About the Inn - History. Luxury. Elegance.

Built on a three acre lot in 1888 by leather merchant and furrier John McKay, The Secret Garden Innis centrally located in the historic Sydenham Ward, blocks from Queen’s University, great shopping and restaurants, and the beautiful Lake Ontario waterfront.

McKay called the home Argyle Place and built it in the Queen Anne Victorian style with a whimsical turret facing Sydenham Street United Church with its graceful spire. The McKay’s attended this (then) church and the family liked to sit on the gracious porch on Sunday afternoons. Their daughter, Helen McKay, was married out of the house with the ceremony at the church and a lavish reception following at Argyle Place. The original stone wall that surrounded the acreage can still be seen today although the acreage was sold off as Kingston grew and more homes were built along William Street.

Long before the house was converted into a bed and breakfast, the McKays’ residence spanned four generations. The building and its architectural preservation is still reminiscent of their time on the quaint streets of Sydenham Ward up until the 1940s. Following the McKays, other notable Kingston families occupied the home the McCulloughs, the Hessians and the Taylors, before it was transformed into a bed and breakfast in 1996. It was purchased by the current owners in 2020, who renovated the property to add modern amenities, while maintain its historic charm.

As you enjoy the Inn’s splendour, you will also appreciate the architectural marvels from the past. From the stained glass windows and antique fireplaces to the arch ways, The Secret Garden has been fully restored to its former glory and elegance. They simply don’t make things like this anymore.

The porch today is an oasis for visitors; a romantic porch swing, comfy rockers, tinkling wind chimes and the burbling waterfall to the pond create a relaxing retreat in the middle of the Old Stones neighbourhood. The award winning garden was designed and installed in 2004, winning the Canada Blooms Mayors Award in 2010.

Today the Inn is visited by guests from around the world. Its charming ambience and elegant style make for a restful and delightful vacation. History, luxury, and elegance are all hallmarks of The Secret Garden Inn!