Your guide to a sustainable weekend in Kingston

By Abbey McCauley

Sustainable travel in Kingston looks like exploring farmers’ markets, savouring vegan delights, appreciating outdoor spaces, and more, all while keeping your impact on the environment and community to a minimum. Experience it for yourself on a curated two-day itinerary, filled with sustainable restaurants, attractions, experiences, and tips to help you venture through Kingston with an eco-friendly mindset.

Day 1: Saturday

Salad from Toast & Jam / Credit: Mike Wing

Breakfast at Toast & Jam

Start your trip off right with breakfast at Toast & Jam Café, one of Kingston’s most popular brunch joints and a Feast On® certified restaurant. Feast On® certified restaurants source 25% of their total food and beverage from Ontario and seek to serve Ontario food and drink whenever possible. When you dine at the Feast On® certified restaurant, you are supporting the local food economy and sustainable food systems. At Toast & Jam, you will find homemade bread and baked goods (from their sister bakery, Bread & Butter), flavourful lattes, fresh salads, and classic yet unique breakfast options, such as eggs Benedict with southern cornbread or tofu scramble breakfast.

A Kayaker and paddleboarder on Lake Ontario / Credit: Ahoy Rentals

Paddle or bike with Ahoy Rentals

After breakfast, head down to Kingston’s waterfront on beautiful Lake Ontario. Travel the shoreline and take in views while renting a boat or bike from Ahoy Rentals. Whether you bike, sail, kayak, canoe, or paddleboard, this activity is a perfect way to get outside and immerse yourself in the city’s natural beauty.

Pizza and other dishes from Atomica Kitchen & Cocktails / Credit: Tim Forbes

Lunch in downtown Kingston

For lunch, visit one of downtown Kingston’s Feast On® certified restaurants. Sample dishes, such as the carne finta pizza or loaded hummus, from Atomica’s plant-based menu, try sustainable Enright Cattle Company beef at Harper’s, or drink a pint of local beer at Black Dog Tavern.

Kingston Public Market in Springer Market Square / Credit: Garrett Elliott

Explore downtown Kingston

The heart of Kingston is filled with eco-conscious businesses. Refilleries, such as Harlowe Green and The Keep Refillery, sell household and personal care items without single-use packaging, helping you reduce your waste. Thrift and curated vintage stores, such as Montreal Street Collective, YGK Thrift, ClosettCandyy Consignment, Reid’s, Thrifty Girl and Moxie & Mine, offer unique, pre-loved clothing items, re-routed from landfills. Other sustainable stores to check out are Trailhead, an outdoor store with many sustainable initiatives, and Verde, a general store selling eco-friendly products.

While you are downtown, visit the Public Market in Springer Market Square. It is home to vendors and artisans selling fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, crafts, art, and much more.

Two people eating Bāo and edamame at Miss Bāo / Credit: Forbes Photographer

Dinner at Miss Bāo

A trip to Kingston would not be complete without dining at Miss Bāo Restaurant & Cocktail Bar. As an almost zero-waste operation, Miss Bāo offers a menu that is 50% vegan and vegetarian, repurposes trimmings and peelings from produce, and bans single-use plastics in the restaurant. Their food & drink menus are seasonal and incorporate flavours of local produce and meats. Try the crispy shiitake wontons, Szechuan tofu bāo, and seasonal non-alcoholic cocktail for an unforgettable dining experience.

Performer on stage at the Broom Factory / Credit: Viara Mileva

Concert at the Broom Factory

To end the day, experience Kingston’s epic music scene at the Broom Factory, an eco-friendly arts & culture hub. The Broom Factory building was constructed in 1894 and was home to many industrial practices over the years. After being designated as a heritage building, it was restored as an energy- efficient, fossil fuel-free building. Now, it is home to workshops, panels, screenings, live music, comedy, TULA Café, and more. Check out the Broom Factory’s website for upcoming events and concerts.

Day 2: Sunday

Brightly coloured tents set up at the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market / Credit: Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market

Breakfast at Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market

For breakfast, sample food from the Kingston region at the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market. The market’s food court has a wide variety of tasty breakfast options, such as plant-based sandwiches from Knifey Spooney, sweet churros from the Churro Guy, and coffee from Haymakers Coffee Co. Chat with local food and craft producers and learn more about food security in Kingston.

Visitors on a tour in Springer Market Square / Credit: Garrett Elliott

Creative Kingston walking tour

Take a self-guided walking tour to learn more about the history of Kingston’s vibrant film, literary, and music scenes. Choose one of the nine tours to visit recent film and television production locations, literary landmarks that have inspired the written word, and places where some of Canada’s most talented musicians got their start. Tours range from one to two hours and start at various locations in and around downtown Kingston. Tours can be accessed by visiting the creative Kingston walking tours website.

Lisa from Cadue’s First Foods, serving up her cuisine at the Katarokwi Indigenous Market / Credit: Garrett Elliott

Lunch at the Indigenous Market

After partaking in a walking tour, you will probably be hungry. Luckily, for you, Springer Market Square is home to the Katarokwi Indigenous Art and Food Market on Sundays. One of a kind in Ontario, the market is home to Indigenous artists and vendors from the Kingston region. Cadue’s First Foods offers Indian tacos made with homemade seasonings, fresh butter tarts, wild rice with blueberries, and much more. Turtle Island Snacks and Fine Food sells pemmican strips, dried meats, and chips. Learn about local Indigenous culture while savouring some great food!

Seagulls flying in Breakwater Park / Credit: Forbes Photographer

Relax in the outdoors

Kingston has a variety of great beaches and parks for you to enjoy in the afternoon. Bring a picnic blanket, a swimsuit, a book, and field games to pass the time! Discover your beach or park of choice by reading 5 must-visit Kingston beaches and visiting the City of Kingston’s parks, trails, & sportfields webpage.

Tacos at Mesa Fresca / Credit: Forbes Photographer

Dinner at Mesa Fresca

Travel to the west end by bus or bike for dinner at Mesa Fresca. As one of Kingston’s vibrant Mexican fusion restaurants, they are known for creating a local dining experience for guests. The chefs are committed to using ingredients from local producers, offering vegetarian and vegan dining options, and creating sauces and tortillas in house. As well, they support other local business through partnering with Loving Spoonful and Kiva: Loans that change lives to provide interest-free loans to small businesses. For every taco sold, ten cents goes to the cause. Cheers to tacos and supporting local businesses!

Sustainable tips for your stay in Kingston