The Journal presents ... the best of Kingston

For the past three weeks, the Journal’s website has featured an online survey that allowed you to vote for your favourite things to do on campus and in Kingston. Today, we present to you what you had to say

Long-time Kingston landmark Morrison’s is your favourite greasy spoon.
Long-time Kingston landmark Morrison’s is your favourite greasy spoon.
Window displays: gotta love those shoes.
Window displays: gotta love those shoes.
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s a Wooden Heads.
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s a Wooden Heads.
Gusto’s bathrooms were tops in your books.
Gusto’s bathrooms were tops in your books.

Food and drink

Best breakfast

1. Windmills

2. Morrison’s

3. The Sleepless Goat

Honourable mentions: The Brass, The Toucan and The Right Spot

This hotly contested category produced a lot of great responses, but the selection and quality offered by Windmills narrowly edged out perennial favourite Morrison’s to take the top spot.

A special mention goes to the respondent who claimed to start his or her day with an amaretto sour at the QP—now that’s a morning special.

Best Asian cuisine

1. Mekong

2. Little Saigon

3. Cambodiana

Honourable mentions: VIP, Phnom-Penh and Cambodian Village

With stellar pad thai and vermicelli dishes coming at relatively good prices at Mekong, this student favourite was hard to beat.

Best greasy spoon

1. Morrison’s

2. Stooley’s

3. The Right Spot

Honourable mentions: JJ’s and Denny’s

Morrison’s rocked the vote in this leg of the competition, washing its rivals away in a tide of greasy goodness. You just can’t beat the location or the chow offered by this long-time Kingston landmark.

Best lunch

1. The Sleepless Goat

2. Common Ground

3. Windmills

Honourable mentions: Stooley’s, Copper Penny and Luke’s

The Sleepless Goat was the narrow winner of this category, in which the answers were as fractured as Italian politics. In addition to the six choices listed above, respondents also showed some love to little-known lunch locales such as the Cavalier Room, Sizzle, the Indian Café and Sweet Jets.

Best pizza

1. Wooden Heads

2. Pizza Pizza

3. Joe Dough

Honourable mentions: Atomica, 2-4-1 Pizza and Domino’s

Wooden Heads’ thin-crust masterpieces powered to a landslide victory over the brand-name-but-yummy Pizza Pizza pies. And let’s all have a moment of silence for Joe Dough, which many stomachs seem to remember fondly despite its closure due to a fire last November.

Best grocery store

1. Loblaws

2. Food Basics

3. Bearance’s

Honourable mentions: A&P, John’s Delicatessen and Costco

Price and location battled quantity and quality, as Loblaws and Food Basics staged an epic grocery battle for top stop. Bearance’s, the sentimental favourite, didn’t even come close to the champions. Our respondents love their produce, especially if they can get it cheap.

Best place to drink

1. QP

2. The Toucan

3. Tango

Honourable mentions: The Grad Club, The Brew Pub and Gusto

The “Quiet Pub” got loud as our voters crowned it king of the drinking class, with relaxed local favourite The Toucan hot on its heels. At either watering hole, the Journal recommends going for the drinks and staying for the fries—wedge fries at the QP, and sweet potato fries with curried ketchup at the Toucan. Seriously. Do it.

Best poutine

1. Bubba’s

Honourable mention: Campus fry trucks

Putting this question on the survey was a bit of a wrench, because we all knew what the answer was going to be. And Bubba’s did not disappoint—you like it, Queen’s, you really like it! No other Kingston poutine outlet even came close, though one respondent sent some love to the chip truck in front of the JDUC because “it puts ground beef on its poutine!”

Best fine dining

1. Chez Piggy

2. Gusto

3. Wooden Heads

Honourable mentions: Windmills, Casa Domenico and Atomica

Kingston is also home to a lot of really, really good food, as the votes in this category proved, even if students can’t afford it most of the time. If you’re feeling classy, you should swing by any one of these fine dining establishments. It’s no Bubba’s poutine, but you’re bound to find something to stuff your fine-food-deprived stomach.

Best steak

1. The Keg

2. Grizzly Grill

3. Lone Star

Honourable mentions: Le Chien Noir and Chez Piggy

The Keg was the overwhelming winner in this category, as traditional or more reasonably-priced favourites took the lead over the gourmet grills. We’d also like to recognize the intrepid soul who said “my barbeque,” for conquering laziness with meat and fire.

Best sushi

1. Ta Ke Sushi

2. Asha

3. Mr. Dumpling

Honourable mentions: Discover Japan, Mekong and A&P

The Journal would like to send some love to Mr. Dumpling because when we order from them on press nights, they write “thank you!” on all of their takeout containers. But our respondents favour Ta-Ke Sushi and Asha, so perhaps it’s time for us to branch out.


Best art gallery

1. Agnes Etherington Art Centre

2. Union Gallery

3. Modern Fuel Gallery

Honourable mentions: YAK, Common Ground and Windmills’ walls

While Modern Fuel and the student-run Union Gallery held their own in this category, “the Agnes” was the overwhelming favourite of most respondents. Go for the pretty building, stay for the pretty paintings (and sketches and sculptures and metalwork and photographs and ... ).

Best bookstore

1. Indigo

2. Novel Idea

3. Wayfarer

Honourable mentions: Chapters and the Campus Bookstore

Big-box titan Indigo narrowly edged out independent bookseller Novel Idea for the top spot in this category. We must admit to a pang of disappointment on behalf of Novel Idea and Wayfarer, whose unique inventories and atmospheres have given us many hours of enjoyment. But it’s hard sometimes to resist Indigo’s sales, selection and Starbucks. We understand.

Best CDs/records

1. Sunrise

2. Brian’s Record Option

3. Chumleigh’s

Honourable mentions: CD Exchange and Zap Records

Sunrise has a great selection of both CDs and DVDs, Brian’s has the old-school atmosphere and Chumleigh’s has the used CD prices. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.

Best concert venue

1. Grad Club

2. Ale House

3. The Scherzo Pub

Honourable mentions: Stages, Grant Hall and Elixir Nightclub

You can’t get any more intimate than being squashed into the Grad Club with sweaty bodies, sweaty pint glasses and seriously good shows. It wasn’t even close.

Best place to dance

1. Ale House

2. Elixir Nightclub

3. Stages

Honourable mentions: Alfie’s and Smijie’s

Give the Hub Corporation credit for not only keeping the Ale House afloat after a student was killed there last year, but building it into a club where students pack the lines to get in and get their groove on.

Best place to have coffee/tea

1. The Sleepless Goat

2. Common Ground

3. Coffee & Company

Honourable mentions: Second Cu p and Tim Horton’s

The most eclectic place in Kingston, the Goat also serves a mad Irish cream coffee. Plus, it’s environmentally sexy and hip as hell.

Best place to rent a movie

1. Classic Video

2. Jumbo Video

3. Night Owl

Honourable mentions: Blockbuster and Bedore’s Grocer

It’s nice to know that not everyone is downloading that camera-shaken version of Wedding Crashers off the internet.

Best live theatre

1. The Grand Theatre

2. Queen’s Musical Theatre

3. The Baby Grand Theatre

Honourable mention: The Vogt series

Great. The first and third spots in this category go to theatres that have a “must wear helmets” sign in their front of house. Once the renovations are complete at the Grand and Baby Grand Theatres, you’ll have a reason to check these places out.


Best outdoor activity

1. Walking

2. Skating

3. Running

Honourable mentions: Biking, rollerblading and ice/road hockey

Congratulations. Some of you still like to exercise.

Best place to work out

1. GoodLife Fitness

2. The PEC

3. Outdoors

See above.

Best place to skate

1. Market Square rink (behind City Hall)

2. Victoria Park

3. City Park

Honourable mention: Lake Ontario

The Market Square rink iced the competition with a commanding victory, capturing hearts, minds and skates. The new surface proved vastly popular until the early thaw and the East Berlin-esque rubble of construction at the base of Brock Street put it out of commission.

Best place to walk/run/bike/blade

1. The waterfront

2. Wolfe Island

3. City Park, Little Cataraqui Creek (tie)

Honourable mentions: Behind Fort Henry, Sydenham Ward and King Street, south of campus

The moral of this story: Queen’s loves the lake.


Best charity event

1. Cuts for Cancer

2. Charity Ball

3. Shinerama

Honourable mentions: Limestone City Hockey Classic and Run for the Cure

There’s something so endearing about one hundred people flocking to the JDUC and eagerly shaving their heads to look like bowling balls. The sheer number of events that received votes in this category is comforting: not all of us flip cars.

Best place to buy men’s clothing

1. Blueprint

2. The Gap

3. Dovers

Honourable mentions: Value Village, S&R and Moore’s

All of you are so well-dressed you should be in a commercial.

Best store for women’s clothing

1. Agent 99

2. RW and Co

3. Next Exit, Three, Blueprint (tie)

Honourable mentions: The Gap, Urban Trade, Lululemon and Value Village

We think Blueprint did so well because the Journal’s own Dan Robson works there. Seriously.

Best place to cure your hangover

1. In bed

2. Morrison’s

3. The Brass, Stooley’s (tie)

Honourable mentions: Epicure, Common Ground, The Toucan, JJ’s and Tim Horton’s

Those of you who feel up to hauling yourselves out of bed in the aftermath of drunkenness voted for a variety of destinations. (RIP Epicure, we’ll miss you!) But really, when your head is spinning, your stomach is lurching and your blankets are toasty warm, who wants to get up? Yeah, that’s what we thought.

Best place to feed your late-night craving

1. Bubba’s

2. A&P

3. Pizza Pizza, McDonald’s

Honourable mentions: Joe Dough, Denny’s, Madeleine, Pita Pit and Famous King

It’s another win for Bubba’s, your favourite place to soothe the savage beast of the 2 a.m. grease-and-salt craving. But A&P reaches an itch that Bubba’s can’t scratch: late-night half-price roast chickens, for you carnivores.

Best place to find an “I’m sorry” gift

1. Send in the Clowns

2. Ten Thousand Villages, Willow, Tricolour Market (tie)

3. Minotaur, Sweet Stuff and the Greenroom (tie)

Honourable mentions: Cynthia’s, Shopper’s, LCBO, Sterling and Value Village

Thank you, respondents, for humouring this strange category, and coming up with such interesting answers. Most of you seem to favour trinkets, but the alcohol can’t be a bad call—see the post-exam activity questions. We’re pretty sure we don’t want to know exactly what you’re picking up at Cynthia’s, but bonus points for creativity!

Best place to have class

1. Goodes Hall

2. BioSciences Complex

3. Integrated Learning Centre

Honourable mentions: Watson and Kingston Halls

Collectively, these three buildings cost one zillion dollars between them. They better be good.

Best place to people-watch

1. JDUC (upper and lower ceilidh)

2. Common Ground

3. Stauffer Library

Honourable mentions: Princess Street, the PEC, the lakefront and Confederation Basin

Need inspiration for that poem you’ve been meaning to write? All of these places will do, but be sure not to be creepy.

Best public washroom

1. Gusto

2. Gender-neutral, JDUC

3. Stauffer

Honourable mentions: ILC, Mackintosh-Corry Hall across from the cafeteria, first-floor women’s washroom in Dupuis Hall and Indigo

You gotta love the elaborate decorations in the Gusto can, while the socially conscious votes went to the JDUC’s gender-neutral stall. But we’re really confused about the votes for the Stauffer bathrooms—we’ve never seen anything special about them. Clearly we were pissing up the wrong flagpole, as it were.

Best place to window shop

1. Heel Boy

2. Willow

3. Lululemon Honourable mentions: S&R, Sterling and Agent 99

Mmmm, shoes.

Best place to study on/off campus

On campus:

1. Douglas Library

2. Stauffer Library

3. Mackintosh-Corry Hall

Honourable mentions: The ILC and the Education Library


1. The Sleepless Goat

2. By the lakefront

3. At home

4. Honourable mentions: Coffee & Company, Starbucks and Indigo

Our respondents like to study in pretty, pretty places, with the possible exception of their Ghetto houses. But don’t get distracted by the beauty—eyes on the prize, fellow students!

Best thing to do after acing an exam

1. Drink (at the QP or Ale House)

2. Eat ice cream

3. Sleep

Honourable mention: Go shopping

Okay, Queen’s, we get it: a lot of you like to drink. But some of you also like to run, bake, dance in the street, watch TBS and “go to church [to] praise God” after you ace your exams. Whatever floats your boat, friends, except maybe the “beef jerky.”

Best thing to do after failing an exam

1. Drink (at the QP or Ale House)

2. Eat ice cream

3. Sleep

Honourable mention: Go shopping

It appears many of you like to do the same things whether you fail or pass an exam. But we really want to hang out with the people who said “bend over and kiss your ass goodbye,” “have a ridiculously huge amount of fattening food” and “eat my feelings.”

Best word to describe Kingston Where do we begin? It’s hard to imagine the most repeated word to describe Kingston was “quaint”—but it was. “Windy,” the second-most popular suggestion, was a little closer to the real thing, and “eclectic” even closer.

Here are a few more of the gems you sent us: upper-Canadian, unfortunate, lively, conflicted, charming, population: 116,000, shit-hole and Hockeyville. What a picture you paint.

Best view

1. Waterfront

2. Fort Henry

3. Confederation Park

Honourable mention: Summerhill, Wolfe Island and City Hall

Any time you want an endorphin pick-me-up, any of these sights will do. Take deep breaths, breathe in the unfamiliarity of the fresh air and relax.

Nicest staff

1. JDUC Tim Horton’s

2. The Sleepless Goat

3. Common Ground

Honourable mentions: Lone Star, American Apparel and Walkhome

This question prompted many, many responses—it seems there are a lot of people you love, Queen’s! But the ladies who holler “come on down!” to you every morning in the JDUC have a special place in many hearts.

Number one thing you haven’t tried yet

1. Indoor climbing at the Boiler Room

2. Skydiving

3. Haunted Walk Tour

Honourable mention: Going to Wolfe Island ferry, skating at the Market Square rink, and windsurfing on Lake Ontario

So much to do, so little time ...

—Compiled by Megan Grittani-Livingston and Matthew Trevisan

Best poutine and best place to feed your late-night craving: Bubba’s

So, Bubba’s destroyed the competition to win “Best poutine” and “Best place to feed your late-night craving.”

C’mon, was there ever any doubt? We should be naming the award after them for curds’ sake. At Homecoming this year, they had to put a bouncer at the bloody door!

Queen’s students are seemingly genetically predisposed to flocking faithfully to the Hub’s post-bar hot spot. After a night of heavy drinking, there isn’t much that can match the artery-clogging goodness of Bubba’s infamous poutine.

“You gotta enjoy the drunks,” George, the man behind the counter, told me. “You can have a good time with them.”

He attributes Bubba’s popularity among late-night boozehounds to the homemade gravy they generously slather over their crispy fries and gooey cheese.

“So, where’s Bubba?” I asked big George.

“Uh, he’s downtown,” he said.

“And I bet he makes the best poutine, eh?”

“Nah, he usually drinks.”

“Oh, ok.”

George said the highlight of working at Bubba’s is getting to know all the regulars.

“It’s nice to be able to sit down and hang out with the people,” he said. “You know, get to know who they are and stuff.”

So, maybe it’s the personal touch that keeps students craving the coronary-inducing greasy grub.

Actually, it’s probably just the gravy.

—Brendan Kennedy

Best art gallery: The Agnes Etherington Art Centre

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre’s biggest claim to fame is that the gallery is home to a Rembrandt. But upon closer examination, the small gem has built its reputation not only around its famous European holding, but also a richly interactive program that both displays and encourages expressions of creativity.

Opened to the public in 1957 in the former home of prominent Queen’s philanthropist Agnes Etherington, “the Agnes” has grown into one of the hubs of the Kingston art scene.

The gallery hosts 20,000 visitors per year, with fall and winter being the busiest seasons. Summer also sees many guests, mainly out-of-town tourists, pass through the centre’s doors.

Aside from its diverse collection and exhibitions, the gallery runs a variety of interactive programs including artist talks, special lectures in various aspects of art history, and noon-hour talks in its “Art Matters” series.

The gallery also hosts special open houses on weekends, along with free admission days on Thursdays. Many events run by the Centre are free of charge. To further serve the Kingston community, the Centre runs two intensive hands-on art programs for gifted high school students.

Jan Allen, the gallery’s curator of contemporary art, said the most amusing visitor responses are the comments left by school-age guests. She said the Centre appreciates their “fabulous” energetic natures and high levels of interest.

“The sense of wonder [and] the engagement of the people is something that’s satisfying for us,” Allen said.

Allen expressed pleasure at winning the unofficial title of best art gallery in Kingston.

“I’m glad to know that [the gallery’s] not the best kept secret on campus,” she said.

—Rosel Kim

Best place to rent a movie:

Best place to rent a movie: Classic Video

Classic Video is the little hidden gem located at 40 Clarence Street, which takes the prize as the best place to rent a movie in Kingston.

After first opening its doors in 1987, Classic Video has grown steadily. Don’t expect to find shelves and shelves of the same new release, because Classic has a staggering inventory of more than 15,000 film titles lining the walls of its two floors.

Owner Tom Ivison said Classic Video differs from other DVD and video rental stores in Kingston because it offers its customers a medley of hard-to-find flicks.

“Our specialty is really [to] … bring in a lot of DVDs that you can’t find elsewhere, whether it be foreign movies or documentaries,” he said.

Ivison said the store also has a large section devoted to TV shows on DVD, which have ranked among Classic’s more popular rentals for the last few years. He also said a large amount of Classic Video’s clientele comes from the University.

“We get a lot of Queen’s students and Queen’s staff that come,” he said. “Generally, they have excellent taste in movies.” The 11 staff members all have a wealth of movie knowledge that is rivalled only by the abundance of films Classic Video stocks. They can make suggestions as quickly about the best of Iranian cinema as they can about must-see anime.

—Janet Shulist

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