The sights and sounds of the holidays

By Andrea Gunn

As the December days grow darker, downtown Kingston has grown a little – no, make that a lot –  brighter. Now’s the perfect time to bundle up and take in – safely – the sights and sounds of the city.

Princess Street trees and lampposts from Division to Ontario Street have been festooned with lights. The street is lit up every night, making an evening stroll downtown feel a little more magical.

Credit: Tim Forbes

Businesses all around the downtown core are showing their love for Kingston, each with a neon heart displayed in the window. If you want to show your own love for Kingston, walk over to Ontario Street and grab a selfie in front of the Love sign at Confederation Basin or with the giant heart next to the Kingston sign at the Visitor Information Centre. Across the street, Kingston City Hall is lit up each night with blue and white snowflake projections.

Credit: Garrett Elliott

While the Visitor Information Centre will be lit up with festive decor, you can also experience a variety of live music at this iconic spot. Music Made in Kingston at the Visitor Information Centre takes place Saturday and Sunday from December 4th to December 19th, 12:00 pm to 2 pm. For more information, check out the Facebook Event page and discover who you’ll be listening to the next time you’d like to take a weekend, wintry stroll.

Starting December 13th right until the 24th participating downtown businesses will be keeping the lights on and doors open longer for extended shopping hours so you can take your time finding the perfect holiday gift. Don’t forget your Downtown Dollars – they work exactly like a gift card and can be purchased in $10, $20, and $50 increments. Downtown Dollars can be used at over 120 businesses in Downtown Kingston and are used just like cash. Not only are Downtown Dollars a great gift for someone you love, but they also help support our small businesses by encouraging local shopping and dining.

Looking for a way to make your holiday shopping even better? Shoppers can pick up their Holiday Shopping Passport at participating businesses and for a purchase of $10 or more collect a winter sticker to begin filling in their passport. Once you gather 5 stickers on your passport, you can submit it online or at participating businesses to win Downtown Kingston’s weekly $500 Downtown Dollar draw. All passports will also be entered into a grand prize draw for a $2500 Downtown Dollar Shopping Spree. Businesses will be giving out stickers and collecting passports until December 24th and winners are drawn weekly. You can view participating businesses and submit your Holiday Shopping passport here.

Just window shopping? A number of downtown businesses have put up special holiday window displays. Vote online for your favourite Window Wonderland display, and you’ll be entered into a draw for a $50 certificate to the winning store.

Credit: Tim Forbes

If you’re wandering around downtown, make sure to stop at Santa’s Village for a quick picture with the 24/7 Selfie Santa. Make sure to bring a letter for Santa to drop in the mailbox too — located on the corner of Brock St right next to the Zamboni hut at City Hall.

You can celebrate the season at the Holiday Market, featuring a variety of local artisans and musicians. From December 10th until the 12th, you can browse and shop at this family-friendly event while being serenaded by local musicians. The tented market will be located at the corner of Ontario St and Brock St, right beside City Hall. For more information about the market, live events, and opening hours, visit the Downtown Kingston website.

The skating rink at the square will be opening any day now, for you and your family to take a spin on the ice. (Check the City of Kingston website for rink hours and physical distancing guidelines.).

Looking for a new holiday playlist? Here it is: “A Very YGK Holiday,” featuring talented local musicians Miss Emily, Leonid Nediak, Cameron Wyatt, and Abby Stewart. Stream it on Soundcloud:

Mondays just got a little more fun! Every Monday until December 13th, Downtown Kingston will release a new Pewter ornament from their annual five-piece series of historic Kingston buildings & landmarks. For $10 each, you can take home a limited edition item to celebrate your love for Kingston. For more information about where you can purchase and a glimpse at some of the ornaments that have been already released, visit the Downtown Kingston website.

If you’re craving more seasonal activities to do at home, check out the activities in the Together at Home video series holiday edition. Take in a concert, make spiced ginger cookies with the kids, create your own holiday wreath, or take a dance class with some of the Limestone City’s most talented artists and creators.

Credit: Tim Forbes