Every summer I move away from Kingston to live on a farm in Caledonia , ON (home of the infamous Native dispute). I’ve been coming here for nine summers now. I play violin on a boat that travels up and down the Grand River and I love it. It’s a great job and I play a really fun show everyday with my group The Blazing Fiddles . I’ve never stayed after August though because I was either in school or teaching. This year I am taking some time off from teaching to get married (!) so I’ve decided to stay at “The Boat Farm” right to the end of the season. Like I said, I love it here. I’ve always seen it as my refuge, my home away from home, my hideaway. I have quiet nights to myself, I have loud and rowdy campfires, I canoe, I swim and I sleep like a baby. But this late into the season all I can think is I miss Kingston!
There is a lot of complaining that goes on about the students in Kingston. I’m not saying they haven’t earned it but I do have to say that having them in our city is a very important part of what Kingston is. The students bring this buzz to the city that you just can’t deny and it’s that electricity that I miss right now. Even just through Facebook I can see things waking up and Kingston coming alive again. That’s not to say that it isn’t pretty kickin’ in the summer.
I love Kingston in the summer. I’ve spent very little time there between May and September but the time I have spent has been fantastic. There is a lot going on and the tourists add a whole new dimension to the city. But there is still this energy that I feel when it comes to the students. And it’s that energy and excitement that I am missing so much.
Again, I’ve been appalled by some of the behaviour of the students (especially in the last few years) and I don’t condone a lot of what they get flack for. I hate the Aberdeen party, I hate the disgusting state of some of the houses in the student ghetto and I certainly don’t like the drunken idiots that wander Princess street late at night (or occasionally in the middle of the day…). BUT these are things that come with the territory of having institutes of higher learning in our city and I certainly wouldn’t want to see them disappear.
The University and the College bring so much to the city, not only financially but culturally as well. They bring us wonderful music and theatre, great athletics and a youthfullness that will never grow old.
So, now that I’ve been an outsider for a little longer than usual, I have to say, we’ve got a great town in Kingston and whether we like it or not, the students have a lot to do with that. I am coming home for two days this weekend and I can’t wait to feel the buzz again!
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