Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another Great Shot

The Kingston Accommodation Partners Kingston Photo Contest is still accepting entries, like the one from Shawn Gillis. A great aerial view of Confederation Basin taken this Summer. Remember to send your entry to

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Time is Running Out

There are only a few more days to submit your photo to the Kingston Photo Contest. Remember the contest is open to anyone (student, visitor, resident) who has a great shot of Kingston. For example our latest entry from Jerry Simon; about his photo Jerry says "In 2003 I was living at Harbour Place on Ontario Street and had a magnificant view of the Kingston Harbour. I took this picture from my window with a simple point-and-shoot 3 MP digital camera."
All the information to enter the contest is here

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stress Free Last Minute Shopping

Christmas looms heavy as next week approaches but hopefully only a few purchases are left on your list. If you still have a lot of shopping to do you might consider a weekend trip to Kingston. Kingston has all the standard big box stores and outlet malls but the downtown has some unique shops with great gift ideas. Many Kingston hotels have special packages available for the late shopper as well; First Canada Inns has a Christmas Shopping Packages that includes gift certificates to local restaurants and shopping centers which mean less stress for last minute shopping.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More Photos

The Kingston Photo Contest is still going strong with lots of entries. Our most recent comes from Alicia who had a great description...

"After going away for university and spending the last 4 months in East Africa and Europe, I came home this summer and realized there is simply no place like home (especially Kingston)."

To enter the contest send your Kingston picture to All the rules and regs. are here. And the Facebook page is here.

Happy Snapping!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Free Skate

Dig out your skates if you haven’t already, free skate times for the city start next week. The City of Kingston is offering times over the next few weeks for everyone, whether you live here or are visiting family to enjoy some ice time. Below are the times and arenas.

Dec.18 7-8:45pm Cat. Community Centre
Dec 19 5-6:45pm Memorial Centre
Dec 20 1-2:45pm Invista Centre
Dec 21 5:30-7:20pm Invista Centre
Dec 22 3-4:50pm Centre 70
Dec 23 4-5:45pm Memorial Centre
Dec 27 1-2:45pm Invista Centre
Dec 28 5:30-7:20pm Invista Centre
Dec 30 4-5:45pm Memorial Centre
Jan 3 1-2:45 Invista Centre

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Attention Kingston Photographers!

There is a great contest that started December 1st from the Kingston Accommodation Partners. They're inviting Kingston residents, visitors, students, anyone really, to submit their great photo of Kingston to All the rules and prizing information can be found here.

There are already a few entries and the "I Love Kingston" blog has agreed to post some of them. Among them are Jim Vance's "Summerhill" and Cyndy Gibson's "Little Girl with Santa".

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kingstonians truly are one of a kind!

I just got back from the One-of-a-Kind show in Toronto. I was shocked and impressed by the Kingstonians I ran into. There was atleast 6 vendors from the area and at 3 different booths we ran into other Kingston shoppers all up for the day just like us! Very cool.

This weekend, we have a one-of-a-kind type event right in our own town - so we don't have take the trip down the 401 this time. The Gift Giving Show at Fort Henry. Maybe this time it will be the Torontians that come out in force for our show! We've already got some Toronto vendors, now we just need the Toronto shoppers! The show and the Fort have secured a good hotel deal for those travellers at the Four Points Sheraton. Crossing my fingers the flipflop turns out!

Here's a picture of a Carolyn Barnett sweater. She was one of the vendors at the One of a Kind and will be at the Gift Giving Show too!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kudos for Kingston

It’s always great to hear nice things about the city you live in, especially when it comes from visitors. Below are a couple of great examples of people loving Kingston

On behalf of my friends Julia and Aisling, I would like to sincerely thank you for the generous rate that you gave us on the weekend. The suite [at the Four Points by Sheraton] was perfect... we spent so much time in the room catching up with each other (as only girlfriends can). It was ideal having the separate living room.

Before leaving the hotel on Sunday, we decided to make this an annual event and booked our reservation for next November. Thank you for giving us a great rate on the room - I received an voice mail from Daniel today and an email from guest services as well. We can't wait to come back! We enjoyed Kingston as a city... there is so much character. We spent Saturday afternoon at the Dolce Bella spa which was lovely. We'll go back there next year again as well!

Thanks again, Greg. I just wanted to make sure that your efforts are most appreciated!!

Kind regards,
Marcia Cudmore

Here’s a link to another bloggers thoughts on Kingston in winter


The countdown has long been underway but with only a couple of weeks to go the time left until the Olympic Torch comes to Kingston almost upon us. On December 14th the torch won’t just be passing through the city but because Kingston’s designation as a “celebration site” it will hang around for a few hours of Olympic festivities.

Just a few blocks form the Holiday Inn at Spring Market Square there will be an introduction from the Vancouver Olympic Torch Relay Committee at 6pm with live music and performances leading up to the arrival of the torch at 7pm.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Someone is Coming to Town Tomorrow

Christmas is my favourite time of year I usually try to hold off decorating the house until December but five weeks before Christmas and its all decked out. But very soon all of Kingston will be feeling the Christmas vibe when Santa roles through town for the Santa Clause Parade tomorrow. Grab a hot chocolate and find a spot on Princess St. (from the Kingston Centre to the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront) to enjoy the bands, baton twirlers, floats, free candy and of course the big man himself.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

For the Artsy Fartsy

I've always loved that term! Anyhoo, if you like the Arts then Kingston is your place, and especially at this time of year. There's a lot happening throughout November / December, so much that I can't list them all, but here are a few of my favourites or the ones I'm participating in.

Demo Day at NGB
November 14, noon - 4
NGB Studios
12 Cataraqui Street

Fat Goose Fair
November 21, 10-4
10 Union St West

Gift Giving Show
December 4-6
Fort Henry
Get a discount if you stay at the Four Points Sheraton! >>

Holiday Hop
December 13, 10-5pm
Studios, 12 Cataraqui St

Other good websites to help with arts events are:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Plenty of Choices

More than two years ago, I began having to follow a very restricted diet that eliminated wheat, [cow] dairy, raw foods, and anything containing caffeine or alcohol, unless the alcohol had burned off during the cooking process. I can eat dairy products made from goat or sheep's milk, and coconut milk isn't really milk, it just looks like it. You might think "Ah, I guess she'll never be able to eat out." You'd be wrong when it comes to restaurants in Kingston.
With so many choices, especially in Asian or Greek-themed restaurants, I can always find somewhere to eat. Among many of the "fast food" establishments, I'm pretty much out of luck, but again, things are changing. There are now Asian and Greek-themed fast food choices. So I can pick up something to go, or sit down for a quick bite. There are other restaurants offering a varied menu that may not have a specific theme that I can sometimes find something I can eat. My point here is that Kingston has so much to offer, that no matter what your taste, or if like me, you have to restrict certain foods, you can find somewhere to eat.
I won't name specific restaurants, because I don't want to limit my choice, or yours. The neat thing about Kingston is that you find these places in the oddest of locations--on side streets, strip malls, and larger shopping centres. One caution though--some are quite small, so if you're going on a Friday or Saturday night, you might be out of luck, unless you go early. But if you get turned away because of a lack of seating, there's probably another spot close by. Bon Apetit.

Kingston Judo

Next weekend Kingston will host one of the largest Judo competitions in Ontario, the 2009 Ontario International Open organized by Judo Ontario. Nov. 7-8 will see an influx of top level Judo students in the city and specifically at the Kingston Military Community Sports Centre where the event is being held. Five divisions will be competing over the course of the weekend with the opening ceremonies happening on Saturday morning at 8am. The official hotel for the tournament is the Holiday Inn so if you’re coming to Kingston as spectator and rooms are full there you may need an alternative place to stay.

A Graveyard On Your Front Lawn

This Saturday we can all look forward to armies of costumed children roaming our neighbouhoods searching for the readily available treat and elusive trick. My favourite parts of Halloween, second after the treats, are all the decorations that start popping up around the City in the middle of October. Pumpkins, graveyards and ghosts are great ways to brighten up the dreary fall weather, so I’m offering an open invitation to send in pictures of your Halloween decorating! The Hochelaga Inn sent in these great pictures of their decorations and I want to see yours too.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Storm is in Town

Tomorrow's the last day, but it's a storm worth watching! Well, actually it's a storm worth visiting - GEMSTORM that is. It's the 40th annual Lapidary Club's gem, stones, beads and supply show at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. Some really cool things to see for everyone in the family.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Learning more about Kingston

I am working on a book about Kingston and the Islands. Contributing to this blog, and reading what others post will help with my research. I'm especially interested in hearing about what makes this area special to people, and stuff that you wouldn't necessarily find in any of the "regular" tourist information.

I joined a group of walkers four years ago at The Running Room and trained for several events. Walking around Kingston gave me a new appreciation for the city and all of its beautiful neighbourhoods.

I'm sure doing this will help me to get to know Kingston and the Islands better.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sale of the Year!

I just got back from Kingston best sale of the year! It's the Hatley $5 for $25 sale in downtown Kingston just around the corner from the Four Points Sheraton on Brock Street. They have the best clothes, gifts and rain boats - perfect for all fall weather when you're out visiting the corn maze near the Tymparon Inn!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Thursday is going to be busy, with the start of the Kingston Fall Fair, Canada DanceSport and Arts and Entertainment Week. This is the Fair’s 179th year and it promises to be the candy apple, corn dog and cotton candy extravaganza it always is plus the demolition derby, dairy shows, Farris wheel and a special clinic with Canadian Eventing team member Selena O’Hanlon. Canada DanceSport, which hosts world champion ballroom competitions, runs all weekend with events throughout the day and into the evening at the K-Rock centre. Canada DanceSport is also the kick-off for Arts and Entertainment week in Kingston and as usual brings us the top Canadian entertainers like Margaret Atwood and Russell Peters. A four day weekend in Kingston packed with fun activities is the best way to end the summer and head into fall.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Accomplishing all our goals

As we are getting near the end of summer, I asked our son what he wanted to do before the summer ended. (keep in mind he's 5) Here's his list:

1. camping at Sharbot Lake (check - although it rained the whole time, and I wished I was the Rosemount Inn instead!

2. play in the park near the memorial centre (well, the daycare took care of this one for me)

3. play laser tag (check - very fun, and funny to see him try and run with the vest almost touching the ground on him)

4. go to Toys R Us (check - I don't venture to the west end very often, but off we went, out passed the Green Acres Inn to shopping land)

5. go swimming at the place where there is a pool and a slide, and a sprinkler thingy (his cute little description - good thing I have mothers intuition on my side to figure out he was talking about the Ambassador Hotel pool! - check)

So thank goodness, we left nothing hanging and we can all go back to the normal routine! (although it was a lot of fun :-) )

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Arts and Entertainment Week

This September Kingston will be celebrating Arts and Entertainment week; Sept. 17th – 26th and showcasing top Canadian/Kingston talent. All the shows, readings and performances will be in Kingston’s top venues like the Grand Theatre and the K-Rock Centre. This year the acts are diverse and include the world renowned Canada DanceSport Ballroom dancing competition, comedian Russell Peters and Margaret Atwood are all slated for Kingston during Arts and Entertainment Week. Many other performances round out the week, for more info check out the link here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Plan For Kingston Next Weekend

Next weekend in Kingston is one of the best known festivals in the city, Blues Fest! Four days of blues music all over the city … it’s one big party. Most of the host venues are located in the downtown area so it’s easy walking distance to all of the performances and you can get a bracelet that allows you to get into all shows for $10.

Lots of restaurants, hotels and stores have special offers for Blues Festival participants as well; the Four Points Sheraton has a great package for people looking to visit Kingston for the full four days, it includes tickets to the opening night show in the K-Rock Centre, one of the top venues in town, plus a bracelet and a lot of other stuff too. Deals like this are a great way to enjoy Blues Fest.

Performers this year include:
Robert Cray
Mavis Staples
Shemekia Copeland
Delta Highway
Jack de Keyzer
Jerome Godboo
Garrett Mason
Elyssa Mahoney & Lucas Haneman

Monday, August 17, 2009

More Kingston Travel Tips

Five tips for Summer Travel to Kingston from the Tymparon Inn

1. Bring an umbrella as will ensure it won’t rain and if it does, you will be well prepared

2. Bring sunscreen and a hat to keep from burning, as you will surely want to enjoy a 1000 Islands Cruise (the sunset dinner cruises are particularly spectacular)

3.Be sure to take the Trolley Tour around Kingston and stop off at Sir John A. MacDonald’s home and Fort Henry

4.Plan to explore and experience Wolfe Island while you are visiting Kingston…..the ferry is free and it’s enjoyable either with or without a car…..and offers a super view of Kingston; if you bring your car, then enjoy a few hours on a truly heavenly secluded beach - Big Sandy Bay; if you’d rather walk on the Ferry then consider the educational and impressive Wind Mills Tour that leaves from the TIO Monday through Friday’s at 11am; if you like to bike there are many great biking paths that will enable you to thoroughly explore the entire island

5.Bring your bikes if you are sports enthusiasts as parking downtown will always be quick and simple

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Freshwater Sailing Capital

I can't believe I haven't written a post about sailing yet. The main reason we moved to Kingston was the sailing (not for me, but for the hubby). And it's not just any sailing here. We've lived all over, and nothing compares to Kingston when it comes to sailing. My hubby would say that the racing is the number one advantage in Kingston. Me? I would say it's the quick access to it. Often after work, we go for a short evening sailing. We hope on the boat at the Kingston Yacht Club (just down the street from Hotel Belvedere) and head out to Cedar Island. We're there in less than an hour, have a dinner on the dock, take an evening stroll up to the martello tour that's part of the Fort Henry Historical Site and then jump back on the boat for a sunset sail back. And we're back in bed in Kingston by 10.

We took some friends out for an evening sail earlier this summer and they said it was a magical little get away, that seemed like they were miles away from the world and yet, we could still see downtown Kingston and the green light from the Radisson. Here's some pictures from that amazing trip! Thanks Tracy Olan for the amazing pictures!

Friday, August 7, 2009

TOOL Rocks Kingston!

August 4th, at the K-Rock Center, Kinston Ontario, After almost 12 years of waiting I got to see my FAVORITE band perform, and they did not disappoint. The K-rock center was a perfect venue for the band to take your mind on a journey to a higher conciseness, with front man Maynards unbelievable vocals and guitarist Adam Jones gut wrenching riffs and harmonies. The band played a variety of songs from all their albums to a sold out crowd of die hard fans (and I was front a center!). My hats off to the City of Kingston for bringing the greatest rock show ever, to one of the nicest venues I've ever seen a show in (and I've been to A LOT of concerts). So for anyone wanting to see an amazing show I would totally recommend catching one at Kingstons, K-Rock center! or just visit the City of Kingston, everyone I met while I was there were friendly and out to have a good time. I think I might have to move here.... Check out this site for a list of activities and events going on in Kingston, to help you make your visit as enjoyable as mine was!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Peachtree Tips

Tara MacInnis from the Peachtree Inn has some great ideas...

1. When driving always have an emergency kit including blankets & water.

2. Always have a tag on all of your luggage with name address, phone & cell numbers or at least your name, phone & cell number so if we find luggage left in your room we can call your cell in hopes of catching you on time. There has been several occasions were the only number we have on hand is the land line number and because you are traveling we cannot reach you.

3. Insure that you have health coverage when traveling outside your residence as breaking your ankle could cost thousands if you do not have the proper coverage.

4. Always make sure that someone is picking up your mail & newspapers from your home while you are away as to not attract any unwanted attention to your home.

5. Always leave emergency contact numbers along with your planned itinerary & any planned stops you may be making along the way when traveling make sure that someone knows where you are going & your planned stops along the way. This will ensure that someone knows where you are and what you are planning on doing in case of any emergency’s the traveler or the person watching your home may have.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tips from the Rosemount Inn

Suzie Akenson from the Rosemount Inn in Kingston has sent in the top five travelling tips for staying at the Rosemount Inn:

Bring with you....
1. A sense of adventure - staying in a luxury home, the Rosemount Inn & Spa of the 1800's.
2. A passion for Red Wine and Chocolate when you visit our Vinotherapy Spa"
3. An Epicurean's palate - for our delicious breakfasts
4. Great walking shoes for a wonderful day of exploring the many museums and boutiques, unique shops downtown just three blocks from the inn.
5. Depending on the season, a swim suit for 'Big Sandy Bay', skates for the rink in Market Square, cross county skis for Cataraqui Conservation Area and rubber boots for walking in the Sugar Bush

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hotel Belvedere Tips for Travel

Ian Walsh from Kingston's Hotel Belvedere has sent in his top five tips for travelers:

1. Regular visitors should ask about leaving a small bag behind. We do this for guests and it
allows for future travel on airlines with only carry on luggage.
2. Always ask at the front desk for restaurant and entertainment info, with a map.
3. The Marine Museum is a gem for local history and spectacular ship models.
4. ‘Tilley’s’ quick dry underwear and socks.
5. Ask for names and use them, somehow your service will be better.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why I love Kingston

We just returned from our trip down east, and although it was a fun adventure, it made us love Ontario and Kingston that much more. Here is why:

1. No stinging jelly fish when swimming in the water.
2. We have a Starbucks.
3. We don't get swarmed by mosquitoes (that much).
4. We don't have to drive 18 hours to get here.
5. Our hotels cost less (believe me they do).

So next time you're thinking of heading east, downtown Kingston maybe east enough for a great holiday!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Poker Run

Next weekend Kingston’s Confederation Basin will be alive with the sound of hundreds of power boat engines for the 1000 Islands Poker Run. Over 150 power boats will be in Kingston for the 7th and 8th of August. The Poker Run starts with street displays and exhibits on the Friday and continues on the Saturday with the Run out of Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. If you’re looking to participate or come as a spectator there are great weekend packages available at the following hotels The Radisson, Sheridan Four Points and Holiday Inn Waterfront.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Not to Be Overlooked

Freshwater sailing is one of the very popular sports in Kingston and the regattas draw hundreds of visitors every year. Another great draw to Kingston that unfortunately sometimes gets overlooked is golf. There are a number of great courses in the Kingston area including Loyalist, Westbrook and Glen Lawrence Golf Club. Local B&B’s usually have a great package offered so you can get lower green fees and stay relatively close to the course. Kingston’s Green Acres Inn has a two night package available with a couple of course options available; check out the details here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Paddle Challenge

Kingston and area is a great spot for water sports and a new festival has popped up this summer for kayaking enthusiasts. The 1000 Islands Paddle Sport Challenge will be held for the fist time the weekend of July 25th and 26th at Joel Stone Beach in Gananoque. The best part about the festival is that is starts with clinics and lessons so no matter what level you’re at you can tune up your skills before the Sunday races. There are even special lessons for kids and a kid’s race. Hopefully the Challenge is a success and back again next year!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Turbine Tours

For many people who visit Kingston the draw of the city is the historical relevance and beauty of the city. What most tourists rarely get to see are the many efforts made to make Kingston as eco-friendly as possible. For example with the Wolfe Island Wind Farm visitors can view the huge turbines up close during a free one hour tour over the course of the summer. Also, many tourists don’t realize that even their hotels have green initiatives to conserve energy and promote sustainability.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Busker Tips

One of the biggest events in Kingston’s summer calendar is undoubtedly the Buskers Rendezvous. This year there were over 30 performers and from July 9-12 downtown Kingston was transformed; the streets were closed for fire eaters, acrobats, magicians and spectators were awash in face paint and balloon animals. For those who have never experienced Buskers I have made a list of tips so you will be ready for next year.

Make sure you have lots of change
Bring kids with you
Participate! Some of the acts get spectators involved.
Laugh, clap and shout – the performers love it
If you’re from out of town make sure you book a downtown hotel so you’re close to the action

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Free Movies and Music

I happened to be on a long weekend visit to Kingston and arriving Thursday evening decided to take a quick walk around downtown by my hotel, the Radisson. A couple blocks up at the city’s market square there was a huge movie screen set up and a bunch of people with folding chairs enjoying a movie. There was no admission fee and it was like being at the drive in without spending the gas money. Arriving back at the hotel I commented to the front desk staff about the movies and they told me there were free lunch time and evening concerts through out the summer as well in different areas downtown. It’s great coming to Kingston because every time I’m here there’s another little surprise like Movies in the Square and Music in the Park both of which are organized by Downtown Kingston.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Kingston and Frontenac County New book

A friend and colleague of mine, Alec Ross, has just published a wonderful and beautiful book about Kingston that every visitor and Kingstonian should own. Here's a sneak peak! Kingston and Frontenac County

A scenic tour of one of Canada's most historic and lively regions.

The history and character of Frontenac County have been shaped by its geography -- the numerous rivers and lakes, the farm-friendly limestone bedrock, the granite of the Canadian Shield, which includes the Frontenac Arch, a UNESCO-designated area of extraordinary biological diversity -- and its people.

Also fascinating is the social and economic history of Kingston. French explorers, British Loyalists and later arrivals all helped transform it into a key naval and military base, thriving port and center for shipbuilding and the railroad. The book pays particular attention to Limestone City, home to Sir John A. Macdonald, but it also explores the surrounding towns and villages and the entire county''s wealth of artists, writers and musicians.

This captivating collection of new and archival photographs and essays will delight and inform residents and visitors alike.

It has wonderful pictures on the cover too, one of Fort Henry and one of the 1000 Island Cruises, as well as others.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Get Mom Something Good!

Mother’s Day is a couple weeks away and I’m going to try my hardest not to fall into the standard card and bouquet trap. I’m bored of giving that stuff so I can only image how bored my Mom is of getting it. So this year will be different and hopefully the start of a new Mother’s Day tradition as I have invited my Mom for a weekend getaway in Kingston. Kingston’s Tymparon Inn has a great Mother’s Day package that will make me #1 daughter. To cap the weekend off we’ll be having brunch at Fort Henry’s Officers’ Dining Rooms. For once it will be a Mother’s Day to remember!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sad but not bitter

Times are changing even in city so rich in history. One of our landmarks and much loved stores by both tourists and residents, S & R, is closing. Yes, it's sad day. But one thing I always tell my son, is that on the other side of rain (or tears) there's often a rainbow. Maybe something really cool will go into that spot, something like a Children's museum or science centre, a history museum. Something else that will serve both tourists and residents. It's a perfect location with parking, near marinas, near great hotels, cool building, etc.

Maybe the nearby hotels like the Holiday Inn, Four Points or the Frontenac Inn should weigh in on the issue since they're so close. What would like to see there? What would their visitors like to see there?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Eating with Royalty

During my visits to Kingston I have had the delightful opportunity of dining at many of the fantastic restaurants that abound all over the city- and- thank goodness- there are still many left for my next trips. Since I am not a food critic by any means, I tend to judge restaurants as much by ambiance as by culinary expertise. The place that first comes to mind as being "a fun place" , and a place I have returned to many times, is "The Toucan" - a pub and eatery with a delightful patio at the side. It's just around the corner (and a few blocks) from the Frontenac Club Inn, Radisson and Sheraton. This patio looks out onto the back alleyway is so much a part of the Kingston scene. One memorable weekend we went out on Friday night. We heard a local, but very well-known group called "The Mahones". I loved them- the more I drank, the faster they sang- good old Irish tunes with lots of noise and rhythm. It was grand. Next day we went to The Toucan for brunch, and lo and behold, who sat down at the next table? THE MAHONES! Well it was like eating with royalty, or some such.

I love the patio at The Toucan- the food is great, the portions are generous and the price is terrific. It has the feel of "Cheers", busy and bustling, and obviously a place for friends to meet and greet. Alas, last time I visited they had taken my VERY favourite item (Eggs Benedict) off the menu. I hope that when I return this spring or summer they will have put it back in its place of honour........please?????? Maybe someone can put in a good word for me.

Linda (Smith)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kingston is my City

As mentioned in my previous post I was going to have all of my answers for the National Geographic contest, so here they are.

Looking foward to seeing everyone elses!

My City Questionnaire

Kingston is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is Fort Henry National Historic Site!

When I crave cupcakes I always go to Card’s Bakery

To escape stress I head to the Rosemount Inn & Spa for a massage

If I want to have fun I go to the waterslide at the Ambassador Conference Resort

For complete quiet, I can hide away at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library

If you come to my city, get your picture taken with the Town Crier

If you have to order one thing off the menu from Aqua Terra Restaubistro it has to be The Aqua Terra (beef tenderloin and tiger shrimp!)

Tribal Voices is my one-stop shop for great jewellery and accessories

Locals know to skip dinner and check out dessert first at White Mountain Ice Cream instead

When I'm feeling cash-strapped I go to S&R Department Store

For a huge splurge I go to Chez Piggy for dinner

Photo ops in my city include Springer Market Square on market day and the best vantage points are along King St

If my city were a celebrity it'd be Bryan Adams (down to earth, truly Canadian and always amazing to see live)

The most random thing about my city is ‘Skeleton’ (McBurney) Park, it was a cemetery in the 1800’s and is now a city park… human remains still get uncovered today

My city has the most uniformed men

My city has the most intelligent women.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves sailing on Lake Ontario

My city's best museum is The Penitentiary Museum

My favorite jogging/walking route is through Lake Ontario Park

For a night of dancing, go to Joy Supper Club. Or, for live music, check out The Merchant on Friday’s

Bubba’s is the spot for late-night eats

To find out what's going on at night and on the weekends, read

You can tell a lot about my city from walking down Princess St. in the heart of downtown

You can tell if someone is from my city if they know where Sir. John A. Macdonald is buried

In the spring you should check out Maple Madness at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area

In the summer you should go sailing – Kingston is world renowned for it or watch free movies in Springer Market Square …

In the fall you should take a 1000 islands boat cruise, you’ll have the best view of the best foliage anywhere

In the winter you should stay warm with a specialty coffee from Sips coffee & dessert bar

A hidden gem in my city is Orchard St. Park

For a great breakfast joint try Morrison’s

Don't miss the Busker’s Rendezvous’ festival in July

Just outside my city, you can visit the Cataraqui Conservation Area for some great hiking

The best way to see my city is on the Confederation Tour Trolley

If my city were a pet it would be a turtle

If I didn't live in a city, I'd live on a horse farm

The best book about my city is A Kingston Album: Glimpses of the Way we Were

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is ‘I will always return’ by Bryan Adams

If you have kids, you won't want to miss the Teddy Bear Picnic

The Aberdeen St. party for Queen’s Homecoming could only happen in my city.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I <3 Kingston

National Geographic’s Travelers magazine and Intelligent Traveler blog want to know why we love our city and who better to tell them than the readers of the ‘I Love Kingston’ Blog?!

Go to this link to get the list of questions and submit your answers to the email address provided for the chance to have it featured on the Intelligent Traveler blog and potenitally a book.

Remember to submit your answers here as well (the email link at the bottom of the page) so we can feature them too!

I'll have my answers up soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

From Community to School

My son goes to a downtown school. A school that is currently on the chopping block because of the expense to the board to keep it running. However, the expense to the city if the school closed would be enormous. And downtown Kingston businesses know this and that's why they stepped up to the plate to help this little school that could!

In February the school held a fundraiser for the kindergarten yard revitalization project (Not the kindergarten revitalization project as I called it many times by mistake - sounds like we're upgrading our kids). The more we as a community can support this school, the less the board will have to do and therefore the less likely it will be to close. With the help of donations for the silent auction at the dance from many businesses in Kingston, (like the Four Points Sheraton, the Ambassador Hotel, the Holiday Inn , the Rosemount Inn , Boiler Room Climbing Gym , and Kingston Glass Studio & Gallery) we raised over $3500 for the yard.

Now that's a community...and a school that I can be proud of. Thanks Kingston!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Off to the Island

I finally got to visit Wolfe Island this past summer. I loved the experience, and I would like to share it with you.

I first learned of its existence and its proximity to Kingston on a TV program- 2 ladies who visit people who are having problems with ghostly apparitions. These 2 gals visited a couple on Wolfe Island, and what developed was quite intriguing. I won't reveal the entire story, but my interest was aroused to investigate this special place.

My daughter and her family have made the ferry trip to Wolfe Island many times. She reported that the Wolfe Island Ferry runs all day, 365 days a year in all kinds of weather. A special technology prevents the ferry lane from freezing up in cold weather, so it is rare that a trip is cancelled. Many people who live on the island work on the mainland, so getting there and back every day is of great importance. I have driven to work, taken a bus, and even a train, but taking a ferry to work was a new concept to me. The part that really wowed me was that the trip is FREE- no charge either way. What more could one ask?

Anyone making the trip can drive on (take a vehicle), or just walk on as a foot passenger. The trip lasts about 20-30 minutes. It departs right near the Holiday Inn's parking lot.

The day we went was warm and sunny. My daughter kept warning me that, as walk-ons, we would be limited in what we could do once we got to the island. Apparently the cemetery mentioned on my TV show was probably NOT within walking distance so I had to scratch that off my list. In spite of this set-back I decided that I wanted to go on foot for my first time.

We landed at the wharf with perhaps 20 other walkers, and a full contingent of vehicles, including a huge transport truck. We walked the little main street, and I found it delightful. There is a grand hotel, an ice cream shop, a variety store, some craft shops, and a restaurant or two. Whether by chance, or pure design, we arrived at supper time. We decided on one of the restaurants, and were shown through a little pub to a back ivy-covered deck with a view over the lake. We enjoyed a delicious and reasonably priced meal, then cruised the main street, visited the stores, bought an ice cream, and returned to the wharf just in time to catch the ferry back to Kingston.

I have since often thought I would love to live on Wolfe Island. It seems to have a lifestyle all its own. The whole excursion was a great experience. We were gone about three hours and our only real expense was the cost of our meal. What a great way to spend time on a warm summer afternoon. This summer I hope to take a vehicle. I do want to visit the graveyard, and I hear there is a nice beach that I didn't get to see.

Make Wolfe Island a stop when you visit Kingston. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Linda (Smith)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Girls Just Want to Have ...

... fun in Kingston! Check out this link to read a great article on why Kingston is a great spot for a girls only getaway spot.


Friday, February 6, 2009

A weekend to Celebrate

Well, it's a 10th anniversary for the reelout festival. The weekend has a ton of things to offer - just check it out. . When I was checking out things to do in town for a gay relative and friend I realized this is the perfect time to visit Kingston. Gay or not - the festival offers so many great events. And if you need a place to stay, I was happily surprised to see a local accommodation listing site displaying the pride flag on their site...

Take a Hike

Most of my favourite Kingston sights and sounds involve walking. No one could be more surprised than me, because I'm the lady who takes the car to go to the corner store. If I can do it, almost anyone can, so do come with me as I describe another wonderful experience- and try it for yourself if you get the opportunity. But if you're really opposed, you can always take the Tour Trolley!

As previously mentioned, I'm sold on Kingston's downtown district. Part of the allure of going downtown is actually the sights I see on my way there. I have mapped out three different routes, all about 20 minutes in length. Twenty minutes is a good little hike (for me, anyway), but there is so much to see that I'm at city centre before I know it. Since all the routes I take are the close to the core, I am walking through the oldest residential districts. So much of what I see reflects an historical record- one quite different from my home town. The residences put me in mind of pictures I have seen of "olde" England, Ireland and Scotland. Some of the streets are quite narrow, and the houses close together. As in most older neighbourhoods, the front yards are tiny- in fact there is so little room from front door to the street in some places, telephone poles are actually on the road. There is no room for a boulevard. Even a lot of the downtown Inns are like this.

Many houses are "row houses", 4 or more identical adjoined units. This is quite common in Britain- but seen here more often in newer neighbourhoods. I love the older versions. The owners sometimes opt to keep each unit identical to its neighbour- same coloured trim, same coloured roof, similar landscaping. Other owners seemingly compete with their neighbours- which unit boasts the brightest colour scheme, or the most eye-catching front garden. Many of the homes I see have landscaped the entire front "lawn" as a garden. No grass to cut, whatsoever, and what a pretty picture it makes. Again- it gives the feel of an old-style English country garden. How absolutely delightful! Another source of interest on these older houses is the prevalence of wooden trim- some extremely ornate and intricate. It is obvious that some owners love and value this special trim work. They often paint all the wood in bright, unusual colours- vibrant yellows, apple greens, bright fuscias and deep purples. The result, especially when combined with a full front flower garden can't help but draw the eye and lift the spirit. So much more fun than the neatly trimmed lawns and bushes so prevalent back home.

I have another subject to add to my list of what makes Kinston number one in my books. Almost every other home I pass, or person, for that matter has a dog, or at least a fat puss cat lolling on the sidewalk. This pleases me no end- I make a lot of four-legged friends on my journeys. I never see a dog-walker without a plastic clean-up bag- and I have never seen a pooch" deposit" that has been left for someone to step in. (this goes for the parks I visit as well). Now I KNOW no city has this problem licked- and I am sure I have just been lucky in my travels- but all-in-all, I think most Kingston dog owners do what is expected of them. I'm certainly impressed. Even the buskers on main street bring their pets to work. I met a gorgeous pooch who wears sun-glasses, and a cat who sits on "Mom's" lap while she plays the violin. Now the dog was a total "ham", obviously loving "playing to the crowd"- but the CAT??? Again- I was pretty impressed!

So much to see, so much to enjoy. Before I know it, I'm downtown. Even I am amazed that I not only walk in Kingston- I look forward to it. I guess two advertisements sum it up:
1. getting there is half the fun, and
2. sometimes you just have to do walk-about.

Either is high praise coming from me, and once more I encourage you to give it a try. The limestone churches, which I haven't even mentioned, are spectacular.

Linda (Smith)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fort Henry

Bryan Mercer, the Marketing Supervisor at Fort Henry National Historic Site (one of Kingston’s most well known attractions) had a few minutes to answer some of our Kingston questions... check it out below.

Kelly: What activity is an absolute must for anyone visiting Kingston?
Bryan: Experience an explosive Sunset Ceremony at Fort Henry and a drift down the St. Lawrence on a scrumptious dinner cruise onboard the Island Star.

K: What is the strangest request you have had from a guest?
B: Where in Kingston can we get married...quickly? Sent them to City Hall - never saw them again! They were so caught up in the beauty of the City, they wanted to get married here while on vacation.

K: When is the best time of year to visit Kingston? Why?
B: Depends on the visitor's favourite season. July and/or August - the City is in full bloom and outdoor events are boundless. October - amazing colours on walking trails or cruising the river. February for outdoor invigorating fun at Feb Fest.

K: What do your guests say they like the best about Kingston?
B: The friendly, helpful people that portray a great sense of pride about the City. The walkability ofdowntown. Being surrounded by water. The glorious, Victorian Architecture.

K: Who has more fun in Kingston, the visitors or residents?
B: It's a CONSTANT competition - it can change on any given day. When residents and guests meet a special events, it's hard to tell then apart!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We're not the only Kids on the Block

Last night I was running around on the net and I bumped into some other I love Kingston blogs. Ok, they may not have the same name, but they do have the same spirit. If you're into running around a bit, have a peak..

  1. Kingston Brew Pub's Beer Blog -
  2. A community blog like ours -
  3. Arts & Culture events -
  4. What's Happening in Kingston -

Now with that said, we don't mind you running around, just make sure you come back!

A Hip Grandma

In my last "Ode to the Fair City of Kingston" I explained that I am a Grandma. That should give you an idea of my age, although in my mind I'm a pretty "hip" Grandma. The word "hip" brings to mind one of my very favourite Kingston memories. (and No...I didn't break my hip there or anywhere else...Yet). "The Hip", or "the Tragically Hip" is a band who is famous all over North America and Europe. I have always been a huge fan, even long before I knew they came from Kingston. Finding out their origin was "icing on the cake"- my favourite group called my favourite city "home".

Now people who live in Kingston are "cool" about The Hip - I have never got an overly exuberant response when I mention them when I'm visiting. What I find amusing is that, while no one I have met actually knows any of the group personally, everyone seems to have a cousin who lives beside the brother of a schoolmate of the drummer, or the bass, or even Gordon Downie himself. I guess it really IS a small world. Anyway, its always close enough for me...I am always suitably impressed.

A couple of years ago my daughter called from Kingston to say she had signed me up as a volunteer. The Hip were playing a one night "gig" in Kingston. The only venue big enough to hold them at that time (not like the KROCK Centre now) was the playing field at the military college (RMC), and the organizers had to promise the field would be returned to RMC in pristine condition at the end of the concert. My job was to be part of the clean-up crew- picking up all the trash left by the crowd. In my mind I was going to be a "roadie" for the Hip- a once in a lifetime opportunity! I could just see myself being invited to go backstage to meet the band. I reserved my train ticket for the following day.

The big evening finally arrived. My first inkling that this little stint might not go as I had pictured it in my mind was when my daughter and son-in-law decided parking downtown might be tricky- they suggested we WALK to the RMC playing field. I am a person who takes the car to the corner store (me bad..too bad). I NEVER walk if it can possibly be avoided. I couldn't imagine walking what seemed like 30 miles just to get there- but far be it from me to sound old and decrepit. I should also mention my son-in-law is about 6 feet tall- and 5 feet of that is legs. He walks a mile a minute. I take four steps to his one. Oh well- off we go, me huffing and puffing in the rear- and trotting as fast as my old Grandma legs could go. I made it- just- but I was hot, and tired. Did I mention cranky?

The crowd was amazing. No matter how cool the citizens of Kingston were when speaking of The Hip- everyone showed up to hear them. What an exciting night! All was forgotten and forgiven. I left my daughter and her group (pregnant wives and hubbies either backpacking or pushing wee children in strollers), and pushed my way right up front. I expected to end up with the movers, groovers, smokers and moshers, but I guess THEY were the ones I pushed out of the way. The very front row was filled with other "Grandmas" of all shapes and sizes. We clapped, we boogied and we sang along. They played all our favourite Hip tunes. I, at least, had an official t-shirt, which I showed off. I had hoped it would say "staff" just so I could call myself a "roadie", but, alas it designated me as a volunteer. Still- I think the other ladies were so wishing they were me.

The concert was soon over. It surely was an evening to remember. I re-grouped with my family and we waited for the crowd to clear. Can you imagine what a mess thousands of people can make, and how many bottles and junk they leave behind? And I had promised to clean it all up. I had already walked what seemed like 50 miles or so (it goes up every time I tell this story), then performed with my new front row friends for over two hours- and now they expected me to put everything back to the way we found it. I was pretty sure each person there purposely left TWO empty water or pop bottles just for me. Also- upon checking, I discovered it was WAY past my bedtime.

We eventually did have the field cleaned up. I made it very plain, however, that if I was expected to walk home I would report my children to the authorities for causing cruel and unusual punishment. I was allowed to take a bus (although it didn't take us home, it instead dropped off us downtown at the Holiday Inn and we still had to walk).

That night is one of my fondest Kingston memories. I thought I might get a call-back from "Gord" asking me to join them again, but so far nothing. I'm not worried, there is always tomorrow for someone with my background training and extensive experience. This Grandma "roadie" will be ready!

Linda (Smith)

Tymparon Inn Bed & Breakfast

Another interview! This time Don and Zoe Timperon, Innkeepers at the Tymparon Inn Bed & Breakfast have filled us in on their thoughts and experiences in Kingston.

Kelly: What activity is an absolute must for anyone visiting Kingston?
Don & Z: Boat cruise in Thousands Islands

K: What is the strangest request you have had from a guest?
D&Z: Providing them with a list of nearby riding stables to ride horses English style

K: When is the best time of year to visit Kingston? Why?
D&Z: May - the weather is gorgeous, and it’s not too crowded, since most of the Queens students have gone home for the summer and our busiest tourist season hasn’t yet started.

K: What do your guests say they like the best about Kingston?
D&Z: Our waterfront and downtown stores and restaurants.

K: Who has more fun in Kingston, the visitors or residents?
D&Z: Residents - we have the pleasure to enjoy all of Kingston’s amazing attributes every day of the year.

Thanks Don & Zoe!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Yum Yum

Visiting my sister in Kingston is always fun, it’s great to catch up in the way only sisters can (rehashing childhood fiascos and bemoaning parental mistakes). However I do admit, and rather ashamedly that what sustains me on the train ride to Kingston is the thought of the Aqua Terra Sunday Brunch. The restaurant is located in the Radisson hotel in downtown Kingston and is the best place for specialty waffles. Strawberries and whipped cream please!

Of course omelets, roast beef, salmon, fruit and all other breakfast treats are available but really it’s the waffles that matter. As always, we both eat way too much and end up walking it off in through Confederation Basin Park and up the streets of downtown. It’s a great way to spend a Sunday, and plus you won’t be hungry until dinner!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Internet in Kingston What a Pleasure

This past weekend we went to visit my parents in another city. Over breakfast and again over lunch we tried to show them something on the Internet (in two different locations) and didn't have any luck. Neither location had wireless set up for their customers. So after lunch we wandered around looking for somewhere to log on and no luck. I've never had that problem in Kingston. Many of our restaurants downtown are hotspots, the hotels all offer a connection and we even have an Internet Cafe available. As a tourist in another city, I was proud to be from a city that is up with the times - thanks Kingston!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Have you been to Springer Square?

Ok, so I'm not a skater myself, but being married to a hockey guy makes me qualified to tell a good rink when I see it. And it's not really about the ice. Over the Christmas holidays I went skating with my grandson down at market square. It was so great to have a free way to spend the day and I think others agree because the place was packed. When we needed a break we went to Sipps to warm up and when we were done we went to Lonestar for their famous fajitas (it's just in front of the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront which we found at

So, if you looking for a good family activity in downtown Kingston, bring your skates and head to Springer Square.

Linda (Smith)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Visiting Kingston - An Outsider's Perspective

During my regular romps through blogs that pique my interest, I came across this delightful post from one Marie-Louise Ayres, Curator of Manuscripts from the National Library of Australia.

Back in 2007 Ms. Ayres attended the Association of Canadian Archivists' conference in Kingston, and in doing so also took the time to write about her experiences in the city.

From local hotels to the Royal Military College, Ms. Ayres does a wonderful job of documenting her first impressions through words and pictures.

If you have any experiences from Kingston that you would like to share, send an email to Linda McNair. If you're a local - and even if you're not - we'd love to read whatever you've got. (And yes, I do realize that last bit rhymed; I'm somewhat of a poet, if you haven't noticed!)

Cheers for now.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Peachtree Inn-terview

In an effort to get a view of Kingston from all sides I have managed to get Tara MacInnis, Sales Manager at the Peachtree Inn to answer some questions about our lovely city... thanks Tara!

Kelly: What activity is an absolute must for anyone visiting Kingston?
Tara: They must visit the museums as well as my favorite the Penitentiary Museum

K: What is the strangest request you have had from a guest?
T: I have had several people call and ask “How do I get to your hotel, I’m driving South on Princess Street.”

We have long full body mirrors located in every room and a guest once requested that we bring her a smaller mirror as ours were too big.

K: When is the best time of year to visit Kingston? Why?
T: The fall season because of all of the leaves; the colors are beautiful

K: What do your guests say they like the best about Kingston?
T: The downtown area, shops, restaurants and water front

K: Who has more fun in Kingston, the visitors or residents?
T: I would say like any town, the native people do not enjoy the city as much as those who come to visit. It is something they observe daily so they often forget to take a deep breath and look around to see what the City of Kingston really does have to offer.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Best of Both Worlds

Every time I head into Kingston – the good ol’ King’s Town, home of the Frontenacs and the Hip – I can’t help but think, “Shazam, this place is a living time capsule”! Compared to my modest little hometown, Kingston is the equivalent of a sprawling metropolis, embracing the progress of the 21st century without forgetting its’ hundreds-of-years-old heritage.

The Kingston Fortifications (including Murney Tower and Fort Henry) are reminders of past wars on Canadian soil, while Town Hall reminds us of Kingston’s brief position as Canada’s political capital.

Aging buildings – complete with brilliantly inspired architecture – continue to serve as homes, historical attractions, museums and bed & breakfasts. Only blocks away, world-class hotels pierce the skyline along the St. Lawrence River.

From the major retailers along Gardiners Road to the quaint shops of Princess Street, it’s as if the past, present and future have all collided. And I’m lovin’ every bit of it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A splash of a good time

While everyone else laid low on New Year's Day, we had a birthday to celebrate. My son turned 5 and was now big enough to ride the slide at the Ambassador Indoor Waterpark. What a great place to go! We spent over 2 hours there splashing in the pool, going down the waterslide (even I tried it - more than once), running through the splash pad, and mostly soaking in the hot tub. The Eucalyptus Steam Room was a great way to start the new year.

I may not be from out of town, but I love being a tourist in my own city!