Hidden Gems, Sports

Some people might be surprised to know that out of the small selection of athletes invited to represent Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, seven are from Kingston and five of them are water and wind athletes. This wouldn’t come as a shock to Kingstonians though, as we’ve cultivated a legacy of excellence in water sports. After a postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 10,000 athletes are set to compete at the Games July 23 to August 8, 2021. Abi Tripp (Para-swimming), Alexandra (Ali) ten Hove (Sailing), Jennifer Casson (Rowing), Kristina Walker (Rowing), and Will Crothers (Rowing) are the Kingston athletes that Lake Ontario has helped nurture for the world’s most prominent sports competition.

Jennifer Casson has been competing on the Canadian Senior National Rowing Team since 2017. As she prepares for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, she reflects on how Kingston simply caters itself to water and wind athletes. “Kingston has always sort of hit way above its belt as far as athletes that have come from Kingston. I don’t know if it’s something in the water – I’m inclined to believe that. It’s just such an active, little town and everyone’s always doing something on the water. You’re surrounded by three bodies of water.”

Credit: Dwayne Brown Studio

Even in a country like Canada, home to the most lakes in the world, Kingston still stands out as a superior spot for sailing and rowing. We spoke with John Curtis, a 16-year veteran of the Canadian sailing team who represented Canada in sailing at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in the Tornado class. He has several accolades at the international level and is also the President of Wind Athletes Canada, an organization that provides financial and logistical support for aspiring Olympic sailors.

“Kingston is a great place to sail. There’s a whole bunch of factors and they all sort of come together in Kingston. I have sailed the world, so when I say Kingston is one of my favourite places, I would say it is my favourite place to sail. First of all, we typically have some sailable wind every day. In the summer, we often have relatively strong winds in a fairly reliable pattern.”

In addition to excellent wind conditions, Kingston is famous for its southwesterly thermal breeze. Curtis explains that our water is the right depth and there aren’t many obstacles to obscure training and races. There’s also a “very nice fetch,” which means we have a stretch of open water that cultivates excellent waves, rather than a small, enclosed sailing area. It’s no surprise then, that many of Canada’s greatest wind and water professionals are those who began their athletic journey here.

Kingston’s Ali ten Hove is representing Canada in Sailing in the 49er – Skipper Class at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She points out that Kingston’s gorgeous lakefront directly connects the community to water. The unique thermally driven winds in the summer months make for strong and consistent conditions, ten Hove’s “ideal sailing playground” that’s fun to race in.

Curtis remarks that there are other places in the world that have water factors that are conducive to sailing, but it’s the small-town atmosphere in Kingston that truly makes a difference for professional athletes. Often, in other popular sailing locations such as San Francisco, athletes must make long commutes even if they live close to the water. Even after rigging your boat, it might take 45 minutes to sail out to an area of water that’s favorable to training and racing. Lake Ontario, on the other hand, is easily accessible from residences and it only takes about three minutes to get from the Kingston harbour to the “field of play.”

Beyond the environmental conditions and physical location that make Kingston a breeding ground for wind athletes, Kingston also has a rich history of welcoming international sailors to our harbour. The Canadian Olympic-training Regatta, Kingston, (CORK) began in 1969 with an original committee made up of Kingston Yacht Club (KYC) members. And in 1976, we highlighted our superior freshwater sailing conditions on the global stage during the Olympic Games. Due to our Lake Ontario location and reputation for world-class sailing, the Montreal 1976 Olympic sailing events were held in Kingston at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. The harbour, which was constructed in 1969, was rejuvenated in 1974 to include three race areas for the Games. The 1976 sailing program was made up of six different sailing disciplines across three race areas. The Portsmouth Olympic Harbour is the only legacy Olympic sailing site in North America.

CORK continues to be world-renowned, for its pre-Olympic regattas that take place in August with more than 1,500 competitors and for hosting North American and World Championships. CORK brings young, international talent to Kingston’s shores each year. CORK also works closely with Ontario Sailing and Sail Canada and hosts an annual Fall Regatta at the end of September. In fact, Curtis came to Kingston for the CORK regattas in the early ‘80s and deemed it the “beginning of [his] love affair with Kingston.” Curtis points to Kingston regattas and CORK as crucial to the sport, both locally and internationally.

“Because Kingston has been a great place to sail for a long time and is close to the water, the world already comes to Kingston, and they sort of park themselves in Kingston every summer. So, there are great training opportunities here. That’s a consistent thing. That’s just been created by the hard work of all the people who have come before us who held big events and Kingston is a great place to come and train. Once a place becomes a great place to train, it’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy: it’s a great place because it’s a great place and everybody goes there because it’s a great place. It’s a virtuous circle, that’s what it is.”

So, while Kingston has had many famous names take up sail at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour and it boasts some of the world’s best sailors and rowers, we owe it all to a tireless local community. Curtis believes that the true value of sport is how it can be a vehicle for building community, and in Kingston, the sailing community is simply made up of good people. Ten Hove is also a strong believer that Kingston’s community had a significant role in cultivating her skills as a high-performance wind athlete:

“I think a main reason probably why I reached the level that I am at now does have a lot to do with Kingston. It’s no surprise that Kingston produces so many high-calibre athletes within sailing because the sailing community in Kingston has such a history of Olympic excellence and such a legacy.”

In 2021, on the 45th anniversary of the Montreal 1976 Olympics, Kingston continues to prove itself as the freshwater sailing capital of the world, and Tokyo 2020 will be the fourth Olympics in a row in which a Kingston rower has competed. Due to CORK’s long history of hosting regattas and the wisdom passed down through generations of members at the Kingston Yacht Club and Kingston Rowing Club, we have a vibrant water and wind community that continues to nurture new and established talent.



Here are 10 trucks, carts and trailers that serve up seriously delicious street eats in Kingston.


🌾 gluten-free options

🌱 vegan options

🍄 vegetarian options


Canadian Tire, 1040 Division Street

11am – 6pm daily

This mother-daughter duo transitioned from traveling festival to festival across Ontario to being one of Kinston’s most beloved stationary food trucks. Their food truck was voted Kingston’s #1 Food Truck and #1 BBQ of 2020. If you try their burgers, brisket, or corn dogs, your taste buds will know why. They serve smoked meats with a signature rub and sauce, all made from scratch. With weekly specials like cheeseburger pickle poutine and gluten-free options for every item on the menu, you’re bound to find something you love – no extra condiments required.

Must-try: Pulled pork sandwich (applewood smoked pulled pork with dill pickle, homemade BBQ sauce, and a soft bun)


Fairfield Park, 4574 Loyalist Parkway

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday 11am – 6pm, Friday, Saturday 11am – 7pm, Closed on Tuesday

Must-try: Spicy Italian sausage soup


3100 Princess Street

Weekdays 11am – 6pm, Saturday 11am – 5pm, Closed on Sunday

This is not your regular food truck. Juicy Kik packs their menu with nutrient-dense options like super juice, smoothies, smoothie bowls, wraps, and salads. While you can still get some great French fries here, Juicy Kik is dedicated to fresh ingredients and healthy, innovative food and drinks. Brighten your day with one of their signature blue smoothies!

Must-try: 24K GOLD smoothie bowl (acai, banana, mango, blueberries, and coconut milk base topped with edible gold flakes, dates, banana, granola, mango, and bee pollen.)


666 Collins Bay Road

Monday – Saturday 11am – 7pm, Sunday 11am – 6pm

Is it possible to create a list of food trucks without including a fry truck? While technically not a food truck, this small stand is ready to fulfil your craving for hand-cut chips. You can also order traditional fare such as hotdogs, burgers, and even hand-dipped corn dogs. Powered by a food-loving family, this is a stop you don’t want to miss.

Must-try: French fries


730 Front Road

Wednesday – Saturday 4pm – 8pm

Although new to the food truck scene this summer, Days on Front restaurant has already proven itself by offering simple, yet refined, dishes. By using local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible, their licensed food truck is sure to be a summertime hit with a patio where you can sit to enjoy your meal. The menu may evolve but it currently offers mains (like pasta), sandwiches, salads, and even desserts. You can definitely get a well-rounded meal here.

Must-try: Anything from their extensive drink menu and wine list


Memorial Centre Farmers Market – 303 York Street

Sunday 9am – 2pm

If you needed another reason to take a trip to the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market, The Churro Guy should be it. Place your order online if you have your heart set on something specific, then head over to the Memorial Centre to pick up your delicious treats. You also don’t have to order ahead as they have a selection of baked goods available on-site. Their small but mighty selection includes Cape Breton oatcakes, sweet potato burger buns and hot, fresh, churros. The Churro Guy uses pasteurized, whole goat milk and farm-fresh eggs in their products.

Must-try: Cinnamon Twist (a single twisted cinnamon bun)


While not technically a food truck, you’ll want to keep an eye out for this travelling food cart. B’s Bike Bites has a live tracker so that you can follow along with B’s route and listen for the telltale bells that mean some refreshing snacks are on their way to you. Bailey DiGenova (B) rides a cart similar to an old-fashioned Dickie Dee, delivering ice cream and beverages. B, who has Autism and is non-verbal, developed the business with his parents in summer 2020.

Must-try: Whatever chilly treats you’re craving!


Leon’s Furniture Kingston – 2730 Princess Street

Wednesday – Sunday, 11:30am – 5:30pm

This food truck brings you both barbecue staples and unique features. They’ve managed to make hotdogs, burgers, sandwiches, and poutines even yummier with distinct pairings – oxtail poutine with homemade gravy, cheese curds, and fried leeks, anyone? Whether they’re offering rainbow buns from a local bakery or bringing the east coast to you with 4 oz. lobster rolls, you’re sure to find something creative and delicious here.

Must-try: B.C. Grilled Cheese (goat cheese, candied pecans, buckwheat honey, rosemary butter, sourdough bread)


The Royal Kingston Curling Club – 130 Days Road

Wednesday – Sunday 12 pm – 7 pm

*While mainly parked outside the Curling Club and Spearhead Brewery, hours and locations shift each week, so be sure to check out their Facebook page for updated schedule information on Mondays.

Otter Creek Farms Food Truck is a fan-favourite. They serve their original Otter Creek Wagyu Burger along with vegan and vegetarian options, fries, salads, and even a Buddha Bowl packed with seasonal vegetables. Keep an eye out on their social media for their funky “Chalkboard Specials” that rotate weekly.

Must-try: Thousand Islands burger (two 3oz Otter Creek Farms wagyu patties, special sauce, Wilton cheddar, lettuce, pickle, onion, sesame seed bun)


RONA Parking Lot – 2342 Princess Street

Thursday (Pulled Pork Sandwich) 11:30 – 4:00 pm, Friday (Pulled Pork Sandwich, Smoked Wings) 11:30 – 6 pm, Saturday (Pulled Pork Sandwich, Smoked Ribs) 11:30 – 6 pm

If you’re craving smoked meat, look no further than the RONA parking lot. While single portions are available on-site, you might want to pre-order as well, because customers are saying this is truly the best smoked BBQ meat around. Depending on the day, you can find pulled pork that’s been slow cooked for 14+ hours, saucy ribs, and chicken wings. West End Smokey focuses on low slow cooking, secret spices, and a lot of patience.

Must-try: Their Friday night chicken wings


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