Known to many as Canada's oldest community, Kingston was first settled in 1673 by the French when Robert Cavelier de La Salle chose Cataraqui for a fortified trading post. This post would eventually become Fort Frontenac.War would break out between the French and the Iriqouis soon after and the French would abandon it. When peacful relations were established again, the French regained control of the fort, rebuilt it and maintained control of the area until the late 1600s.

Eventually the fort would fall to the British near the end of the Seven Years War. After that, The fort was captured and destroyed by the British in the Battle of Fort Frontenac near the end of the Seven Years' War in 1758. A receiving centre for fleeing refugees from the American Revolution, it became a central community in south-eastern Upper Canada.

Word of the outbreak of war reached Kingston by private letter and within an hour drums were beating out the news and couriers were scrambling along the roads to spread the word. During the War of 1812, Kingston became the base for the Lake Ontario division of the Great Lakes British naval fleet.