Downtown Kingston is arguably what makes the Limestone city an international tourist destination. It is at the centre of everything in Kingston, with the highest density of retail, personal services, and entertainment destinations. Near the northeast corner beside Kingston city hall, you will find the oldest Farmer’s market in Canada hosted three times a week from spring to fall in Springer Market Square. Within the square, you will also enjoy movies in the square during the summer, at least one outdoor antique show, and a skating rink in the winter. At the opposite end of the community, you will enjoy any culinary taste you may have with over 40 restaurants in “The Hub.” Never to be missed by locals or tourists, the downtown is not only beautiful with its limestone buildings, but a perfect place to live and shop.
Sunnyside, Weller, Alwington
Wide-ranging, this district has several elementary schools and one secondary school. It should be noted that the elementary school, Winston Churchill, has achieved a respectable rank of 7.7 from the Fraser Institute. Rideau Public School is also a French Immersion school as is the 7,8 cohort within KVCI.
In addition, the community is home to the world-renowned Queen’s University which has many different faculties and works closely with Kingston General Hospital for research. There are 27,000 students attending Queen’s with only 5000 residence spaces so the community is also home to the housing for many students.
The main branch of the Kingston library is also found in the community.
Health and Medical
In addition to Hotel Dieu, Kingston General hospital, and the specialty clinics found therein, the community has a significant number of medical professionals. Within the community, there are over a dozen each of doctors, dentists, massage therapists, and chiropractors. There are also at least four optometrists, and nine physiotherapists, not to mention the Full Circle health network not far away which is the home of many alternative medical professionals.
Parks and Recreation
When the city of Kingston decided to become the greenest city in the country, they were thinking highly of the parks in the downtown core. These parks are very well maintained and have a variety of amenities such as baseball fields and children’s play yards. The community is walking distance from Artillery Park Aquatic Centre and The Kingston Culture and Recreation Centre as well as the sports dome across the Lasalle Causeway on CFB Kingston.
At the centre of the community, you will find Queen’s Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC) and many boat-launches into Lake Ontario.
McDonald Memorial Park
Though mostly centred along Princess Street and the immediate side streets, there are a significant number of retail outlets. Many of these stores are boutique style and locally owned.
Among the stores, you will find several jewellery stores, an Apple Store, a couple computer stores, a giant art store, a general store and several tourist-oriented stores. There are a few book stores and two games-oriented stores as well. The area has everything you could want for your own shopping or for Christmas which they celebrate well. At least once a year, Kingston shuts down Princess Street for the stores to set up outside in the street.
There are several grocery stores including a Metro which is admittedly billed as the most expensive in Canada as well as a Food Basics within walking distance and a few smaller more intimate and local-focused stores. As indicated before, Kingston Farmers’ market is held three times a week at Springer Market Square.
Every major bank has at least one banking location in the community with several such as the RBC and Scotiabank making a huge presence with large banking centres for lending and investing needs.
Though they aren’t far away, you will have to travel to get to any veterinarians. There are two at the northerly edge. The community has two groomers within and another two just outside the area as well as two pet stores at opposite ends of Princess Street. As with many of the parks in Kingston, some are pet friendly and you will even find some patios friendly to your fur-family during the summer.
Food and Entertainment
In addition to the Hub which boasts over 40 restaurants alone, the community has many fast food and fine dining restaurants. You will find every taste you can think of with many of the venders opting for local produce as well. You will never be disappointed with the culinary depth that the downtown has to offer with restaurants such as Olivea and Sushiya Zen as well as Milestones which is built into the historic S&R building.
When it comes to entertainment, the area is chock full. To the north a few blocks, you will find the Leon’s Centre which is one of the best small arenas in the country, inviting some of the greatest shows to the city. You will find the Frontenacs hockey team as well as events such as Dean Brody, Cirque Du Soleil, as well as the Brier coming in Feb. of 2020.
The community is home to Sherlock’s Escapes, Kingston’s historic haunted walk, The Grand Theatre, Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment Museum, Isabel Bader Centre for Performing Arts, Kingston Harbour, Kingston 1000 Island Cruises, St. Lawrence Cruise Lines, and The Screening Room which hosts the Kingston Canadian Film Festival, the largest film festival in the world dedicated to Canadian film.
Transportation and Walkability
The downtown core is built to move traffic. Not only are there several major one-way streets, but they have ample parking, including 12 municipal parking lots.
The streets are fairly straight and easy to navigate and you will also find parking on side streets. Kingston Transit covers the area very well.
The downtown core will be one of the most affected by the new crossing of the river to the East side of the city. The Lasalle Causeway sees a significant amount of traffic that will be redirected. It is yet to be known how this will affect the retail markets as random passers-by won’t be frequenting any more.
Pride of Ownership
The homes in this community are historic, with many of them very large and all of them full of character. While you will find they are often designed for family living, there are many that have been converted for Queen’s students. This is a very dense community for income properties as people purchase the homes as rentals.
Being old, the area has no new development, but the homes are often being renovated. The yards are beautiful with significant older foliage and giant trees.
Most of the nightlife amenities are found along Princess Street. In addition to the venues mentioned above, you will also find many pubs and bars like the Mansion and the Merchant Taphouse which often host smaller bands. It deserves special mention that the Leon’s centre is considered one of the best small market arenas in Canada.
One of the most beautiful communities in the city, you will find many older homes and some new condo developments. If you find a property herein, it shouldn’t be a question of whether you do buy, but how fast it even stays on the market. Living downtown is a privilege that many spend their entire lives looking for. You can walk to whatever you need and enjoy some of the best vistas along Lake Ontario.