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A Kingston Holiday Gift Guide

With the holiday season among us and so little time with all those festive get togethers happening from ugly sweater parties, gift exchanges and all that jazz. Trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list can be quite a challenge. In an effort to help you, I've put together a few of my favourite local finds. Kingston is home to talented makers who selling beautiful items right out of their homes, right under your noses or in wonderful shops in the downtown core. Whoever you're shopping for, this unique holiday gift guide is sure to inspire and impress:

For The History Buff

For the intellectual who revels in the good old days and who can't get enough of all things classic, this Fort Henry shirt is the perfect gift as it proclaims exactly what kind of person they really are. Those who sport it will do so with great pride!

Where: Visitor Information Centre - 209 Ontario Street, Kingston, ON

For The Outdoorsy

Whether you need to appease a camper, hiker or skier this season, I've got you covered.  The outdoorsy bunch can be difficult to shop for - they tend to require durable quality goods that won’t give up on them the moment they need them most. But don’t lose sight of the essentials - these cozy Kingston socks are the perfect item to keep warm no matter what activity they're up to. Even if that includes a bit of Netflix and chill at the end of their day.

Where: Waterfront Gifts & Apparel - 248 Ontario Street, Kingston, ON

For The Foodie

Finding the ideal present for every foodie on your nice list can be tough. But why get some fancy kitchen gadget, when you can please them with their sweet tooth. Locally sourced chocolate brand Cócó Chocolate Company has you covered this Christmas as their products can be perfectly tailored to a unique palate. From holiday inspired flavours of mulled wine spice to candy cane, they also carry your traditional dark chocolates and milk chocolates.

Also located at the Memorial Farmers' Market, this venue is a foodie paradise and a simple stroll through is a gift well deserved filled with steamed buns, perogies and of course these indulgent pieces of chocolate. 

Bon Appétit!

Where: Memorial Farmers' Market, 105-303 York St, Kingston, ON

For The Decor Lover

What better way to celebrate your love for Kingston than with a vintage-style linen pillow. This unique item will become a treasured family heirloom for years to come and a great conversation piece.

Where: The Kingston Collective, 303 Bagot Street, Suite 14 Kingston, ON

For The Artsy

If you're shopping for those who regularly engage in creative thinking, chances are, all they want for Christmas are a few good ideas. Unfortunately, those aren't yet available for purchase. Though items that they can draw inspiration from such as this print by local Kingston artist Anthony Buttazzoni will make the perfect gift. Conveniently located at the newly open The Kingston Collective - home to a collection of locally made goods from artisans. This could be your one stop shop for all your holiday shopping!

Where: The Kingston Collective, 303 Bagot Street, Suite 14 Kingston, ON

Who are your favourite Kingston makers?

Rosalyn Gambhir
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Behind The Scenes: Cirque du Soleil OVO

Cirque du Soeil is making its way back to Kingston with a new show titled OVO from December 7th to 11th - a headlong rush into a colourful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. Filled with mystery, beauty and moments of quiet emotion - it showcases the hidden, secret world beneath our feet.

Cirque du Soleil OVO

A company that has brought wonder and delight to more than 160 million spectators in more than 400 cities on six continents, Kingston is thankful for the arrival of OVO especially with the holiday season. This exciting show is comprised of 50 performing artists from 12 countries specializing in many acrobatic acts and I had the most amazing opportunity to get a sneak peek at what goes on backstage before opening night and get an insider's look at the 'fashion' of all the costumes!

Cirque du Soleil OVO
{An OVO performer fine tunes his slack wire act while also giving media a show.}

Cirque du Soleil OVO
{Backstage where all the practice happens}

Cirque du Soleil OVO
{OVO acrobats stretching before opening night at Rogers K-Rock Centre}


This may just have to be my favourite part of any Cirque show as it is a world full of colours and costume designer for OVO Liz Vandal is the perfect fit. With a special affinity for the world of the insects, Vandal's signature style is inspired by futuristic superheroes and by suits of armour from all eras. OVO's costume design was conceived with inspiration from fashion designers such as Pierre Cardin, who focused on graphic lines and geometric shapes. But has also exploited the permanent pleating technique developed by Japanese designer Issey Miyake, which gives a certain rigidity to material and creates an organic effect. “We pushed this technique even further,” Vandal says, “by printing on colored materials, sublimation and eroding the fabric not only to stiffen it, but also to give it a metallic sheen.”

Cirque du Soleil OVO
{One of the funny spider performer reveals her sensual side as she weaves her body over, under and through the strands of her web.}

The challenge that was poised was to imagine a way to evoke insects without copying their actual anatomy. “The solution was to connect with the feeling of being face to face with a spider, a cockroach or a butterfly,” she explains. As the costumes came together microscope photography of insects reveals that the materials used in the costumes were remarkably similar in structure to the bodies of insects. How amazing!

Cirque du Soleil OVO
{Pieces of the Ladybug's costume who is big and strong but doesn’t realize it and full of life!}

Did you know most characters have two versions of their costumes: the first, more lightweight and functional, for their acrobatic performance, and the second, more richly detailed and heavier, for their life in the community! Who knew?!

Cirque du Soleil OVO
{Taking a glimpse at the colourful costume and wardrobe department of OVO}

Set Design

The set elements for OVO are quite unique as they are integral to the storyline. Drawing inspiration from the structures that certain species of insect create when they establish nests and colonies was how designer Gringo Cardia created an organic space and interpreting nature.

The overall setting of OVO is a stylized habitat that is home to the insects. At times it is a forest, at other times, a cave—or it could even be a house. Gringo’s objective was to create an organic environment that could lead to many other places.

With the characters onstage, the set design comes to life!

Cirque du Soleil OVO

See you at one of the many OVO Cirque do Soleil shows in Kingston this week!
Rosalyn Gambhir
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[name=Rosalyn Gambhir] [img=https://i.imgur.com/9rNiMGU.jpg] [description=Rosalyn Gambhir is the gal behind the blog The Staycationer. Whether it's exploring the local food scene with her foodie partner-in-crime or taking in the view from her favourite cafe, Rosalyn is always a tourist, looking for the next exciting adventure within Kingston, Ontario and beyond. The Staycationer allows you to rediscover hidden gems in your very own backyard.] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/thestaycationer) (twitter=https://twitter.com/rosalyngambhir) (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/rosalyngambhir/)

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