Welcome to the first week of classes for the 2015 – 2016 school year. If you are new to Queen’s, I hope that your orientation week was fun and informative, and I wish you a smooth transition into grad school. Despite being in grad school for 5 years, the beginning of a new school year brings about a sense of a fresh start, the opportunity to re-establish a routine, and an eagerness to try new things.
In this edition of Gradifying, I highlight physical activity options that exist at Queen’s and in Kingston, and recommend my Top 3 options for a few categories. These lists are heavily biased by my own interests and experiences, so I’d love to hear your feedback about anything that I have missed or misrepresented. Each suggestions is linked to a website if you want more information.
Top 3 Hiking Spots
If you’re looking to hike, you can’t go wrong with any of these choices; however, you’ll probably need a car to get to the trails. If you can’t decide where to go, head out to Lemoine Point as it’s free and offers beautiful views of Collins Bay. If you’re feeling moderately ambitious, Little Cataraqui Creek is an easy bike ride up Division st. (albeit, amongst a lot of car traffic).
Top 3 Road Biking Routes
The road riding conditions in Kingston are ideal if you head east on Hwy 2. The shoulders are wide and are generally clear from debris or potholes. Crossing the causeway can be an unnerving ordeal your first go-around; however, the roads are clearly marked to allow cyclists safe passage across the causeway and it’s really only 300 m of your ride. Check out Ted’s for information on group rides if you’re looking to get acquainted with fellow cyclists (FYI – group rides are done for the year, but will resume in the spring of 2016).
Top 3 Mountain / Trail Biking Spots
- MTB Kingston (membership required, cheap for students!)
- Lemoine Point
- Collins Bay Mountain Biking Trail
There aren’t a ton of mountain / trail biking options in Kingston; however, if you’re looking for a fun, technical place to ride, I strongly encourage checking out MTB Kingston and signing up for a membership. I’ve spent a lot of my free time this summer on these trails and it’s always an adventure. Otherwise, Collins Bay trails are technical and free. If you’re looking for easy trails with a nice view, Lemoine Point is your best bet.
Top 3 Outdoor Skating Rinks (weather dependent)
- Springer Market Square
- Victoria Park
- City Park
While it may be bold to mention winter in September, Kingston is beautiful in the winter and offers some fun activities to make the most of a Canadian winter. A large public skating rink is built and maintained each year in Springer Market Square and is a perfect way to break up your hibernation. If you’re looking to play pick-up hockey, Vic Park and City Park have maintained ice rinks with boards and hockey nets (pucks and sticks not included). You are almost guaranteed to find a hockey game on these rinks in the winter and new comers are always welcome. If you need to rent skates, check out Trailhead on Princess st.
Top 3 Yoga Options
I do not regularly do yoga, so I outsourced this list to a regular yogi. Studio 330 is a very popular choice among students because classes are 100% donation based. The ARC also offers regular yoga classes that seem to fill up pretty quickly, so check out the class sign-up details for more info. If you’re looking to get your sweat on, Feel and Samatva offer hot yoga classes.
Top 3 Organized Sport Options
Intramurals and organized sport are an awesome way to have fun and meet new people. Queen’s intramurals and KSSC offer many different types of sports for individuals of varying abilities. If you’re looking to sample a bit of every sport in the same season, I recommend trying All Sorts of Sports with KSSC.
Other Activity Options
- Queen’s Recreation Clubs
- Queen’s Fitness Classes
- Boiler Room Climbing Gym
- Drop-in volleyball, basketball, and badminton at the ARC
- Queen’s pool recreational swimming
The above suggestions are just a few of the many outlets for getting active at Queen’s and in the Kingston area. I’m sure there are many others that haven’t been considered, so I’d like to hear about what activities you, the reader, does on your spare time. Enjoy the first official week back!