Downtown Kingston! | People of the Big Dig: Kalyn from DAVIDsTEA

People of the Big Dig: Kalyn from DAVIDsTEA

The passion steeps strong at DAVIDsTEA! Kalyn is one of the many radiating smiles that greet you when you walk through the doors of 225 Princess Street!  If you haven’t been by yet what are you waiting for?  

We asked Kalyn to answer a few questions as part of our “People of the Big Dig” series.  Here’s what she has to share about her life in and outside of DAVIDsTEA.


What do you love about downtown?

There are so many things that I love about downtown Kingston! I love that there is history present in almost part of downtown-- it was one of the first things that I fell in love with when I moved here. There is something so fascinating about the beautiful old buildings with their exposed limestone and brick... so timeless! I also love that Kingston has a bit of a 'small-town' feel, and you can get to know the people that live and work in the area easily. Having lived in big cities most of my life, it's something that really makes me enjoy working downtown. My husband and I also love the amount of incredible locally-owned restaurants there are. We have many favourites that we are more than happy to support! It's always nice to have so many options for really good food. Lastly, I adore the water. The downtown lake front area is a place I go to for comfort... I find it so calming. I love that it's usually a hub of activity during the warmer months, and honestly, is there anything better than eating gelato while taking a walk by the lake?

What is your favourite product in your store?

Our TEA! I may be a little biased, but I think we have the best tea in the city. We have roughly 130 flavours of fresh, loose-leaf tea to choose from, which in itself is amazing. When most people think "tea", they think of Red Rose that their grandma gave them growing up, or Tetly tea you buy from the grocery store shelves, that have been sitting there for who knows how long. No way! We literally have something for everyone. The classics: Earl Grey, Orange Pekoe and traditional green teas, but then we have fun tea blends for the adventurous tea drinkers out there too: Birthday Cake (it literally tastes like cake, without the calories), Chocolate Macaroon or Forever Nuts (a tea you can actually eat)! We offer in-store samples of two different un-sweetened flavours every day so you can really taste something yummy, and we have sniffers for all the teas on our tea wall so that you can find new favourites with your next best sense. Trust us, the nose knows. Our educated tea guides also know, your next favourite tea can be found at 225 Princess Street!

What is your background?

 I'm the store manager for our downtown DAVIDsTEA location on Princess Street, and have been working at the store for the last three years. I started as a part-time tea guide, and was lucky enough to have one of the best mentors to help get me to the position I'm in today. Our now-district manager, Casey Gosleigh had been the store manager for the last 4 years at our location, so having it handed over to me was such a huge honour. I'm so proud of our store, and really feel we have something special to offer people. It's a beautiful location (exposed brick, beautiful front window and the best secret garden/patio in Kingston), and our team is full of the most friendly, helpful and generally awesome people!

My husband was from here, so I moved here for love! I grew up in Cambridge, ON, which is about an hour west of Toronto. It was a great city to grow up in. I moved to Hamilton to attend McMaster University for my undergrad in 2004 where I got my degree in Classical Piano Performance, and then went on to do a year in 2009 at Humber College (Lakeshore) in  downtown Toronto for some Jazz studies.

I'm a musician at heart, so my hobbies are usually doing something/anything music-related. We have a mini-home studio set up at our house, so we love to record our own stuff--it's definitely a past-time for both of us! My husband is also a stellar musician--it's actually how I met him (the total hottie singing and playing guitar on stage), and eventually came to know that he was my musical and life soulmate.

I love to practice yoga, and have recently found a love for Ballet that I'm currently obsessed with. I kinda hate running, but I still do it to keep up with my 30-year old metabolism.

We have the most adorable dog in the city (I may be biased again), and her name is Juno. She's a 4 year old Airedale Terrier, and  is literally the cutest and best thing to happen to our lives! 

We also love to travel and find adventure as often as we can--whether that's going for a hike in Gananoque, or hopping on a plane to who knows where. The thrill of travel is something we love to chase! 


Where did you go on your last vacation? 

We went to Iceland this past August! It was probably the most beautiful country we've ever seen. We rented a car to get around the island, but we decided to camp every stop of the way, and it was undeniably the best way to see the country, away from all the tourist traps. We met so many amazing, friendly people, and had some of the best experiences you could possibly have on an adventure-vacation. Hiked a glacier, saw so many waterfalls I lost count, set up camp on the base of a volcano crater, drank water from a glacier stream and took a dip in a natural hot spring at midnight. It doesn't get dark there at night in the summer! If you pack the day full of so much adventure, you sleep so sweetly at night, even though it isn't dark out. Highly recommended!!


Do you play a musical instrument? 

A couple! But mostly piano. I was classically trained, but I also love to bust out the dirty classic rock organ for a wedding band that I've been playing with for the past 8 years. We're called Ziggy Jones! My husband & I also started to play for wedding ceremonies, and are going to be playing our second wedding this coming summer. It's a new and amazingly fun venture we're just starting out on.

I also dabble in acoustic guitar, drums and used to play the flugal horn and trumpet...used to.

My main passion is definitely singing. It's what I originally went to university for, but changed mid-way through because I was afraid they were going to turn me into an opera singer. I'm a lot more folky and laid-back when it comes to singing, and I thought that was something too precious to lose. 


Best concert you’ve seen? 

Hands down, Sigur Rós, September 2008 Massey Hall, Toronto. I can safely say that I left that concert a changed person. It was so unbelievably stirring and filled my soul in ways that I can't even describe. Even when I think of it today, in 2016, I still get goosebumps! That's when you know it was time well-spent. I think our love for sigur rós' music (they're Icelandic) is what fuelled our need to get to Iceland to experience what they grew up with. We listened to only Icelandic bands in the car the whole 10 days, and it was so clear as to why their music sounds the way it does when you're driving down through a beautiful mountain valley pass! Even now, listening to any album of theirs brings me right back to that concert, and how I felt. Music is the best. thing. ever.



Thank you to Kalyn and the DAVIDsTEA crew for keeping downtown vibrant, fun and steeped with good vibes!