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Relax and stay a while in downtown Kingston.

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New furniture designed to encourage lingering

You may have noticed a number of areas in the downtown core with new furniture and planters. Last March the BIA Community Spaces Committee along with the City of Kingston and Tourism Kingston began meeting about ways to improve the downtown Kingston visitor experience. SvN, an architect and planning firm with Canadian offices in Toronto and Vancouver was retained to explore possibilities for making downtown Kingston more attractive to pedestrians. SvN's company vision is 'to build a better world by creating great places where people thrive and nature flourishes. that uses street furniture, planting, lighting and other elements of public space design to enhance attractiveness, socialization and identity in downtown’s core area'.

The vision behind the strategy is clear: to provide more opportunities for people to utilize public streets and spaces, creating a thriving and engaging atmosphere. By deploying a suite of moveable, modular street furniture, including benches, planters, and umbrellas, Kingston's downtown would become a haven for lingering, interacting, and connecting with others.

Layout drawings were provided for several recommended configurations, accompanied by a detailed inventory of the furniture components required. This provided the group with a ‘shopping list’ for capital planning and investment. The activation concepts were all non-permanent, flexible furniture configurations that could achieve immediate impact. The concepts were scheduled for installation in phases over 2023-2025. 

The Downtown Activation Strategy encompasses three initiatives that work in tandem:

  1. Streetscape Activation (funded by the municipality): Transforming Streets into Welcoming Nodes

    • Recommended layouts for placing street furniture in small pockets along downtown streets
    • Wide sidewalks provide ample space for seating nodes and conversation areas
    • Ideal for benches and planters to create intimate spaces for relaxation and connection
  2. Springer Market Square (funding to be determined): A Vibrant Civic Heart in All Seasons

    • Furniture deployments designed to function year-round
    • Square serves as an attractive destination for day-to-day activities and events
    • Farmers' markets, music events, and winter ice skating bring the square to life
  3. Ontario and Market Streets (funded by the municipality): Unleashing the Potential of Pedestrianization

    • Event concepts for temporary pedestrianization of Ontario and Market Streets
    • Explore the feasibility of hosting pop-up events like markets and festivals
    • Links Confederation Park and Springer Market Square, creating a large public gathering space

The furniture layouts are flexible and non-permanent, providing an immediate impact and adaptability. As implementation progresses, furniture components will be allocated based on specific project areas, while creating a dynamic and inviting downtown environment for future visitors, residents and employees.

If you have any questions about this project, please reach out directly to Marijo at