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

Crowning Jewel

Luxury for the whole family at Tiara Exclusive Collection by Club Med Punta Cana

On the breathtaking island of Hispaniola, Club Med welcomes the whole family to their newly renovated, eco-chic TIARA EXCLUSIVE COLLECTION SPACE located inside the luxury, all-included Club Med Punta Cana resort.

Imagine waking up to the buttery pastries and sweet fruit of a continental breakfast brought to you in your private, pastel-hued bungalow. Before the kids get up, wrap yourself in a crisp white bathrobe and fuzzy slippers, and savour a freshly brewed cup of coffee while looking out on breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea.

Spend the morning working on your swing at the Corales 18-hole golf course. It is, after all, home of the PGA championship and one of the best courses in the world. Meanwhile, the kids are having the time of their lives, learning to juggle, climb silks, and do the flying trapeze with the experts at Club Med CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil, a must-try experience for every kid or  kid-at-heart.

The entire family reconnects at lunch at La Samana. There is something for everyone at this international buffet. Spend the afternoon sunning and frolicking in the warm turquoise waters of this panoramic stretch of white sand beach. In the late afternoon sun, be welcomed back to Tiara with a glass of champagne at the private Tiara Bar and spend the remainder of the daylight with the family at the exclusive oceanfront infinity pool with full-service bar for afternoon drinks and snacks.

Before heading back to your room, stop by the private concierge desk to book an appointment for tomorrow at the luxurious, Provence-inspired Club Med Spa by L’OCCITANE. Let the sound of the lapping ocean melt your every worry away when you treat yourself to a signature oceanfront bath or massage. 

Back at your bungalow, the kids rush to their room while you retreat to your bedroom with private bath and freshen up using the soothing in-house L’OCCITANE toiletries then enjoy an evening cocktail thanks to the fully stocked minibar at arm’s reach. 

At the end of a long day filled with fun, sun and exploration of Club Med Punta Cana’s activities, it’s a relief to return to your private cottage perched on the edge of the beach and protected by lush vegetation. Every element of the updated design and decor – such as wooden accents, watery-toned linens, and wall sconces resembling a fisherman’s lantern – is a reflection of the  local culture and helps to create connection between the outdoors and interior. Serene surroundings and plush beds with under-mounted lights give you the illusion of floating in the sea as you fall into a peaceful sleep, readying you for the next day’s adventure. 

Make your next vacation a Club Med vacation. More at Clubmed.ca/Punta-Cana.

Story by ASHLEY ROCHEFORT

Historic Horsepower

Speed-seeking at sites around England 

The days of piston combustion are numbered, as any owner of a hybrid or fully electric car will tell you. Luckily, petrolheads seeking some solace can get instant anxiety relief with a visit to Great Britain. It has a piston-powered heritage reaching back over a century, and offers plenty of sites that have been optimized for vacation visits.

Goodwood 

Holiday self-drivers can start their tour at the horsepower mecca of Goodwood just 90 minutes  southwest of London’s Heathrow Airport. With its historic racetrack and airport, Goodwood holds two famous festivals devoted to internal combustion – the Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival classic car show. Visitors who want to attend either event should start planning a year in advance for accommodations and tickets. On the other  hand, those visiting at other times of the year can reserve a room at the charming Goodwood Hotel, which is generally fully booked up during the festivals. Goodwood resides within a countryside setting and presents an attractive option for dinner and a rest after arrival at Heathrow. The next day, guests can book a driving experience at the track, or even reserve a demo flight in a WWII Harvard warbird trainer priced from £499.  goodwood.com

National Motor Museum

There are plenty of palatial heritage manors scattered about Britain that visitors can tour and gain a sense of old-world opulence. But none have an extensive, curated collection of historic automobiles and motorcycles, as is the case at the Beaulieu Estate, in the pastoral New Forest region of southern coastal England. On the rambling grounds of the estate is the National Motor Museum, which preserves and displays a vast array of vehicles across all eras of motoring, on both two wheels and four. There is a predominance of British machinery, but highlights from other nations (BMW, Ferrari, Ducati, etc.) are also displayed.  beaulieu.co.uk 

Biggin Hill 

Those seeking more adventure in the sky can schedule a flight in a special two-seat Spitfire fighter aircraft at the historic Biggin Hill Aerodrome near London. Rates for these range from £2,750 for a 30-minute local Kent flight to £6,550 for the 70-minute Coastal Patrol flight.  bigginhillheritagehangar.co.uk

Classic Team Lotus

From the scenic city of Norfolk, it is a short drive to see the spectacular race car collection at Classic Team Lotus. This is where a host of automotive concepts were conceived, built, tested and engineered to render world-beating sports cars and racing cars. Classic Team Lotus maintains an outstanding collection of Formula One race cars that were piloted by many of the F1 greats. A new larger museum is under construction now and is scheduled to open in 2020. Also coming is a new Customer Experience Centre, which will give visitors the opportunity to take the wheel of a current Lotus sports car on the company’s own twisty test track.

classicteamlotus.co.uk

Silverstone F1 Circuit

A racetrack driving experience might be the ultimate indulgence for a diehard motorhead, and potentially the peak opportunity for that is waiting at the Silverstone Formula One circuit. Now, visitors can put wheel to pavement on the storied circuit, by choosing from a selection of driving experiences. These include a Supercar Experience (£279), Racecar Experience (£219), Ferrari Experience (£179), Aston Martin Experience (£179), and a Caterham Drift Experience (£119), to name some. Shorter drives are billed as Thrills, and cost less.  silverstone.co.uk

Story by TED DAVIS

Boutique Barbados

A great Barbados vacation starts with great hotel choices. Whether you’re opting for a grand hotel with sprawling grounds, a quiet and quaint bed-and-breakfast, or an easy breezy all-inclusive, you’ll always find personalized service, Bajan hospitality, and a boutique atmosphere at the heart of every stay.

The different types of vacation stays on the island are underscored by the three different properties owned by the OCEAN HOTELS Barbados group.

Ocean Two Resort & Residences is an 88-room, beachfront property set to become an all-inclusive resort in November 2020. Within easy reach of St. Lawrence’s Gap, known for its restaurants and nightlife, Ocean Hotels will always urge its guests to get out and see Barbados. “We really encourage our guests to explore the island,” says Melissa Defreitas, Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Ocean Hotels. “We don’t want guests to feel limited, we want them to have local experiences.” Guests will find both a ground-level pool and an adults-only rooftop plunge pool, and they can choose between rooms and suites. The sounding of a conch shell marks three daily happy hours. The hotel has a restaurant, room service, and multiple bars, including a swim-up pool bar. Other features include a fully equipped fitness centre with cardio and weight equipment, in-room spa services, and massages either in a private area of the Roof Deck Patio overlooking a bay or on the beach.

South Beach Hotel, a “very boutique” 49-room hotel just a minute’s walk from the beach, was inspired by the lively Miami district of the same name. On Barbados’ south coast, South Beach Hotel has a restaurant, poolside food and beverage service, pool deck bar with happy hour and evening entertainment, a meeting room, fitness room, and spa services.

Finally, Sea Breeze Beach House is a 122-room all-inclusive that boasts four bars, six dining options and nightly entertainment. Visitors will also find a kids’ and teens’ program, water sports, fitness room, a beach activities program, meeting room, and wedding and event services. More information is available on any of the three properties at oceantwobarbados.com.

 

Among CARIBBEAN COLLECTION Barbados’s three all-inclusive properties is Mango Bay (mangobaybarbados.com), a smallish retreat on the west coast. Guests will find 76 rooms, each with a patio or balcony, and a restaurant that features an open-air dining option and BBQ nights. A wide variety of amenities and activities include catamaran cruises, scuba diving demonstrations, glass-bottom boat rides, a pool, water-skiing, Hobie- Cat sailing, paddle boats, snorkelling, and kayaking. And, if that’s not enough to keep you occupied, activities available at an added cost include boat trips, golf, spa services, horse racing, and a trip to the popular Oistins.

Island Inn Hotel (islandinnbarbados.com) is a 24-unit hotel found within the Garrison area – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and features the Boardwalk Restaurant serving local and international cuisine.

The Sands Barbados (thesandsbarbados.com) is a new all-inclusive hotel located on a stunning white-sand beach on the South Coast of Barbados. The property boasts contemporary-style accommodation with 153 rooms within 87 apartments ranging from Superior Garden Studios to Two- Bedroom Oceanfront Penthouse Suites. It is ideal for those seeking a trendy all-inclusive beach holiday and is in close proximity to the renowned St. Lawrence Gap area in Christ Church. Key features include a spa, pool, two bars, roof deck restaurant, nightly entertainment, and water sports, including kayaking, snorkelling, body boards, and free scuba lessons.


Port Ferdinand resort offers laid-back luxury and personalized Bajan service that feels boutique. Set around a 120-berth marina, Port Ferdinand has one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas, luxurious with marble and limestone finishes, coral stone walls, a fully equipped open-plan kitchen, living spaces, and grand master bedrooms and bathrooms. Port Ferdinand also has an array of amenities and services, including a fine-dining harbourside experience at 13/59 Restaurant and Bar Lounge, The Quarterdeck Poolside Bar & Pizzeria, The Sandbox Tree Spa, a fully equipped fitness centre, indoor and outdoor kids’ clubs, and an adult recreation centre and golf simulator. Partnering with Nikki Beach, Port Ferdinand’s beach club, set on 1.4 acres of beachfront near the mouth of the marina, consists of a restaurant, pool, and seating for up to 200 guests. Combining privacy and exceptional service and stylish living with world-class amenities, Port Ferdinand is sure to check all the boxes for your dream vacation. For more, visit portferdinand.com.

Story by IAN STALKER

The World ‘s 17 Best Beaches

From remote stretches of sand in far-flung locales to the ever-popular Caribbean getaways, there is a bounty of spectacular places for travellers to soak up the sun, whether they seek white, pink or even black  sand. So, where should you plan your beach escape for next winter? Why not try one of the top 17 beaches in the world as voted by the experts, Canadian travel agents.

1. VARADERO BEACH, CUBA Overwhelmingly popular, Cuba’s Varadero Beach is ranked one of the absolute best. With its icing sugar sand, Varadero Beach is often described as the softest, whitest, cleanest beach.
2. GRACE BAY BEACH, TURKS AND CAICOS Photo Courtesy of Turks & Caicos Tourist Board
3. SEVEN MILE BEACH, NEGRIL, JAMAICA While it may actually only measure 6.3 miles, Negril's Seven Mile Beach still measures up as one of the top beaches in the world. With world-class sunsets, white sands, and warm waters, it's no wonder this stretch of beach is nicknamed “seven miles of heaven.” Photo Courtesy of Couples Resorts Jamaica
4. BLACK SAND BEACH (PA’ILOA), WAI’ANAPANAPA STATE PARK AND KAANAPALI BEACH, HAWAII
5. PUNTA MAROMA, MEXICO
6. Bavaro Beach DOMINICAN Courtesy of Barcelo Hotel & Resorts
7. CABLE BEACH, BAHAMAS Photo Courtesy of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Located in Nassau, Bahamas, travellers love the Cable Beach area for its beautiful beaches and snorkelling. Many resorts and intimate hideaways are beachfront or just a short stroll away, but no matter where you’re staying in Nassau Paradise Island, you're mere minutes from wiggling your toes in the sand and frolicking in warm, multi-hued azure waters stretching as far as the eye can see.
8. MATIRA BEACH, BORA BORA, FRENCH POLYNESIA Photo by Marc Gérard
9. SIESTA KEY AND ST. PETE BEACH
10. PATONG BEACH, PHUKET AND RAILAY BEACH, KRABI, THAILAND Photo Courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand
11. SEVEN MILE BEACH, GRAND CAYMAN The Cayman Islands, a peaceful British Overseas Territory, is packed with endless activities, the ultimate culinary scene, and, of course, the renowned Seven Mile Beach. It's the perfect spot to stroll miles of warm powdery white sand, relax under a swaying palm tree, or dive into calm crystal-clear waters. This is paradise.
12. EAGLE BEACH, ARUBA Photo Courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
13. WHITEHAVEN BEACH, AUSTRALIA Photo Courtesy of Day Dream Island
14. MAGENS BAY AND TRUNK BAY, USVI
15. THE BEACHES OF AITUTAKI AND RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS
Photo Courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises
15. THE BEACHES OF AITUTAKI AND RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS Photo Courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises
16. CRANE BEACH, BARBADOS A perennial favourite of “best beaches” lists, Crane Beach, Barbados feels secluded, with towering cliffs to one side, and protected by natural coral reef. Picture-perfect pink sand, close proximity to the airport, and amenities of the nearby The Crane Resort, make this beach a stand-out.
17. HORSESHOE BAY, BERMUDA