It’s official: the city of Kingston will have a deep-water dock to welcome cruise ships to the city.
But instead of the previously proposed downtown locations, cruise ships will be parking right behind the old Rockwood Asylum, at the now-defunct facility’s old coal dock.
Those using the waterfront trail behind the asylum may have noticed a second Kingston sign, like the one downtown in Confederation Park, sitting unassembled in a fenced area.
This area is the asylum’s old dock, known as the coal dock. It was purchased by Doornekamp Constructions over a year ago from the federal government, and was meant to be used for the shipping portion of the company’s business.
Sandy Berg from Doornekamp Constructions says the company has teamed up with Tourism Kingston to market the coal dock as a viable option for Great Lakes cruises to come to the city next year. She says an official photoshoot for the marketing campaign will take place next month. Until then, efforts will be made to beautify the space, including installing the second Kingston sign.
Berg says the operation will have help from Kingston Trolley Tours to cart cruise passengers to the downtown core.
Tourism Kingston has not made it clear exactly how the trolley tours will be able to transport all guests coming off various ships, but said it will depend on the various needs of the lines docking at the space.
“What works for one cruise line may not work for another depending on their guests, what experiences they offer, what’s included in each ticket. It’s important that there is flexibility to offer excursions tailored to their needs.”
The city is not paying Doornekamp Construction for the use of the dock, and says that the cruise lines themselves will pay the company for its use.
Berg also says that the coal dock is only a temporary stopgap for the city, which she said hopes to move the deep-water dock to a downtown location like the Marine Museum in the future.
Still Tourism Kingston says the Marine Museum is not the official final resting spot for the city’s deep-water dock as of yet.
“This has not been confirmed – the Marine Museum is a potential location, and will be considered through the City of Kingston’s process along with other potential locations.”
Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no cruise ships came to Kingston. Before that, any cruise ships wanting to stop in the city needed to dock far out in the water and provide a smaller vessel to access the city’s shore.
Berg says the coal dock will allow the city to finally accept passengers directly to shore and prove to Great Lakes cruise companies that Kingston is a viable stop on their routes.
Federal approvals have already been granted for the location.