1. FAMILY: Go directly to jail
Are the kids getting unruly? Complaining about losing Facebook rights? When you’re visiting Kingston (aka Canada’s prison capital), drop them off at Canada’s Penitentiary Museum to give them an up-close-and-personal view of corporal punishment. This is no gussied up museum; its gruesome and ingenious artifacts include the water-bath punishment, a triangle frame used for lashings, jerry-rigged escape tools, all manner of restraints, inmate hobbies and a reproduction of a Victorian prison cell. The museum itself is an artifact: it’s located in the former residence of the wardens of Kingston Penitentiary and sits on a rise in front of that infamous institution. The kids should behave quite nicely after visiting. The museum is open daily between May 1 and Oct. 31 and by appointment the rest of the year. Admission is by donation to the Friends of the Penitentiary Museum.
(613) 530-3122

2. ADVENTURE: An ecological sweet spot
Kingston sits on the edge of the Frontenac Axis, a massive granite spine that connects the Canadian Shield to the Adirondack Mountains. In addition to this collision of north-south landforms, the region is crossed by a significant east-west migration route from the Atlantic coast to the Great Lakes, making it one of the most bio-diverse spots in Eastern Canada. Frontenac Provincial Park, a 30-minute drive north of Kingston, offers a rugged banquet of wildlife, granite outcrops, wetlands, mixed forests, and a number of wellmarked portages into interior lakes. Overnight backcountry camping is available in sites that can only be accessed by canoe or on foot, which weeds out the pretenders and makes for peaceful evenings. Get set up for your excursion at Frontenac Outfitters (frontenac-outfitters.com), located just outside the park’s gates. Canoe rental fees range from $32 to $42 dollars a day. Up-to-date information on fees, campsites, hiking trails and portage distances is offered by the Friends of Frontenac Provincial Park.

3. BUSINESS: A high-ranking night out
People in the corporate world love to draw insight and inspiration from the military. So if you’re in Kingston with colleagues and want to enjoy a unique dinner with built-in talking points, head to Fort Henry. Built to defend Upper Canada against the Americans, the fort provides a living portrait of 19th-century British military life. Visit later in the afternoon and spend a couple of hours checking out the batteries, garrison cells and soldiers’ barracks. Then, to see how the other half lives, head over to the officers’ dining rooms for a three-course candlelight dinner served by uniformed “soldier servants” who’ll treat you like an officer. That means you offer no “please” or “thank you” but merely a snap of the fingers (don’t try this at the office). Nightly dining is available in July and August, and there are more than 100 special themed dining occasions during the rest of the year.
(613) 530-2550;