Kingston: The Cap­i­tal of Hip

DINE and Destinations - - DRINK - www.vis­itk­ingston.ca

SIP­PING AN ESPRESSO AT

COFFEECO IN FRONT OF

MAR­KET SQUARE, I have a sense that I am in a pi­azza. The morn­ing Farmer's Mar­ket gives way to chil­dren frol­ick­ing in the square and, later, lawn chairs will be brought out for Movie Night. In Kingston, there is an un­mis­tak­able Euro­pean qual­ity and joie de vivre.

My day be­gins along the shore with an in­vig­o­rat­ing sun­rise kayak from Ahoy Rentals. Later I will re­turn to med­i­ta­tively float in the wa­ter with a sun­set SUP Yoga class. I can't help notic­ing how calm it is here. Cy­clists ride the Kingston-to-pem­broke trail that be­gins at Con­fed­er­a­tion Place and fol­lows old rail­way tracks through pic­turesque coun­try­side. Mo­tor­bikes rev along the breath­tak­ing Thou­sand Is­lands and Her­itage routes, the Wine route to Prince Ed­ward County, and the Canam route to the bor­der.

Strolling through lo­cal art shops and al­ley­ways I come upon Martello Al­ley, an artist col­lec­tive that colour­izes an out­door cor­ri­dor with orig­i­nal and printed works, some still in progress. I weave through An­tique Al­ley for un­usual col­lecta­bles. There is a com­fort­able so­phis­ti­ca­tion in the air. Se­duced by the waft­ing aro­mas of Mio­gelato, I re­lent to lus­cious scoops of Choco­late Pud­ding and Cheese­cake ge­lato made from lo­cal in­gre­di­ents. At Kingston

Olive Oil Co. I sam­ple ex­tra vir­gin olive oils from Spain to Cal­i­for­nia, in­clud­ing wild mush­room and sage oil and Ser­rano honey vine­gar. Stone City Ales is a thirst-quench­ing stop. Their 12 Star Ses­sion Ale is hoppy and cit­ric, re­fresh­ingly aro­matic and bal­anced. We pair it with bites of can­died ba­con BLTS and plump shrimp dumplings.

At the Tett Cen­tre for Cre­ativ­ity and Learn­ing, I'm seated on the pa­tio by the shore for lunch at Ju­niper Café. The menu is sim­ple and whole­some. Warm fo­cac­cia sand­wiches of roasted pork belly with ap­ple Di­jon, and salami with olive tape­nade are lo­cally sourced. Through a cob­bled al­ley­way, I reach the court­yard of Chez Piggy to sam­ple an eth­ni­cally di­verse menu that in­cludes seafood plat­ters, duck wings and spring rolls. Their bread is baked fresh daily by Pan Chan­cho, Kingston's in­door mar­ket, where we de­vour maple but­ter tarts, while pret­zel buns bak­ing scent the air. The in­fa­mous Kingston

Pen­i­ten­tiary main­tains a lin­ger­ing omi­nous aura. If you ever want to dis­suade a per­son from a life of crime, tour tick­ets are rea­son­able.

Co­in­ci­den­tally there is no bet­ter host city for the pop­u­lar phe­nom­e­non of Es­cape Rooms than Kingston. Im­prob­a­ble Es­capes stakes out historical lo­ca­tions around the city like the Mur­ney Tower.

Free as a bird, I bask in panoramic views from Fort Henry Na­tional His­toric Site to the 19th century Cana­dian mu­nic­i­pal ar­chi­tec­ture of this “Lime­stone City,” and the con­flu­ence of Lake On­tario, St. Lawrence River and Cataraqui River, teem­ing with sail­boats, yachts, fer­ries and cruises. The Fort is a liv­ing his­tory mu­seum where I ex­plore 19th century mil­i­tary life, and even fire a Snider En­field Ri­fle! At the Sun­set Cer­e­mony I watch a reen­act­ment of the War of 1812. Al­legedly haunted, the Fort is the place to be on Halloween to ex­plore the Doomed Reg­i­ment and Cursed Hal­lows of Fort Fright. Do we dare ride in a cof­fin and sleep over in the Bar­racks Room while zom­bies take over? In win­ter, Lu­mina Bo­re­alis trans­forms the fort again through ma­jes­tic light pro­jec­tions into a daz­zling win­ter won­der­land.

Kingston's din­ing scene is ex­plod­ing with di­ver­sity.

Tango Nuevo of­fers a range of ex­otic tapas in­clud­ing Turk­ish ravi­oli of spiced beef, wal­nuts, pa­prika but­ter, yo­gurt and mint, Per­sian bar­beque lamb tacos with pome­gran­ate sauce and a dreamy ma­son jar of peanut but­ter tiramisu. Chien Noir Bistro re­flects the French colonies from Viet­nam to Morocco. Pou­tine of crisp frites and Que­bec Brie, with a gen­er­ous crown of duck con­fit and green pep­per­corn jus is my savoury ad­dic­tion. If Arctic char me­u­niere with toasted pine nuts and pomme anna is on the menu, you're in luck. There is a rus­tic char­ac­ter to many restau­rants and pubs as they have re­tained their old brick and stone walls, and pressed tin ceil­ings. For a Pan-cana­di­ana menu I head to Aquaterra over­look­ing the har­bour. A daz­zling se­lec­tion of dishes in­cludes seared scal­lop with tequila glaze, and an out­stand­ing ren­di­tion of seared muskovy duck breast. Roasted hal­ibut goes Asian with Chi­nese five-spice, and lov­ing care is given to short rib, with 72-hour sous vide.

Na­tive sons and daugh­ters from Sir John A. Mac­don­ald to the Trag­i­cally Hip have forged Kingston's cul­tural land­scape from Canada's first cap­i­tal to its bur­geon­ing mu­sic, arts and food scene. There is al­ways some­thing hap­pen­ing here. Hash­tag

Fresh made daily and dis­cover the bold ‘taste of place' that makes Kingston the Cap­i­tal of Hip.

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