Kingstonians Discover Hidden Wonders in Their Own City Through Tett Tours

Julie Leclerc leading an engaged tour group through the Tett.

By Victoria Butler

September 2016

This summer, the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning opened its doors to give the public an in-depth look inside Kingston’s arts and culture hub. The tour, attended by 275 visitors over 16 days, featured a little something for everyone. Tour-goers got a taste of history with stories of when the site was a Morton Brewery. These old tales were interwoven with the chronicle of how modern artistry and traditional craftsmanship now line the stone corridors.

The successful summer tours ran through July and August of 2016. This partnership between the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts and the Tett Centre allowed both buildings to be showcased in a joint tour.

Visitors to the Isabel where astounded by features such as the exquisite Performance Hall and the stunning glass-framed views of Lake Ontario.

Inside the Tett, tour-goers received a first-hand look at the creative process of art making. They could hear the sound of an artist busily chiseling away at a sculpture or watch as a slab of clay began to take shape toward the potter’s vision. The Tett’s open studio doors and expansive windows allowed the public to see the raw, unfiltered process of creating.

‘We would briefly lose a few people along the way because they would begin chatting with the artists.” explains Julie Leclerc, one of the facilitators of the Tett Tour.

Groups came from far and wide to explore the Tett on a personal level. Many were from across Ontario, some traveled from opposite ends of the country and some hailed from as far away as China. A few were Queen’s Grads, excited to see what was new at their alma mater, but most surprisingly, a large number of tour groups were Kingston locals getting to know their city’s diverse and inspirational arts scene.

“People were so impressed by the incorporation of the buildings into the landscape and how these magnificent structures were completely dedicated to the arts.” remarks Margaret Corrigan, a Tett Tour facilitator.  

Now that the Tett Tours have come to a close, do not despair! The Tett is a public building which is open year-round Monday to Saturday 8:00 am - 9:00 pm and Sunday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm. The success of the tour has also inspired an app to allow the public to continue touring the Tett throughout the year. The free app, available through Google Play and The Apple Store, is a self-guided version of the Tett Summer Tour. For those looking to experience a live tour, the free Tett Tours are set to return in Summer 2017!