Hidden Gems, Outdoors

Whether it’s sweater weather, parka season, or the sunny days of summer, Kingston has some beautiful places to go for a stroll. If you’re looking for a break from your workday or need a weekend adventure for you and the family, here are some unique places to explore Kingston’s spectacular natural assets and the city’s rich history.





WATERFRONT PATHWAY


Looking for a scenic view of Kingston’s waterfront? Kingston’s Waterfront Pathway is a picturesque 8 km walk from Lake Ontario Park to the downtown core. Along this path you will have the opportunity to see Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, Kingston Penitentiary, the Tett Centre, Fort Frontenac, and many other historic locations in the Kingston area. Accessible parking and pathway access are available. For more information on the path and access to a digital map, please visit this link.





BARRIEFIELD VILLAGE


Barriefield Village was established near the Naval Shipyards and prospered for many decades as an important part in the boatbuilding industry. Did you know that in 1980 Barriefield became the first village in Ontario to become a Heritage Conservation District? It is no secret that Barriefield is filled with rich history and you can explore it on a self-guided walking tour of area. On this self-guided tour, you will be able to relive the history of the village – see where the blacksmith lived and where Peters Grocery resided. For more information on the tour and for a detailed map, please visit this link.





SYDENHAM WARD


Known for its beautiful architecture and historic setting, Sydenham Ward is home to some of the finest 19th-century architecture in Canada. Old Sydenham was designated a historic district in 2015. On your walk through Sydenham Ward, you will stop by some notable buildings including Frontenac County Court House, a building originally designed to house the Parliament of Canada when Kingston was Canada’s capital city; the Spire, a notable 160-year-old landmark that is now a community hub for the arts and not for profit; and Chalmers United Church, which sits on a unique triangular lot where Clergy, Barrie and Earl streets meet. Lace up your sneakers and go take in the beauty of Sydenham Ward today!





QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY


Queen’s University was established in 1841 by a Royal Charter signed by Queen Victoria. Queen’s main campus is located on roughly 100 acres of land on the southwestern edge of downtown Kingston. Its approximate boundaries are King Street in the south, Earl Street in the north, Collingwood Street in the west, and Barrie Street in the east. The campus is home to many beautiful limestone buildings and, given its age, a history full of interesting anecdotes. Did you know that Queen’s landmark building, Grant Hall, was a military hospital during the First World War and used as an entertainment centre for troops and a meal hall during WWII?





LAKE ONTARIO PARK


Providing a natural landscape drawing both visitors and locals, Lake Ontario Park is the largest urban waterfront park in Kingston. Lake Ontario is great for picnicking and scenic walks along the waterfront, including access to the Waterfront Pathway. The park was extensively renovated in recent years and includes accessible walkways to the lakeshore, a cobblestone beach, playground equipment and a sandy beach area.





PORTSMOUTH VILLAGE


Portsmouth Village was founded in 1784 and grew alongside the Kingston Penitentiary, which was located nearby. In its early years, the area included tanneries, breweries and shipyards. The village is also home to Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, which hosted the yachting and boating events for the 1976 Summer Olympics. In present day, the area retains a quaint historic charm with stone and brick homes. A walk through this area will take you along the lakeshore marina and through charming side streets dotted historic homes, ultimately connecting with the Waterfront Pathway.





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Hidden Gems, Outdoors

What better way to spend time than to go on an adventure. Make the most of the beautiful weather by spending it outdoors exploring amazing hiking trails and conservation areas in and around Kingston. Lace-up those hiking boots and check out the featured trails below!


Remember to responsibly enjoy parks and trails: stay with your household, physically distance from others, leave no trace (pack in and pack out all garbage), and dogs must be on a leash at all times.



GOULD LAKE

1540 Gould Lake Road, Sydenham


As a day–use area, Gould Lake offers picnicking, fishing, swimming, and hiking. Gould Lake features approximately 20 km of trails across rolling and rugged terrain. The well-known Rideau Trail, as well as several side loops, can be found within the conservation area. Its wetlands, woods, and shoreline areas provide many opportunities for wildlife viewing and nature appreciation. Let us know what wildlife you see!


Difficulty level: intermediate to advanced


Price: Adults: $5.00, children (12 & under): $3.50, max. fee per car: $15, annual pass: $85


Hours of Operation: 7:30 am to dusk daily






LEMOINE POINT

1440 Coverdale Drive, Kingston


As a popular and heavily-used conservation area, Lemoine Point offers picnicking, cycling, swimming, and hiking. Lemoine Point is home to approximately 11 km of hiking trails that cross flat to gently rolling woodland, field, and marsh area. As you hike the trails, you can find hidden gems such as scenic lookouts and beaches. This conservation area is bordered by Lake Ontario and Collins Bay, so you are sure to get a scenic view!


Difficulty level: beginner; family-friendly

Price: Free, donations are accepted

Hours of Operation: 7:30 am to dusk daily






LITTLE CATARAQUI CREEK

1641 Perth Road, Glenburnie


At Little Cataraqui Creek you can connect with nature during all four seasons. Here, there are marsh, field, and forest habitats for nature appreciation. Additionally, there are opportunities for education and outdoor recreation. Little Cataraqui Creek offers picnicking, fishing, bird watching, and hiking trails for their visitors to enjoy. This conservation area is home to approximately 14 km of hiking trails through mostly flat terrain. These trails are a great escape for the family to enjoy together!


Difficulty level: Beginner; family-friendly

Price: Adults: $5.00, children (12 & under): $3.50, max. fee per car: $15, annual pass: $85.

Hours of Operation: 7:30am-dusk daily





LYN VALLEY

90 Lyn Valley Road, Lyn


Lyn Valley may be small, but it is one of the busiest conservation areas in the region. Lyn Valley offers a swimming area, picnicking, and hiking trails. With just 1 km of hiking trails, it is perfect for the little ones to get out and explore nature! The hiking trails are on flat terrain and offer opportunities to appreciate what nature has to offer.


Difficulty level: beginner; family-friendly

Price: Free, donations are accepted

Hours of Operation: 7:30 am to dusk daily





PARROT’S BAY

4976 Bath Road, Kingston


As Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority’s newest conservation area, Parrot’s Bay offers woods and wetlands with beautiful waterfront views. Parrot’s Bay offers picnicking, fishing, and hiking. Hiking trails are approximately 6 km in length and cross both woodland and wetland habitats. Parrot’s Bay trails feature a viewing deck and osprey nesting platform. Keep an eye out for ospreys on your hike!


Difficulty level: beginner; family-friendly

Price: Free, donations are accepted

Hours of Operation: 7:30 am to dusk daily






K&P TRAIL

The trail can be accessed from many locations. The trail continues into South Frontenac Township.


The K&P Trail is a multi-part trail, offering a mix of urban and rural trails. The trail is open year-round and gives the opportunity for visitors to walk through natural open landscapes, rock cuts, wetlands, and historic Kingston. The 22 km trail is divided into two distinct sections: the 7 km paved, urban trail and the 15 km gravel, rural trail. For more information on access points, please visit the City of Kingston’s website.

Recently, Frontenac Trail Tours has begun single and multi-day guided cycling tours. Each tour takes cyclists down the K&P trail, stopping for snacks featuring locally sourced food and to visit local artisan shops. Their multi-day tours will also include stays at local B&Bs and a ride on the historic Wolfe Island Ferry. For more information on these tours, please visit //www.frontenactrailtours.ca/.


Difficulty level: beginner; family-friendly

Price: Free

Hours of Operation: N/A





THOUSAND ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK

1121 Thousand Islands Parkway, Mallorytown


As Canada’s oldest National Park east of the Rockies, Thousand Islands National Park offers three mainland hiking locations. This park boasts of its sanctuary of scenic lookouts, rugged rock faces, and tall stands of pine.


Mallorytown Landing(1121 – 1000 Islands Parkway, Mallorytown): As the main location of Thousand Islands National Park, there are opportunities to picnic, fish, swim, and hike. Here, there are approximately 3 km of hiking trails. These trails are on mostly flat terrain and are beginner-friendly. Be sure to get a picture posing in the set of Parks Canada red chairs!


Jones Creek (1270 – 1000 Islands Parkway, Mallorytown): At this location, visitors have access to over 20 km of hiking trails. Trails cross a variety of differing landscapes and are rated medium to difficult. These trails feature a set of Parks Canada red chairs and a scenic lookout.


Landon Bay (302 – 1000 Islands Parkway, Lansdowne): Landon Bay offers six different trail networks that range in difficulty from low to medium. These trails are approximately 6 km in length. Be sure to check out the Lookout trail to get your next social media worthy picture!


Difficulty level: Beginner to advanced; some trails are family-friendly

Price: $6.80 per car, some additional fees may apply

Hours of Operation: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm





FRONTENAC PROVINCIAL PARK

6700 Salmon Lake Road, Sydenham


Frontenac Provincial Park is well-known in the Kingston region for its hiking and trail systems. This park offers fishing, swimming, paddling, and hiking. Frontenac Provincial Parks boasts well-planned trails and rugged terrain. With many trails, this provincial park has approximately 100 km of trails for you to explore! For a full list of trails and how to access them, please visit their website.


Difficulty level: intermediate to advanced

Price: $12.25 per car, some additional fees may apply

Hours of Operation: 8 am to 8 pm





ADDITIONAL HIKING AND TRAIL LOCATIONS

Mac Johnson Wildlife Area

Debruge Road, north of Brockville. (south access on Centennial Road)



Marshlands Conservation Area

1214 Trailhead Place just off King Street in Kingston



Marble Rock Conservation Area

Marble Rock Road, Gananoque, Ontario



Charleston Lake Provincial Park

148 Woodvale Road, Lansdowne, Ontario



Foley Mountain Conservation Area

105 Foley Mountain Lane, Westport



Waterfront Pathway

An 8 km public waterfront pathway connecting to the downtown core extends from the King Street, near 1098 King St. W to Emma Martin Park.



A big thank you to Queen’s University student, Riley Stewart-Patterson, for sending over resources regarding trails that are currently open around Kingston!



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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.




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Food

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

LEGEND

🌾 gluten-free options

🌱 vegan options

🍄 vegetarian options




BBQ BABES 🌾🌱🍄

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)



SOUP CHEF FOOD TRUCK 🌾🌱🍄

Fairfield Park, 4574 Loyalist Parkway

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



Must-try: Spicy Italian sausage soup




JUICY KIK KINGSTON 🌾🌱🍄

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.)




THE GREAT CANADIAN COUNTRY CABIN CHIP HUT 🍄

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




DAYS ON FRONT FOOD TRUCK 🌾🌱🍄

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




THE CHURRO GUY 🍄

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)




B’S BIKE BITES 🌾🌱🍄

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!




MULLER’S KITCHEN 🍄

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)




OTTER CREEK FARMS FOOD TRUCK 🌱🍄

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)




WEST END SMOKEY

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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Music

Instead of a rehashed sound, Kingston has an attitude. Folk-tinged, anthemic rock songs may have brought the city to the national stage, but the reason Kingston’s artists are integral to Canadian music is their capacity to innovate. Whether it’s Bedouin Soundclash weaving reggae and indie or The Glorious Sons reinventing classic sounds for a modern audience, the city always delivers authentic music in new packages.

 

Where bigger cities benefit from huge pools of talent, the Limestone City punches above its weight with creativity and community. Its can’t-miss live acts are the cornerstone of a town that takes its music seriously and supports experimentation. Here are some of the many local acts that push boundaries.

 

4. Oakridge Ave

This indie-rock trio combines the reliability of a road act with a mad scientist approach to songwriting. Incorporating blues and funk, the band jumps between distorted power chords and danceable verses, updating indie rock with a range of influences. Making their name in venerable institutions across the city, Oakridge Ave can make a pub crowd dance like it was a music festival.

 

After releasing an EP, the band has their sights on a full-length album, relying on the local music community’s support to fund it.

 

 

3. Goldwing

For bands like Goldwing, Kingston’s pubs are a proving ground. Cutting their teeth as the Monday night house band at the Toucan, Goldwing cuts to the real, unvarnished core of the city’s music scene. With a steady output of new music paying tribute to the city’s nightlife, the band has honed a unique blend of hard-nosed rock influences with folk melodies. The combination brings all the energy and spontaneity of a house party to Kingston’s many venues.

 

They’re unapologetic, channeling the city’s DIY attitude into tightly written, fist-pumping anthems.Alternative-folk crowd-pleasers like “Cuts Me Down” are only possible in a city that puts its artists first.

 

 

2. Tom Savage

Don’t let the traditional music fool you: Tom Savage writes songs for the present moment, chronicling everything from lonely Northern Ontario highways to ageing and loss. A seasoned guitar-player, Savage delivers timeless performances. He draws from blues, folk and outlaw country, applying a vast body of work to his life and community. His latest outfit, Dead Root Revival, cast the net even wider, pulling from influences like John Coltrane, Al Green and modern-day funk prodigies Vulfpeck.

 

He’s cutting loose: Dead Root Revival’s “Rascal” showcases the musicianship that takes a backseat in his solo efforts. In the song, Savage departs from his folk-country roots and shreds jazz-blues solos like he’s unveiling a hidden talent. Despite all the instrumentation, Savage’s underlying sincerity holds the act together, lending it the same credibility his work as a singer-songwriter demands.

 

Whether you catch him with his band or solo, Savage is a genuine part of the city’s musical fabric.

 

 

1. Major Love

This band is a dreamy love letter to great songwriting. Headed by lead-singer Colleen Brown, Major Love’s live act has all the blockbuster choruses and cathartic lyrics of hometown heroes hitting new musical heights. The shows are confessional and urgent, but never lose the intimacy of a private concert. Much of that’s thanks to Brown. Her live performance offers the kind of swaggering, soulful vocals that belong on your favourite Motown record. For careful listeners, her voice has hints of Joni Mitchell at her peak, but Brown nonetheless manages to stand apart with a commanding stage presence and earnest delivery.

 

As a transplant from Alberta to Kingston, she also allows country and western to seep into her captivating pop-rock songs. That may be why the band says its music is for “their hoser friends.” But, considering the city’s musical history, writing for friends and the local music scene is just the beginning. Artists like Major Love belong on any music fan’s playlist.

 

 

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Kingston Life

Nothing is quite so authentically “Kingston” as the way summertime patios pop out on downtown’s precious sidewalk real estate, infusing colour and vibrancy to the streetscape after a long, chilly winter. So, perhaps we should think of the city’s other patios, its hidden, “secret” patios, as a pure bonus. They’re there (we promise!) and they’re secluded slices of dining heaven. If you’re ready to start exploring this summer, we’ve got a few suggestions to get you going.

Le Chien Noir


Some say you eat with your eyes first, but at Le Chien Noir’s Sunday Jazz Brunch you can add your ears into the mix. It’s the strains of live jazz as much as it is the deep smell of brunch cooking that beckons customers down The Carriageway off Brock Street to the restaurant’s most secluded nook. Supposedly haunted, the curved stone walkway by the back patio even merits a stop on The Haunted Walk tour of downtown.

The brick patio is a bit of French bistro café style meets heritage Kingston. There are clusters of shaded small tables, tall limestone walls, and planters overflowing with red flowers and sweet potato vine.

While the classic Eggs Benedict – served with a choice of local Seed to Sausage country ham, smoked salmon, or spinach and mushrooms – is the most popular brunch item, there’s no shortage of creative choices on the Sunday Jazz Brunch menu. Lunchtime fare for later risers could include traditional French Steak Frites with a starter of Fresh Oysters served with grated horseradish, or a board of local and housemade charcuterie and artisan cheese that would be a great warm-up to the Lobster Roll of black truffle lobster salad and fennel-apple slaw on a toasted bun.

The patio is open seven days a week, with live jazz on Sundays.

Amadeus


If you didn’t know the back patio at Amadeus was there, you’d never be able to guess that through the restaurant and out the back door waits one of Kingston’s best-kept patio secrets.

Made up of multi-level wood decking, this patio is one of the quietest, most serene outdoor eating spots in the city’s downtown. The back wall of the restaurant is painted with murals showing men in lederhosen and women in dirndl hoisting overflowing steins of frothy Austrian beer. Vines drape over the fencing; umbrellas provide shade – it’s hard to believe busy Princess Street is just steps away!

The traditional homestyle dishes on the menu are hearty, with lots of meat and spätzle – just what you’d expect from the regional cuisine. The chef supports local food ingredients: all pork is Ontario farmed, while other suppliers are Wallace Beef in Joyceville and Lyons Poultry Farms near Spencerville.

A cold platter appetizer of smoked salmon topped with salty capers and mild red onions, served with a side of housemade potato salad, would make lighter patio fare. Pair it with an ice-cold beer on tap or a mug of Waupoos Peach Cider, made from late-season apples and sweetened with pure peach juice.

Musiikki


If you want a quiet drink or a creative cocktail and some live music, you head for a patio centred around the largest magnolia tree left in the downtown core.

Coffee shop by day and bar with live music by night, Musiikki’s sheltered back patio is quiet and peaceful – an unexpected escape. There’s a raised stage area under the canopy of branches and small tables with seating for several dozen people. The secluded feel gets a boost from the low stone-wall garden and the surrounding red brick and historic limestone walls.

Musiikki’s food selection is limited – basically goods stocked by a local baker – so they practice an open-food policy where guests can bring in snacks or takeout from other eateries. The small bar is known for having the best selection of whiskies in town and for their creative cocktails. Two original recipes stand out as being perfect summertime patio fare. The Southern Belle combines Earl Grey tea and Wild Turkey bourbon with added hints of lavender, vanilla and lemon. The El Toro is a spicy but well-balanced mix of El Jimador tequila from Mexico, a honey and chipotle syrup, sours, fresh ginger, and chillies, all stirred together with ginger ale.

Chez Piggy

 

When Chez Piggy opened in 1979, the owners undertook a massive renovation, turning the charred, burned-out, circa-1808 livery stable into a restaurant with a patio in the leafy courtyard.

 

While it may not be the best-kept “secret” in Kingston, the Piggy Patio is just enough off the main route to count as a quiet place for an afternoon drink, an evening meal or a perfect Sunday brunch.

 

The patio is hemmed in by the old stable stone walls and a tall privacy fence, lined with beds of flowers and the greenery of a flowering dogwood. The space catches cool breezes as well as the sounds of the City Hall clock tower. There’s the whole crayon box of brightly coloured umbrellas, providing comfort in the sun-splashed courtyard.

Sunday à la carte brunch has always been a big draw – very much the original Kingston Sunday brunch hangout and a popular start to the day with a glass of Sunburst (sparkling wine and OJ) or spicy Bravo Caesars.

Chez Piggy creates from scratch, including the housemade bacon that’s part of the popular Lo-Cal High-Cal Breakfast. It’s a total filler, with local Reinink eggs, the bacon as well as peameal, sausages, home fries, and Red Fife toast made from Pan Chancho bread.

Don’t stop there – poke around downtown Kingston and you’ll find more secluded patios:

– Wooden Heads

– Pan Chancho

– Kingston Brewing Company

– The Toucan

– Lone Star


This article was originally published in Kingston Life, a bi-monthly local magazine that explores all things Kingston. For more great articles, please visit: www.kingstonlife.ca.

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