Ted Robinson isn’t originally from Kingston, and that, he says, allows him to see the city from a different angle – from an outsider’s perspective, where he is constantly exploring and curious about the small city’s depths and charms. It also gives him an edge in his role promoting Kingston to businesses and organizations looking to host events in the city.
Robinson says Kingston’s many charms make his job as a business events specialist easier. It’s compact and walkable, beautiful and striking in its historic, waterfront location, and includes all the spoils of a larger city with its diverse dining experiences and impressive music and art scenes.
“It’s a very real city, friendly and hospitable – where else can you chat with the mayor at the Subway around the corner when you zip out for lunch? There is an intimacy here that you won’t find in larger centres,” says Robinson.
Robinson brings his enthusiasm for the city to his role with Tourism Kingston, curating bespoke experiences for businesses and organizations looking to host executive meetings, board retreats, sales meetings, and conferences. He provides in-depth knowledge of the city and creates itineraries that hit all the right notes, allowing groups to unwind and relax together, and focus on work and strategic goals.
“People don’t always know what Kingston has to offer and I can be that bridge, guiding them through the attractions and possibilities, what can be done in the time they’ve allotted for their event,” he says.
Robinson networks with local hotels, restaurants, and small businesses – and provides those connections to meeting planners. He also accompanies them on site visits or arranges virtual tours to find the perfect fit for their event. Kingston has a range of options to host gatherings of up to 250 people.
In terms of curated experiences, every group is looking for something a little different, he says. There are those who want the traditional Kingston experience, choosing to visit attractions like Fort Henry or enjoying a cruise through the 1,000 Islands.
Some groups crave more activity and choose options like kayaking or renting bicycles to tour the city. Wellness experiences at local spas or guided yoga sessions are also popular.
There are also top-notch food tours in the city to satisfy any foodie, and groups can visit Kingston’s many craft breweries to see first-hand how local beers are made.
Organized events aside, Robinson says the joy of visiting Kingston is in the smaller details: the ease of travel and the ability to walk along great swathes of waterfront and through historic walkways, happening upon hidden patios and local music performances.
“There is something for everyone in Kingston,” says Robinson. “There is nothing I’d rather be doing than helping others enjoy and explore this vibrant city.”
By Wanda Praasma