It has been said that "Kingston is one of Canada's best-kept secrets". I believe it is not so anymore since if I share with somebody how much I love this city, their faces light up, they smile and tell me that Kingston is one of their favourite cities as well. Midway between Toronto and Montreal, where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario, Kingston is a charming historic little town that consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in Canada. Kingston was named the first capital of the Province of Canada in 1841 and while its time as a political centre was short, the city has remained an important cultural, educational and military place. Nicknamed the "Limestone City" because of the many heritage structures built with local limestone, Kingston always reminds me of Europe and evokes memories of my childhood. It possesses a small-town charm combined with "big-city" amenities.
No matter when you visit, Kingston offers pleasant times at the pristine waterfront, theatres, museums, one-of-a-kind shops, art galleries, restaurants, sidewalk patios, festivals... During winter we enjoy an outdoor skate to music on Kingston's Historic Market Square ice ring. When summer comes we come to Kingston to witness The Sunset Ceremony at the Fort Henry National Historic Site that re-creates 19th-century military life featuring Guard Drums, Drill Squad and Artillery Detachments, military music and drills along with rousing big-bang artillery manoeuvres and simulated battles. Spring is perfect for taking in a 1000 Island cruise and discovering the area's glorious natural beauty. A year-round farmer's market at the historic downtown, right behind the Kingston City Hall (designated National Historic Site of Canada) offers quality local products, plants, flowers, and handmade crafts. On Sunday, a fabulous Antique Market would satisfy every antique and vintage lover as myself. I guarantee!
And if you are coming from Toronto, the best way to reach Kingston is to take The Loyalist Parkway, a scenic 100-kilometre drive stretching along the shoreline of Lake Ontario and passing through about 40 archeological sites and 125 historical buildings, a worthwhile ride in its own right. This route is packed with opportunities for swimming, fishing, boating, picnicking and B&Bs. The road ends at the Glenora Ferry, which you in your car (or bike) will take to cross Adolphus Reach to the peninsula, which makes the trip a real adventure. And if you decide to take this route in spring, like we did, bushes of blooming lilacs will add a pleasant fragrance to your getting to Kingston. If you haven't yet visited the Limestone City, make yourself this gift of Ontario's treasure "where history and innovation thrive." (Kingston's motto)
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