Kingston’s neighbourhood gems: Inner Harbour

By Sofia Tosello

Travelling just north of Princess Street, you’ll find beautiful green spaces, street art, and historic sites turned restaurants and cafés.

Inner Harbour, a historically rich and artsy neighbourhood in Kingston, boasts landmark sites such as Molly Brant Point, named after the influential Mohawk Clan Mother who lived in the area circa 1785. The beautiful lookout is right next to River Mill Restaurant and Dolce Bella Spa on the Rideau, overlooking the Cataraqui River.

There’s so much more to discover, so head down to Inner Harbour and visit its neighbourhood gems, including a delicious pizza place, Instagram-worthy café, and luxurious spa.

McBurney Park

This gorgeous and versatile greenspace, otherwise known as Skeleton Park, is perfect for an evening stroll or afternoon picnic. Play a round of hoops at the park’s basketball court or bring the kids down on a hot afternoon to play on the jungle gym.

In the fall when the weather cools down, McBurney Park turns into a cornucopia of red, gold, and orange leaves. Grab a hot latte from The Elm Café and take a stroll down to the park to snap some pictures for Instagram.

Underneath Skeleton Park are hundreds of 19th-century graves, hence its ominous name. The park’s spooky history makes it a key stop on Kingston’s Haunted Walk, a tour that takes you around the city’s ghost-infested locations.

Beyond its dark history, Skeleton Park serves as a hub for creatives, hosting an annual arts festival in June where local Kingston musicians and artist vendors come together to present their work.

Pizza Monster

With its eclectic and colourful street art, this local restaurant serving up loaded pizzas, stuffed cannolis, and local wines, is hard to miss.

Stop by Pizza Monster on 213 Montreal Street to try their cacio e pepe pizza, smothered in garlic butter, topped with cheese, lemon zest, and cracked pepper. If you’re feeling adventurous, order the mortadella or buffalo chicken pizza (swap the cauliflower for chicken if you’re vegetarian). Wash your pie down with a cold beer or chilled wine, and then finish off with a stuffed cannoli made in-house. Their pizza dough, sauce, and even their pickles are also homemade.

Pizza Monster pizza

For vegans, order the vegan margherita and mushroom pizzas, or ask your server if they have any seasonal options.

Pizza Monster initially served their mouth-watering pies at the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market. Customers went crazy for their pizzas and, due to popular demand, the owners moved to their permanent location in the Inner Harbour. You can check them out on Wednesday and Thursday from 4 pm to 8 pm and Saturday and Friday from 4 pm to 9 pm.

The Elm Café

Stop by The Elm Café at 303 Montreal Street for a hot or iced latte and an on-the-go breakfast sandwich made fresh. This café–which looks straight out of your personal Pinterest board, fixed with a cozy interior and spacious patio–offers customers a variety of baked goods including chocolate hazelnut croissants, fruit crumble squares, and a variety of cookies.

Feel like sitting down for some breakfast? The Elm Café serves a selection of breakfast options until 11 am including the “Whole ‘Sheabang,’” a sandwich topped with bacon, a fried egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. If you’re vegetarian, try the “Veg ‘Shebang’” instead.


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Other vegetarian and vegan options include their overnight oats, hemp heart and toasted coconut bars, and chocolate chip cookies.

The café–formally a laundromat called “Laverne’s Laundry”– is open 7:30 am to 5 pm daily.

River Mill Restaurant

If you want dinner with a view, try River Mill Restaurant at 2 Cataraqui Street, just a few minutes from the heart of downtown Kingston. This stunning restaurant overlooking the Cataraqui River is in the 125–year–old Woolen Mill building. The historic building operated as a cotton mill in the early 20th century.

If you stop by for lunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, try their local Wagyu beef burger made with crispy bacon, garlic aioli, caramelized onion cheddar, and arugula on a buttery brioche bun. The restaurant offers classic dishes like fish and chips and chicken sandwiches.

From 5 to 11 pm, River Mill Restaurant serves their dinner menu featuring mushroom ragu potato gnocchi and a grilled arctic char. They buy their produce locally and offer a large selection of wines including several options from local vineyards. Gluten-free and keto-friendly options are available.

With it’s old, red brick exterior and bright interior, River Mill Restaurant preserves the history of the building and incorporates fresh contemporary elements, making for a unique dining experience.

Dolce Bella Spa on the Rideau

This five-star spa experience located in the Woolen Mill Building next to the River Mill Restaurant will help you find your inner Zen. Dolce Bella Spa on the Rideau features a gorgeous, modern interior with exposed brick and large windows overlooking the Cataraqui River.

Dolce Bella Spa on the Rideau offers customers a variety of refreshing facials including a deep European Pore Cleansing and Hydration Infusion. Facials range from $150 to $220.

Dolce Bella Spa

They also offer massages, manicures, pedicures, waxing, body treatments, and hair treatments. Want to experience a little bit of everything? Buy one of their spa packages starting at $260.

Check out Dolce Bella’s website to learn more about their services and book your appointment today!

Daughters General Store

This family-owned business located at 63 John Street offers a diverse array of delicious food items and snacks.

Pop over to Daughters General Store, blooming with greenery and a warm atmosphere to buy an elevated frozen pizza from Libretto or General Assembly.

Want a refreshing, bubbly drink while on your afternoon walk, oat milk for your coffee, hot dogs for that BBQ you’re hosting, or a pint of ice cream on a hot summer day? Daughters General Store has you covered. They sell a variety of vegan and vegetarian food options as well.

Daughters General Store is open 9 am to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday and 10 am to 6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Broom Factory (TULA café)

From the outside, the Broom Factory located at 305 Rideau Street looks like a trendy storage facility with colourful street art spotting its exterior. However, stepping inside the 1894 broom factory turned concert venue and café, visitors are met with an intimate, rustic interior brimming with activity.

TULA café and the concert venue inside the Broom Factory are separated by a glass wall. On one side, patrons can grab a latte and baked goods infused with adaptogens–which balance the body and mind–while admiring the earthy, pink interior of the café. TULA café offers a wide range of vegan and gluten-free options. Check them out 8 am to 3 pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Tula cafe

On the other side of the glass is a concert venue that hosts events weekly. From comedy shows to rock artists, films to drag shows, the Broom Factory features a wide variety of creatives who come to the heart of the Inner Harbour to share their talents with audiences.

Check out their website for upcoming events and tickets!