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9 reasons to buy a waterfront home in Kingston, Ontario

waterfront home in Kingston

Canada often evokes images of snow-capped mountains, competitive ice hockey games, and Tim Horton’s donuts and coffee. But that’s not all there is to the Great White North. Along the shores of Lake Ontario is the city of Kington, steeped in history and cultural diversity. Although it’s no longer Canada’s capital, Kingston remains charming but vibrantly modern, a city where the old and new coalesce.

For those who are seriously or casually contemplating a move to this beautiful city, here are nine compelling reasons to do so.

  1. Kingston faces Lake Ontario
  2. Though it’s the smallest of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario is no less breathtaking. Kingston lies on the eastern section of the lake at the mouth of two rivers, St. Lawrence and Cataraqui, making it captivating for waterfront living and ideal for the variety of water-based activities on offer.

    Close to the US-Canada border to the southwest lies the main tributary of the lake, the Niagara River. The river and the Welland Canal, which is mainly used for shipping, links Lake Ontario with Lake Eerie.

    The Iroquoian-speaking tribes call the lake Oniatarí:io, which roughly translates to “lake of shining waters.” When French explorers arrived in the early 1600s, they began referring to the lake as Lake St. Louis, in honor of the Sun King. French trading posts would soon flourish and by 1673, Fort Frontenac, which is now modern-day Kingston, was established.

    Lake activities

    Lake activities

    There are a number of ways to enjoy life on the water in Kingston. For one, there are pleasure cruises that operate in the area. These are some of the tour packages from 1000 Island Cruises:

    • Sunset Discovery Cruise. Scenic sunsets over Lake Ontario are a must-see, especially for first-timers. The Sunset Discovery Cruise sets sail along Kingston’s famous waterfront. Excellent cocktails, relaxing music, some light food, and Instagram-worthy views by the open-air top deck are the highlights of this experience.
    • Ghost and Mystery Cruise. The themed cruise sails to Fort Henry, Kingston Penitentiary and Rockwood Asylum, with a tour guide recounting ghostly sightings and terrifying tales of noted inmates. If you want a spooky glimpse of Kingston at night, the Ghost and Mystery Cruise is one for the books.
    • Discovery Cruise. The cruise down St. Lawrence River takes passengers to the famed Thousand Islands region, located east of Kingston. The park here encompasses 20 islets and hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Enjoy a lively and informative retelling of Kingston’s settlement and geographic history.

  3. Higher return on investment
  4. There’s a boatload of perks that come with owning a waterfront home, making it one of the best real estate investments anyone can make.

    According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the median listing price of waterfront properties as of September 2022 was $1.05 million, which is $320,000 higher than non-waterfront properties.

    This is borne by a study of over a million residential properties, which showed that waterfront homes consistently sell for more money. In addition, waterfront properties have great potential as a vacation rental. Buying a second home and turning it into an income stream for short-term or long-term stays is a common strategy employed by savvy property owners.

    If you’re in the market for a lakefront house in Kingston, visit this listings page to see what’s in store for you. For any questions you may have about a particular property, consider reaching out to top agents from the Krishan Nathan Group.

  5. Rich history
  6. Over the centuries, Kingston has witnessed human settlements come and go, and a great many cultures prosper. First Nations people thrived and competed for control of the region long before the advent of the 16th century.

    After French explorer Jacques Cartier landed on the coastline of the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1535, he would name his newfound discovery, Canada. France sought to consolidate its presence in this new territory by expanding its fur trapping and trading industry, which would lead Louis de Buade de Frontenac to establish Fort Cataraqui along the Cataraqui River in 1673. The post would later be renamed to honor Frontenac and serve as the foundation of modern-day Kingston.

    Following the Seven Years’ War, the British wrested control of Canada from France and rebuilt Fort Frontenac in 1783. Britain also named the territory the United Province of Canada in 1841, with Kingston as the capital. The city subsequently welcomed waves of migrants that would shape the culture and identity of modern-day Kingston.

    Must-visit historical attractions in Kingston

    historical attractions

    • Fort Frontenac. This historic fort remains an active military outpost to this day. Although public access is mostly prohibited, visitors can ask permission to view a select few artifacts and plaques in the area. There is also a nearby gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs.
    • Fort Henry. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fort Henry takes you back to 19th century Canada. The original purpose of the fort was to act as a defensive buffer against a potential attack from the Americans during the War of 1812. After undergoing restoration work in the 1930s, it has since become a museum and historic site open to tourists from all over the world.
    • The Bellevue House.Built in the early 1840s, the Bellevue House was the former home of Canada’s first prime minister, John Alexander Macdonald. Located in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by trees, this Italian-style villa houses a number of artifacts and writings related to the life of Macdonald and his contemporaries.
    • Pumphouse Museum. Using steam-powered pumps to deliver water to households, this old waterworks facility was the first of its kind in 1850s Kingston. It is now a museum that houses a rare selection of machinery, portraits, and documents from Kingston’s years as a young city. There is also a well-preserved collection of model trains.

  7. A gateway to more major cities
  8. Kingston’s location in the southeastern tip of Ontario Province puts it within driving distance to Ottawa (two hours) and Montreal (three hours). In these cities, you can explore:

    • The Rideau Canal (Ottawa)
    • This famed canal is just 202 kilometres long (125 miles) and connects Canada’s capital to Montreal to the east and Kingston down south. Rideau Canal, which was completed in 1832, is now a historic area where pleasure cruises are commonplace. During the winter, when the water freezes over, the entire canal transforms into a recreational area where various festivals take place.

    • National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa)

      Step inside one of the largest art museums in North America. The astounding array of exhibits includes indigenous art and the evolution of Canadian and European art through the centuries. The museum itself is perhaps the biggest masterpiece of all, with its iconic prism glass towers that blend nicely with the Ottawa cityscape.

    • Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica (Montreal)

      As the oldest church in Montreal, Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica is a treasure trove. Behind the modest exterior is an intricately designed basilica with a pulpit carved by the renowned artist, Louis-Philippe Hébert, and stained glass windows that portray the founding of Montreal. Visitors can tour the crypt and the second balcony.

  9. Good climate
  10. With a moderate humid continental climate, waterfront homeowners in Kingston can certainly spend more time lounging by the yard or patio and taking in the refreshing outdoor scenery. Kingston’s comfortable weather is usually characterized by cool summers and the occasional pleasant winter.

    The city receives approximately 296 days of sunshine per year and the warmest months run from June to September. In July, temperatures have an average high of 24.4°C (76°F ), with an average low of 16.6°C (62°F). The proximity to Lake Ontario brings in mild to strong breezes, which has a tempering effect on excessively hot temperatures, making summers more bearable than many places in the area.

    On the other hand, humidity varies, depending on how lake conditions interact with inland elements. It’s not uncommon for a portion of summer to feel muggier than usual.

    Kingston typically has colder winters than other areas in Southern Ontario. Strong yet sporadic winds from Lake Ontario can at times strengthen precipitation. The coldest months are December to mid March. In January, temperatures have an average low of -10°C (13°F).

  11. The proximity to wine country
  12. proximity to wine country

    A day trip to Prince Edward County is a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, bringing you to sandy beaches, beautiful limestone cliffs, and charming vineyards overlooking the lake. Sample the region’s chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet franc, and riesling.

    Here are some vineyards worth exploring:

    • Sandbanks Estate Winery. What began as seven acres of baco noir, riesling, vidal, and marechal foch is now a sought-after winery and tasting boutique. Facing the cool blue waters of Lake Ontario, Sandbanks is the perfect setting for a laidback wine weekend with friends and family.
    • Huff Estates Winery and Inn. Opening its doors to the public in 2004 and producing award-winning wines, Huff Estates also has excellent accommodations for guests who wish to stay a night or two. The vineyard offers exclusive membership to Club Huff, with perks including full access to a library wine and future releases, and a 15% discount on the Inn.
    • Black Prince Winery. Pair your preferred wine with wood-fire brick oven pizza. This vast vineyard offers top-notch wine varieties and enough space for guests to play disc golf featuring an 800-meter course with nine par-3 holes..

    While you’re there in wine country, drop by Sandbanks Provincial Park, a sizable area that juts out to Lake Ontario. At more than 1,500 hectares, the park has three shallow-water sandy beaches suitable for kids, cottages for rent, and scenic walking trails. Avid bird watchers can spot migratory birds during spring and fall.

  13. A vibrant downtown
  14. Situated where the Cataraqui and St. Lawrence Rivers empty into Lake Ontario, Downtown Kingston boasts captivating sights and great hangouts. Discover the array of restaurants and cafés on Princess Street, such as:

    • NORTHSIDE espresso+kitchen lets you enjoy brunch by the patio. Whether you’re a third wave coffee aficionado or a breakfast lover, you’ll feel right at home in this bright and stylish café-style restaurant.
    • Dianne’s Fish Shack and Smokehouse is your front row seat to Kingston’s amazing waterfront while enjoying delicious sandwiches, tacos, and salads. House favorites include Eggs Diane and beer-battered fish and chips.
    • Flavours of India is exactly what you’ll get from the restaurant’s authentic menu. From the five biryani selections to the Shrimp Malai Curry, each dish is crafted to perfection.
    • SENS Cafe is the place to enjoy a cup of joe with homemade French pastries, sandwiches, and other light bites.

  15. You don’t need to leave the city to explore the outdoors
  16. Wherever you choose to live in Kingston, there’s always a park or green spaces nearby. Explore the following outdoor attractions within the bounds of the city:

    • Lake Ontario Park features several play areas for children, a splash pad, a boat launch, a beach volleyball court, and picture-perfect views of the nearby lake. Visitors can also set up camp for a small fee.
    • Cataraqui Golf and Country Club is widely known as one of the finest golf destinations in east Ontario. Cataraqui features a Stanley Thompson-designed golf course, a curling club, and stately amenities. This club also hosts private events like wedding receptions and dinner parties.
    • Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area is a 394-hectare nature preserve in northern Kingston. Discover marsh and forest habitats frequented by hikers, casual nature enthusiasts, bird watchers, and snow skiers. The outdoor centre has equipment rentals, an observation tower, snack bar, and washrooms.

  17. Top-tier education
  18. For families and buyers who plan to start their own family, there’s an impressive selection of schools serving students from kindergarten to university throughout Kingston. According to a 2021 study conducted by HelloSafe, a financial services company, Kingston is the third best city to study in Canada. Forty nine schools were assessed in the following categories:

    • Academic excellence and tuition cost
    • Quality of student life
    • Quality of life outside campus (housing, accessibility to essential and outdoor areas)
    • Attractiveness (location, proximity to big towns, convenient public transportation)

    Kingston is particularly renowned for its top three postsecondary educational institutions: Queen’s University, Saint Lawrence College, and the Royal Military College of Canada. Secondary schools such as Regiopolis Notre Dame High School (the oldest English Catholic School in Canada), Rideau Heights Public School, and Kingston Secondary School have an excellent reputation.

Explore more with the Krishan Nathan Group

Explore more

For a better glimpse of your real estate prospects in Kingston, get in touch with the Krishan Nathan Group (KNG). Led by award-winning Broker, Krishan Nathan, KNG is composed of a results-oriented team of agents who specialize in a variety of properties in Kingston and the area – from waterfront homes and condos, acreage and recreational properties, to new construction.

Booking a private real estate consultation. Contact us by phone or send a quick email here.

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