RETIRE IN KINGSTON, ONTARIO
Are you thinking of enjoying your retirement years in the City of Kingston? Or have you already made the commitment to move to Kingston? As someone who has travelled and lived all over the world, I cannot think of a better place to retire than the “Limestone City”. To this end, I, Doug Blackstock, have created this informational page all about retiring to the City of Kingston. I hope I am able to answer some of your most pressing questions. I have categorized the information under a few headings:”Describing Life In Kingston”, “Location”, “Getting To Kingston”, “Moving”, “Settling In”, “Building A New Life”, “Retirement Activities” and “Arts And Entertainment”. Don’t forget to check out the section of my website highlighting great places to eat, and things to see and do!
DESCRIBING LIFE IN KINGSTON
The City of Kingston offers its residents the best of two worlds: the comfort and charm of a city with a small-town feel, coupled with the convenience of many amenities typical of a “big city”. Indeed, more and more people are becoming attracted to the comforts, and quality of life, the city has to offer.
Perhaps even more attractive than the conveniences the city has to offer are the architectural, historical, and natural wonders of the city. As one of Canada’s oldest cities (and the first capital) Kingston is home to stunning, historic buildings and a wealth of rich history.
Complimenting the stunningly beautiful and historic buildings is the beautiful waterfront. On Lake Ontario, Kingston has maintained a pristine waterfront, rich with numerous activities and restaurants.
The downtown core is a dynamic area of the city, filled with incredible restaurants, locally owned shops, and many galleries and cultural experiences.
A Community in Bloom
The City of Kingston comes alive with blossoming colour in the warmer months. Indeed, the City of Kingston was a distinguished winner in the Communities in Bloom competition, in 2007. Among many other awards, the City of Kingston won an award for Natural and Cultural Heritage Conservation.
A Green Life
Kingston is consistently ranked as an outstanding Canadian city, an honour which can be attributed, in part, to its success with the green movement. Always conscious on conserving this planet, Kingston is one of the top most sustainable cities in Canada.
The city of Kingston is located on beautiful Lake Ontario, where the St. Lawrence River (which is an impressive 1197 kilometres long) begins. This ideal location (44°13′ N, 76°36′ W) ensures a mild climate and many summer days perfect for sailing! Below you will find a table to the approx distance of the City of Kingston from popular American and Canadian destinations.
|City||KM from Kingston||MI from Kingston|
Getting To Kingston
Kingston is a great place to live for many reasons. One of these reasons has to be the convenience of choosing from a multitude of ways to travel to and from the city. Businessmen and women will find this aspect of the City of Kingston especially convenient.
Looking for an inexpensive way to travel to and from Kingston? Look no further than reliable Coach Canada bus services! Take a look at their website for information on departure times and tickets:
Kingston’s Norman Roger’s Airport
An interesting feature, the City of Kingston has the convenience of an airport, connecting travellers to Toronto and onto the rest of the world. Enjoy quick check in and security, plus the convenience of vehicle rentals and accessible parking.
McCoy Bus Services & Tours
Even though you just moved to Kingston, you might already be in search of a vacation! Take a look at the McCoy bus services website for information of travel packages:
A peaceful way to travel, Via Rail makes a convenient stop in the City of Kingston. For more information, call 1-888-842-7245 (TTY 1-800-268-9503 for the hearing impaired). VIA Rail
Few people move without possessions. If you have to move the contents of your previous home, consider these moving companies, whether you’re hiring professionals, or just looking for a van to rent.
Atlas Van Lines
Atlas Van Lines (Canada) Ltd. has approximately 150 full service agents with locations in every province and territory in the country for your convenience.
AMJ Campbell Van Lines
AMJ Campbell takes pride in relocating families and their possessions with care and dedication.
Budget Truck Rental
The ultimate in convenience for the do-it-yourself mover: online truck reservations, plus “Airmiles”!
Frank The Mover
Frank The Mover offers professional, worldwide, moving services. They also offer storage, packing, & packing materials. More information can be found at:
Gentleman Moving Service
Gentleman Moving Services is locally owned and operated, licensed and insured to take your worries way!
A trusted name since 1957, Ryder offers flexible transportation and logistics solutions.
Want to do the moving yourself? U-Haul is always a great choice.
Questions to ask your moving company:
- Does your moving company subcontract its moving services?
- Which subcontractors will be used to move my contents?
- Will my contents be on only one truck the entire time? (Moving goods between trucks increases the potential for damage, breakage, loss etc)
- What services are not listed on this bid?*
- What do you charge for services not on the bid?
- What training do your movers and/or packers receive?
- Can you provide recent references from customers?
*Quotes should include all moving charges, such as carrying up stairs or in an elevator, overtime, additional transportation, moving bulky articles, carrying an excessive distance, storage, and more. Packing bids should state labour charges as well as the amount and cost of boxes. Ensure each bid is estimated the same way – that way, you can easily make comparisons.
Types of Quotes:
The mover offers a guaranteed price (within a small percentage of deviation) that is based on a complete list of items to be moved and the type of service.
Also referred to as an “hourly rate”. This type of quote is not truly an estimate; it is more akin to a price list. These rates are based upon the movers’ previous experience of jobs similar to yours.
- Not to exceed
This quote means that the final price for the move cannot exceed the figure estimated. However, the move could cost less than the quote; a beneficial agreement for the customer.
Packing everything you own can be a daunting task! Whether you have professionals actually box up your items or you plan to do the heavy lifting yourself, take a look at my list of Top Ten Packing Tips:
- De-clutter! Have that yard sale, donate to charity. Just be sure that everything you move is something you need or love. You will be amazed how quickly those boxes pile up!
- Make a list of the items you are taking (also good for insurance purposes). Take pictures of the condition of the big stuff, like sofas and tables.
- Collect boxes & packing material ahead of time – get more than you think you’ll need. Trust me.
- The Beer Store and LCBO always have boxes but they can be small. Ask friends and relatives what kind of boxes they get at work (hospitals have tons of great boxes) or purchase some from an office supply store or moving company. Alternatively, post a want ad on an online classifieds, like kijiji (www.kijiji.ca) – someone who just moved in might want to get rid of all their packing supplies!
- Make sure the boxes you pack can be lifted! Pack light stuff in bigger boxes, books and china in smaller boxes – seems straightforward, but so many people forget once they start packing. I know I’m guilty!
- Keep like items together. Group your kitchen items, bathroom goods, etc., together so unpacking is simpler.
- Colour code your labels, either for person (blue for dad, red for mom) or for room to make unpacking as simple as possible.
- Safeguard your valuables. Keep them with you, or rent a safety deposit box. If you must pack them, bury them inside other items and label the box something boring, like “baking supplies,” to deter thieves.
- Find out what kind of insurance coverage you have during the move – either from your insurance company or the moving company you hired.
- Keep important papers with you. These include, but are not limited to, closing papers, birth certificates, job contracts, recent bank records, phone lists, maps, etc.
Did you know that some moving expenses are deductible from your income taxes? That’s right, Canada Revenue Agency allows you to claim some moving expenses on your income tax (read the fine print!). Find more information here: http://relocatecanada.com/revcanada.html. If you have moved more than 40 km for work or school, you could save hundreds on your taxes (dependent on your specific situation, such as tax bracket, of course)! Be sure to keep a detailed record of your moving costs and keep all receipts related to your moving expenses.
Moving: Your Children
Some children look forward to moving and have no trouble at all, while other children find the moving process immensely difficult. Below are some tips for making the move as easy as possible for your little ones.
- Research some kid friendly attractions and activities in your new city so your children have something fun to look forward to. Remind them of the features of their new home: their own room, larger yard, etc. Kingston has all kinds of fun family activities, such as Fort Henry! See the website for more info: www.parks.on.ca/fort/, and be sure to check out the information about things to see & do, found on my website, www.DougBlackstock.com.
- Emphasize the adventure of moving & include them. If having your children tag along looking at homes will slow you down, bring back great pictures of prospects.
- Involve your children in the process: have them pack some of their items or help you consume all the cookies so as not to have to move consumable goods (always a fun task)
- Make sure you keep the lines of communication open – talk to them often about the moving process, what to expect, what might be difficult, what will be fun, why you are moving and why it is important. The more children know, often the more empowered and comfortable they will feel. No one likes to feel “in the dark” about something important.
- Make sure your children have enough time to properly say goodbye: to family, friends, their school, their favorite park, even your home. Set aside time to visit their favorite places and don’t rush the process. You will probably enjoy a chance to savor what you love about your home & city one last time too.
- Once you’ve moved, explore your new neighborhood together and keep your children involved in the unpacking & decorating too. Let them help set up their bedroom.
- Make sure you have easy access to toys, books, maybe even the T.V., so you can occupy your kids while you tend to things you need to do.
- Make sure you & your children get good nights of sleep. If anyone in the family hasn’t had enough sleep, irritability can become an issue.
- Make sure you have some fun in your new home as soon as possible. Rent a great movie one night or bake cookies. That way, they will associate the new home with great memories right away (and not just the memory of endless boxes!).
- The Kingston Frontenac Public Library (www.kfpl.ca) has great resources: books on getting your children accustomed to a new city, activities for the whole family, and a great selection of DVD’s, CD’s, novels and children’s books to help everyone unwind and relax.
Moving: Changing Your Address
When you move, you are going to want to make sure that you inform people of your change of address. I highly recommend using the Canada Post’s “Smart Move” service. With this service you can hold your mail, or have your mail forwarded, for a specified length of time. Using “Smart Moves” is a great idea to keep your personal information from landing in the hands of the person who occupies your former home next.
Even if you opt to have your mail forwarded, you should still update your address and mailing information with various companies. Below you will find a list to get you started on the change of address process.
- Motor Vehicles Branch: drivers license, vehicle and plate registrations.
- Health: health insurance programs, doctor’s offices
- Canada Pension Plan
- Canada Customs and Revenue Agency: child tax benefit, GST rebate, income tax.
- Utilities: electric/hydro supplier, natural gas, utility services phone company
- Communication Service Providers: cable, cellular phone, satellite, internet, e-mail and other services you use
Insurance Companies: life, home (or tenant), auto & travel.
- Financial Institutions: banks, mortgage brokers, financial adviser, investment firms and credit card companies.
- Work place
- Educational institutions: schools, daycares, former educational institutions (are you on the alumni mailing list?)
- Miscellaneous: memberships, reward programs, magazine & newspaper subscriptions, newsletters, clubs, addressed coupon booklets, etc.
A related point: be sure to transfer your prescriptions from your old pharmacy to a new pharmacy. Don’t wait until you need your medicine to do so!
You have arrived in your new home, in a new city – the City of Kingston! How exciting. How daunting. You must have a to-do list a mile long. Here are a few tips to make the “settling-in” process as easy as possible, so you can go out and explore the City of Kingston ASAP!
- If you can, hire a cleaning service to give your home a thorough clean. You will shave hours off your “to-do” list by having a professional breeze through.
- If you are painting, paint before you unpack. It is much easier to paint an empty room than one filled with contents. Again, if you can, hiring a professional always makes light work of time-consuming tasks such as painting.
- Meet your neighbors. Take a moment to knock on doors and introduce yourself and your family. If you stop and chat for a moment, you will likely pick up great tips about where to eat, neighborhood services, and other useful tips. Plus, you might make some great friends! Kingston is known for having a small-town feel, evident by how friendly its residents can be.
- Make a prioritized list and assign tasks to family members. To make it more “fun,” you can draw tasks from a hat or bowl. Everyone can trade once and the person finished first wins a “prize” such as an ice-cream treat or the honor of selecting the first movie! Making the jobs fun and writing them down can make sure nothing is forgotten (or avoided).
- Explore your neighborhood to find the nearest grocery store, bank, video rental shop, etc. You want to make sure you know where the important places are before you need them.
- Set up your house alarm, check the smoke & carbon monoxide detectors, and change the locks immediately. It can be tempting to forget or ignore these tasks but protecting you and your family is the most important priority.
Building A New Life
What a broad category! I understand that when you move to a new city, you have to start completely fresh. Although you might have already found a new place to live, hired a moving company, acquired a new job, and completed the necessary chores, such as changing your address, you are still faced with completely new surroundings. You might need to find a new dry-cleaner, a new grocery store, perhaps even a new school for your children.
Though these challenges might seem overwhelming, you also have the enjoyable task of finding new favourite restaurants, new shopping venues, and new entertainment. Luckily, I have written extensively about the more fun aspects of moving to the City of Kingston. On my webpage you will find lists of restaurants, things to see & do, and even a history of your new city.
In this section, I will highlight some information you will need to take care of the necessities, such as introducing you to your new city hall and schools boards. I hope you find this information helpful.
Your City Hall
You likely have many questions about the logistics of being a resident of the City of Kingston. Indeed, you will have to become informed about taxes, parking tickets, utilities, and waste pick-up. Fortunately, the City of Kingston webpage is very informative, helping you find the information you need quickly. Be sure to peruse the website to learn all about the services you should expect, as well as pertinent news information:
Your News Source
The City of Kingston has two main news sources: The Whig & Kingston This Week. Be sure to read up on upcoming events and attractions so you can have some fun after long days of unpacking!
The Whig has a classified section, updated regularly. However, in my experience, Kingston residents have become proponents of online classifieds such as Kijiji & Craiglist (although “Kijiji” is a personal favourite of mine). I think you might find the classifieds exceptionally important, as you may be in need of a junk removal service or want to sell a few items that do not fit your new accommodations. You might even want to post an ad offering your no longer necessary moving supplies to someone in need.
Kingston is home to some of the best libraries – stocked full of current reads and esoteric finds. You will also find great CD’s, an excellent selection of DVD’s and a well stocked children’s section.
Your Public School
- The Limestone District School Board educated nearly 22,000 students in the City of Kingston and area in 2009. Visit the website for more information, and take a look at the convenient Kingston public school locater to find the school closest to you.
- Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic District School Board offers quality, Catholic education to nearly 500 students in the City of Kingston and area. To find a school near you, or for more information, visit the board website.
Your Post Secondary Institution
- Queen’s University is one of the top ranked Universities in Canada. A phenomenal educational experience enjoyed on a campus with a rich and colourful history, you are sure to enjoy time spent at Queen’s University.
- St. Lawrence College offers students an opportunity reach their goals, with more than eighty programs and three campuses.
- The Royal Military College of Canada offers an impressive education coupled with the skills & training required for a successful future in the armed forces.
For information of your water or sewage, electricity, or natural gas, visit the website of Utilities Kingston:
The Kingston General Hospital, Providence Care, and Hotel Dieu Hospital are all committed to continually improving their health care services. From one stop outpatient care to enhanced services, you are sure to receive the best health care possible.
- Hotel Dieu Hospital 166 Brock St (613) 544-3310
- Kingston General Hospital 76 Stuart St (613) 549-6666
- Kingston Regional Cancer Ctr 25 King St W (613) 544-2630
- Providence Continuing Care Ctr 340 Union St (613) 544-5220
- Providence Continuing Care 752 King St W (613) 546-1101
- Kingston Fire & Rescue
Kingston Fire & Rescue provides a wealth of information to keep you and your family safe. It aims to prevent fires and protect residents. From Smoke Alarm Quizzes to a list of what to pack in your emergency kit, Kingston Fire & Rescue wants to make sure that in the event of any emergency, you are as safe and as prepared as possible. A force of 235 volunteers and employees, Kingston Fire & Rescue has 10 fire halls to keep Kingston and area safe. Services include public education, fire prevention, inspections & investigations, fire control, enforcement of the Ontario Fire Code, Ontario Building Code, and municipal by-laws.
In an emergency, dial 9-1-1 to reach an emergency service (Police/Ambulance/Fire). To arrange a tour, call 613-548-4001 ext. 204. Be sure to visit the website for more information.
Given that the city of Kingston is one of Canada’s oldest communities, it is no surprise that the Kingston Police are one of the country’s oldest municipal police forces. Formed in 1841, the Kingston Police maintain the safety of an area that is 528 square kilometres in size. More than 200 members respond to over 40,000 calls received every year.
For an emergency, dial 9-1-1. Otherwise, the Kingston Police can be contacted at 613-549-4660.
You may be retired from the workforce, but you are probably still looking forward to filling your days with exciting and interesting activities. Here are a just few ideas and links, geared to retired folks, to great ways to become involved in the City of Kingston community.
Don’t forget to peruse the pages of information I have created featuring restaurant suggestions, lists of things to see and do, and also a history of the City of Kingston.
Frontenac Heritage Foundation
Are you passionate about preserving the beautiful buildings that likely drew you to the Limestone City? See what you can do to support the Frontenac Heritage Foundation.
Frontenac Heritage Foundation
Kinsmen Club of Kingston
Kinsmen Club Of Kingston
Looking to make some new friends? Take a look at the activities on their website:
Kingston has many interesting opportunities for citizens interested in volunteering. Take a look at the current volunteer opportunities:
Volunteer In Kingston
Arts & Entertainment
Kingston Arts Council
The Kingston Arts Council is committed to creating, producing, presenting and appreciating the arts. If you are interested in cultural and artistic events and activities in the city of Kingston, visit their informative website for more information.
The Grand Theatre
The Grand Theatre is an impressive performing arts centre. After undergoing reconstruction to improve the Theatre, it reopened in May 2008, showcasing two fantastic spaces for performances. With this extended space, the Theatre shows hundreds of performances each year. Check their website frequently to make sure you do not miss a single one!
Do you want to see the hottest concerts, most exciting sporting events, and fun-filled family events? You won’t want to miss the action at the K-Rock Centre. Check out the website for information on events. I hope to see you at one of the Kingston Frontenacs hockey games!
Kingston Symphony Orchestra
The Kingston Symphony Association is committed to promoting and producing professional quality programmes. Prepare to be educated, enriched, and entertained. Visit their website for more information on upcoming performances.
Agnes Etherington Art Centre
The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is one of Canada’s most notable galleries. Its permanent collection is particularly impressive and numbers 14,000 items. The depth and variety of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre will astound you.