Downtown Kingston is Thriving

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Downtown Kingston is a full- service business district, featuring an eclectic mix of specialty retail shops, entertainment, restaurant, professional services and residential occupancies within a walkable, historic, waterfront setting. Consistently cited as one of the top downtowns in North America, Downtown serves as the community gathering place and entertainment centre for the region. A healthy and vibrant downtown core is essential to the health of our city as a whole. The Downtown Kingston! BIA is dedicated to sustaining the health of the downtown by promoting the core as the vibrant and healthy commercial, retail, residential and entertainment centre of our region.

Supported by residents, post-secondary students and a robust tourist market, downtown Kingston is a year-round destination. Free public skating in Springer Market Square and the annual Feb Fest winter festival augment the winter experience while a plethora of outdoor summer activities cements the warmer months. The very popular Movies in the Square and Music in the Park are long running, free activities that appeal across the ages.

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Springer Market Square is also home to Ontario’s oldest continuously run Public Market. Vendors, farmers and crafters fill the Square every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. There is a strong sustainable movement, localized in our downtown centre. Currently there is growing commitment to limiting urban sprawl by intensifying downtown residential development. Downtown Kingston is beautifully positioned to intercept the increased interest among consumers to buy local. Many businesses in downtown Kingston are locally owned and independent. We have many retailers and restaurants that carry locally produced goods. Environmental and socially conscious minded consumers have a wealth of opportunity in our downtown core – from specialty food and health stores, to apparel outlets and specialty shops to restaurants dedicated to using locally grown product from area farmers.

Kingston has a thriving arts scene. Downtown, there are countless area bars and restaurants where one can enjoy live, local music. Local galleries are flourishing, as well as the businesses and events that support and encourage local artists.

“Kingston has a cosmopolitan downtown and a rich heritage setting that compliments a growing arts and cultural scene” – Canadian Urban Institute.

Downtown is also home to a wide array of events & festivals. Summer comes alive with such events as the Kingston Buskers Rendezvous, Princess Street Promenade and world- class Limestone City Blues Festival. With a backdrop of flowers, sidewalk patios, the farmers market and historic streetscapes, the vibe is fun, laid back and hip. The lively mix of retail shops, critically acclaimed restaurants, thriving cultural scene, historic buildings, waterfront and the wide array of entertainment options make downtown Kingston an ideal place to work, live, shop, dine and play. 

“We are extremely fortunate to live in a medium sized city that has managed to maintain such a vibrant downtown core” says Tim Pater, owner of several restaurants downtown under the Black Dog Hospitality Group umbrella. “The City and BIA have made many wise cultural investments in our Downtown including renovations to our historic Grand Theatre, our market square and the building of a large venue entertainment facility, all of which greatly contribute to the quality of life in downtown Kingston. Downtown is an ideal place to do business, it is rich in history yet innovative and culturally sophisticated. The city attracts many visitors from across the globe and is home to several significant post- secondary student populations”