The 25Hours Hotel in Florence, Italy, forces guests to spend a night in Heaven or Hell

A new opening by 25hours Hotels in Florence, Italy is anything but cookie cutter — giving guests the chance to stay in Heaven or Hell.

Inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, rooms at 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino are divided into two styles: Inferno and Paradiso. Milan-based designer Paola Navone created the red Inferno rooms with velvet curtains and black bed linen.

The Paradiso spaces are meant to be cloud-white retreats with ethereal blue accents.

The stylish 171 room property features a classic Negroni bar, a sauna with relaxation room, a gym, a seasonal Italian restaurant focusing on Tuscan cuisine, a typical alimentari – a grocery store for the neighbourhood, and a lively piazza that serves a small selection of food and drinks to suit the time of day.

The hotel, which represents the brand’s first property in Italy, is in close proximity to Ponte Vecchio, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the main train station. Whether you opt for heaven or hell, the character of 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino makes for a memorable and highly photogenic place to spend the night.

To learn more about the 25hours Hotel San Paolino, click here.

Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City at sunset

Here’s a list of all the places Canadians can travel to without a COVID test

For the better half of 2021, Canadians faced severe travel restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While certain measures, like the mandatory three-day quarantine upon re-entry to Canada, have been lifted, severe restrictions remain in place.

Many countries now require a negative PCR test, proof of vaccination, or both, to enter. Effective October 30, 2021, the government of Canada enacted a mandatory vaccination requirement for travel within and to depart Canada, which remains in place for all Canadians, with only some exceptions to the rule.

For those who are seeking an escape to a destination that has not yet mandated proof of a negative PCR test, here are five places to consider.

Mexico

Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City at sunset
Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City.

Mexico requires a tourist card from any visitors to the country, but this is a practice that began well before the pandemic. Other than this documentation, there are no additional COVID-19 documents required for your stay, and testing and quarantine upon arrival is not mandatory. Typically, the airline you’re flying on will hand out the tourist card (often referred to as the immigration form) and you can fill it out prior to landing. Once you’ve landed, simply show the card to the customs officer along with your passport. Make sure you keep your tourist card safe and secure for the duration of your stay–a lost tourist card will result in a fine, and could cause problems during your departure from the country.

For the most up-to-date information on entry to Mexico, click here.

Colombia

Bright white stone streets of Cartagena, Coloumbia.
Cartagena, Colombia.

International travellers, including Canadians, are not required to submit a negative PCR test to gain entry to Colombia. However, you must fill out the mandatory Check-Mig registration form at least 24 hours prior to your flight. Face masks and additional health and safety measures remain in place throughout the country, and visitors are expected to follow all health and safety guidelines during their stay.

For the most up-to-date information on entry to Colombia, click here.

Costa Rica

Rio Celeste Waterfall at Tenorio Volcano National Park in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The colour of the water is an exceptionally bright sky blue.
Rio Celeste Waterfall at Tenorio Volcano National Park in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

The Government of Costa Rica does not require tourists entering by air, land or sea to present a negative COVID-19 test, nor quarantine upon arrival. However, all tourists are expected to abide by health and safety guidelines that have been put in place. All visitors must complete the digital form called Health Pass which can be accessed here. Vaccinated tourists must also attach their vaccination certificate to the Health Pass, and are required to provide proof of travel insurance with coverage for a minimum of five days during the duration of their stay.

For the most up-to-date information on entry to Costa Rica, click here.

Cuba

Havana, Cuba.

Like Mexico, Cuba has a mandatory tourist card that’s required for entry and is handed out by the airline. A negative PCR test is not required for vaccinated travellers, and all Health Canada approved vaccines and mixed vaccines are accepted. Children under the age of 12 are not required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test. Upon departure from Cuba, Canadians can pay a fee of $30 USD to receive the mandatory PCR test that is required to re-enter Canada. 

For the most up-to-date information on entry to Cuba, click here.

Dominican Republic

Miches, Dominican Republic.

Canadians are among the list of countries who do not need to present a negative COVID-19 test to gain entry to the Dominican Republic. However, random aleatory breath testing is in place upon arrival at select ports, which could apply to Canadians who are exempt from Canada’s vaccination rule. While proof of vaccination is not checked by officials upon arrival, those who wish to leave designated hotels and resorts affiliated with the Ministry of Tourism must show proof of complete vaccination (two valid doses) to enter bars, restaurants, and other facilities on the island.

For the most up-to-date information on entry to the Dominican Republic, click here.

Croatia..beautiful surprises are waiting for you

In Croatia, almost anywhere the land meets the water, rough steps carved from pure white limestone jut into the teal waters of the Adriatic Sea. The country’s impressive coastline is among the largest in the Mediterranean and has quickly gained recognition as one of Europe’s most beautiful.

Here, white sand beaches and towering palms are scarce. Instead, in July and August, when the heat from the sun is at its strongest, locals young and old can be found sprawled out on the nearest rock ledge that hangs over the sea, the rays turning their skin to a deeper shade of burnt bronze, while fishermen set up their boats and inspect their nets in preparation for a day on the water.

In 2011, 8.5 million international tourists trickled into Croatia. That year was also the same year that the first episode of what would eventually be one of HBO’s most popular television shows, Game of Thrones, aired with scenes filmed throughout the old town of the medieval city of Dubrovnik.

Now, a decade later, Croatia’s tourism numbers have more than doubled. Dubrovnik, though enchanting with its symmetrical orange clay roofs and ancient stone walls should by no means be the only city on your itinerary. As one of the five main airports in the country (Zagreb, Pula, Split, and Zadar being the others), Dubrovnik serves as the perfect jumping point for an extended Croatian holiday.

With its colourful coastal towns, balmy weather, and reputable culinary scene, Croatia is a country that can easily be explored from top to bottom.

Story & photos by CHRISTINE HOGG

HVAR

With more than 1,000 combined islands, reefs, and islets, Croatia’s archipelago is the largest in the Adriatic Sea, and the country has the second largest number of islands in the Mediterranean, second only to Greece.

The majority are inhabited, though some are home to only dense pine forests, wild boar, wolves, and bears, and secret beaches, whose crystalline waters can still be reached by boat for an exciting day trip.

Perhaps one of Croatia’s best islands, Hvar, is to Croatia what Ibiza is to Spain. Easily reached by ferry from Dubrovnik two times per day during the high season, Hvar is a destination that’s steeped in rich nightlife, making it an ideal spot to escape the larger crowds of Croatia’s landlocked regions, while still enjoying the social comforts a city can bring.

Hvar island is also home to the town of Hvar (not to be confused with the island itself ), which dates back to the 13th century. It’s the biggest settlement on the island, and where the majority of restaurants, bars, and shops are located. Hvar acts as an open-air museum to the past, with many well-preserved sites, like the Stari Grad Plains, an agricultural landscape that were constructed in the fourth century by the ancient Greeks.

One of the best ways to take in the entire island, including Stari Grad (just 25 minutes outside of Hvar town) is by renting a gaspowered scooter or a quad for the day.

From mid-June to mid-July, the island of Hvar is bathed in a sea of blooming, violet-coloured lavender fields, with the majority of the fields being on the stretch of road that connects Stari Grad back to Hvar town. When lavender is in season, the fragrant floral also makes its way onto the gelato menus all over the island, where a popular flavour combo is one scoop of lemon, and one scoop of lavender.

SPLIT

Head back to mainland Croatia for a brief visit by taking the ferry from Hvar to Split.

Arriving by water, Split’s picturesque skyline which features the towering white Cathedral of Saint Dominus, constructed in 305 AD, is the first glimpse visitors will have into the city’s thrilling past.

Split is Croatia’s second largest city and one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, thanks to its easy link to the surrounding Adriatic islands. It’s a city whose history is as beautiful as it is complex, and in the heart of it all lies a nearly 2,000-year-old compound built for a former emperor, known as Diocletian’s Palace. Its immaculately preserved grounds form a protective rectangle around the historic city of Split, with hundreds of shops, bakeries,
and restaurants found on the grounds.

Visitors to the palace are greeted by a 3,000 year-old Egyptian sphinx made from black African granite, which is said to have been dragged all the way from Egypt to Croatia under orders from the emperor himself.

Don’t miss the massive underground market inside of Diocletian’s Palace where tourists can purchase anything from genuine coral jewellery to stuffed lavender pillows and silk ties.

ZADAR

Continue heading north along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast to the city of Zadar, unmistakable for its dazzling white limestone streets and lively waterfront. In the evenings, listen along to the strums of soft guitar music and sing along to traditional Croatian songs that eventually lead to dancing in the streets.

The city of Zadar has a striking promenade with major fashion labels and an overwhelming restaurant scene that extends well beyond North America’s traditional palette.

A country that’s famous for its creative expression, whether through the visual arts, theatre, or, perhaps most importantly, music. Zadar is also home to several modern art installations, including the Sea Organ (2005), an experimental architectural instrument that uses the waves of the Adriatic Sea to produce randomized chords of music, which occur when the water flows into a series of pipes and a cavity constructed below a set of concrete steps, and the Greeting to the Sun (2008), a large circle made up of 300 glass solar panels. In the evening, the panels emit coloured lights, and the art installation transforms into a dance floor.

PULA

At one of Croatia’s northernmost points, and directly across The Adriatic Sea from Venice, Italy, lies one of Croatia’s best-kept gastronomical secrets —Pula.

Most easily reached by plane from Zadar aboard the regional carrier, Croatian Airlines, Pula is Croatia’s eighth largest city, located in the Istrian Peninsula. Much of its tourism stems from its impeccable food and wine offerings, which are much different than the cities further to the south.

The Istrian region gained even more recognition in 2012, when the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain traversed through Croatia to film an episode for his series, “No Reservations”. During the episode, Bourdain hunted for rare white and black truffles that nowadays can fetch upwards of 2,500 euro for even the smallest mushroom. 

While the restaurants found along the Dalmatian coast all serve the freshest catch of the day and a series of traditional pastas, including frutti di mare (grilled squid, clams, and shrimp done in white wine garlic or tomato sauce), in Pula, the diet becomes largely influenced by the proximity of Croatia’s next door neighbour, Italy.

Here, the wine flows as freely as the olive oil, which is poured on everything from woodfired pizza crusts to hearty traditional stews and soups. Homemade olives make their way onto charcuterie boards and meat dishes are featured more prominently on the menus.

Croatia is home to more than 300 geographically-designated wine regions, with a history of winemaking that dates back 2,500 years when the Ancient Greeks inhabited the area and planted the first grapes. Istria’s rich, red soils and sub-Mediterranean climate enables the wines made here to be flavourful and full-bodied. Food and wine tourism continues to dominate the Istrian Peninsula, and many culinary tours are available for booking.

Eat Istria, led by Istrian-born Goran Zgrablić, is one such company that offers both private cooking classes and organized wine tours. Guests can try their hand at rolling out traditional Croatian pasta (fuži), or chopping vegetables and preparing meat to make a traditional žgvacet or brodet goulash.

Not to be missed in the quiet city of Pula is the Pula Arena. Constructed between 27 BC and 68 AD, this Roman amphitheatre is one of the world’s largest six surviving arenas, and the only one of its kind to have all four walls preserved. Purchasing a ticket grants entry to the ancient seating area, where gladiators and beasts once faced off for royal entertainment, as well as a museum located beneath the arena where ancient artifacts can be viewed.

With their endless historic archaeological sites, modern attractions, breathtaking beaches, and culinary delights, these four regions are among Croatia’s most popular tourist destinations, and all provide yearround entertainment, whether visitors come in the high season or the low season.

Visit offshoretravelmagazine.com for more Croatia and updated information on travel arrangements.

Europe’s most beloved Christmas markets

Christmas markets in Europe are a sensory experience. From picking up and touching artisanal products, to sifting through a heavenly assortment of homemade baked goodies; to graciously sampling chocolate or cheese, there is so much to see and do. Some of the world’s most beloved Christmas markets in years prior, after a two-year hiatus, have returned, back with measures to ensure that your experience is as safe as it is memorable.
Safety protocols in place, combined with high vaccination rates and low case counts, has earned several countries a spot on the list of Europe’s safest Christmas markets. While Germany, France, and Austria have world-famous set-ups, this year, Eastern Europe continues to enchant.

Story by Christine Hogg

Tallinn, Estonia Christmas Market lit up at dusk

Estonia’s capital city is home to an annual Christmas market that takes place from Nov. 19 to Jan. 2, 2022 at the Town Hall Square, in the centre of Tallinn Old Town. Every year since 1441, a towering Christmas tree is set up in the middle of the market and decorated in a display of dazzling lights. This year, the festivities will extend throughout the city’s Old Town. Estonia is currently open to fully vaccinated travellers with zero restrictions in place, which means this year’s Christmas market will be in full swing, with local artisans selling everything from traditional Estonian cuisine to hand-painted ornaments.

Many of the various products and goods found in Talllinn’s Christmas market can’t be found anywhere else throughout the year, including fur coats and hand-carved wooden ornaments.
(visitestonia.com/en/tallinn-christmas-market)

The Gdańsk Christmas Fair runs from Nov. 23, 2021 to Jan. 1, 2022 in Targ Węglowy, which is a square in the city centre. Don’t miss the beautiful Christmas tree next to Neptune’s Fountain at Long Market (Długi Targ), or the ferris wheel on Granary Island (Wyspa Spichrzów)., which, despite sounding like a remote spot, can be reached in five minutes by car from Gdansk’s main square. During the Christmas fair, four street names have been cleverly changed to Chocolate, Cinnamon, Angel or Christmas Eve Street. For the very first time, a five-metre-tall gate that’s decorated with Gdańsk’s largest advent calendar will open a new window every day to mark the Christmas countdown.

Santa himself will be at the fair starting Dec. 6, handing out sweets to children. Since the market is located right in the old town, there are also plenty of side streets to wander down to do some last-minute Christmas shopping at the many inviting boutiques.
(poland.travel/en/travel-inspirations/the-annual-gdansk-christmas-market)

Taking place this holiday season from Nov. 25 to Dec. 23, 2021, Basel’s Christmas market can be found in the centre of the Old Town in the cozy squares of Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz. With two Christmas markets on offer, visitors can expect no shortage of ways to get into the holiday spirit. At the Barfüsserplatz, market stalls with white roofs offer an assortment of handmade ornaments, gifts, and treats, including famous Swiss fondues and milk chocolates. The Christmas market at Münsterplatz is set at the base of the breathtaking Basel Minster cathedral, done in Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and dating back to the year 1019. At Christmastime, more than 180 vendors are on site, and food plays a major role, with all kinds of delicacies, sweet and savoury, available for purchase to eat on site or to take home, including the famous Swiss raclette and sizzling grilled sausages. This year, there’s plenty to see and do. Guests can enter St. Martin’s tower from Dec. 2 to Dec. 20 to take in the sea of tinkling lights across the square. The Basel Wish Book has also returned for another year, and allows visitors from around the world to write a special note to Santa Claus, or send well wishes out into the world.
(basel.com/en/events/christmas/christmas-market)

Considered the oldest Christmas market in Germany, and the oldest authentic Christmas market in the world, the Dresden Christmas market (also called the Striezelmarkt) began as a one-day event back in 1434. Now in its 587th year, the Dresden Christmas market takes place this year from Nov. 26 to Dec. 24. and is one of the best Christmas markets suited for children and families, thanks to attractions like a puppet theatre, merry-goround, and a children’s railway in recent years. A stretch of the market on the Prager Straße, known as Winterlights of Dresden, features a 15-metres high Christmas tree as well as a series of dazzling light displays. Meanwhile, the Christmas market at the Frauenkirche, one of the city’s most historical churches, includes an eight-metre tall climbable pyramid that’s covered in handcarved wooden figurines, and a series of traditional products for sale by local craftsmen.
(dresden.de/en/tourism/attractions/events/christmas-season/dresden-christmas-markets.php)

Vienna

Vienna, Austria

Whether it’s the smell of roasting chestnuts or the draw of the countless markets selling artisanal products that lures you in, Vienna is a must-see destination around the holidays. The city’s Christmas markets date back to medieval times, when in 1296, permission to host Vienna’s first-ever Christmas market was granted by the Duke of Austria, Albrecht I. Just like the age-old carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Vienna has a total of 12 Christmas markets and pop-ups taking place throughout the city. Not to be missed are the Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace (Nov. 19 – Dec. 26) and the Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace (Nov. 20, 2021 – Jan. 2, 2022). Both markets have enchanting backdrops that show off some of the city’s most famous Baroque-style architecture, and serve an assortment of tasty Austrian treats, like freshly-baked gingerbread, sugar pancakes with raisins, and mulled wine.
(austria.info/en/things-to-do/skiing-and-winter/christmasmarkets/vienna)


Zagreb, Croatia

Over the years, Croatia has emerged as a leading Eastern European travel destination, thanks to its stunning beaches, impressive culinary scene, and overall affordability. Advent Zagreb is the capital city’s take on a Christmas market. While dates are still being finalized, the Market normally begins on the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent and runs through the first week of January. While Advent Zagreb used to be a Christmas market confined to a square, two years ago, the decision was made to expand it into an experience to be had throughout the city. From cheering on runners of the Santa Claus race, to visiting the giant tree at St. Mark’s Church, or grabbing a tasty Croatian pastry (try the savoury bureka or the poppyseed roll) from one of the many stalls set up around town, there’s no shortage of festive moments this time of year. (visitcroatia.com/christmas-markets/christmas-in-zagreb/)

Resort Report

With cold weather in full swing and Canadian winter just around the corner, a sunny escape down south is long overdue. Many sun-soaked destinations have been busy this past year and a half, and have quietly opened, or are all set to open a series of striking new hotels and resorts. From adults-only getaways, to family-friendly adventures, here are seven breathtaking, luxurious five-star properties to keep an eye on.

Story by Christine Hogg

HOTEL XCARET ARTE

Hotel Xcaret Arte, from Grupo Xcaret, officially opened on July 1, 2021. Located in Riviera Maya, Cancun, this adults-only hotel (welcoming guests 16 years and older) features 900 artisanal suites that were carefully curated to reflect the traditional arts of Mexico.

At Hotel Xcaret Arte, guests can enjoy the brand’s signature “All-Fun Inclusive” which offers hotel guests unlimited access to Grupo Xcaret’s parks and exciting experiences including roundtrip transportation to the parks, hotels, and airport. The hotel’s ecointegrated design and architecture pays homage to Mexican art in its various iterations, highlighting the most important symbols and artistic expressions of Mexico’s culture through the creation of six distinct Casas. Casa de los Artistas will inspire guests to paint, Casa del Diseño, a textile workshop, offers weaving lessons, Casa de la Música holds dance lessons, Casa de la Pirámide explores Mexico’s rich and diverse pottery traditions, Casa del Patrón will serve as the resort’s main event and convention space, and Casa de la Paz offers cooking workshops.

Gastronomy is a large focal point, which is heightened by the sheer talent that can be found in the resort’s nine restaurants, and includes cuisine served by 3-Star Michelin chef Paco Méndez who is behind the menu at Encanta. Hotel Xcaret Arte also has two convention centres and an entertainment stage that can host between 1,140 and 2,065 people, as well as a chapel facing the Mexican Caribbean that seats 120 guests.
(hotelxcaretarte.com/en/)

SANDALS ROYAL CURACAO

Situated on 44 acres within the Santa Barbara private estate, an exclusive 3,000-acre protected preserve, Sandals Royal Curaçao is slated to open Apr. 14, 2022. The luxury resort has undergone $72 million in developments and is conveniently located just 15 miles from the airport. Its three oceanfront wedding venues and an admirable west-facing position captures the allure of one of the Caribbean’s most spectacular sunsets, making it a highly sought-after spot for couples looking to tie the knot.

With 351 luxurious rooms and suites in 24 room categories, Sandals Royal Curaçao debuts two new signature suite categories, the Awa Seaside Butler Bungalows and Kurason Island Poolside Butler Bungalows, complete with tranquility soaking tubs, private pools, and butler service. In true Sandals fashion, guests gain access to complementary convertible MINI Coopers to drive around and do some sightseeing on the island. Sandals Royal Curaçao will also be home to the brand’s first Dos Awa infinity pool with views overlooking the sea and the rugged mountain landscape, and The Duchess, Sandals’ first-ever floating restaurant and bar, constructed from a 92-foot authentic Dutch ship with nine on-site 5-Star Global Gourmet restaurants. Couples can also dine on-the-go at three new beachside gourmet food trucks offering traditional Curaçao fare, Spanish tapas, and Asian fusion, or grab a drink at any of the resort’s 10 unique bars. Sandals Royal Curacao will also feature a luxurious Red Lane Spa with six outdoor spa cabanas and treatment rooms; expansive pools; access to the neighboring 18-hole Pete Dye championship golf course; 38,000-square-feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, the largest on the island two on-site marinas and 70 dive sites. (sandals.com/curacao/)

SIX SENSES LA SAGESSE

Set to open in late 2022, the all ages Six Senses La Sagesse in St. David’s, Grenada, marks the luxury brand’s debut in the Caribbean. Located on the southern part of the island and 15 minutes from Grenada’s airport, Six Senses La Sagesse features a resort and residences that are spread over 38 acres and include stunning views of the turquoise sea, thanks to two beaches. The resort will offer 56 guestrooms, seven one-bedroom and five two-bedroom oceanfront villas. For those who yearn to extend their stay, a selection of three- and four-bedroom greenroofed residences are available to purchase. Each has a 56-foot horizon-edge pool and wrap-around pool decks. Six Senses La Sagesse will feature a community hub (the Experience Center) where guests of the resort can go to book spa treatments from Six Senses Spa at La Sagesse, which will offer a menu of specialty spa and beauty treatments using indigenous plants and traditional practices.
Several sensory dining experiences await from several eateries on site, including a signature restaurant which will serve a mix of local, Creole-inspired dishes including plant based and locally foraged menus. In a nod to sustainability, Six Senses La Sagesse will bottle all of its own water from a water bar, and all of the ingredients for the restaurants and spa will be picked from the kitchen gardens, herb gardens, and native fruit trees found on property, and seafood will be sourced from local fishermen.

(sixsenses.com/en/residences/la-sagesse-grenada)

ALAIA BELIZE

Alaia Belize opened in the historic district of San Pedro, Belize in May 2021, marking Marriott International’s first-ever luxury boutique resort in Belize. A part of the Autograph Collection Hotels, Alaia Belize spans more than 20 acres and rests on more than 1,000 feet of direct beachfront access. The resort is a 155-unit complex, ranging from studios to three bedrooms, including eight oceanfront villas. All of the rooms were done in natural colour schemes to complement the ocean views, and offer an average of 1,200 square feet indoors and almost 900 square feet in open air, per unit. Alaia Belize is the first true four-diamond resort on Ambergris Caye. Raising the luxury bar in Belize, the resort complex is also home to Belize’s first-ever suspended rooftop pool and lounge with 360-degree views. Other amenities include a dive shop that also allows guests to receive a PADI certification onsite, the K’in Spa & Wellness Center, a piano bar with a self-playing baby grand piano, a kids’ club, adventure concierge, swimming pools with live DJs, and branded golf carts and bicycles available to book. Alaia Belize has five restaurants including Sea Salt, where the freshly-caught fish of the day is the main event, as well as the Vista Rooftop, which offers 360-degree views of the Caribbean and small plates and cocktails. A spa, beach club, wedding venue, and beach club are all found on the property.
(marriott.com/hotels/travel/sprak-alaia-belize-autograph-collection/)

THE RITZ-CARLTON TURKS AND CAICOS

The Ritz-Carlton Turks & Caicos made its grand seaside debut on the world famous Grace Bay in Providenciales in June 2021. Keeping the region’s natural beauty in mind, endemic local cacti, sisals, and sponges are thoughtfully incorporated in the hotel’s surroundings. The resort features
147 refined ocean-view guest rooms, including 23 suites, which show off the remarkable turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos also offers five three-story penthouse suites with private rooftop plunge pools and endless horizon views. A signature Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge offers an exclusive sanctuary that features private check-in, a dedicated Club Concierge, and multiple culinary presentations throughout the day, in addition to dedicated service at the beach. The Ritz-Carlton Turks & Caicos has an extensive array of amenities, including an adults-only pool with private cabanas and a recreation pool, both set within lush tropical landscapes. The resort also has its own private catamaran, the Lady Grace, which lets guests explore beyond the shores, while activities such yoga on the beach are also available. A signature Ritz-Carlton Spa with an holistic approach to wellness offers therapies inspired by the calming power of the ocean and treatments that embrace indigenous plants. As far as dining goes, Coralli features cuisine prepared with a local flair, while BLT
Steak offers modern steakhouse fare. The Lobby Lounge provides the
ultimate spot to wind down with a handcrafted cocktail in the evening
and offers spectacular views of Grace Bay.(ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/caribbean/turks-and-caicos)

OCEAN EDEN BAY

Opening November 2021, Ocean Eden Bay by H10 Hotels is a new five-star, adults-only resort located in Montego Bay, Jamaica. There are seven room categories available including swim-up and rooftop suites. The sea-facing resort grants guests access to a spectacular white sand beach and features modern rooms, a large swimming pool with bar service, and a wide range of dining options, including an exclusive dinner-show restaurant with themed
performances, the Senses Dinner Show. In addition, it has a Despacio Spa Centre which includes a 24-hour gym, an indoor pool, and a Jacuzzi, sauna, and steam bath. Indoor and outdoor massages can also be booked through the Despacio Spa, as can personalized health and beauty treatments. All guests of Ocean Eden Bay will also have full access to the services and
amenities of the adjacent sister resort, Ocean Coral Spring Resort, which is all-inclusive and all-ages. It features a lazy river, a water park, two tennis courts, and both a family and teen club.
(oceanhotels.net/en/jamaica-hotels/ocean-eden-bay)

STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS

“We’re almost at the top!” I exclaimed out loud — more so to motivate myself than my dad who appeared to be effortlessly leaping up the top of the Giant trail, whereas my legs felt like I had bricks strapped to my shoes with each step upwards. Standing on the shores of the Thunder Bay marina, it’s easy to make out the outline of the Sleeping Giant in the distance, but the sheer magnitude of the natural landmark truly comes to life when you’re faced with climbing some of the tallest cliffs in Ontario. According to an old Ojibway legend, the giant is Nanabijou, who was turned to stone when the secret location of a nearby silver mine was revealed to greedy white men. Today’s mission, climbing to the top of the mesa to reach the Giant’s knees, is no small task — the trail is 22.4 km round trip — but as I get a bird’s-eye vantage of Lake Superior shimmering in Caribbean-like hues between a dramatic gorge from nearly 1,000 feet below, I get the overwhelming sense that every single step of the elevation gain was worth it. Out of hundreds of kilometres of trails found in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, this is the view that continues to draw people in from far and wide. Howling winds on a crisp November morning mean we don’t linger too long, but I know that this shared experience will stay with us for much longer. The following afternoon, I’ve come full-circle settling in for a rewarding flight of beer in the Sleeping Giant Brewing Company’s taproom next to a wall lined with an assortment of beer bottles from around the world. The craft brewery utilizes locally-sourced fresh water from Lake Superior and malt from Canada Malting Co. to create its flavourful beers. For anyone looking for inspiration for their next great post-pandemic road trip, Thunder Bay, should be a top contender. While people often drive through the city on the way out West, it’s worth more than just a stopover.

WALK IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE GROUP OF SEVEN
The impressive landscapes in the region are what first drew the legendary Group of Seven to the north shore of Lake Superior nearly 100 years ago. Today, some of the places that inspired the iconic artists can be discovered along a new self-drive route that traces the places and scenery that inspired their paintings. “Having experienced the rugged beauty of Algoma from 1918 to 1921, Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson decided to push further on to the north shore of Lake Superior in the fall of 1921,” explains Art Historian and Artist Michael Burtch. “From revelling in the riot of autumn colour on Superior’s east side to meditating on the broad mystical expanse of sky and inland sea on the north shore, Harris and Jackson, along with many other members of the Group of Seven, continued their annual painting expeditions to the region until 1928, and there produced many of their most iconic works, including Harris’ celebrated ‘North Shore, Lake Superior’ in 1926.” The Group is renowned for paintings that are inspired by the Canadian landscape, and initiated the first major Canadian national art movement. “Driving the route today from Marathon to Thunder Bay, the breathtaking beauty of the many vistas over the lake make it easy to understand the Group’s fascination with the region,” says Burtch. “The constantly shifting moods of the lake, the dramatic sky and the towering, majestic landscape make the north shore one of the most scenic areas in Canada.”

NORTHERN DELIGHTS
While it may be the scenery that attracts travellers to this part of the country, there are no shortage of delicious things to taste while here. One local delight is the Persian, a pastry that the owner of Bennett’s Bakery and The Persian Man says can best be described as a rich cinnamon bun with an incredible icing topping. “This pastry has been a staple in Thunder Bay since the 1940s and has grown from there,” says Danny Nucci. “People that have lived here and moved away, have not forgotten [Persians]. They phone our office wanting us to ship Persians to them. We have shipped them all over the country.” On the average, the bakeries produce 100 dozen Persians a day from a secret recipe. The story goes that the treat was meant to be named after General Pershing of the First World War. Despite the wrongful spelling, the name stuck, and it indeed has nothing to do with the Middle East. Another must-try is Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co., a local business that started off as a hobby and quickly developed into a full-fledged small batch hot sauce production company. These also make for a great gift to bring back for friends and family back home. Finally, a notable option for those seeking a meal out on the town is Tomlin restaurant, which works alongside local producers to create seasonal family-style sharing plates. At the beginning of the pandemic, the restaurant got a plug from Brian Baumgartner, the actor who played Kevin Malone on The Office.

 

IF YOU GO…

A WALK IN THE PARK

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, which was founded in 1944 as Sibley Provincial Park, has 200 campsites at the Marie Louise Lake Campground suitable for tents and RVs that make a great home base for embarking on hikes. The Park is also home to five full-service cabins that can be rented for a minimum of two nights that are available year-round. Advanced reservations are recommended, especially during prime summer season. For those seeking a shorter alternative to the Top of the Giant trail, which provides spectacular views of Lake Superior and the surrounding area, consider the Sean Lion trail, a 2.4km round trip from the parking lot to a unique geological feature that got its name for resembling a sea lion.

CHASE WATERFALLS

While the 40-metre-high Kakabeka Falls are the most wellknown waterfalls in the region and mark the second highest in Ontario, don’t miss out on the adjacent Little Falls, while visiting the Provincial Park. Those seeking a lesser-known spot to discover should head over to Silver Falls Provincial Park, which is known for its Holocene-era features. For the opportunity to stand behind a waterfall, visit Wolf River Falls.

DO IT FOR THE ‘GRAM
Situated on the north shore of Lake Superior near Nipigon — about 100km from Thunder Bay — Ruby Lake Provincial Park is a non-operating park that is like discovering a hidden gem. The trail offers multiple stunning viewpoints overlooking the lake and Lake Superior from steep cliffs. Another surefire bet is the Kama Cliffs trail, which also offers sweeping views of the surrounding area.

Story and photos by ANN RUPPENSTEIN

KOREA in CONTRAST

Old meets new in Korea, a country of contrasts. With more than 5,000 years of ancient history, expect to be transported with the country’s time-honoured, sophisticated traditions and, at the same time, charmed by the unabashed enthusiasm for trendiness and the rise of K-culture.
 
Located in Northeast Asia, the Korean peninsula is surrounded by water on three sides and comprised of 70% mountainous terrain, making South Korea the ultimate destination for outdoor adventures and sightseeing. In contrast, Seoul, the capital and heartbeat of the country, is a worldclass city known for its safety, cleanliness, culture, and cuisine. Korea also boasts 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites from Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto in Gyeongju; Jongmyo Shrine, Changdeokgung Palace, and Royal Tombs of Joseon kings in Seoul; to Hahoe Village in Andong; and Yangdong Village in Gyeongju. This rich history, culture, and geographic diversity combine to attract travellers from all over the world, with approximately 17.5 million foreign tourists visiting Korea annually. On this journey, delve deeper into the intricacies of Korean cuisine where seasonal ingredients plus exciting preparations equal a new world of flavours and the allure of traditional hanoks, or guesthouses, offer perfect calm and luxurious amenities for tired travellers. See for yourself that Korea is quickly becoming an epicentre of attention for the world’s tourists, who are increasingly drawn to this special country where the past, present and future are found side by side.
 
WELCOME TO SEOUL 
Naturally, the best place to start when visiting Korea is Seoul. It was Yi Seong-gye, the first king and founder of the Joseon Dynasty, who established modern-day Seoul as the capital city. The royal palace and shrines were erected first, and then a protective fortress connecting Bugaksan, Inwangsan, Namsan, and Naksan Mountains were built. Today, the city provides intriguing contrasts between the ancient and modern. Cities in Europe tend to separate the old from the new, but in Seoul, pre-modern structures and contemporary buildings stand shoulder to shoulder to create a unique cityscape.
 
CITY HIGHLIGHTS 
Shopping enthusiasts should consider a visit to the Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market, which appears at night and vanishes by sunrise. The market runs each year from April to October at Yeouido Hangang River Park, Banpo Hangang River Park, DDP, and Cheongyecheon Stream. History buffs can delve into Korea’s long history at The National Museum of Korea (museum.go.kr) which has more than 300,000 artifacts on display, meanwhile art enthusiasts will be in their element at The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (mmca.go.kr). Korea House (koreahouse.or.kr) is a cultural space originally built as a guesthouse in the 1950s and later opened to the public. A variety of initiatives here promote Korean culture, including traditional cuisine and cooking courses, traditional weddings, and performances. Take in a concert of traditional Korean music or an exhibit of traditional instruments and audio/visual materials at The National Gugak Center (gugak.go.kr). The Jeongdong Theater (jeongdong.or.kr) is the first of its kind in Korea to embrace the spirit of Wongaksa Temple on stage and now leads the way in refining repertoire based on traditional subjects. Other programs like the Stonewall Project outdoor theatre series and Art Garden in Lunch Time aim to bring healing through arts for office workers.
 
BEYOND SEOUL
Get out of the city to enjoy Korea’s beautiful natural landscapes across the country. High in the east and low in the west, there are several impressive mountains, such as Mount Seoraksan. Small islands dot the southern sea coast, one of which being Hwasanseom Island that exemplifies the dazzling beauty of Jejudo Island. Each of Korea’s four seasons features a different charm. In particular, spring is a time of luscious flower fields and autumn is a time to take in gorgeous foliage across the country.
 
COUNTRY HIGHLIGHTS 
Go island-hopping in Korea! Jejudo is the stunningly scenic southern island of the nation. Here, visit the village of Hado (seantour.com/village/hado) to experience the history of the island’s maritime culture and meet the women who dive into the ocean and collect goods without oxygen tanks. Tokki Island, which was designated a natural monument, presents the Hado-ri Migratory Birds’ Habitat, and the Haenyeo Museum. In 1972, on the southern end of the Imjingang River, a tall pavilion called Imjingak was built for displaced people. When the Nuri Peace Park was finished in 2005, Imjingak became a symbol of reconciliation, harmony, peace, hope, and unification. On weekends, various cultural arts programs are held at the park, and there are many sculptures and other sights to see. Taekwondo has gained international fame as the representative martial arts form from Korea. The Taekwondowon in Muju, Jeollabuk-do Province operates the Taekwondo Museum and Experience Center, Taekwondo Arena T1, and overnight stay facilities. The museum houses over 5,000 relics related to taekwondo (tkdwon.kr).
 
TRADITIONALLY ACCOMMODATING
Hanoks are the preferred stay for visitors wanting a particularly traditional Korean lodging experience. These recognizable square or L-shaped dwellings often centre around a courtyard and are constructed and decorated with sustainable materials like clay, bamboo, timber, paper, and tiles. With great attention to detail, many hanoks have been lovingly restored and thoroughly modernized across Korea, offering guests luxurious amenities and historic charm.
 
NAMWON YECHON
The restoration of Namwon Yechon, unveiled in summer 2016, followed traditional architecture methods like lacquering and used traditional materials like red clay, bamboo, and seaweed. The result is 22 finely appointed guest rooms, each fitted with a large window or loft with a spectacular view. Enjoy traditional craft programs in the common area like hanji fan making, rubber shoe making, and hanji pocket mirror making. For an instagram-worthy memory, dress in traditional Korean clothing by designer Hwang I-seul and take photos in Experience Hall. Guests also receive a medallion at check-in, which can be used for free admission to the Chunhyang Theme Park and Gwanghallu Pavilion. (namwonyechon.com)
 
GYEONGWONJAE AMBASSADOR INCHEON
Hanok hotel Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Incheon is located at Central Park in Songdo, Incheon. Guest rooms embody the elegance of a hanok and the conveniences of a modern hotel. Soft light filters through paper windows, the bed is positioned under exposed rafters, and each room is outfitted with a luxurious cypress wooden bathtub. The banquet hall or Gyeongwollu is a two-storied pavilion. Crested eaves contrast with the modern building jungle skyline. Guests can enjoy a number of à la carte dishes and traditional royalty multi-course meals at the renowned hotel restaurant, Sura. (gyeongwonjae.com)
 
RAKKOJAE
When the original house built in 1880 was in danger of being demolished, new owner, Jeong Yeong-jin, purchased the four surrounding hanoks to create one large residence, Rakkojae. Inspired to offer visitors an authentic traditional experience, but understanding the need to modernize, each room has been modified with private bathrooms and common areas like the pavilions, pond, and main halls have been carefully revived to retain their classical atmosphere. While staying here, guests can enjoy breakfast service, tea ceremony wares in each room, cooking classes, kimchi-making, plus the Korean-style sauna or jjimjilbang is a favourite among new guests. Though the hanoks stand in a square formation in the middle of bustling Seoul, Rakkojae signifies a “space of reverence for history and rest for the soul.” (rakkojae.com)
 
GURUME
Visitors to the Gurume hanok in Andong can watch talchum mask dance dramas and experience other aspects of traditional culture. Gurume is a traditional lodging facility that delivers the comforts of modern hospitality. Guests can experience Andong on this lush forest hillside without missing any contemporary conveniences. The 11 guest rooms offer private bathrooms, A/C, breakfast service, doorman service, and a wealth of information about attractions in the area. Enjoy seasonal food offerings at the café or take a leisurely stroll through the forest around the cultural complex. (gurume-andong.com)
 
CHI WOON JUNG
The Chi Woon Jung hanok stands as attractive as a traditional Korean painting in Bukchon. Each room is fitted with antique furnishings personally collected by the owner, including ceramics by Kim Dae-hoon, traditional Korean paper lanterns crafted by Jang Eung-bok, folding screens painted by Shim Sang-hoon, and fabric designed by textile designer Jang Eung-bok. There are only four guest rooms, each with a cypress wooden bathtub for ultimate relaxation. Guests are encouraged to request brief traditional Korean music performances or other cultural experiences during their stay. Programs for tea cake making, traditional sewing, and traditional Korean music performances are also offered. (chiwoonjung.com)
 
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD 

Foodies rejoice! Cooking is in its golden age in Korea. Chefs around the country are using traditional ingredients plus exciting preparations to equal a new world of flavours and a new generation of Korean cuisine. Naturally, many of the most notable dining experiences are in Seoul, but visitors will find great eateries everywhere they go.
 
KWON SOOK SOO
A modern analysis of traditional Korean-style fare, Kwon Sook Soo creates seasonal dishes with rare ingredients from all over the country. From 2017 to 2020, the restaurant has maintained two Michelin stars. From sauces to pastes to pickled fish, the restaurant is unleashing modern cuisine with a traditional essence. (kwonsooksoo.com)
 
GOTGAN
Located on the 50th floor of the Federation of Korean Industries building, Gotgan is a one-star Michelin restaurant that is part of a collective of restaurants with a “back to the land” philosophy of integrating agricultural practices into culinary art. Inspired by how people of the past used to eat, Gotgan chefs develop seasonal dishes that show off the best of nature with as little cooking and as few added flavours as possible. Chefs use only 50-year-old soy sauce, five year-old vinegar, and other fermented seasonings. The tableware and ambiance also live up to the elegance of the food for a full sensory experience. Reservations are required. (theskyfarm.co.kr)
 
BAEKSA
From noodles to fine dining, Baeksa is heaven for foodies. Chef Lee Jongkook has often been credited with giving new direction to Korean cuisine and once said, “I would not trade spring chives for meat,” suggesting that he uses seasonal ingredients to bring out authentic flavours. Slurp noodles on street level made of organic wheat and served with a main course and dessert. The third floor is where the chef himself prepares private dinners for VIPs.
 
SEOKPARANG
Seokpajeong has been transformed into one of the most stylish hanok restaurants in Seoul. Menu items include delicacies such as Daegu dumplings, fowls roasted with seven kinds of herbs, fresh fish, and steamed vegetables. Enjoy your meal overlooking the garden or climb up to the wooden staircase to see the entire premise at a glance. (seokparang.co.kr)
 
JINKWANSA TEMPLE
A culinary discovery tour of Asia includes a visit to Seoul’s Jinkwansa Temple, a temple famous for food. Here, visitors can taste the special recipes of the monks who cook with no artificial additives and only the freshest ingredients. There are five vegetables that are forbidden in Buddhist cuisine – garlic, green onion, chives, and wild chives – which keeps food from smelling pungent. There is also no meat used, and beans become a staple ingredient. But fear not fellow foodies, fermented soybean paste, Korean chili paste, and soy sauce make the dishes highly savoury. (jinkwansa.org)    

Story by IAN STALKER

ST. JOHN’S DAY & NIGHT

Day | Night

A city to steal your heart, St. John’s is small in size, but big in personality. There’s a photo-op on every corner – a bustling downtown core, side streets stacked with jellybean coloured row houses, Cabot Tower looming in the background, all set on the cusp of the windblown Atlantic ocean.

SUNRISE Start the day a short drive from the city at Cape Spear, the continent’s easternmost point, to see the sun rise before anyone else in North America. BRUNCH One of the best restaurants on the east coast, Mallard Cottage (mallardcottage.ca) is owned and operated by chef Todd Perrin. The brunch menu features mostly savoury plates, like the seasonal seafood quiche with dreamy, salty, crispy potato wedges. Splurge at the dessert table filled with cakes and breakfast pastries. Reservations recommended. STROLL Meander through downtown taking in the sights of the working harbour, imagining what’s inside the colourful row houses, and popping into cute shops, galleries, and cafés. Highlights include local favourite Rocket Bakery (rocketfood.ca) for coffee plus pastries; HOME on water street, a beautifully curated home decor shop; Le Boudoir Lingerie (leboudoirfit.com) featuring high-end swimwear and helpful sales staff; and the Newfoundland Chocolate Company (newfoundlandchocolatecompany.com) with local chocolate bars dressed in colourful row house wrappers. LUNCH Don’t be fooled by this modest east coast chain restaurant, Piatto Pizzeria + Enoteca (piattopizzeria.com) is a stylish and friendly place doing Neapolitan pizza right. The “Stephanie” is a stand-out with a combination of goat cheese, prosciutto, caramelized pears, and balsamic glaze. Get the pizza and soup or salad lunch special for an absolute steal at only $14. HIKE Cabot Tower, atop Signal Hill, is the site of the first transatlantic transmission in 1901 and is a relatively easy 20-minute up-hill walk from downtown. Offering incredible city, harbour, and ocean views, there are a variety of longer trails available for eager hikers. At the foot of the hill, take a moment to reflect at the Terry Fox monument, where the 21-year-old embarked on his Marathon of Hope after dipping his artificial limb in the Atlantic ocean.

Day | Night

It’s the famous hospitality of the people of St. John’s who bring the city to life. From shouts of “sociable!” to roaring kitchen parties and twangy fiddle music, these are the sounds of Newfoundland at night.

LEARN Open late on Wednesdays and Fridays, early evening is a great time to explore The Rooms (therooms.ca) a public cultural space exploring the history, art, and traditions of Newfoundlanders. DINNER The Merchant Tavern (themerchanttavern.ca) features a tall-ceilinged, wood-panelled industrial dining room that exudes sophistication and warmth. From the menu try fresh catch and bistro classics, or the 5-course Chef’s Tasting Menu. If you’re looking for a little romance and a lot of refinement, find a reservation at Raymonds (raymonds restaurant.com). Elevated east coast cuisine in an elegant setting. REVEL Head to the historic, pedestrian-only George Street district for some late night fun and lively entertainment. Packed with bars, pubs, and clubs, George Street boasts crowds and live music every night of the week. Check georgestreetlive.ca often for updates on special events and annual festivals. SLEEP The exquisite Ryan Mansion (ryanmansion.com) is a 5-star boutique hotel in the heart of old St. John’s. The grand staircase, centrepiece of the inn’s dramatic entrance hall, was a custom commission by the same craftsmen as the grand staircase on the ill-fated Titanic. Capturing the spirit of this connection, Ryan Mansion offers Titanic themed dinners and getaway packages. But if tranquility is what you’re craving, head an hour out of town to stay in style at The Doctor’s House (doctorshousenl.ca). Recently updated, the 30-room inn sits on a 100+ acre oceanfront estate. For old-world charm book The Chestnut Suite, for something more modern, try a room in the new Lavender Bungalow, families seeking privacy should book The Guest House. Complete your stay with a trip to the spa, a walk among the wooded trails, and fine fare at the Secret Garden Restaurant.

Story by ASHLEY ROCHEFORT

WORKING from HOME

Almost 40% of Canada’s workforce is currently working from home, that means no commuting, no mind-numbing meetings, and no stuffy business suits. The only thing that could make working from home more dreamy? Working from a sunny, sandy beach in the Caribbean. But before you pack your bags, each country has different entry requirements, quarantine protocols, health and safety regulations, application processes, fees, and length of stay maximums, so it’s important to do your research in order to choose the right country to suit your WFH style. Here are a few of our favourites…
 

ANGUILLA

Trade in your humdrum home office and work from one of Anguilla’s 33 white-sand beaches this winter. Visit IvisitAnguilla.com for details on local telecom companies, schooling, banking, shipping of personal effects, and a list of resorts providing access to conference rooms, business centres, and state of the art technology. The Anguilla Tourist Board will also connect you with a dedicated concierge to guide you through the application process and fees.

Anguilla

BARBADOS

BAHAMAS

The one who started it all. Launched in July, Barbados was the first Caribbean nation to offer special visas for remote workers, encouraging people to move their home office to paradise by relocating to Barbados for up to a year. Want to be Bajan for a year? Take the first step by visiting Barbadoswelcomestamp.bb.

Work from one of Bahamas’ prettiest pool decks at Nassau’s famous Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant. Enjoy Graycliff’s elegant suites, daily continental breakfast, nightly turn down service, and high-speed internet throughout the property. Stay a minimum of 14 nights to qualify for savings of 50%. For details on Graycliff’s Workation Special and links to government protocols, visit Graycliff.com/seasonal-specials.
 
 
 
 
 
Visit Barbados

ANTIGUA & BARBUDA

Antigua and Barbuda’s Nomad Digital Residence (NDR) Program allows you to work safely from the twin-island paradise for as long as two years with the new NDR visa. Those choosing Antigua and Barbuda can also benefit from its no personal income tax status. Find out more at antiguanomadresidence.com.
If you’re looking for the finest in luxury hotels, check out Curtain Bluff’s (curtainbluff.com) extended stay packages developed to complement the NDR Program.
 
Antigua English Harbour
 
 
ST. BARTHS
Take quarantine to the next level at one of WIMCO’s (wimco.com) private villas in St. Barths. WIMCO also has properties in the Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos, and more. Stay up to 90 days and get used to jumping in the sea to celebrate the end of a conference call.
 
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Casa de Campo (casadecampo.com.do), a private gated community in the Dominican Republic, is the perfect spot to work from home this winter. After work, hit the beach, get in a round of golf, or savour the world-class cuisine. All long-term guests will enjoy a four-passenger golf cart, complimentary wifi and access to the business centre, housekeeping twice per week, and15% discount on food, spa, and laundry services.  
 
 

Story by ASHLEY ROCHEFORT

WINTER WONDERLAND

STAYING CLOSER TO HOME LEAVES PLENTY OF ROOM FOR ADVENTURE
 
The first snowfall of the season is typically when Canadians across the country start daydreaming about jetting off for a sunny escape. But could this be the time to embrace the winter wonderland in Canada instead of escaping for the hot, hot, heat? We talked to four travel experts for some inspiration on how to embrace winter travel in Canada. After all, there’s no place like home…
 

THE NORTHERN LIGHTS Have quintessentially Canadian experiences in the comfort of your backyard this winter, like the awe-inspiring northern lights in the spectacular Northwest Territories. “Many Canadians have not experienced the wonder of Canada. This year, we’re suggesting unique destinations of Canada that may not be on the radar, such as Haida Gwaii, Northwest Territories, Rocky Mountaineer, and the list goes on. Canada has so much to offer and now is the best time to explore our own country.” Kemp Travel Group kemptravel.com

SHEILA KEMP

GO WEST Why not venture west this winter? Tourism Vancouver Island welcomes all Canadians, encouraging them to get on island time… Vancouver Island, that is, especially the snowbirds who typically flock to Florida, Arizona, and California in the wintertime. “With our temperate winter climate, Vancouver Island is a natural alternative for Canadian Snowbirds. We are committed to supporting the 3,000+ tourism businesses in the Vancouver Island region by strengthening the visitor economy.” Tourism Vancouver Island Tourismvi.ca 

ANTHONY EVERETT

ONTARIO IS YOURS TO DISCOVER Instead of moping around this winter, set your sights on short-term trips around Ontario. Take the hassle out of your Ontario travel plans by booking a local tour with a travel agent. “We have a complete Canadian short trip program with day trips to Muskoka, Canada’s Wonderland, Kingston and the 1,000 Islands, Niagara Falls, the ever popular winery tours to Prince Edward County, as well as CanaDream RV rentals.” Marlin Travel marlintravel.ca

MARY LAROCQUE

POLAR BEARS, OH MY! So many Canadians still have the desire to travel, but so many more Canadians are simply more comfortable staying a bit closer to home this season. Luckily, we’ve got Churchill, Manitoba, a destination for travellers from all over the world who come to visit our mighty polar bears. “With so many amazing experiences right in our own backyard, it’s a fantastic time to take advantage of travel within Canada, whether it be a food tour of Vancouver Island, experiencing the majestic Rockies, a camper rental travelling with those within your own bubble, or enjoying a villa with family. Being from Manitoba, we have one of the most unique opportunities that people come from all over the world to enjoy – that being Churchill.” Travel Quest travelquestmb.ca  

CAREY DUNCAN

Story by ANN RUPPENSTEIN