This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Kingston, Ontario (Canada)

Frontenac County

Last modified: 2012-05-21 by rob raeside
Keywords: canada | ontario | kingston | martello tower | crowns: gold (3) |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

[Kingston, Ontario] image by Eugene Ipavec, 3 April 2012

See also:

Description of the flag

Heraldic symbols and the flag were presented to the City of Kingston on 27 June, 2000, by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, following the amalgamation of the Township of Kingston, the City of Kingston, and the Township of Pittsburgh in 1998 to form the new City of Kingston. These three entities are represented by the three antique crowns on the shield and flag. The antique crown is the traditional symbol for municipal corporations.

Kingston's coat of arms can be seen at Based on information in the city's web page, Kingston's shield shows a Martello Tower above five white and blue waves, surmounted by three antique crowns. The bearers are a griffin and a lion, and the crest is surmounted by a beaver. The city's motto below is ANTIQUITATE CIVITATE HUMANITATE (which may be freely translated as "A Civil and Creative Community with a Proud Past").

Kingston's flag is a banner of arms, showing the Martello Tower above three white and blue waves, with the three antique crowns in the upper fly. The Martello Tower is a unique, outstanding feature of Kingston's waterfront, and has symbolized the city for over 150 years. It symbolizes strength and firmness of resolve. Also it represents Kingston's extensive military connections and its lengthy historical development. The waves represent the confluence of three bodies of water at Kingston, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the Cataraqui-Rideau Canal system. The red field of the shield and flag depicts [one of] the national colours of Canada. The three antique crowns are placed two and one on the upper fly, to reflect the geographical arrangement of the three former municipalities that combined to form the City of Kingston.
Chris Kretowicz, 19 August 2002

It was my relatively uninformed understanding that a banner of arms would keep the three crowns, which appear in the arms in chief, at the top of the flag, rather than moving them to the fly and the tower to the hoist. This version seems like sensible flag design, and follows the heraldic principle of making best use of the space available. I also note that the city claims the antique crown is the traditional heraldic symbol of municipal corporations.

Chapter XIV (Ontario) of The Flags of Canada, available online at,  mentions both a city flag and a civil flag for Kingston, presumably the pre-merger City of Kingston, reported by Kevin Harrington in Flagscan, Issue 7, Vol. II, No. 2 (Fall 1987), p. 8-11.
Jonathan Dixon, 22 September 2010

The flag is derived from the arms, or as their website ( has it: "According to the classic rules of heraldry, the city's new Flag combines the principal colours and key elements of the Shield reshaped." Not that I believe there to be classical rules of heraldry involved, but some people like to have flags derived from arms.

But these two parts together do not make it a banner of arms. A banner of arms is a field made out of cloth, rather than consisting of the front of a shield. That should be the only significant difference. Where would the poet be, speaking of "the crowns of Kingston lining up as though a second defence above the tower", if he had to illustrate it with this flag?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 3 April 2012