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There are many different types of stores in Kingston. Some offer a large variety of goods for one-stop shopping while others concentrate on specific products or services. Some shopping in Kingston also takes place at outdoor markets and garage sales. See also Cost of Living section.

Most stores and businesses have parking areas or designated spaces for shoppers. The exception is the downtown area, where some businesses provide parking (either designated spaces or through a voucher system) but many do not.

Some stores also provide a space for children to play while adults shop.

Some of the shopping options in Kingston include:

  • Shopping malls and department stores (a cluster or group of specialty stores with one or two large department stores that sell a variety of different items).
  • Specialty stores (stores that concentrate on a particular item or good, such as books, shoes, furniture, clothing, lighting, toys, flowers, etc.).
  • Supermarkets and grocery stores (stores that sell mostly fresh, frozen and prepared food).
  • Drug stores and pharmacies (stores that sell prescription and non-prescription drugs, personal grooming products, and other household products).
  • Convenience stores (small stores that sell milk, bread, snack food, newspapers and other basics).
  • Second-hand or thrift stores (stores that sell used clothing, furniture, household goods and other items at reduced prices).
  • Farmer's markets (outdoor stalls where fruits, vegetables, and other goods are sold).
  • Garage sales and flea markets (informal sales of used items that are held outside homes, apartment buildings or in large open areas).

Cost, Payment Options & Taxes

Most stores accept payment in cash or by bank card (also known as a debit card). It is wise to find out a store's policy on returning or exchanging items before making a purchase and to keep all receipts.

Shoppers can expect to pay more than the listed price of a particular item. The government adds a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) of 13% to the sale of most goods and services in Ontario, though some products are exempt.

Hours of Operation

Most stores in Kingston are open Monday through Friday and often weekends as well. Retail outlets are required by law to close on New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (see Canadian Holidays). It's best to contact individual stores and businesses find out their hours of operation.

For More Information

Shopping in Canada
Basic background information on shopping in Canada and what to expect. Includes extra details on shopping malls, outdoor markets, and the need to keep receipts.

Where can I do my shopping?
An overview of the different types of stores in Ontario, and how they are owned and operated. Also links to documents explaining deceptive telemarketing and other illegal marketing and sales practices. Available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), French, Gujarati, Pilipino (Tagalog), Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, and Urdu.

Kingston Public Market
Details on Kingston’s historic farmer’s market: the oldest market in Ontario and the oldest continually running market in Canada. Includes information on its location, Springer Market Square; hours of operation; market vendors, products and produce; and contact information.

How do I pay for my purchases?
A description of the types of payment accepted by most stores in Canada and an explanation of the provincial retail tax and goods and services tax. Includes tips on how to be a smart shopper and links to useful government publications. Available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), French, Gujarati, Pilipino (Tagalog), Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, and Urdu.

QUIC: Shopping Economically
General information about types of stores in Kingston, places to shop and how to shop economically. Compiled by Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC).

Bok Choy, Black Beans, Bananas … A Newcomer’s Guide to Healthy Eating
Tips on healthy eating on a budget, food labels, food safety, easy and inexpensive meals, school lunches, seniors’ meals. Some information is specific to Toronto but also useful to people in other communities.

QUIC: Food
Names, addresses and phone numbers for grocery stores, health food stores, bakeries, butchers, restaurants and other places to buy food in Kingston. Includes information about community and Queen’s University food banks. Compiled by Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC).

Calendar of Events — Tourism Kingston
A directory of festivals and events in Kingston, including dates, a brief description, and resource links. Also includes separate listings of winter and summer festivities, as well as details on shopping and dining options.

Canada’s Food Guide: My Food Guide
An interactive tool to help you personalize the information found in Canada's Food Guide to your and your family’s needs based on sex, age, activity-level. While the tool is only available in English and French, the guide is available in Arabic, Chinese (traditional or simplified), Farsi, Korean, Russian, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil and Urdu.

Kingston MarketView Webcam
Visitors to this site can see an up-to-the-minute view of Kingston’s historic market square in the heart of the downtown core.

Downtown Kingston! — Business Directory
An online searchable directory of the over 750 businesses that offer goods and services in the core commercial area of downtown Kingston. Includes anything from shopping, dining and entertainment to accountants, dentists and engineering firms.

Memorial Centre Farmer’s Market
Located at the memorial centre, this farmer’s market is run by local farmers located within 100 kilometres of Kingston. Includes information on the vendors and how to become a vendor, news and events, hours of operation, and contact information. The market also has a Facebook page.

Climate Action Tool Kit
A City of Kingston resource highlighting actions that people can take to help Kingston reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase our climate resilience. Includes suggestions on how to save energy and be more sustainable both at home and the workplace through food, transportation, and energy choices. General information is also included, as are useful tools to help measure energy use and GHG emissions from a variety of everyday sources. This toolkit was developed as part of the community-built Kingston Climate Action Plan.

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