Kingston Waterfront, ON - David McDonald
My Watermark is Lake Ontario in Kingston, ON.
I have many powerful memories on the Kingston Waterfront so it’s really hard to choose. I’m in the water daily from May - October. I’m on the water skating, sailing, canoeing and everything else. It’s hard to pick my favourite, it’s almost like choosing my favourite friend or child. But without a doubt I can say that my favourite thing to do is to windsurf. I only windsurf in heavy winds so 20knots, and kingston is a fantastic place for that. Unfortunately none of my friends or family windsurf. So I only really enjoy windsurfing with myself and a handful of other people.
There is nothing like being out there in the heavy winds, and being on the water at 35-40km/hour, and zipping back and forth to Garden Islands. On those magical days when its warm enough to be out there without a wet suit and the water is that Caribbean blue colour — zipping around on the water on Garden Island is absolute magic.
I keep my board right down by the lake and my work schedule is generally flexible enough that I can do it when it works. I’ve often been out for 3-4 hours a day. I’d come in get some water, rest for a bit, then head back. The wind would generally pick up in the morning and late afternoon, and in the that three or four hour window I try to get out as much as I can, and take advantage of it.
There was a not so magical day this past year where I snapped my boom a half kilometre out from the shore. It was at 7pm at night, which is unusually because thats when the winds die down, however there was a cold front coming through. I had my full wet suit on so I didn’t have to worry too much. Also, luckily I was close enough to the side of the shore that I was able to get all my gear together on the gord and drift my way back to the beach. Had I been 500m out, it would be a little different. I guess it’s memorable, just not magical.
Im excited about the Breakwater project. It’s the downtown shoreline. It’s the biggest and most used piece of waterfront. So having that done is great and will attract more people. I’m also looking forward to having Richardson set up, partly because its a hidden gem that used to be really popular but has been let go. This place has a dear spot to my heart because that where we learned to swim and got things rolling. But breakwater is the most important single piece to revitalize the waterfront.
My core objective is to continue to raise awareness to the people in Kingston about what the Great Waterfront has and how much better it could be. It’s kind of like a double-edged sword. It does not by any means have perfect water quality but it’s a lot better than it used to be. So we want to make sure people realize that it is safe to swim in, safe to fish and get out on the water. This is the water we drink after all. If it isn’t safe we should know about it. It’s really about the education and it also pushes the city to do something. The Shoreline Shuffle is ultimately about pushing the city to create a waterfront master plan. So it was successful in that regard. But again theres a double-edge sword there, in that you have a fantastic waterfront master plan in place and awards for its design,etc but relative to what I think they could be doing in terms of timeline and spending is not enough. 60 millions dollars over 30 years. I think we could be doing a lot more, a lot faster. Again, its great but we need to continue the work. Our combination has always been about having fun and bringing people on board, but at the same time trying to be thorns at the sides.
We just say, “Look if you want to insistently sell Kingston as a waterfront and a destination, with nowhere that tourists can walk along the waterfront…then you need to put your money where your mouth is.” So we continue to do fun things to raise awareness about a broad range of recreational and cultural activities along the waterfront and use these events (Shoreline Shuffle Salute) as a way to probe the city to do more.