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Confederation Basin

City operated marina since 1967, the 100th anniversary of Canadian confederation. See this City of Kingston web page as well as the City of Kingston municipal marinas page

See too: http://www.virtualkingston.ca/fullscreens/floramacdonaldbasin/macdonaldbasin_01.html

The Flora MacDonald Confederation Basin is usually referred to as simply 'Confederation Basin". It is located directly in front of City Hall and is sheltered by two excellent breakwaters. Boaters are advised not to enter through the gap between Shoal Tower and the north end of the new breakwall. A white and orange buoy indicates that this is not navigible. Instead, use the buoyed entrances. Transient slips are located in front of the Raddison Hotel - visitors should call ahead on Channel 68.

Portsmouth Olympic Harbour and Confederation Basin both have a telephone reservation system (613 546-4291 Ext. 1887) which allows visitors to book 24 hours in advance.

Major expansion in 1988. Currently 384 slips. There is no fuel, and no pumpout, at Confederation basin.

Currently (2008) Confederation Basin consists of 160 seasonal berths and approximately 215 slips for transient traffic.

An image from the City of Kingston Parks page:

Recent related news

April 7 2011

Fenced dock along Kingston Waterfront.

ACCESS DENIED in the Wednesday Whig about the fenced-off dock behind KPH.

Here's a growing list of Kingston waterfront's currently fenced-off locations linking to photos.

Missing any?


Posted April 7 2011
Category: Accessibility

December 14 2009

DOCK UPGRADES AT CONFED are expected by springtime.
Posted December 14 2009
Category: Marinas

November 20 2009

The shoreline at Token Park

HERE YOU ARE LOOKING southwest from a vantage upstairs at the Radisson Hotel. Click here for a much larger version of this photo.

What you see in the middle-distance is the tumble-stone breakwall of Confederation Basin. In the right-foreground is part of the 250 meters of new tumble-stone shoreline around Block-D's Token Park.

In the past this 250m of Block-D perimeter was a corrugated metal seawall where boats could tie-up. It was a pretty good place for boat-passenger dropoffs and pickups when the marina's docks were packed in the summertime. It was a fine venue for model-boat racing. It has been said that many late-summer-night skinny-dips took place there in the hours between closing-time and dawn.

This was, in short, usable shoreline which is in very short supply around here. But that was then.

Let history show that, in the Harvey Rosen era, the City of Kingston transformed this once-usable protected shoreline into severe inaccessible shoreline. Which begs the question: why? All this is on calm waters that are amply protected by the massive Confederation Basin breakwall.

This is another waterfront loss in Kingston, one of many that have recently occurred because of the raving lunatics who lead and manage this unfortunate city.

Thanks to Joanna Bull for the photo.

Posted November 20 2009
Category: Block D

November 15 2009


It's a gem on Wolfe Island, just 4-miles south-east of Confederation Basin by-boat, just east of the winter ferry dock.

Posted November 15 2009
Category: Working waterfront

October 4 2009

THREE NOTABLE ITEMS on City Council's agenda for the meeting of October 6 2009.

  1. Read the Recreation & Leisure Services Department 2009-2010 Priorities and observe the degree to which waterfront just isn't on the radar. What's waterfront-related is either stalled, or token.

    Waterfront items include:

    • "Design of the Breakwater beach area (2010)". The Mass Swim, the culmination of public disgust over how our waterfront is marginalized, was held July 22nd 2008.
    • "Window repairs at the Richardson Beach Bath house (2010)". That's routine deferred maintenance, long overdue, masquerading as a listable project serving the illusion of serving the waterfront.
    • "Final approval to the Lake Ontario Park Plan (November 2009)", the proximity of which signals that public outcry (also here) over the way overblown concept plan will be mostly ignored.
    • "Marinas Business Plan (February 2010)" which promises to be an eyeball-roller given all the evident shenanigans (and here) leading to that.
    • "Waterfront Plan (2010)", whatever that is. This is bundled with, and listed after items like "New outdoor rinks construction policy (2010)", "healthy food options (2010)", "Community gardens policy (November 200)", and "Sustainable food strategy (2010)". That's your Harvey-Rosen-era Kingston waterfront, right there.
  2. The City gets, gratis, a narrow-strip of adjacent land to allow widening the waterfront pathway between the West Street launch ramp and Simcoe Street. That's courtesy of Holmstead Land Holdings which, rest assured, will get-that-back in spades later.
  3. The 2006 agreement with the Kingston Brewing Company to operate 6 Clarence Street as a service centre for Confederation Basin Marina boaters is renewed and sweetened through 2012.
Posted October 4 2009
Category: City Council

August 7 2009

INSTRUCTIONS FOR POKER RUNS AMERICA BOATS makes for interesting reading.

You have to call it for what this truly is: a gig monopolized into four downtown hotels -- Radisson, Holiday Inn, Confederation Place Hotel and Four Points Sheraton -- all of these are owned by the usual suspects.

Most meals and the entertainment package appear to be monopolized into those four hotels as well.

Read the whole thing.

Posted August 7 2009
Category: Poker run

August 4 2009

TOKEN PARK DETAILS have been published.

Note the tumble-rock perimiter. No connection to water whatsoever. Why???

All this sits behind the massive Confederation Basin tumble-rock breakwall already! A breakwall behind a breakwall; Brilliant!

The effing idiots who have screwed-up our waterfront for decades haven't learned a damn thing.

Read more on Token Park.

Posted August 4 2009
Category: Block D

June 17 2009

WATERFRONT ACCESSIBILITY DOWNGRADE according to a moronic report to Council last Tuesday night.

Get this:

Other City owned locations used by the public for swimming but not designated for swimming includes [sic]: Esplanade Park, Everitt Park, Patterson Park and Confederation Park. .... In non-designated swimming areas the signs will indicate that swimming is not permitted. Both designated and non-designated swimming areas will restrict certain activities, such as diving, due the potential. [sic]

Swimming flat-out prohibited at Esplanade Park, Everitt Park, and Patterson Park. Can you imagine?

City Hall in the Harvey Rosen era is led by idiots!

Posted June 17 2009
Category: Beaches

May 1 2009

SWEET DEAL, CONTINUED at Crawford Wharf and Confederation Park for Kingston and the Islands Boat Lines.

Posted May 1 2009
Category: City Council

September 19 2008

Clean Marine

FIVE-ANCHOR ECO-RATINGS have finally been awarded to both POH and Confed by the Ontario Marina Operators Association's Clean Marine Program.

The City of Kingston-operated marinas join Collins Bay Marina which received its 5-anchor rating in 2005, one of the first in Ontario to achieve it.

Other local eco-rated marinas include Kingston Marina, Treasure Island Marina, and Loyalist Cove Marina.

Local OMOA-member marinas that have no eco-rating at all include Rideau Marina and Blue Woods Marina.

Posted September 19 2008
Category: Marinas

June 3 2008

TOKEN PARK PROPOSAL IS A WATERFRONT DOWNGRADE, says a thoughtful reader commenting on Kingston's Disappearing Waterfront. Block D docking, pre Token Park

Here's the problem:

In prior years, the seawalls of Block D, some 200 linear meters worth, were commonly used for docking, including docking very large boats. The Block D seawall was also used for RC model boat competitions.

The current proposal for Token Park has the seawall finished with stone boulders, just like most of Kingston's waterfront.

Which begs these questions:

  1. Why does this shoreline, already well under cover of the Confederation Basin boulder breakwall, need to have a boulder-block finish?

  2. Doesn't Kingston have enough inacessible boulder seawalls already?
  3. Why is the City of Kingston apparently settling for the minimum-cost-to-Brit-Smith option while rendering 200m of shoreline completely inaccessible and dysfunctional?
Detail of Token Park seawalls
Posted June 3 2008
Category: Block D

May 3 2008

Confederation Basin Marina B-Dock

AT COUNCIL ON TUESDAY is the recommendation to use Black Bird Holding, LTD of Belleville for replacing B-dock at Confederation Basin.

They beat other bids from Goderich and Peterborough.

Posted May 3 2008
Category: Marinas

March 9 2008

Confederation Basin Marina B-Dock

CITY OF KINGSTON REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL for partial dock replacement of "B" Dock at Confederation Basin Marina.

Interestingly this item apparently doesn't appear in the marinas section of the 2007-08 Municipal Capital Budget.

A a six-year Confederation Basin refurbishment program began in 2006.

Posted March 9 2008
Category: Marinas

January 19 2008

TOKEN PARK CONCEPT PLANS have finally been posted on the City website.

Download the Phase 1 concepts and the Phase 2 concepts.

Observation: You've got to love how this city does business.

  • It plans a public meeting with no documents posted online beforehand.
  • At the meeting, attendees must queue to have a brief chance to look at diagrams.
  • Then attendees must sit-through the orchestrated sales-pitch.

By not posting plans before the meeting, this assures an unprepared and uninformed audience at the meeting, all the better minimize the chance of derailing pre-conceived development plans.

This is really how our waterfront got so ruined: one step at a time. That's how Block-D got stuffed with tall buildings, and that's how the rest of us ended-up with a token-park.

Token Park Phase I concept Token Park Phase II concept

Here we have a "proposed marina building" with no connection whatsoever to the marina. The foot of the nearest dock, on the west-side of the Radisson Hotel, is 245 m away. The foot of the main docks, on Clarence Street, is over 520m away. That's going to be a great marina building, don't you think? Token Park Marina Building Walk

Here is detail of the juncture between Token Park and the stone breakwater that surrounds Confederation Marina. Note the utter lack of vision: there's plenty of usable space on the stone breakwater. Waterfront cities world-wide that "get it" have piers and breakwalls people can walk on. But in Kingston? Nah! Token Park is really a dog park, a place where the condo owner's pets can "go", nevermind that there's acres of great waterfront space out on the stone breakwall. Token Park Marina Stone Breakwater

Posted January 19 2008
Category: Block D

September 25 2007

1976 Olympics Sailing (Yachting) Courses Chart

A SCAN FROM THE PAST: You are looking at a small-sized scan of the navigation chart created for the 1976 Olympic Sailing events (or Yachting as it was then known).

Olympic sailing was hosted in Kingston and it remains, 31 years later, the pinnacle of Kingston's impressive regatta history.

Click to see:

The chart shows several very interesting things:

  • The sailing events were held way out in Lake Ontario, southwest of Simcoe Island. The racing area was a full 5-miles from P.O.H., and Course Charlie, used for Tornado class catamarans, was another 5-miles beyond that.

  • The racing area was bounded by 52 orange spar buoys.

  • Within the racing area, near its southern edge, there was something called Bedford Tower which isn't there anymore. Whatever it was, there was a 300m exclusion zone around it.

  • Note the detailed bathymetry of Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, and the layout of the site for the Olympic event.

  • Also see how, prior to the 1984 expansion of Confederation Basin, Kingston Harbour was dotted with many spar buoys leading to the Lasalle Causeway along Carruthers Shoal. Old-time dinghy sailors will remember these well, as they served as ideal boathandling practice marks.

Thanks to David Page, KYC archivist, who supplied the chart used to create these digital versions.

Posted September 25 2007
Category: History

August 13 2007

THE LACK OF SHORELINE FISHING SPOTS is the subject of an interesting front-page story in today's Whig. It highlights a big problem with the waterfront in the City of Kingston: accessibility.

We've got:

Posted August 13 2007
Category: Fishing

July 12 2007

THE KINGSTON DISCOVER BOATING EVENT returns to Confederation Basin Marina, Saturday and Sunday July 28th and 29th between 10am and 5pm.

Free boat rides for all who wish to give boating a try.

This event is courtesy of many volunteer boat owners and several of our local marinas: Collins Bay Marina, Ed Huck Marine (of Rockport), Kingston Marina, Treasure Island Marina, River Rat Marine (in Landsdowne, ON) with space and dockage provided by the City of Kingston's Confederation Basin Marina.

Posted July 12 2007

July 7 2007

AT NEXT TUESDAY'S COUNCIL MEETING, City staff seeks to declare the property at 5 Brock Street as surplus, paving the way for its sale to the Hotel that surrounds it.

This is primo commonwealth property on the waterfront, adjacent to our downtown docks, and across the street from City Hall, Confederation Park, Confederation Basin, and historic Market Square.

Or is it, potentially, Starbucks'?

Posted July 7 2007
Category: City Council

June 30 2007

DAY DOCK CHARGES in effect during July and August at Confederation Basin. It's $3 for the first two hours and $1 per hour after that, for a maximum of $8 per day.

No mention of this yet on the City's Marinas or Flora MacDonald Confederation Basin web pages.

Posted June 30 2007
Category: Marinas

March 20 2007

There are WATERFRONT ITEMS IN THE 2007-08 MUNICIPAL CAPITAL BUDGET which should be approved tonight.

  • Under Culture and Rec
    • $30,000 for a Beaches Study
    • $30,000 for Beaches Imprementation
    • $50,000 for Cycling and Pathways Implementation
    • $30,000 for the Lake Ontario Park Master Plan
  • Under Marinas
    • $80,000 for Confederation Basin-Power upgrade on E and F docks. E-F docks are on your immediate right, jutting towards the Ramada, as you walk onto the main dock.
    • $50,000 for POH Break Wall floating extenston
    • $40,000 for POH Accessibility Upgrades
    • $30,000 for POH, for the facings of D and E docks. D and E docks are the two closest to the grassy playground area.
    • $10,000 POH launch ramp upgrades
    • $40,000 for Confederation Basin-Marinas Business Case Study (?!)
  • Under Planning and Development
    • $75,000 for a Waterfront Strategy
  • Under Properties
    • $105,000 for various at the Marine Museum (roof, chimney)
Posted March 20 2007
Category: City of Kingston

August 16 2006


Here's a scanned copy of the 11-page City of Kingston Request For Information (RFI) No. CS-AM-2006-02 on the future of Confederation Basin and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour that describes itself as

"Partnering opportunity with the municipality in the provision of capital investment in marina infrastructure and delivery of marinas operations and marketing services"

Read the whole thing.

[Updated]: Click here to view the July 25th 2006 City of Kingston website announcement of the matter. Click here to see the interesting and detailed documents submitted to Council to approve this move in late March, 2006.

Various questions arise from all this:

  • Why hasn't this document been widely circulated? It was advertised once in Kingston This Week. Pick-up only from the Midland St office. It was never publicly posted online by the City. Was a notice of this forwarded to, say, the Ontario Marina Operators Association? Were players from the wider marina industry approached? Why such a short leash?

  • What is the linkage between this RFI and the Request For Proposals, which apparently would soon follow? Why the rush? The RFI packs onerous production requirements into a short time, and reserves all rights to plans and intellectual property conveyed by respondents. The period for questions, for example, has already expired, just three weeks into this.

  • What's in place to protect taxpayers, protect access for boating residents and events, and for equitable treatment for other local waterfront-related interests, both commercial and public?

  • Why does all this appear to not pass a basic stink-test? Last April, for example, the The Kingston Brewing Company was precipitously given the task of running #6 Clarence Street, which is now the marina office, in what was the restaurant nearest to Confederation Basin.
What next?
Posted August 16 2006
Category: City Marinas

July 31 2006

This 112-foot Westport luxury yacht recently spent a few hours at Collins Bay Marina. Next stop: Confederation Basin

Posted July 31 2006

July 25 2006

The City of Kingston has issued a Request for Information for potential partners to "provide capital investment in marina infrastructure" and to "deliver marinas operations and marketing services" for Confederation Basin and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour.

Posted July 25 2006

For more information, contact:
Ed Leeman,
Supervisor Facility Operations
Phone (613) 546-4291 Ext. 1805
Fax (613) 544-4776

This is an important topic for the Kingston , Ontario waterfront. Currently, this article is incomplete, and it would be cool to expand it. If you know anything about Confederation Basin, please consider editing the topic and sharing your knowledge.
( Topic last updated: 2008.07.03 02:46:55 PM )