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Living in: Great university towns

2013-11-20

BBC
Living In | 20 November 2013

Living in: Great university towns

Kingston, Ontario
Roughly equidistant from Montreal and Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario, Kingston is home to prestigious Queen's University, founded in 1841, as well as the Royal Military College of Canada and St. Lawrence College. Every September, about 25,000 students swell Kingston’s population. Cultural institutions such as the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and festivals such as the Kingston Writersfest are well established, giving the city a cosmopolitan air. “Kingston has all the amenities of a large city, but still retains that small-town feel,” said Tim Barber, 2013 president of the Kingston & Area Real Estate Association. “We have an excellent job base, varied private and public sector employment opportunities and plenty of recreational activities.”

Many of the wealthiest and most desirable areas are in the downtown core, such as Alwington, one of Kingston’s oldest neighbourhoods with many 19th-century houses built out of the limestone that the city is known for. Homes here are within walking distance to Queen’s and the central business district. Just across the Cataraqui River, the districts that make up Kingston East are popular with military families employed at the Canadian Forces Base Kingston for their easy access to downtown. The areas in Kingston West, west of downtown, such as lakefront Fairway Hills and Reddendale, have many different types of housing stock. The average house price in a downtown area is approximately $465,000 Canadian dollars, while in Kingston East it is around C$330,000. The average house price in Kingston West ranges from approximately C$300,000 to C$320,000.

Due to the number of students entering every year, Kingston has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates in Ontario, which keeps rents high. A three-bedroom flat in the city centre costs C$1,550 a month, while outside the centre it is C$1,400 a month.