As someone who was raised in Kingston, I know it can get a lot of heat for not providing opportunities for residents to think outside of our small town bubble. Folks tend to venture to bigger cities for broader cultural experiences. But I can say that the team at The Kingston Grand curates incredibly diverse programming every year! And I am excited to tell you about a particular production that will be showing very soon.
Next week on Tuesday, March 14, The Kingston Grand will welcome Jaberi Dance Theatre from Toronto to present No Woman’s Land. This award-winning dance production features stories of refugees and many women’s journey of migration. It took three years to create and was born out of a process that “was multi-faceted and included a literature review, films, documentaries, articles, case studies and a series of focus groups with refugee women from the Tamil, Somali and Syrian communities living in Toronto. These focus groups were led by community facilitators with lived experience, conducted in their respective languages which were transcribed and shared with the creative team,” according to the Jaberi Dance production website.
It’s Black History Month! February is a special time to celebrate Black history, honour those who fought inequities and those who continue to break through systems that have been traditionally exclusive. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’re familiar with my own experience as a Black woman in Kingston. I shared back in 2020 what it can sometimes feel like to live here. Since then, I’ve found a stronger sense of community and belonging and much of that has been thanks to the Black Luck Collective, a community group of Black Kingstonians that share resources, support and opportunities to connect with each other and celebrate our respective cultures.
In light of Black History Month, local brewery, Something in the Water, is launching an Imperial Stout called Black Waves to recognize and celebrate the local Black community. They will be launching the stout this February 17 with events on the 18th and 19th. A portion of the proceeds will go towards Black Luck Collective to create future opportunities and support growth. On Saturday, February 18th there will be a mixer for the Black community to gather from 3-7pm and a food pop-up on Sunday the 19th.
The air is crisp, the leaves are about to change, you can wear a light jacket or cozy sweater outside without breaking a sweat. ‘Tis the season for hikes and walks! Kingston is surrounded by the most beautiful views and conservation areas. I asked readers recently where they enjoy to hike and walk in the fall and there were so many wonderful answers that I decided to capture and archive them here in this post. Scroll down for a list of the most popular answers from all of the wonderful people that shared! I broke the list into two themes: conservation areas that can be a bit more challenging and nature-filled and pace, wheel-friendly paths that are more accessible.
This month marks the 7 year anniversary since I moved back to Kingston and began this blog. I can’t believe how time flies! In the last seven years, I’ve had three jobs in this city, we’ve grown our family by two and I’ve started a Masters program to name just a few things. In that time, this blog has put me in touch with so many incredible people, local businesses and unique opportunities.
Although it’s always been a side project, it has enriched our lives in more ways than I can count. The point of starting the blog was to convince myself that Kingston is a happening place and far from the sleepy town I remembered and fled from as a young adult. I hoped that sharing the positive and diving into our community would give me a new appreciation for its beauty. And it worked! I only share positive experiences and specifically focus on small, local business and as a result I attract positive energy. Bonus: I’m often given a heads up on many of the fun things happening around town. This community is so supportive and if you put yourself out there, it’s very easy to find your people. For those of you who have been following along, thank you so much for reading and sharing my content! I appreciate you.
Local artist and founder of collective, ForWorld Studios, Francisco Corbett, has coined this phrase “Kingston Isn’t Boring Anymore” and put it on T-shirts that he sells in very small rollouts. I love this phrase so much because I 100% agree. Perhaps it’s because I actively look for the fun or that it has changed significantly over the years – regardless, I see such a difference over the last decade! Maybe a mixture of perspective and progress?
We welcomed a new baby recently (our second, we have a toddler) and we were so incredibly lucky to have friends and family source delicious foods from locals spots to keep us nourished as we took in fresh cuddles and kept our toddler well-fed! I really benefited from having this blog because many friends tapped into it to pick from our favourite shops (best humans). This post is a shout out to friends who fed us for the first few weeks of baby’s little life. It’s also a guide for anyone who wants to bring new parents nourishing food from local spots while they settle into the chaos and unpredictability of life with a newborn.
Bread and Butter So many great items to grab from this sweet and savoury heaven on earth! A few friends brought us their quiche, cinnamon buns, chocolate croissants, sourdough, carrot salad and ratatouille. All of it served our family well during the early, foggy days.
The Grocery Basket Our favourite item from Grocery Basket was the shepherds pie. It was so rich and delicious and huge! It created many leftovers. I still have a couple of personal-sized items in our deep freezer from the Grocery Basket that I haven’t even broken out yet! Love having frozen items on hand for hectic days.
We are weeks into more discoveries of mass graves at various residential schools. It’s no longer enough to react to these repeating headlines with shock. There are things we can all be doing to support the communities that carry the trauma we read about. See below for a few ideas on how to show up and show support.
Please note that if you’re sharing traumatic news headlines to also share the number for the national Indian Residential School Crisis Line that has been set up to provide support for residential school survivors and others affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
We’ve all been (im)patiently waiting to sit in the sunshine eating and drinking at our favourite local spots. There are so many incredible patios to choose from. I’ve tried my best to get them all in this extensive list with the help of my instagram followers! It is incredible how many of our local restaurants have survived the challenges of the past few years so please be patient, kind and generous while tipping (if able) when you visit! Be sure to check businesses’s social ahead of visiting.
I am still processing the news of the Derek Chauvin trial. I can say that it’s upsetting how shocked I was that the right thing was done. Finally. I don’t want to jump up and down and scream justice because George Floyd is still dead and one verdict doesn’t equal a change in policy. But it does set a precedent and send a signal to cops that they can be held accountable for their actions. Because that’s what happened. Chauvin was held accountable. After almost a year and several other cases of police brutality. After a trial that tried to humanize the man that was killed to justify his murder instead of vilifying his murderer. Accountability happened.
It’s been almost a year since a local officer, Brad Hughes, argued that George Floyd played role in his death by not complying to police. He confidently shared on his Facebook page, “Had every single one of the deceased in the high profile cases in the US not resisted their arrest but instead complied, sat themselves in the cruiser and fought their case in the court room rather then the street, they’d ALL be alive today.” That is simply not true. It’s been proven over and over (Breonna Taylor was asleep in her bed). And a reminder to any devil’s advocates out there that non-compliance should not equal death. His statement was/is absolutely unacceptable, particularly coming from a police officer. It’s unsettling to know that someone who sits in such a power position holds such problematic beliefs. And real change means that he would be publicly reprimanded for those harmful words and given more training on implicit biases.
If you’re familiar with the blog, you know that I started a Black-owned business directory in 2020 to amplify Black voices and entrepreneurship in our community. It’s been so amazing to watch this list grow with so many incredible businesses. To celebrate Black History Month, I want to go a step further and get to know a few of the business owners listed in the directory. Check back weekly to learn about someone new!
AA DJs was put on my radar because someone tagged them in the Black-Owned Business directory and then I had the opportunity to listen to their set last summer for a few nights at Stone City Ales and I spent my whole meal bopping my head and shrugging my shoulders. Ayanda and his team bring great energy to the space. They also produce a really great photo booth! Find out a little more about AA DJs.
When and why did you start AA DJs? AA DJs got started in May 2017, because one of my best friends and I saw a need for a new approach to the experience couples got from DJs at weddings. We felt the client experience, overall visual presentation, and music style could be updated and refreshed to better suit the needs of people getting married these days.
Why Kingston? The community. We both grew up in Kingston, and it’s always been home for us. What better place to start a business than somewhere surrounded by your friends and family, inside of a city that has so many great small businesses to draw inspiration from? #YGKLove haha.