Sports

When I first started climbing I didn’t really “get” it. So you go up until you can’t go up anymore? Sounds a little scary. It wasn’t until I realized that every climb is like a solving a puzzle, that I started to get the climbing bug.

Boiler Room member Ardyn tries out a bouldering route in the recently improved “cave”.

The Boiler Room is located in the historic Woollen Mill at 4 Cataraqui Street and boasts Canada’s highest indoor climb via the chimney. The Boiler Room has both top rope (climbing while secured by a rope and harness) and bouldering (climbing at a low height without a rope) options.

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The Boiler Room features Canada’s tallest indoor climb through the historic chimney.

Kingston has recently gained another gym – The Kingston Bouldering Cooperative (KBC) — dedicated purely to bouldering. The operating hours of the KBC vary so check the schedule before heading over. The KBC is located a short stroll from the Woollen Mill at 12 Cataraqui Street — look for the garage door. Bouldering routes are rated from V0 (easy) to V16 (extremely difficult) and are marked at the beginning of the route. All the routes are marked with coloured tape — ask one of the members for what the different tape means.

The Kingston Bouldering Cooperative (KBC) at 12 Cataraqui Street.

Top rope climbing routes are graded by difficulty from 5.0 (easy) to 5.15 (extremely difficult). All the climbing routes at the Boiler Room have the gradings posted so someone new to climbing can find easier climbs and work their way up. The Boiler Room has a variety of easy and difficult climbs to ensure there’s something for everyone.

For new climbers, the Boiler Room offers rental equipment and requires that you complete a belay lesson to ensure everyone is climbing and belaying in a safe manner. (Tip: Shoes should fit snug, like socks). The Boiler Room also offers lessons and an eight-week course called Rock Solid — a hands-on course aimed to take your climbing to the next level. Parents of adventurous kids can nurture their child’s athletic side by trying out climbing or hosting a birthday party at the gym. The Boiler Room offers family memberships and a kid’s camp in the summer.

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Boiler Room member Raelyn tackles a route.

If you’re looking to improve your physical endurance the Boiler Room has added a section dedicated to working on technique and fitness. The owner’s background as a mechanical engineer means the gym is constantly being improved. The recently renovated workout area has sample workouts posted so you can tackle them solo or join in on the member workouts every Wednesday night. Members also benefit from discounts on equipment and members-only hours.

Avid Climber Serra (11 years old) tries a new route for the first time.

The recently renovated workout area at the Boiler Room.

I’ve been climbing for over a year and it hasn’t lost its draw. Now that I understand the attraction to climbing I find the combination of the mental and physical challenge unmatched in any other activity; it’s engaging and relaxing at the same time. Kingston is the perfect place to try the sport because the community is encouraging and supportive.  Even the experienced climbers at the gym started as a beginner at some point! The staff and members are friendly and will gladly answer your climbing questions or give you “beta” (advice on a route) because they all have something in common – they all love climbing! As a beginner or seasoned climber, you’ll find a fun and challenging climb in Kingston.

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Sports
 

Halfway between Toronto and Montreal, and close to the U.S. border, Kingston is perfectly located for a weekend getaway. Offering museums, festivals, arts and fine foods, this beautiful city has it all. Situated on the eastern end of Lake Ontario, the beginning of the St. Lawrence River and the mouth of the Cataraqui River, Kingston is full of areas to explore with your Kayak.

Also close by is the breathtakingly beautiful Thousand Islands. A collection of over 1,800 small islands located along the border of Ontario and New York State, it is steeped in history and surrounded by natural beauty. Filled to the brim with lighthouses, museums, castles, on-the-water dining, diving opportunities and kayak tours, it’s an outdoor lover’s paradise.

Fishing Opportunities

There’s also plenty of opportunity for fishing in the area too, as Large and Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Pike, Muskie, Trout, Perch, Crappie, and much more are all available within an hour of central Kingston. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to combine fishing and kayaking.

Where Should I Go Paddling?

With its beautiful vistas and breathtaking views, Kingston is ideal for a weekend getaway. With all these amazing opportunities for exploring, you might find yourself staying longer! And with so many options and areas to choose from, where do you start?


Kingston Waterfront

Top 6 Places to go Kayaking Around Kingston


What better way to see the city than by exploring the shoreline? The waterfront spans over 8km and offers plenty of opportunities for adventure.

For gear rental, Ahoy Rentals is conveniently located right on the waterfront and has everything you need. You can enter the water from here and there is ample space to park your car.

Following the shoreline, you will have a unique view of some of Kingston’s historical and architectural wonders. Heading south-west, you will pass the Kingston Penitentiary and Queen’s University. Paddling north-east will bring you past the historical Fort Henry, City Hall, Navy Bay, and plenty of other can’t-miss Kingston landmarks.

 

Thousand Islands

Top 6 Places to go Kayaking Around Kingston


There are endless possibilities for adventure and exploration both on foot and by boat in the Thousand Islands area alone. Consisting of 1,864 islands and spanning roughly 80 kilometres (50 miles), it will take some time and serious dedication to see everything!

Wolfe Island is the largest and is close to Kingston (with regular ferry access) but to experience the smaller clustered islands and their jaw-dropping beauty, head to Gananoque 30 minutes north-east of Kingston. Here you will find 1000 Islands Kayaking where you can rent kayaks. Go it alone or join a guided tour.
If you have time, consider camping for a few days or staying on a houseboat for an extra-special getaway in the wilderness.


Big Salmon Lake, Frontenac Provincial Park

Top 6 Places to go Kayaking Around Kingston


Frontenac Park covers 15,000 acres of land and wilderness. It includes 22 lakes and 160 kilometers of hiking trails. Big Salmon Lake is situated within the park and is roughly four miles long. About a 30-45 min drive from Kingston, it is revered for the tranquility it offers and is perfect for a day trip for paddlers of all levels.

As its name would suggest, Big Salmon Lake is a great spot for kayak fishing. Be aware, however, that an Ontario fishing license is required. Park fees also apply to all entrants (whether fishing or not). This is cash only so be sure to have some on you to avoid hassle and disappointment!

 

Sandbanks Provincial Park

Top 6 Places to Go Kayaking Around Kingston


Roughly an hour and twenty-minute drive from Kingston, Sandbanks Provincial Park is a great spot for kayaking, swimming, and stand-up paddleboarding. For a tranquil kayaking or fishing experience, head to East Lake or West Lake.

If you fancy playing around in the surf and enjoying what locals claim to be some of the best beaches in Canada, just head over the dunes to the Lake Ontario side of the park.

Now for the extra challenge…


Six Lake Loop, Frontenac Provincial Park

Top 6 Places to go Kayaking Around Kingston


For experienced paddlers looking for a challenge, the Six Lake Loop will offer just that.

Starting at the south-west corner of Big Salmon Lake, this loop will take you through LaBelle Lake, Big Clear Lake, Black Lake, Little Clear Lake, Little Salmon Lake, and finally back to Big Salmon Lake.

Each lake offers something different from the last and your paddling skills will be put to the test, not to mention your general fitness — you’ll need to portage your kayak between each lake.

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Sports

We’re perfectly located right on the water with the Frontenac Arch in our backyard — filled with great cycling options for every skill level (the views don’t hurt either). Hiking trails, city walking tours and unique indoor activities all come together to keep Kingston full of free and low-cost means of getting the blood pumping all year long.

Keep reading for a few of them along with a few others that’ll be money well spent.


Biking: Wolfe Island

With its lack of traffic, few hills and pastoral vibes, Wolfe Island is on any local cyclist’s must-pedal list. The free ferry to get there from downtown Kingston takes only 20 minutes, and once you land and get rolling, you’ll be treated to a 30-kilometre-long, 10-kilometre-wide island with farmland and those famous windmills on the interior, and cottages and rocky shorelines on the periphery. If you have time, stop by Big Sandy Bay for one of the best beaches in the region.


Climbing: The Boiler Room

What was once the boiler room for a 19th-century woollen mill is now a state-of-the-art climbing gym with Canada’s highest indoor ascent. If the 100-foot chimney climb sounds like too much, find your wall in one of two rooms, where there are 40 ropes and over 80 climbs to choose from whatever your skill level. Beginner and advanced lessons and programs are available, as are change rooms, showers, lockers, equipment, snacks and drinks.


Walking: Haunted Walks

A guest at Kingston’s Hochelaga Inn awakes in the night and sees a black figure at the foot of her bed, laughing. Nils Von Schoultz, hanged in 1838, still haunts Fort Henry. True stories or urban myths? You decide on a guided haunted walk through Sydenham Ward featuring tales of haunted hotels, hidden burial grounds, grave robbings and hangings at the courthouse.

$19.99 – $23.99


Sailing: Kingston Waterfront

Sure, you can take the Wolfe Island ferry to see Kingston’s skyline, but in a sailboat — or canoe or kayak, for that matter — you’ll see it from whatever perspective you want. Launch at one of these spots, and in a couple of meandering hours, you’ll pass by the historic Kingston Penitentiary and Queen’s University, the contemporary Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, and the iconic City Hall. Start with Ahoy Rentals for rentals, lessons and guided tours.


Swimming: Aqua Fit


According to the Aquatic Exercise Association, aquatic fitness is gaining in popularity; the number of certified instructors has jumped by over 50% since 2009. And no wonder. Whatever your age, who wouldn’t enjoy a low-impact workout focused on aerobics and muscle conditioning in a warm pool? Drop in to give it a try at the Kingston YMCA or most days of the week in the spring and summer at Artillery Park.


Hiking: K&P Trail

This former rail line for steam trains is now an easy 15-kilometre hiking trail where you can hop on and off at six different access points. At one end is Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area; at the other are vistas of the Glenvale Creek Wetland. In between, you’ll pass through meadows, farmlands, forests, rock cuts, marshes and stops of interest that include the site of the old Glenvale train station. Keep in mind that this isn’t a looped trail, so have a ride waiting when you get to the end, or just turn around and hike it again.

This former rail line for steam trains is now an easy 15-kilometre hiking trail where you can hop on and off at six different access points. At one end is Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area; at the other are vistas of the Glenvale Creek Wetland. In between, you’ll pass through meadows, farmlands, forests, rock cuts, marshes and stops of interest that include the site of the old Glenvale train station. Keep in mind that this isn’t a looped trail, so have a ride waiting when you get to the end, or just turn around and hike it again.


Working Out: Drop-in Fitness Sessions

Not ready or willing to commit to one type of activity? Then hit up the City’s drop-in fitness classes at Artillery Park or the INVISTA Centre. At last count, 15 classes made the list ranging from Zumba and morning yoga to spin classes and kickboxing. You can also just drop in to use the pools, saunas and gym equipment on your own.

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Sports

I grew up in Toronto. Nowhere near the water. But lucky for me, someone introduced me to canoeing at a young age, and my love for being on and near the water was born.
 
I live on a road with three lakes. I work less than 1km from Kingston’s shores of Lake Ontario. And my job requires me to sometimes be on the water, and to help others experience water activities. Being a waterfront town, we are so fortunate to be able to get out onto the water from our lovely downtown! So, apply some sunblock, slip into some quick dry clothing and come and check out all the fun you can have exploring our waterfront!


Explore by Paddle: Kayaking

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Downtown Kingston is situated at the confluence of three great waters: Lake Ontario, The St. Lawrence River, and the Cataraqui River (which is the south end of the the Rideau Canal). You can walk the shoreline via the Waterfront Trail, but why not take in the views from the seat of a kayak instead?
 
At the inner harbour, at the mouth of the Cataraqui River, you will find Douglas Fluhrer Park – you can slip your kayak into the water here, or at the dock at the Kingston Marina. From here you can paddle up the Cataraqui River on the Rideau Canal towards Ottawa, or slip out under the causeway and paddle the shore of Point Frederick, the peninsula that RMC is housed on. Check out the view of Fort Henry from the water, and paddle up the St. Lawrence a bit and circumnavigate Cedar Island.
 
Need a kayak? Ahoy Rentals offers hourly kayak rentals, and Trailhead offers daily rentals!
 
Not ready to venture out on your own? Trailhead offers a 3 hour Discover Kayaking clinic, designed for the beginner, as well as their Paddle & Pint, a two hour evening tour of Kingston’s waterfront, followed by a pint at one of our many local pubs.


Explore by Paddle: Stand Up Paddling


A relatively new paddling sport, Stand Up Paddling (SUP) has taken Kingston by storm.

You will see SUP’ers at beaches, in cottage country, as well as paddling out in the waves of Lake Ontario. SUP boards are light, easily transported and give you a completely different experience on the water than any other paddle sport. And the learning cure is pretty quick!

Ahoy Rentals rents y the hour, and offers SUP yoga classes and early morning social paddles. At Trailhead you can rent by the day and take a board to explore the waters north of town or take their 90 minutes intro clinic.
 

Explore by Wind: Sailing

 
We’re a sailing town. We have a number of sailing schools, we host an international sailing regatta (CORK), and we are a destination for sailboats from around the world.
 
I am not a sailor. But, I did have the opportunity to go out for an hour long sail with Andrew from Ahoy Rentals earlier this summer, and it was pretty great! If you have experience, you can rent your own sailboat, but if you are like me and have no experience you can also book a charter. Offering anywhere from a one-hour to full-day charter (ranging from $110–$450 for up to 5 people), a 2-hour sunset tour, or a 3-hour picnic tour (catered by Pan Chancho) – you can design your own sailing experience!
 
My boys and I hopped aboard his 24 foot sailing sloop, the Cygnet,  and followed the shore towards Cedar Island. The conditions were perfect that day, with other boats out and enjoying the wind. As we returned back to the dock, the kids camp at the Yacht Club were just heading out for their daily lessons.
 
This has been a hot summer! Take to the water to cool down…and see our magnificent waterfront from a different angle, by the power of wind, or by your own muscle. However you do it, you won’t be disappointed!

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Sports

Ever had one of those moments where you pass an entrance that beckons to an unexplored but enticing dimension? For me, this summer, that was the Kick ‘n Push Trail.

Officially known as the Kingston and Pembroke Trail, the Kick ‘n Push—its local nickname—is a groomed recreational trail that runs along an abandoned Canadian Pacific Railway railway bed, now owned by the City of Kingston and the County of Frontenac. 

Starting in Kingston, the trail runs north for nearly forty kilometres, through farmland and wooded areas to Verona, intersecting with the Rideau Trail and the Cataraqui Trail.  


My plan one overcast morning was to cycle the twenty-two kilometres to Harrowsmith. I’d then travel four kilometres into Sydenham for a quick lunch before returning to Kingston.
 
To prepare for the trip, I followed an old adage: take a light bike and a heavy wallet. In these cases, there’s no substitute for a solid pocket and a bike basket.
 
Road traffic near the entrance at the Binnington Court Trailhead (located at the end of Dalton Avenue, off Sir John A Macdonald Boulevard) is not bike friendly, so take precautions.
 
The trail is crushed gravel. It’s a heavenly, flat terrain that discourages speed while encouraging multi-use. On either side are vigorous trees and native wildflowers, abundant small creatures, insects and birds. The only aspect of the trail that gives pause is the detours around the access point fences, but they really are wide enough for your bike.
 
Under the trail’s canopy cover, you’re protected from the elements and the environment is peaceful. It’s a thoroughly different ride from the city experience: not hot, not windy, uncomplicated.


In thirty minutes, you can ride through several access points—Sydenham Road at the 401, McIvor Road, Jackson Mills Road at Burbrook Road, Unity Road, and finally, Orser Road. The path runs through wetlands, farmland and forested escarpment. Reassuringly, there are runners, dog walkers, other cyclists, even a woman with a baby carriage, suggesting that the distance between access points is not intimidating. Foot traffic within the city limits makes the trail feel both safe and beloved.
 
At Jackson Mills Road, I had to stop to consider direction. Stepping forward slightly, I found clear signage at the intersection of Jackson Mills and Burbrook Road. Assume that others have your best interests at heart!
 
As I travelled north, I rode meditatively. A flying grasshopper kept enchanting pace with me.
 
North of Merton Road, the trail is less manicured but absolutely travel-worthy. The rock-cuts are spectacular and it’s got that durable Canadian Shield vibe going.
 
Once I relaxed in knowing that I wasn’t going to get lost or dehydrated, eaten by bears or waylaid by robbers, I began to hail other cyclists. They love this trail and genuinely want others to join them.
 
Just south of Harrowsmith, the trail again ends abruptly. To your right is the intersection of the K&P trail with the Cataraqui Trail.
 
When I entered the trailhead, I expected to stop in Sydenham: I’ve proven that plan to be absolutely feasible. However, the trail had other plans for me: it enticed me with its beauty, its good signage and even terrain, its visitors—friendly companions of all species—who accompanied me. I continued through Harrowsmith, cycling forty kilometres to Verona. Eventually, this multi-use trail will connect users from Kingston to Sharbot Lake.


 Franklin D. Roosevelt once advised, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”
 
Go get your bike tuned up and without further consideration, head into that beckoning trail. The Kick ‘n Push is a marvellous adventure.

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