Emerging Entrepreneurs Right Here in Kingston

QIC logo

Economic development is critical to the future prosperity of our city, and in my view one of the most important ways we can grow our economy is by growing new businesses right here in Kingston. This is a key part of my vision to make Kingston a smart city, where we create an environment where innovation and entrepreneurship can flourish, and harness the ideas and the young talent coming out of our three post-secondary institutions.

A great example of fostering innovation and entrepreneurship right here in Kingston is the Queen’s Innovation Connector (QIC). Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 5th Annual QIC Summer Initiative Final Pitch Competition and I was blown away by the products and services pitched by students.

Here’s how it works. The Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative (QICSI) a 17-week paid summer internship offering participating teams seeding funding, mentorship and access to the great existing local resources. At the end of the internship eight teams made their pitch to compete for the top prize of $30,000 for their business.

The top prize went to RockMass Technologies who have developed a device to map rock with the aim of improving safety and efficiency in the mining, civil engineering, and exploration industries.

QIC RockMass

The QIC competition is a great demonstration of the incredible talent and emerging entrepreneurs we already have here in our city. What a great opportunity we have as a community to support these new businesses, and in so doing establish future investment and job creation right here in Kingston.

A Night to Remember


1 - Hip bannerAugust 20 – The Tragically Hip Day in Kingston – is a night that I, along with all Kingstonians, will always remember. As I reflect on the night I am filled with pride and gratitude.3 - BWB

I am grateful to Gord, Paul, Rob, Gord and Jonny, our hometown boys who became national music icons, but who have never forgotten their Kingston roots. Stories shared over the weekend remind us of the substantial impact the band has had on the lives of Kingstonians, and countless local causes they have supported over the years. Each story shared with me a reminder of their humble and giving nature. On behalf of Kingston, thank you! Gord, you are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for showing us what courage looks like.

20160820_Hip_203801AI am overwhelmed with pride for our city. I am so proud of the spirit of celebration and heartfelt appreciation shown by Kingstonians. You set the tone for a national celebration for our hometown boys.

This was a true community effort, from the staff at our award-winning K-Rock Centre who helped put together a concert for the ages to partner organizations like the Downtown Kingston BIA, Kingston Accommodation Partners who contributed funding to help make this event possible.

I am so proud of the incredible team who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, taking care of the thousand details required to pull off the greatest outdoor concert viewing our community has seen. From event planners, public works crews, facility managers, police officers, bus drivers, customer service representatives, firefighters, paramedics, public works crews, photographers, sound technicians, utilities crews, and so many more – there are so many who played a role in making Saturday’s event a great success. Together we have a great team and I couldn’t be more proud.

There is no doubt that Kingston was in the national spotlight this weekend as we welcomed home The Tragically Hip. The weekend showcased our hometown pride and love for our iconic hometown boys. Thank you to the band, Kingstonians and everyone who played a role in what I will always remember as an truly incredible community celebration. Together we have showcased to the entire country what an incredible city we have.


Advocating for Kingston & Eastern Ontario

Earlier this week I was in Windsor attending the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference. The AMO conference is the largest annual municipal gathering in Ontario with over 1,700 municipal leaders in attendance –  a great chance to compare notes and share ideas with other mayors from across the province. Ranked ballots, Uber and Airbnb, and preparing for the legalization of marijuana were a few of the hot topics of conversation.


As the Mayor of Kingston and Chair of the Eastern Ontario Mayor’s Caucus, the conference is also a great opportunity for me to meet with provincial ministers and advocate for provincial investment both in Kingston and across the region. One of my key goals was to bring attention to the Third Crossing,  critical infrastructure for our community and region. I was able to meet with several government Ministers and leaders of the opposition on the status of the  Third Crossing project and how we can prioritize this in Eastern Ontario. In particular, I had some great conversations with the Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Infrastructure and look forward to continuing discussions as the project nears shovel ready status next spring.

I also had an opportunity to talk with several ministers about key city priorities like affordable housing, public transit and economic development funding for businesses in Kingston, and I think that there is great potential for future provincial funding in all of these areas.

By the way, there was one other big topic that came up in almost every conversation with every mayor, provincial minister and other elected officials. The Tragically Hip concert here this Saturday! There’s no doubt all eyes will be on Kingston as we celebrate,  show our support and pride as the hometown of the Hip! For full event details please visit www.cityofkingston.ca/HipInKingston

From the Mayor’s Chair – August 9

Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 3 minutes or less.

Highlights from the August 9 Council meeting include an update on Kingston’s new integrated tourism strategy from Kingston Accommodation Partners and Tourism Kingston, the introduction of the made-in-Kingston Youth Employment Strategy,  and Council approval of a plan to reduce the speed on Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard 

Watch the August 9 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair HERE

From the Mayor's Chair -

For previous From the Mayor’s Chair segments visit the media tab at the top of this website

Community Benefits & the Proposed Capitol Condo Project

Capitol - rendering - Aug. 2016

Rendering of the proposed Capitol Theatre development, 223 Princess Street 

A new feature has been added to the debate over residential intensification in our downtown: community benefits.

Community benefits, outlined in the provincial Planning Act, are additional offerings provided by a developer that can be included when amendments to zoning are being pursued to allow more height or density.  A city is responsible for negotiating community benefits and any benefits would ultimately require council approval.

Over the next week Kingstonians can offer their input on potential community benefits for our downtown as part of the proposed Capitol Theatre condominium tower, 223 Princess Street.

In this case, this is how the community benefits would work. If the city decides to allow the Capitol condo tower to be built higher than the existing zoning permits, then the city also has the opportunity to ask for additional community benefits such as:

  • Studio space within the condo development that could be used by community cultural groups for shows and presentations
  • Contribution towards a new public parking garage in the downtown
  • A certain number of affordable housing units in partnership with the City’s Affordable Homeownership Program within the condo development
  • Restoration of the original heritage façade for the Princess Street entrance of the development

There has been some confusion about community benefits, so I’d like to be clear – negotiating community benefits are NOT a trade-off system where the more benefits provided equal more height for a condo. This is not the way the zoning approval process works. The Capitol condo project (including the height) will be considered independent of the community benefits.

The addition of community benefits, such as the options described above, does not force City Council to approve the Capitol project. These benefits are simply an opportunity to enhance a residential development and add value to the community. In my view, we should take this opportunity to add as much to our downtown as we can.

So, what are your thoughts on community benefits for this proposal? Send your comments by e-mail to CBenefit223Princess@cityofkingston.ca by Tuesday, August 9th