Monalisa Dash Dwibedy

You may not know me well yet, but let me tell you, I am an avid explorer, a foodie, an adventurer. And sometimes , I am a tourist in my own backyard looking for the next exciting adventure in Ontario.

If you’re looking for a  fun-filled day trip or weekend getaway from Toronto, you’re definitely going to add Kingston, it’s a city in Ontario which is situated at the beginning of St. Lawrence river and is nearby thousand islands. Kingston is nicknamed as the limestone city because many heritage buildings here are constructed using the local limestone.

The Kingston Selfie Point

The most beautiful part of the trip for us was to relax on the St. Lawrence River on a three-hour scenic cruise and learn about the history of 1000 Islands and sail past the iconic sites. The Thousand Islands are a group of more than 1,800 islands in the St. Lawrence River, straddling the border of the U.S. and Canada.

Taking the Thousand Islands cruise is one of the most popular activities for visitors. While on the cruise, We admired the International Bridge, Boldt Castle, Zavikon Islands and more as we got as close as possible to the iconic scenery, showcasing the beautiful old Cottages and Summer Homes. Some people waved at us from their cottages. There was a continental lunch onboard and full service bar, serving wine, cocktails and beer for purchase.

The Thousand Island Cruise

On a warm summer afternoon, Kingston feels like an ancient city enjoying its youthful vigor. Locals and tourists are all out admiring the stunning views from the shore or cruising along on water. If you are passing by Kingston, Step outside your car and the Kingston beautiful Waterfront awaits you!

Once best known as the home of Queen’s University, Kingston is much more than just a college town or a stop on the way to Ottawa — it’s filled with bars, restaurants, venues, shops, museums and history to explore.

Islands of the St Lawrence River

Though Kingston is a small town, the possibilities are endless! You can hop on a Kingston trolley tour, take an Island ferry! Just leisurely stroll along the Waterfront Trail or along the streets of Kingston. Enjoy the historic buildings and settle down afterwards at one of the many downtown patios for a refreshing drink while looking out onto the water.

On weekends, one can shop in the farmer’s market near the waterfront. If you are staying overnight , you can take casual after-dinner stroll along the waterfront, specifically Battery Park, watch people relaxing on red Muskoka chairs overlooking St Lawrence River or just sitting on the stone landscaping.

One of the oldest budlings in Kingston, built in 1809

If you are feeling brave enough, you can go on an adventure that takes you through Kingston’s old Sydenham Ward and hear some of the most spine-tingling ghost stories from the earliest days of Kingston. This night tour departs from the ticket office on Ontario Street. Your cloaked tour guide will lead you from the heart of the historic city to the oldest residential area.

Canadian Pacific Railway model at Kingston Waterfront Park

Listen to chilling tales and see a darker side to Kingston’s history. Immerse yourself in haunted hotels and Kingston’s haunted bed and breakfasts. You will never look at the city in the same way again. After being led through the streets of Downtown Kingston, your guide can walk you back to the start location, or leave you to enjoy a sleepless night in the city.

Here is a fun fact, in one of the museums here, we saw a very old world map , where India is named as “ HINDOOSTAN”. Hurray! 

Old map with the marking ‘HINDOOSTAN’

The must-see attractions in Kingston, Ontario are:

  • Fort Henry, Kingston
  • Kingston Penitentiary
  • Kingston Visitor Centre, Kingston

Given its picturesque views, it’s no wonder that Kingston’s shores are home to the Kingston Rowing Club, Yacht Club and Canadian Olympic-training Regatta. The city’s numerous water sports and events are considered a crown jewel of the city, fostering community involvement and participation from the enthusiasts all over Canada. 

(The author is an IT Consultant living in Toronto. Views are personal)