City to close Ontario Street to create ‘vibrant space’

Photo by Dominic Owens.

Traffic in the downtown core will look a little different this weekend, as the City of Kingston launches a temporary project to create a public space on Ontario Street.

‘Ontario Street: A Vibrant Spaces Project’ will close down a section of Ontario Street for two weekends this summer, making the street into a “people-first, pedestrian public space,” the City of Kingston said in a press release.

The project will see Ontario Street closed from Market Street to Brock Street, the section of Ontario Street directly in front of City Hall. According to the City, “The project will highlight City Hall and the surrounding area, including Ontario Street between Brock and Market streets, the waterfront and Confederation Park, and provide a platform for engagement, cultural and recreational activities, and meaningful social interaction.”

The project is being jointly delivered by the City’s Recreation and Leisure and Cultural Services departments. The two closures will take place on July 12 to 14, and August 9 to 11, with programming from one of the two departments showcased throughout the weekend.

The section of Ontario Street will be closed beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, Jul. 12, 2019, and the Recreation and Leisure programming will kick off at 6 p.m., when the weekend of community-focused events begins. Events this weekend are:

Friday, July 12

  • Pilates (bring your own mat) 6 – 7 p.m.
  • Bollywood dancing 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • A Night with the Stars 9 – 11:30 p.m.
    • The McDonald Institute 9:05 – 9:50 p.m.
    • Queen’s University Observatory 10 – 11:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 13

  • Active fun and live DJ: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • The on-site rock climbing wall has minimum/maximum weight requirements of 40 lbs/250 lbs. 
  • Drum Circle 6 – 9 p.m.

Sunday, July 14

  • Yoga (bring your own mat) 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Salsa 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Big fun with oversized classic games and a live DJ 1 – 8:00 p.m.

All activities will take place rain or shine. To support the project, the City is creating a temporary seating space in front of City Hall. The seating and furniture will be installed in July and stay in place throughout the summer.

“The Ontario Street: Vibrant Spaces Project presents a new opportunity to engage and inspire residents and visitors through accessible and participatory, and responsive programming that strengthens community ties,” said Jaclyn Grimmon, manager of recreation programs for the City of Kingston’s Recreation and Leisure Services department. “Through the creation of a new temporary public space, we are helping to foster healthy citizens and vibrant spaces, which is an important priority of our new council.”

The August 9 to 11 ‘Ontario Street: Vibrant Spaces Project’ programming will be presented by the Cultural Services department.

“Good public spaces can build community, create bonds between neighbours, and establish a sense of belonging,” said Danika Lochhead, manager of arts and sector development for the City’s Cultural Services department. “For two weekends this summer, we’re going to explore how creating and revitalizing public spaces through community engagement, public art, recreational activities that focus on play and adventure, and cultural events can foster a sense of community and create social, economic environmental and cultural benefits.”

Kingstonist will provide more details on the August programming as it becomes available.

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