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The new Kingstonian’s guide to getting to know your city

Stooley’s is one of the best cheap food options near campus and has great fries, student says.
Stooley’s is one of the best cheap food options near campus and has great fries, student says.

Congratulations, class of 2014! You are not only about to attend one of Canada’s premiere universities, but you’re also about to move into the first capital of Canada, a historic and vibrant city with endless restaurants, boutiques and activities to explore and immerse yourself in.

For the many students who will be calling Kingston home for the first time in September, the city and its inhabitants remain a mystery. In an effort to familiarize students with their new environment, many frosh week events are designed to take students out of the Queen’s bubble and into the surrounding city. First Years Not in Residence Students (FYNIRS) co-chair Matt Mills, ArtSci ’11, said getting to know Kingston is an important part of the FYNIRS experience.

“We are getting a higher number of incoming students from out of town,” he said, adding that for this reason, FYNIRS has incorporated more events aimed at exploring the city.

While frosh week activities give students a good introduction to Kingston, nothing can replace a leisurely walk through the city to discover the local culture, food, fashion and entertainment venues for yourself.

With one of the highest number of restaurants per capita of any Canadian city, Kingston has food options to curb any craving. Argerie Tzouras, ArtSci’12, praised Kingston’s cheap cuisine. “I recommend Darbar for great Indian food and Arisu for Sushi. Otherwise, check out Stooley’s, directly in the student village. You will never want caf fries again,” Tzouras said, adding that she thinks Morrison’s on King St. East offers tasty, inexpensive breakfast options.

“When the parents are in town or you feel like indulging, Windmills has fantastic food. Atomica and Le Chein Noir are never a letdown,” she said. “And if you’re a vegetarian, Lotus-Heart-Blossom is always a crowd pleaser.”

Other inexpensive downtown options include Cambodian Village on King St East, and Wok In on Montreal St, where you can eat Cambodian and Thai dishes for under $10.

Notable Kingston fixtures include Woodenheads, which serves gourmet pizza, and Pan Chancho Bakery and Chez Piggy, both staples of the Kingston food scene.

If you’d rather cook for yourself, Metro and Food Basics are close by, and a better stocked Loblaws is a 5-minute bus ride away. The Farmer’s Market comes weekly to Queen’s and is a great place to stock up on local produce.

For a smaller city, Kingston boasts a surprising number of hip boutiques and shops. Big name stores close to campus include Lululemon, the GAP, American Apparel and Urban Outfitters.

St. Lawrence College graduate Tammy Godefroy is the owner of Novellino, a dress and vintage accessories store. Godefroy said the store sells dresses of all kinds, from casual to semi-formal or cocktail. All the merchandise is made in Los Angeles and shipped to Kingston.

“Queen’s [students are] our number one client,” Godfroy said, adding that the store is especially busy before New Year’s Eve and before Arts and Science socials.

“We are very well known on campus,” she added.

Kingston’s large student population is also reflected in the city’s active nightlife.

Ale House contains both a canteen area with a full service food and beverages menu and a club in the back that frequently hosts live music. Ale House manager Scott Hopkins, ArtSci ’09, said the bar is very popular with students both as a place to socialize and work.

“At Ale House all the managers and owners went to Queen’s or still do, and we really try and accommodate Queen’s students and athletes,” he said. “We’re the place to go for sports teams, and I think we have a great fun and upbeat atmosphere.”

Ale House is planning on a big concert on the night of Wednesday Sept. 8. Hopkins wouldn’t divulge the act yet, but he did say that it would be even bigger than last year’s frosh week performer, K’Naan. Kingston also has a great scene for those who are not yet 19 or do not have an interest in partying.

Kevin Hong, Artsci’12, recommended checking out two of Kingston’s downtown movie theatres for a quieter night out.

“Capitol 7 shows new releases, and the Screening Room shows foreign and independent movies. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students can see a show for $6 there,” he said.

While moving into a new place can seem daunting at first, Kingston is very accommodating to its student population. As you settle into your new room and navigate campus in the first few weeks, don’t hesitate to explore the Limestone City and everything it has to offer!

—With files from Kelly Loeper

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