5 exciting music festivals to attend this year in Montreal

Music is an integral part of Montréal’s culture, and the city’s spring/summer calendar offers a variety of exciting festival options for visitors to choose from.

Here are five exciting music festivals taking place this spring and summer!

  • Metro Metro (May 20 – 22): Montréal’s biggest urban musical festival hits the Parc Olympique Esplanade this May with a lineup that’s sure to be one to remember. Headlining acts include Lil Baby, Playboi Carti and Young Thug plus up and comers Don Toliver, Lil Pump and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. Local Québec artists include Loud, Naya Ali, Koriass, Fouki and 5Sang14.
  • Francos de Montréal (June 10 – 18): Showcasing French-language music heavyweights and fresh emerging talent, the top musical artists of the franco music scene will take over the Quartier des Spectacles in June with nearly 250 concerts, many of which are presented free at some fifteen outdoor and indoor venues. Spectators can enjoy hip-hop, rock, pop, folk, electronic music and everything in between at Francos de Montréal.
  • Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (June 30 – July 9): The 42nd edition of the world’s largest jazz festival will feature jazz greats like Ludovico Einaudi, Gregory Porter and Dominique Fils-Aimé, along with Quebec’s own wunderkind Jean Michel Blais.
  • Osheaga (July 29 – 31): Montréal’s major musical festival returns this year with a lineup that includes headliners like Foo Fighters, A$AP Rocky, Dua Lipa and the Arkells. Upcoming artists include London-based singer, rapper and songwriter Ashnikko, Montréal’s own DJ Bolarinho and Ireland’s rock band Inhaler.
  • Lasso Festival (August 12 – 13) The new Lasso country music festival hits Montréal in Jean Drapeau Park this August. Headline acts include American country music singer and songwriter Dierks Bentley, chart-topping country band Old Dominion, Georgia’s Luke Bryan and country-pop star Kelsea Ballerini.

For more fun things to do in Montreal this year, visit the official tourism website.

 

This new Canadian airline can take you to The Rockies for less than $100

Dubbing itself an ultra-affordable airline rather than an ultra-low cost carrier, Lynx Air has big plans for the Canadian market. During an event held in Toronto on March 17, CEO Merren McArthur announced a major expansion out of the Toronto region, adding four new destinations and five new routes to its network.

“By the end of July, we will be flying 92 flights per week in and out of the Toronto area, which is more than 17,000 seats per week. This is a big investment for a small startup like us,” said McArthur. “We’re offering really great prices and that’s what we want to do to attract people to our airline, but then we want to earn loyalty from our customers through providing great customer service. Our model is about growing the market share, so we’re not going to steal traffic from our competitors, we want to grow the market.”

In Ontario, Lynx will operate out of both Toronto Pearson Airport and John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, with service to six destinations: Halifax, St. John’s, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Depending on what time of the year it is, travellers can score deals on fares less than $100 each way to popular destinations like Vancouver or Edmonton.

The newly announced Lynx routes are:

  • Toronto Pearson – Halifax: Three flights per week, commencing June 30, and increasing to five per week from July 30.
  • Toronto Pearson – St. John’s: Two flights per week, commencing June 28, and increasing to seven flights per week from July 28.
  • Toronto Pearson – Edmonton: Seven flights per week, commencing July 28.
  • Hamilton – Calgary: Two flights per week, commencing June 29, and increasing to four flights per week from July 29.
  • Hamilton – Halifax: Two flights per week, commencing June 29.

“We already had three destinations, which were Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver on our network map,” she said. “We believe airfares have been far too high for far too long in Canada.”

Lynx is set to takeoff on its first flight between Calgary and Vancouver on April 7, followed by Calgary and Toronto on April 11 on brand-new Boeing 737 aircraft. Lynx will also be increasing its frequencies between Toronto Pearson and Calgary from seven flights per week to twelve flights per week from June 28.

— Story by Ann Ruppenstein

These are five of the most beautiful places you can go glamping in Canada

Despite recent changes towards international travel rules, domestic travel remains one of the most popular avenues for Canadians who are looking for an escape. According to the 2021 National Travel Survey by Statistics Canada, in the second quarter of 2021, virtually all (99.1%) of trips were domestic.

With domestic travel still very much a safe and viable option, camping has become more popular than ever, with nearly one third of all domestic trips (31.8%) dedicated to exploring Canada’s big backyard. As such, the demand for luxurious glamping (a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping”) facilities has also increased.

Unlike a traditional campsite, which more often than not requires campers to bring their own tent and supplies, glamping takes an elevated approach to sleeping in the great outdoors, with cosy yurt-like structures that provide guests with everything from supplied feather duvets to meals prepared by an on-site chef. With warmer weather just around the corner, here are five glamping spots to explore this spring.

Siwash Lake

Thompson-Nicola E, British Columbia

Available for three, four, or seven-night stays, the Siwash Star Camp provides overnight guests with panoramic views over Siwash Lake and the Marble mountains, where guests are guaranteed to catch a spectacular sunrise or sunset, as well as revel in expansive night skies thanks to the property’s private dark sky reserve. Each canvas tent is equipped with one king-sized bed (or two single beds) and a pull-out sofa, a three-piece bathroom, a wood-fired, cedar soaker-style hot tub, and a private campfire pit for the ultimate late night relaxation.

For added cosiness, each tent also features a wood-burning stove inside the tent, as well as a skylight above the bed to gaze at the stars, where sometimes, the Aurora Borealis streaks through the night sky in a series of spectacular colours. Rates include accommodation,  gourmet meals,  beverages, alcohol, and plenty of self-guided activities from dawn til dusk.

siwashlake.com

Northridge Inn & Resort

Sundridge, Ontario
Northridge Inn. Photo by: Black Saddle Photography.

Set on the water’s edge of Bernard Lake in the breathtaking Muskoka region, Northridge Inn & Resort provides a luxurious glamping getaway from Sundays to Thursdays. All of the glamping tent suites feature a front porch, cosy goose down duvets for those brisk nights, a small private fire pit and a propane barbeque for cooking, a coffee maker, and complimentary bath and shower products.

Inside the tent, guests also have a small dining and seating area. Just a short walk from the glamping area, guests will find washrooms with hot showers, toilets, and a dry sauna. Northridge Inn & Resort also provides guests with complimentary WiFi that even reaches the beach. As far as dining goes, leave the cooler at home—the resort has a restaurant that serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a lounge which offers hand-crafted cocktails in a charming setting.

northridgeinn.com/glamping-tents/ 

 

Outpost Co.

Georgian Bay, Ontario
Outpost Co. Photo by: Liam Sharp

Hidden along the shores of Georgian Bay, Outpost Co. has no electricity and no WiFi–the entire objective is to go back to basics and disconnect from the hyper-connectivity that infiltrates the everyday lives of most people. Instead, each guest is invited to unwind and reconnect with nature from the comfort of their own private campsite, which features a spacious canvas tent equipped with a queen-sized bed outfitted in Egyptian cotton sheets and eiderdown duvets and pillows. Rustic hand-crafted walnut luggage racks and vintage trunks are also included.

Guests can opt to stay in the wall tents, which are furnished with queen beds, or the bell tents, which include two twin-sized beds. Outpost Co. has partnered with Ascari Hospitality Group, which owns some of Toronto’s finest restaurants. Guests are given locally sourced ingredients that are then transformed into pre-prepared meals and transported directly to the campsite in chilled coolers. As part of the wilderness experience, guests will also prepare their own meals over a propane stove. Think less hotdogs and toasted marshmallows, and more campfire shakshuka and banana, chocolate, and hazelnut brioche!

outpostco.com 

 

Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge

Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge. Photo by: Jeremy Koreski

Applauded as one of Vancouver Island’s most luxurious wilderness retreats, Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge is so off-the-grid, that it’s only accessible by seaplane. This all-inclusive luxury resort in British Columbia is nestled within miles of pine forests, making it a truly remote experience. There are 25 white canvas glamping tents, lining the banks of Clayoquot Sound and surrounded by ancient canopy growth.

Each luxuriously-appointed tent is decked out in contemporary style, with commissioned furnishing from local designers. Each luxury glamping suite sleeps anywhere from four to eight guests, and includes amenities such as an ensuite bathroom with heated floors, an outdoor cedar rainwater shower or soaker tub, a king-sized bed, and private deck or verandah. As an all-inclusive resort, each glamping experience at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort also includes gourmet dining, a selection of premium wines, beers and spirits, signature guided experiences, evening turndown service and more. 

clayoquotwildernesslodge.com 

Elk Island Retreat

Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
Elk Island Retreat. Photo: Supplied.

Ever fancied a stay in a geodesic dome? At Elk Island Retreat, guests can choose to glamp in four unique dome-style yurts, including the Dark Sky dome, which is perfect for gazing at the stars. Set on 60 lush acres in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., each luxury geo dome is furnished with amenities like a queen size bed with linens and bedding included, a Nespresso coffee maker (with pods for coffee and tea), a mini fridge and freezer, a fireplace gas heater (birch wood is available for purchase on site), and a private fire pit and picnic table.

Each geo dome sleeps a maximum of two guests. For a more romantic retreat, Elk Island also offers a charcuterie board for purchase which includes a selection of fine cheeses, cured meat, crudite and fruit. A bottle of red or white wine or non-alcoholic sparkling juice is also included with the board.

elkislandretreat.com

See our Glamping Guide for five must-haves for the ultimate sleep under the stars!

 

 

5 things you absolutely need for glamping this summer

Despite recent changes towards international travel rules, domestic travel remains one of the most popular avenues for Canadians who are looking for an escape. According to the 2021 National Travel Survey by Statistics Canada, in the second quarter of 2021, virtually all (99.1%) of trips were domestic. With domestic travel still very much a safe and viable option, camping has become more popular than ever, with nearly one third of all domestic trips (31.8%) dedicated to exploring Canada’s big backyard.

As such, the demand for luxurious glamping (a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping”) facilities has also increased. Unlike a traditional campsite, which more often than not requires campers to bring their own tent and supplies, glamping takes an elevated approach to sleeping in the great outdoors, with cosy yurt-like structures that provide guests with everything from supplied feather duvets to meals prepared by an on-site chef. With warmer weather just around the corner, glamping will be more popular than ever. Explore the great outdoors in comfort and style with these items.

Crossbody

The Edition22 crossbody from Montreal designer Bugatti is a versatile accessory that can also be worn as a backpack or a frontal bag. Crafted from luxe nylon, this earthy, tan coloured crossbody (also available in colours black or plum) is as functional as it is stylish, thanks to four discreet zippered pockets, including one in the front that’s perfect for your phone. Two straps with buckles allow for customization when you’re on the move. 

$70, bugatticollections.com 

Rain Boots

Make a splash this spring with Cougar’s new ankle-high Firenze glossy rain boots. Available in six colours including cute pastels like the Butter yellow and Cucumber green, these boots mimic the classic design of a timeless Chelsea boot. Stylish enough for everyday wear, these pull-on rubber-like boots are fully waterproof, and also have a removable moulded foam footbed which allows for extra comfort for more adventurous days. 

$80, cougarshoes.com

Silk Pillowcase Set

Just because you’re leaving home for a few nights doesn’t mean you have to leave your beauty routine behind! Wake up to a great hair day, no matter what’s on the agenda, with the Blissy Dream Set, available in five colours including champagne and pink. Each set includes a silk pillowcase, sleep mask, scrunchie and skinny scrunchie, all made from 100 per cent pure mulberry silk, which is the highest quality silk on the market.

Starting at $219, ca.blissy.com

Sherpa Jacket

Keep cozy on cooler nights with this sporty sherpa anorak jacket. Made from 100 per cent recycled polyester, this sustainable piece is lightweight but warm. It features two drawstrings at the waist that allow for a more fitted look, but also keep you snug. The nylon panels at the front also protect the items in your pockets. Wear it as an extra layer, or opt to show it off as a stand alone piece.

$794, holtrenfrew.com

Duvet

Leave the sleeping bag at home and snuggle up instead with this luxurious, four-season duvet. The outer shell of this made-in-Canada duvet is crafted from a 400-thread count cotton satin shell, while the inside is made using sustainably-sourced loft white goose down that offers the perfect balance of lightness and warmth. 

Starting at $402, aulitfinelinens.com

This study shows that most Canadians are willing to spend money on a rapid antigen test

According to Finder.com, about three in ten (29%), or 9 million Canadians say they either have bought, or are planning to buy a COVID-19 rapid antigen test.

Finder.com asked Canadians what they would spend on a rapid test and just 3 in 10 Canadians would spend any amount at all. The majority (just over 9 million Canadians) would pay $5 to $25 on a single antigen test — generally standard pricing.

Surprisingly, over a million of them would spend $100 or more on a test — That’s approximately 500% more than the standard price for a single at-home test (about $15).

However, the reasons for buying a test varied. Approximately 2.3 million Canadians who have bought rapid antigen tests did so because they like the instant results (3%), or for peace of mind (4%).

Approximately one million Canadians (3%) say they would take a test but not buy one themselves, citing cost as a real barrier, saying ‘the tests are too expensive’.

Interestingly, there was a bit of a gender divide in the findings.

Women were more likely to say they would use a rapid antigen test (31% vs 27% in men) but were also more likely to say tests are too expensive (4% vs 3% in men).

While women are more likely to buy antigen tests overall than men (33% vs 28%) — particularly at the lower price points — each gender is equally as likely to spend $100 or more on a test (3% each).

What’s more, age was also a factor with approximately 3 in 10 younger Canadians aged (18 – 34) saying they don’t need a rapid antigen test versus just 2 in 10 seniors aged 65+.

When it comes to spend, millennials, particularly those aged 25 to 34, are willing to spend the most on a rapid antigen test, with 5% saying they would spend $100 or more (2 percentage point higher than the national average).

For more information, go to https://www.finder.com/ca/covid-19-testing

Special spots to tie the knot

In 2020, newly-engaged couples were forced to rethink their wedding day plans. Some couples cancelled their celebrations completely while others embraced the idea of a smaller, more intimate celebration. Meanwhile, the pandemic caused a massive backlog in rebookings for wedding halls, churches, and other traditional venues. As a result, a spike in demand rose for unique venues that could house all the traditional components of a wedding, but at a smaller capacity. From beachfront ceremonies to exchanging vows with wild butterflies, here are several special spots to consider in 2022.

Story by Christine Hogg

Ashford Castle, Galway Ireland
Ashford Castle with red foliage and a groomed lawn on its grounds

In Galway, Ireland, you can experience your very own fairytale at Ashford Castle, an 800-year old medieval castle that was built in 1228, and is now a world-famous luxury hotel. With its ancient stone gate, impeccably manicured gardens set across 350 acres, and exquisite interior that’s reminiscent of its colourful past, Ashford Castle excels in the business of creating magical wedding ceremonies.

The castle has welcomed and accommodated its share of royalty over the years, including the Prince of Wales. With its towering turrets that overlook the water, rooms furnished with antiques and heirloom textiles and paintings, there’s no shortage of spaces to delight couples on their big day. The grounds at Ashford Castle are ideal for supporting indoor or outdoor ceremonies big or small, whether you prefer an intimate setting with a few close friends or family, or a lavish party that’s reminiscent of centuries prior on the castle’s grounds. Ashford Castle also offers the option to book the entire estate — its 83 bedrooms, suites and Lakeside Hideaway Cottage will sleep up to 160 guests. The bridal suite, Reagan Presidential Suite (named after former president Ronald Reagan, who was a notable guest of the hotel), has two bathrooms and can be combined with two adjacent rooms to complete a private three-bedroom wing of the castle. The Hideaway Cottage is also an option, and is an exclusive, one-bedroom suite on the water’s edge of the lake. Ashford Castle also offers couples the opportunity to book exclusive access to the hotel’s restaurants and bars, including the underground wine cellar, which can make for an unforgettable pre-wedding event. As for the ceremony itself, there are plenty of options on the castle grounds, including outside in the castle gardens, or, for more traditional couples who prefer to be married in the Catholic church, Saint Mary’s Church Cong is a brisk three-minute drive from the Ashford Castle estate.
(ashfordcastle.com/weddings)

Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii
Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii

Kualoa Ranch Private Nature Reserve is a 4,000-acre natural park in Oahu, Hawaii (on Honolulu island), roughly 35 kilometres outside of Waikiki, on the eastern shores of the island. It offers several spectacular ceremony and reception locations within its property, from very remote, like Jumanji, (in the Ka`a`awa Valley) to spots like Moli’i Gardens, which features a beautiful two-tiered garden setting that borders an 800-year-old Hawaiian fishpond, and includes the use of an open-air cottage that’s perfect for cocktail hour, or for the bride or groom to get ready in. The site at Moli’i Gardens also includes a covered pavilion, a main lawn area and a grand staircase that leads down to a lower garden area. Managed and owned by eight generations of the Judd-Morgan family, who are committed to preserving the culture and natural beauty of the land, it is a beautiful and unique venue for weddings.

Kualoa Ranch offers a number of optional add-ons to make the big day even more special, including a “bridal boat” entrance, or the option of holding a beachfront ceremony at the nearby Secret Island, which includes a boat and driver to provide roundtrip transportation. If Kualoa looks familiar in pictures, it is probably because it has had over 170+ Hollywood movies and TV shows filmed there; perhaps most famously, its valleys were home to the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. Two luxury hotels, the Four Seasons Resort Oahu and the Kahala Hotel and Resort are both just under an hour away from the ranch, and can provide accommodation for large parties.
(kualoa.com/weddings-events/ )

Sandals South Coast, Whitehouse, Jamaica
A bride stands in front of a white chapel on a dock leading out to a clear blue ocean and cloudless sky. The bride is smiling over her shoulder, bouquet in hand, and dress train flowing behind her on the dock. The bride is pictured at Sandals South Coast.

The newest resort on Jamaica’s south coast, Sandals South Coast is an adultsonly, all-inclusive luxury resort that’s part of a 500-acre nature reserve. It includes a two-mile stretch of white sand beach, as well as a series of included perks for couples that make a destination wedding to Jamaica even more magical.

Sandals South Coast is home to the brand’s first-ever Rondoval Swim-Up Suites, a private luxury oasis that features a private plunge pool, a spa-like bathroom with a soaking tub for two, over-the-water hammocks, and a private deck to soak up the Caribbean sun. Known as the go-to brand for romance, Sandals South Coast currently offers the Over the Water Butler Honeymoon Bungalow, which is a private cabin set amongst a series of other bungalows that jut out into the Caribbean Sea in the shape of a heart. Couples who stay in the honeymoon suite also unlock access to private roundtrip airport transfers from Sangster International Airport (MBJ) and Norman Manley International Airport (KIN).

On the big day, there are several stunning venues throughout the resort to choose from. The romantic over-the-water chapel features an aisle made of glass, allowing for a peek at the crystal ocean waters below. This picturesque wedding venue also features a wooden chapel deck, a wrap around balcony and railings, and a shaded/palm leaf covered roof. Couples can work with their Sandals wedding planner to customize the chapel with their own decorations as well.

The standard capacity for the Sandals South Coast Over the Water Chapel is 50 people. Every Sandals wedding includes a personal wedding planning team to ensure all details are taken care of, a selection of pre-recorded music, a one-hour cocktail reception with premium spirits and hors d’oeuvres, a romantic honeymoon breakfast in bed, and more.
(sandals.com/south-coast/)

Private chicken farm, Prince Edward County, Ontario

Under the shady branches of a 100-year old oak tree, couples can exchange their vows in a small, intimate ceremony led by wedding officiant Susan Laurin. Following a successful 40-year career in the travel and tourism sector, Laurin decided to become an officiant in 2019, and currently offers small receptions on her private two-acre residence in Prince Edward County. The property also features a gazebo, a greenhouse, and, perhaps best of all, 17 hens, which couples can pick up and hold for wedding photographs done on site. The property can accommodate both indoor and outdoor wedding venues that are more intimate in nature, usually with no more than 15 guests. “I find in the last few years, this is what people are really looking for,” Laurin says. Laurin is also the official wedding officiant for Signal Brewery (the site of the old Corby Distillery), located in nearby Belleville, Ont. While vineyard weddings continue to be a popular choice in venues for couples, brewery weddings are also gaining steam, thanks to their ability to house large groups of guests. Signal Brewery’s kitchen and patio has a capacity of 240 and can seat 130 guests.
(facebook.com/SelebrationsBySusan)

A newlywed couple stands beneath the lush, green foliage at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory holding each other in a close embrace. The groom is wearing a grey suit and the bride a long white gown with a veil. There are lights hanging within the branches of the trees around them.

A dreamy, whimsical venue that needs little to no decorations, the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory is set on 107 acres, and is home to hundreds of tropical plants, waterfalls, ponds, and of course, nearly 2,000, dainty wild butterflies from Costa Rica and the Philippines. The 25,000 squarefoot venue includes the 10,800 square-foot garden, which is a popular spot for couples to exchange vows and pose for wedding photos, amidst the fluttering of free-flying butterflies and moths and fragrant flowers. The Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory offers a wedding ceremony package that provides exclusive, private use of the entire butterfly conservatory for the reception and photographs, as well as a commemorative release of the wild butterflies inside the conservatory.

A two-hour time frame is offered in the morning or in the evening, freeing up the afternoon for an off-site cocktail reception or picture-taking. The wedding reception package, on the other hand, includes exclusive use of the entire facility including the butterfly conservatory, front foyer, both galleries, dining room, and private bridal suite. Chairs, linens, a dance floor area, menu customization, wedding cake service (including cutting) and more
are all included. Depending on the venue the couple chooses, current capacity can accommodate up to 160 guests. Both the wedding ceremony and the wedding reception packages offered by Cambridge Butterfly
Conservatory have included a photography permit.
(www.cambridgebutterfly.com/wedding-packages-2/)

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

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

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

TAKING THE HIGH ROAD

 

What’s worse than the bumper-to- bumper summer traffic heading north from Toronto on a Friday afternoon? The car is cramped, tempers flare, kids melt down, everyone’s hungry, and we’re not even past the city limits yet. What should be a 90-minute drive turns into a mind-bending, patience- testing three-hour crawl. Well, what if I told you there’s a better way? This May long weekend — the unofficial start to summer and the official start to cottage season — instead of taking to the highway, I boarded a 40-minute flight from downtown to Muskoka. I could get used to this…

11:25 AM After a quick and friendly check-in, I take a seat in the comfortable lounge at Fly GTA Airlines at Billy Bishop Airport. With free WiFi, ample magazines, and complimentary refreshments, I take a few moments to relax before heading out on the tarmac.

11:51 AM Unlike traditional flights, as soon as all the passengers are checked-in, we can board the plane. Staff are eager to assist with luggage, if needed. A brief welcome from the pilot, seat belts buckled, and we’re ready to go!

11:56 AM Time for take-off. Nothing quite like an aerial view of Toronto’s incredible skyline. On board, I meet fellow passengers and cottagers from Lake Rosseau, Michael and Shea. It’s also their first time flying north for the weekend. “This couldn’t be easier,”exclaims Michael. “Better than traffic.” My thoughts exactly.

12:10 PM Soaring just above the clouds now. A signal is spotty at this altitude, but I did manage to get in a few business texts, with pictures, of course. Sitting back, enjoying the scenery, I feel relaxed already. What a start to the long weekend!

12:17 PM There’s no mistaking the enormous, deep blue of Lake Simcoe. I can almost taste cottage country now.

12:26 PM Zipping past the cottage- country traffic starting to build on Highway 11.
12:32 PM The scenery grows ever more familiar, as we enter deeper into cottage country. Lakes dotted with islands and windswept trees: Muskoka’s rugged landscape starts to take shape.

12:36 PM And, in no time at all, we’ve landed at Muskoka Airport. I’m impressed with the service, the ease — what a stress-free way to start the weekend. Back on the ground, I ask Michael and Shea if I might see them again on another flight this summer. “Oh yes, the value of your time and decreased stress level is worth it, it’s a no-brainer,” Michael replies. FlyGTA Airlines (flygta.com) offers flights to Muskoka Thursday through Tuesday throughout the summer months. Check back often for rates and scheduled flight times. Need a ride? FlyGTA can also arrange for airport transfers. I, for one, will be taking this route as often as possible.

Hope to see you on board!

Story by WENDY MCCLUNG