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Kingston, Ontario, Canada: One of the World’s Great University Towns Located Just The Right Distance From the Center of the Universe

Who wants to live on the periphery when one can live at the centre of the Universe? The answer to this question was given to me as an aperitif during a recent dinner with friends. The subject of Kingston as a place to live arose. How best to recruit students and faculty to smaller cities? Sure the quality of life is great, yes there are great restaurants. The Arts are vibrant and of course there is Lake Ontario and the Thousand Islands at our doorstep. However, small cities often suffer in comparison with their larger cousins. The narrative of choosing a large city is easy. Tell your friends you are moving to Toronto and no explanation is required: an international airport, an NHL franchise, the CN Tower, superb arts, ethnic diversity and a great University. A city like Toronto is at the ‘centre of the universe’. However, if we continue the galactic analogy, there is a price for being too close to the centre. Indeed, thinking galactically, one begins to see the case for Kingston.

fig 1

The sun is at the center of our solar system. The centrality of this immense, overheated gas ball is unquestioned; but there is so much heat and light that it’s hard to survive without putting some distance between you and it. Being the third planet from the sun gives us just enough separation to have sufficient heat and light to live but not so much radiation that we are consumed.  Admittedly, it’s not good to be too remote (think Neptune, nighttime low temp, -218C).

By now you probably have guessed the essence of my case for Kingston; far enough from the sun of Toronto to reduce the risk of excessive heat generated by a Rob Ford press conference ….but close enough to enjoy the positives of this metropolis.


The answer to the question, “How to recruit to Kingston?”,  came in the form of an article from the BBC travel section, gifted to me by my friend and colleague Dr. Mike Fitzpatrick (right), Chair of Respirology.

I offer up this November 2013 article,  entitled Living in: Great university towns, as a gift to kindred spirits who, like me, are constantly in the recruiting mode.

This article, opens with the case for places like Kingston, “Close to major metropolitan centers but inclusive enough to exert their own sphere of influence, university towns and the thousands of students who mingle with the residents there create their own microclimate. Usually liberal and forward thinking, the cities listed here have culturally vibrant, well-educated populations and are often ranked as some of the most sought after places to live.”

But it gets better, the article actually features Kingston. True we are the 5th University town they feature; Cambridge, England being first on the list. But the reviews are positive and, in my unbiased view, accurate.

I encourage you to read the article and feel good about the choice you made to live in this beautiful city or, if you have yet to be recruited, entice you to its historic charms and beautiful lakeshore (and oh yes, a truly outstanding University). And, although it is entirely beneath me, I have to admit loving the way the section on Kingston ends: a subtle suggestion that if you can’t get a job at Queen’s, you can always consider Toronto.

How do you feel about the Great University Town of Kingston? Take the survey!

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2 Responses to Kingston, Ontario, Canada: One of the World’s Great University Towns Located Just The Right Distance From the Center of the Universe

  1. Henry Dinsdale says:

    I always considered the presence of other faculty members, often in the basic sciences, with whom a collaborative research program could be established, as the key to recruiting and maintaining the competitive viability of highly desirable new clinical department members with a serious interest in research. (I’m sending this comment from the salubrious surroundings of the library of the Royal Society of Medicine in London…it can be pleasant to return occasionally to one of those larger places!).

    • Stephen Archer says:

      Dear Henry: I fully fact we are in the early stages of a collaboration between clinical, basic and population health faculty on a CFI application focused on pulmonary hypertension. Hope you get to visit the reading room at the British Museum while you are in London..Safe travels.

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Dr. Archer, Dept. Head
Dr. Archer, Dept. Head