openings;
- the features added in 1874, including the domed cupola resting on a drum composed of sixteen arched windows and cupolas on the end pavilions;
- the grand, pedimented portico, with frieze, cornice, Ionic columns, pilasters, coffered ceiling, and tympanum with the county court of arms;
- its sophisticated mix of Italianate and classical detailing
- its construction of local limestone;
- the surviving nineteenth-century elements of its interior plan and decorative finishes;
- the features of its site, including, the broad expanse of gently inclined, landscaped lawn fronting the courthouse; and the centrally placed stone fountain.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1874/01/01 to 1874/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Courthouse and/or Registry Office

Architect / Designer

John Power


Scobell and Tossell

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places