What Tourists Say About Kingston

No smoking bylaw, smoking in publicLate last month, Star columnist Adrian Brijbassi visited various destinations in Limestone City, which he highlighted in an article titled: Perfect Weekend in Kingston: Markets, history and relaxation.  Brijbassi paid Kingston some very kind compliments, as he remarked that our city is “stocked with credible restaurants…unique experiences that are educational, reasonably priced and easy to reach.”  I have long been an advocate for being a tourist in my own backyard, striving to take in new experiences each season, such as last Summer’s Haunted Walk, the Kingston Symphony at Fort Henry, the Sir John A. MacDonald walking tour, and the list goes on.  I can’t wait to see what this summer has in store, and am pleased to see that Brijbassi is spreading the good word about Kingston’s charms.

Whenever visitors express their love for the Limestone City, I tend to bask in the reflected glory, and take the compliment personally.  After all, I choose to live here, and as much as Kingston has helped to shape me as a person, I take a small amount of credit for helping make it such a great place.  Of course, I had little to do with the construction of Fort Henry, architecture of City Hall and so on, but regular residents like you and I frequent certain establishments and help them maintain a certain amount of je ne sais quoi.  It’s always interesting to learn what visitors and tourists enjoyed most in our city, while Brijbassi’s list does a decent job of highlighting many of our favourite haunts.

  • Hotel Belvedere: one of our finest downtown bed and breakfasts, which Vogue once called “the only reasonable place to stay between Montreal and Toronto.”
  • Casa Domenico: a personal favourite, so much so that we rang in the News Year there last December.  Love their steak, and happy they brought back the tuna trio.
  • The Sleepless Goat: sometimes I think Kingstonians take this place for granted. Where else can you get such real and delicious food in relaxed and welcoming environment?
  • The Market: by winter, one of Canada’s most amazing skating rinks.  By summer, a public market, performance space and, oh yeah, outdoor movies.
  • Fort Henry: voted by Kingstonist’s readers as our best alternative landmark. With weekly sunset ceremonies, tours, Fort Fright, and a view that’s well worth the price of admission.
  • Sir John A. MacDonald Walk: narrated by the likes of Jean Chretien and Peter Milliken, the Sir John A. walk is definitely on my bucket list this summer.
  • Berry & Peterson Booksellers: with their seemingly endless buy 2 get 1 free deal, this place is a haven for bookworms and collectors.
  • Le Chien Noir: honestly, who doesn’t love le Chien Noir? It has a solid reputation, and is also one of our personal faves. An ever changing, gourmet menu keeps it interesting as well.
  • The Merchant Tap House: we used to frequent this place back in the Emily Fennel era, but it’s been a while.  I believe we ended up here during my bachelor party.
  • Pan Chancho Bakery: it’s referred to as the breakfast of champions for a reason.  Seriously unbelievable menu, and let’s not forget the baked goods and ready-made offerings.
  • Wolfe Island Ferry: this is one of the great charms of Kingston.  For me, the ferry melts stress away thanks to the sounds on the water, and the amazing waterfront views.
  • The Agnes Etherington Art Centre: with more Rembrandts that you can shake a stick at, did you know they also rent art? Mother-in-law would be proud.

Obviously Brijbassi was only here for a weekend, so he couldn’t see or write about it all.  Having said that, I think that his list does a decent job presenting Kingston as a great place to visit, appealing to foodies, history buffs and folks who like the small city atmosphere.  What types of places do you recommend to random strangers on the street, or visiting family members?  In your mind, did Brijbassi pass by any essential stops?

Thanks for Krissyfoo for today’s photo, plucked from our ever-growing Flickr pool.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

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