Kingston, Ont. shines on the big screen

KINGSTON, ONT. — With the Mayor of Kingstown premiering on Paramount+ this week, it’s shining a spotlight on the city of Kingston, Ont.

Kingston Tourism says movies like these have brought big business to the city.

The drama, starring Jeremy Renner, was filmed over the summer at the Kingston Penitentiary, as well as in several other downtown locations. It’s also co-written and stars Hugh Dillan, who is originally from Kingston.

However, the production is not the only one to use Kingston as a backdrop in the last year. Netflix and Amazon Plus are also among the companies that have looked to the city for filming locations in the last year. 

Kingston Tourism says those productions are expected to inject more than $5 million into the local economy.

With the influx of crews, more than $2 million has been spent at local hotels, a major relief during another summer under COVID restrictions, says Delta Kingston Waterfront Hotels General Manager Stephanie Quick.

“We have 126 rooms, there were times when we were at 80 to 90 per cent occupancy,” says Quick. “During COVID, it was huge for us to see (this). At a time when we were just starting to see travel come back to the city… it was definitely big for us.”

“It allowed us to maintain our staff levels. To keep the restaurant hotel open and vibrant. Especially with the housekeeping staff, we were able to keep everyone on.”

It was also a boost to restaurants. Sitting next to the Kingston Pen, crews for Mayor of Kingstown often filled the tables of nearby Portsmouth Tavern. 

“Some of them turned into regular for a couple weeks so it was nice to see for sure,” says manager Dan Oosterman. 

He says he’s excited for fans of the show to see the city. 

“It’s exciting and then people will see it and go, ‘Oh that’s beautiful, lets go visit and see the historical sites.'”

With more productions set to take action in the coming months, businesses say they continue to be ready.

“This past year’s been incredible the amount we’ve seen,” says Quick. “I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring.”

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