I’ve been living and working in Kingston, Ontario for over a week now, finding my second home (Nicole’s apartment on Princess Street) to be a natural fit. Quarters are a little close sometimes but we have been managing well. Unlike Nicole’s place in Toronto, there wasn’t much that needed to be purchased or organized to make it livable for both of us. She and the cats seem to be quite happy here, and I’m happy to be with them as much as I can.
Kingston itself seems pretty nice; a small city by Ontario standards, about 125,000, many of whom are students. The Queen’s campus is lovely, all stone cathedrals and a few modern structures, surrounded by a “student ghetto” of identical rented townhouses. Nicole lives on one of the main thoroughfares, just out of the main retail area and mercifully away from the bars where bros line up to power drink. As you get closer to the waterfront, the retail part of Princess Street has some lovely book and record stores, the usual array of college-friendly clothing outlets, and many restaurants. There is even a small Buddhist centre, where I went today for lunchtime meditation.
Entertainment options seem decent too, with a variety of clubs (Sloan is playing at one next week), a multiplex with non-stadium seats on Princess Street and an excellent student ticket combo, a public square with a farmer’s market on the weekend and the unfortunately named “K-Rock Centre” for sports events and concerts. A nice sort of multipurpose park for kids is a couple of streets away, and somewhere out of town is a bigger park that includes paintball, mini-golf, batting cages, and a three-screen drive-in.
Kingston reminds me of Halifax in a lot of ways; the omnipresent student population, the waterfront development (lakefront in this case), the mixture of low culture and midlevel couture that you find on Princess is echoed in the walk from Barrington to Spring Garden Road. Unlike Halifax, I can’t see myself wanting to settle here for the very long term – not yet anyway – but it is a very nice place to visit and I am already looking forward to returning.