Outdoors
Ringing in in the New Year seems like only yesterday, yet somehow February is just around the corner – which means Feb Fest 2020 is nearly here! Each year, Downtown Kingston is home to many unique and entertaining events that are great for families as it encourages togetherness, promotes the great outdoors, and best of all, most activities are free (music to any parent’s ears a month after Christmas).

Imagination of Ice Skating Show

Saturday, February 1st Imagination on Ice will showcase local figure skating, and will feature special guest, Kaetlyn Osmond – a three-time Canadian national champion, winner of three Olympic medals, and two World Championship medals. Watch in awe the strength and grace that only an elite world-class athlete can deliver.

Feb Fest Classics and New Additions

Back this year, and in support of the Special Olympics, is the Polar Plunge. The bravest of the brave will bare all on February 2nd starting at 11am when they take a dip in Lake Ontario for a great cause. Another yearly favourite is the Carr-Harris Cup, a face-off between rivals Queen’s University and RMC. See them battle for the Cup February 6th at the Leon’s Centre. The game starts at 7pm. Finally, an event that is a must every year – Hockey Day in Kingston, a day of hockey tournaments for local kids as well as a Historic Hockey Game with NHL legends. Mark February 8th on your calendar for this annual favourite. New to Feb Fest this year is Artsy Afternoon – local participating art galleries and retailers featuring art will open their doors on Sunday, February 16th for afternoon self-guided tours.

Family Fun Day

Find your warmest toque, pile the kids in the car, and enjoy a day of outdoor fun over Family Day weekend. February 15-17, enjoy a free horse-drawn wagon ride and then warm up by the fire while you savour a Canadian classic – roasted marshmallows. Enjoy a family skate around the square before settling into a comfortable booth for a much-deserved family meal out.

All Month Long

No matter when you visit, there are always things on the go. Enjoy the ice slides in Boucher Park (just around the corner from market square) or take in the sights of the ice sculptures around the square. Warm up by the fire pits and nestle into the Adirondack chairs while enjoying a warm drink. Ready to hit the ice? Tie up your skates as music fills the air every Friday and Saturday nights. The kids will love cruising around the rink to the latest tunes, or take the hand of someone special and enjoy the romantic mix of twinkling lights and falling snowflakes. Want to shake it up? Get decked out in your best bell-bottoms or your brightest spandex and skate your way into the weekly themed nights. Be sure to check out the Tuesday night theme before hitting the ice. Hungry? Again this year is Toast to Tapas – a delicious reason to try some amazing Kingston eateries. Each week, different restaurants feature delicious dishes paired perfectly with in-house drink specials. So many wonderful places to try!

More of Kingston to Love

Come for Feb Fest and take in all that Kingston has to offer! Enjoy the amazing outdoor trails at Little Cataraqui Creek, experience the challenge and teamwork needed for an escape room, or try something new at the VR Hut. With family-friendly hotels and endless family dining options, Kingston is the perfect mini-getaway for your family this February.
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Music

Instead of a rehashed sound, Kingston has an attitude. Folk-tinged, anthemic rock songs may have brought the city to the national stage, but the reason Kingston’s artists are integral to Canadian music is their capacity to innovate. Whether it’s Bedouin Soundclash weaving reggae and indie or The Glorious Sons reinventing classic sounds for a modern audience, the city always delivers authentic music in new packages.


Where bigger cities benefit from huge pools of talent, the Limestone City punches above its weight with creativity and community. Its can’t-miss live acts are the cornerstone of a town that takes its music seriously and supports experimentation. Here are some of the many local acts that push boundaries.



4. Oakridge Ave

This indie-rock trio combines the reliability of a road act with a mad scientist approach to songwriting. Incorporating blues and funk, the band jumps between distorted power chords and danceable verses, updating indie rock with a range of influences. Making their name in venerable institutions across the city, Oakridge Ave can make a pub crowd dance like it was a music festival.


After releasing an EP, the band has their sights on a full-length album, relying on the local music community’s support to fund it.







3. Goldwing

For bands like Goldwing, Kingston’s pubs are a proving ground. Cutting their teeth as the Monday night house band at the Toucan, Goldwing cuts to the real, unvarnished core of the city’s music scene. With a steady output of new music paying tribute to the city’s nightlife, the band has honed a unique blend of hard-nosed rock influences with folk melodies. The combination brings all the energy and spontaneity of a house party to Kingston’s many venues.


They’re unapologetic, channeling the city’s DIY attitude into tightly written, fist-pumping anthems.Alternative-folk crowd-pleasers like “Cuts Me Down” are only possible in a city that puts its artists first.







2. Tom Savage

Don’t let the traditional music fool you: Tom Savage writes songs for the present moment, chronicling everything from lonely Northern Ontario highways to ageing and loss. A seasoned guitar-player, Savage delivers timeless performances. He draws from blues, folk and outlaw country, applying a vast body of work to his life and community. His latest outfit, Dead Root Revival, cast the net even wider, pulling from influences like John Coltrane, Al Green and modern-day funk prodigies Vulfpeck.


He’s cutting loose: Dead Root Revival’s “Rascal” showcases the musicianship that takes a backseat in his solo efforts. In the song, Savage departs from his folk-country roots and shreds jazz-blues solos like he’s unveiling a hidden talent. Despite all the instrumentation, Savage’s underlying sincerity holds the act together, lending it the same credibility his work as a singer-songwriter demands.


Whether you catch him with his band or solo, Savage is a genuine part of the city’s musical fabric.







1. Major Love

This band is a dreamy love letter to great songwriting. Headed by lead-singer Colleen Brown, Major Love’s live act has all the blockbuster choruses and cathartic lyrics of hometown heroes hitting new musical heights. The shows are confessional and urgent, but never lose the intimacy of a private concert. Much of that’s thanks to Brown. Her live performance offers the kind of swaggering, soulful vocals that belong on your favourite Motown record. For careful listeners, her voice has hints of Joni Mitchell at her peak, but Brown nonetheless manages to stand apart with a commanding stage presence and earnest delivery.


As a transplant from Alberta to Kingston, she also allows country and western to seep into her captivating pop-rock songs. That may be why the band says its music is for “their hoser friends.” But, considering the city’s musical history, writing for friends and the local music scene is just the beginning. Artists like Major Love belong on any music fan’s playlist.





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