The Birthplace of Hockey
Kingston is recognized around the world as the birthplace of Ice Hockey. Two of Kingston's most respected institutions; Queens University, sometimes called the Harvard of the North or the Oxford of the west (although any Queens Grad will tell you it is superior to both) and the Royal Military College (RMC), referred to as Canada's West Point (ditto for RMC Grads) have maintained the oldest rivalry in hockey since they first met on the frozen waters of Kingston's Harbour in 1886. This annual event is now part of Kingston's Feb Fest celebrations and include a team from the 2nd Regiment from Royal Canadian Horse Artillery who represent the "gunners' of the Kingston Garrison who played on the frozen harbour as far back as 1843. For any hockey fan this game should not be missed and the added feature of FebFest in Kingston makes a perfect winter escape. Please see my Kingston page for more FebFest details.
Equipment: Thermos of hot beverage and a blanket
- Adventure Travel
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
Kingston Summer Ultimate - great summer league if you're here between mid-May and August, but they also have free pick-up games at the fields at St. Lawrence College Mondays and Fridays at 6pm (check website for details after 2007). The age range of this league is about 20s-30s (no kids plz), and consists of both city residents and university students. Level of the game can be high, but people are pretty good about teaching if you don't know what you're doing. People tend to focus on the game at pickup, so I wouldn't go there to meet pick up, per se.
Equipment: Bring your cleats, if you use them, and a disc for the slim chance that absolutely no one else brought theirs. Don't forget the water!
- Adventure Travel
Road biking in general north of Kingston is fantastic, there's no shortage of low-traffic country roads to peruse at your leisure. The roads downtown/in the city kinda suck in terms of potholes and the general lack of bike lanes, but once you get up north of the 401 (major highway), the traffic drops right off and the shoulders widen just enough for 2 riders to ride side by side comfortably.
Routes include highway 2 to Gananoque, or highway 2 looping across Abbey Dawn Rd./Joyceville Rd./Middle Rd. to hwy 15 for a nice (approx) 20/30/35km ride. There's also an optional loop on Kingston Mills Rd that adds about 10k. Not particularly hilly, but there a few short ones scattered in there. (It's definitely not a mountainous area.) Riders can also take the ferry from downtown (free) to Wolfe Island and bike around the country roads there for a day, though there's not much to see but farms and Lake Ontario (still pretty though!). There's also a much longer ride up to Desert Lake in Sydenham, where terrain can get extremely twisty and hilly - great day ride if you're up for it, not sure on the distances.
Wind can be harsh in this area, and its direction can change quickly, it's not uncommon to fight a headwind in both directions if doing an out'n'back or loop. Rain bursts also known to come quickly. All routes listed above are fairly well travelled, but it's good to have tools if necessary. There's a number of good bike shops around, including Gears&Grinds, Cyclepath, TI Cycle (Gananoque), and Frontenac Cycle&Sport for all your equipment/tune-up needs. Source for Sports is not recommended at this time.
While there's no problem riding on ones own, there are group rides that go out as well, most notably from Cyclepath (6:16pm Thurs, 7:30am Sat as of 2007), the Kingston Velo Club, and various smaller groups about town. Riding morning/evening is probably best, it can get hot/humid at the height of the day. Riding season goes from snowmelt (~end of April) till snowfall (~November).
Equipment: Mountain biking in this area is non-existent in terms of both mountains and trails. Check out Brockville or Port Hope (Ganaraska) for better riding nearby (-ish, ~1-1.5h drive), or better yet, just suck it up and drive to Hardwood Hills. A good road bike can get you places here.
- Road Trip