Ontario Trip: Kingston in July

I seem to harp on about the intolerable heat on one forum and Facebook while neglecting to include some of the highlights of my days so far. I have been posting a couple of photographs on Instagram when I think they be interesting – big lean on the ‘I’ as I have little idea what might spark anyone to look. One hashtag I try to include is #brightspots, sort of a steal from the blogger of Today’s Perfect Moment (todaysperfectmoment.com), which are pictures I find uplifting. Sadly, it appears my attempts at finding interesting shots have been thwarted by the exceedingly high humidity and my still poor iPhone photography skills.

Case in point, I saved none of my fireworks shots. Kingston puts on a stellar show for Canada Day. I was certain that this year would not be as grand as the 150th celebration. I was happily wrong. Not only were we treated to a fabulous light display high in the air, there were smaller acts from areas around the city. This year we headed to the grassy hills of Fort Henry – as did everyone else who did not stay downtown! It was a wonderful vantage point. My only complaint was the bugs – particularly mosquitoes. Fortunately, the friends we were had a teeny bit of insect spray left that I put on my face and hands. I then wrapped a towel around my legs and wore a jacket. I seemed to have come out unscathed.

One of the local parade ‘floats’ on the country road where my daughter lives.

I also visited Gananoque with my daughter and son in-law the previous day for Ribfest, of which only a few hazy photos turned out. The town is lake country, under 6000 population, and probably swells two fold during the summer. I did not partake of any ribs, and for my daughter and her husband they had a giant deep fried onion plus three strips of candy bacon as their celebratory first anniversary lunch. (Shared with me) Also a beer tasting at a local brewery on the main drag. I tried barely a touch of stout to my tongue, my face told the tale – I do not drink, and if I did it would not be beer! We walked to the nearby Sculpture Park, Canada’s largest outdoor sculpture gallery, built on what was once a shovel factory.

Gears we think were used for the shovel company dam; now an interesting piece of industrial history.

Iron sunflower.

Summer in Kingston and the surrounding are is packed with activities. Upon the heel of Canada Day is the Buskers Rendezvous, in its 31st year, the second largest buskers event in the world! Yes, the heat can be a problem, more so for the entertainers as the audience can stand in the shade on Princess Street during the daytime shows where sections are cordoned off. Down by Lake Ontario, on Ontario Street events happen in the evening – still sweltering the first night. We had front row seats on the patio, having decided to eat dinner at Tir Nan Og, I chose the butterr chicken as the least unhealthy choice, I ate the naan but not the rice. Half an undressed Beaver Tail much later in the evening rather defeated that purpose! The shows will go on for three days and is a delightful way to spend time with family and friends without breaking the bank account. Of course the performers highly appreciate receiving donations (in days past they would have asked for your spare coin) for their craft, usually deservedly so. I discovered it is exceedingly difficult to catch a photo of a man circling about in a giant hula hoop. https://www.pancholibreperformer.com/ out of Mexico. The following day, having seen his show once, I finally caught a shot of the hilarious https://kiltedcolin.com/ from the USA. Shows end at 3:00 with more at 6:00. Some excellent planning as this encourages audiences to stay downtown to eat out – which we did again! This time it was Woodenheads, also on a patio, where we shared scrumptious Coco Shrimp, and I had their Insalata Verde (rather bland balsamic dressing until I added lemon to it). Once again I was feeling holier than thou until my daughter brought us each (I thought we were going to share one) a gelato later in the evening. We took in one more full shows, then a pleasant surprise as we were leaving, at Market Square once the heat had finally cooled down to a tolerable 25c, Lisa Lottie, hula hoop artist was in the last 15 minutes of her show. https://lisalottie.com/ Despite not seeing the whole performance she is my favourite so far.

The hilarity of this went up a few notches when this piper found himself unwittingly competing with a didgeridoo from a nearby band also performing. These things cannot be planned.
Let us loose and we get into all sorts of mischief! Hennas, tattoos pending? I seem to go for sunflowers whenever I do this. Paw prints in the petals & outside the stem.
She has some wicked hula hoop tricks!

I also, finally, made it to Crave, (grabbing a shot of coffee and a photo) my favourite coffee shop where, after watching an afternoon performance, I hid out from the heat and had a lovely chat with a couple from Kingston. The plan is to return on the weekend with teenage grandson in tow if he is not called in to work. I hope there will be some exciting shows to hold his interest. Not even a week into July yet so much already packed in!

Expenses: I know I am staying fairly close to my daily budget; however, it is rather startling when I realize I have spent a chunk of money in a couple of days! $20.00 two snazzy hennas; $5.00 gelato; $4.00 – $5.00 Buskers (I did consider more each time until I realized I left all my cash behind the first day & did not get small change the second); $3.15 coffee at Crave (gasp! I think it might have been less but did not check my change right away. Besides, I did sit there, with the AC, for probably 2 hours with that one coffee!) $10.00 (approx) sunscreen.

Note on expenses: I do use my bank account and try to keep my withdrawals, of any sort, to a maximum of 12 per month so as to avoid any charges. It came as a shock to discover I had been charged $10.15, some of which were on top of e-transfer charges that I had been repaid for. Fortunately, my bank reversed the $10.15, and I now know to be aware of how sneaky they can be!

CANADA DAY! (I know, two weeks ago)

The 150th year since the signing of Confederation, in what is now PEI, on July 1st 1867. The Province of Canada (southern portion of modern-day Ontario and Quebec), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia joined together to form Canada. It was not until 1949, with Newfoundland joining, that Canada became the country we now see on maps. Nunavut became its own territory in 1999, having previously been considered part of the Northwest Territories. That is the shortest history, as close to non-political possible, piece I have ever written. 

Heading back.

The day started with pouring rain, with the sun barely making an appearance for the local parade from the top of the road to the bottom – dead end – a tradition started by a family several years ago. Typical country style. Tractors, ATVs (well, only recently typical), horses and friendly waving to all. We stood on the porch out of the rain.

Set up and taken down every day of the long weekend.

Then to town to celebrate with the city folk. Everywhere there were throngs of people. Entertainment at Confederation Park and an Art Festival at the relatively nearby City Park (the original proposed site for city centre and Hall) with over 150 artisans. A beer garden and food truck area with live music made this a very popular event. I bought lunch for one daughter – we had managed to lose her sister somewhere in the crowd along with her friend. (They were already seated to eat) We had an enjoyable afternoon seeing all the sights and spending too much money at the Art Fest before declaring starvation. Kingston has one of highest, if not the top, percentages of eateries per capita in the country and it appeared all the downtown locations were ready to burst their seams. We finally settled on Kingston Brewing Company (yet another pub), now only my two daughters and one SIL. 

This pub is a funky favourite for locals and tourists. There is so much beer paraphernalia it is impossible to be bored. It is a brewery, and serves various selections of their brews. I have never liked beer, I also do not drink. Neither do my younger daughter or husband so it was up to my eldest to try out what was on tap. I guess she was not smitten, it was a Dragon something, she ordered a glass of wine instead. Fortunately the food is very good. I chose the Portobello Veggie Burger with roasted pepper, roasted onion, arugula and basil mayo. Easy to cut on carbs by removing the top half of the bun. I would return for a meal.

Sated, but not stuffed, we felt ready for a a meander back to the main celebrations, listened to and watched a band, did a little on the side dancing, then joined a friend of my younger D for watching the fireworks. They were spectacular! If my sore knees were any indication of the time the show lasted about 20 minutes many oohs, ahs clapping has throughout. A completely natural occurrence was a shooting star that fell across the path during a very short lull – now that certainly took away the collective breath of those of us saw it. Then the finale once more drew all spectators in, a crescendo of firepower and a display that no one could find fault with – rather than standing and roaring with delight everyone seemed to just be pulled into the moment before rising with thunderous cheering and applause. 

My fireworks photos could not hold a candle to these megawatt smiles!

We were tired and happy. A very fine day.
The numbers:18.00 lunch; 7.00 garlic oil (gift for D looking after Mozzy); 75.00 dinner for 3; 15,500 steps