Light up the Limestone

A small sample of ways to break out of the campus bubble

The Artel and the Wellington St. Theatre (pictured) are two hidden Kingston treasures.
The Artel and the Wellington St. Theatre (pictured) are two hidden Kingston treasures.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

It shouldn’t be a shock that Kingston is home to a large population of art lovers, movers and shakers. It can be hard to hunt down art events while finding your footing in a new place. Tempting as it may be to herd with roommates, floormates and housemates to the same old spot week after week, venturing out of the campus realm will help you personalize your time here and find your niche.

Where: 205 Sydenham St., the-artel.ca, 613-542-0969

What: A welcomed flight from the average Kingston venue, the Artel is many things to many people. The safe and open space is committed to nurturing artistic growth in a quaint and comfy house only a five to 10 minute walk from the Hub. A vast spread of mediums and opportunities are offered for the community to get involved. The Artel encourages discussion with emerging and established musicians, artists and curators and they do well balancing local and out-of-town bands with thought-provoking art installations. A similar atmosphere can be found at the Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre.

When to go: Sept. 25—Shotgun Jimmy/Baby Eagle concert, Sept. 30—Noise Jam

Where: 162 and 163 Barrie St., queensu.ca/gradclub, 613-546-3427

What: A cornerstone gem of Kingston’s entertainment scene, The Grad Club boasts good food, great music and endearingly creaky floors that breathe its history. Virginia Clark, an established local music promoter, has her ear to the ground and delivers memorable shows, from The Acorn to Jason Collett, to The Grad Club year after year. Available for club meeting space, it’s a great place to meet or get to know colleagues and classmates over some deep fried delights.

When to go: Sept. 17—Wintergloves with Cherry Chapstick, Sept. 18—Forest City Lovers, Sept. 24—Queen’s Pride Project Welcome Back. Weekly Events—Tuesdays: 1/2 Price Nachos (with membership ID), Wednesdays: Open Mic, 8 p.m., Thursdays: Trivia Night, 9 p.m.

Where: 1222 Main St., Wolfe Island, wolfeislandgrill.com, 613-385-2157

What: Overlooking a sun-kissed and sparkling Lake Ontario, there are few places more serene than the wooden patio of the Wolfe Island Grill. A quick 20 minute ferry ride from downtown Kingston gives an escape from the hustle and bustle of campus life. It’s already a hot spot for local island dwellers but the Grill continues to be an underrated destination for Queen’s students outside of the Wolfe Island Music Festival. In recent years the grill has seen surprise gigs from artists like Feist and Dan Mangan. The intimate setting (not to mention delicious food) bodes well for acoustic-based performances, allowing for great story telling from the likes of Craig Cardiff.

When to go: Sept. 19—Wolfe Island Fiesta with Mariachi Tapatio Salvadoreno, 1:30 p.m.-5 p.m.

Ferry times (from Kingston): 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m.

Where: 1 Barrack St., k-rockcentre.com, 613-650-5000

What: The closest thing you’ll find to a stadium venue in Kingston, The K-Rock Centre’s fare coincides with the city’s mainstream rock station that sponsors it. Bob Dylan, Elton John, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Russell Peters, Metric and Jerry Seinfeld are a few of the acts that have drawn audiences young and old. You might have to shell out for acts like these, but it’s not every day the Rocket Man comes to town. Shows are mostly prompt and end before midnight, so plan your time accordingly. For sports lovers, keep tabs on the centre’s website to be in the loop on upcoming Frontenac games.

When to go: Nov. 27—Great Big Sea

Where: 506 Princess St., themansionkingston.com, 613-531-0003

What: Resembling its namesake on Princess St. a block west of the Hub, a previous chain pub has transformed into the multi-level venue and music hotspot: The Mansion. Whether swaying to cozy tunes in The Living Room on the third floor, playing some foosball with nachos and beer on the main floor or crowding into the eerie, candle-lined Wine Cellar, the Mansion always delights. The genres covered for live acts are boundless and are usually up and coming indie acts between $5 and $10. For acts with more hardcore and screamo leanings, check out Time to Laugh Comedy Club at 394 Princess St. in the heart of the hub.

When to go: Sept. 17—Right by Midnight with The Flats, Sept. 18—Pat Temple with Steve Piticco, Sept. 19—These Three Cities, Sept. 24—Cherry Chapstick

Where: 126 Wellington St., wellingtonst.net, 613-542-0070

What: Focused on bringing performing arts opportunities to the masses, the Wellington Street Theatre is home to Theatre Kingston and is a crucial part of the community. Supported by professionals from Toronto, Queen’s professors, Kingston high schools and local amateur troupes, shows are inexpensive and accessible to students. The elaborate ceiling makes for a beautiful space suited for musicals, concerts and varying types of plays. When to go: Visit their website to stay in the loop for their upcoming season.

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