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The Best 9 New or Improved Attractions in Canada for Summer 2014

Best New Attraction in Whistler
Best New or Improved Attractions for Summer 2014: A shot of Whistler’s winner

Get some inspiration for your summer vacation this year with the annual list of Canada’s Best New or Improved Attractions, as selected by the regional editors of Where. This annual awards program celebrates the most anticipated attractions for the summer as editors name their picks from brand new or significantly improved attractions, or existing attractions celebrating major must-visit milestones.

This year’s winners offer up a handful of exciting diversions for travellers exploring the great North—including an exploration of the country’s largest indoor aquarium, Olympian-worthy sporting, majestic walks over a glacier studded valley and more.

Discover the winners of the Best New or Improved Attractions Awards for 2014 >>

HOTEL INSIDER: Ste. Anne’s Spa

By LINDA LUONG

Ste. Anne's Spa-1

 

ABOUT THE HOTEL
Nestled in Southeastern Ontario’s Northumberland Hills, Ste. Anne’s Spa exudes relaxation. Don a bathrobe and flip flops from day to night—expect to see fellow guests sitting in the dining room in their white robes and sandals—as you go to the spa, sit in the steam room, jump in the hot tub or dive into the plunge pool. This is a destination for unplugging and recharging.

Whether you’re planning a one-day escape or an overnight visit, the country hideaway—and its beautifully landscaped grounds—is ideal for a girls’ getaway, a mother-daughter or couples’ trip, or even for team-building sessions. An all-inclusive day spa package includes two meals, spa services and complete use of the facilities, while an all-inclusive overnight visit includes four meals, spa treatments and use of the facilities.

Guests can stay in the main inn, which has two wings featuring rooms with working fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and balconies, or in one of eight spa cottages boasting private parking, shared kitchens, dining and living spaces, and hot tubs. A complimentary chef experience is available for groups of five or more: a chef prepares a four-course meal right in your cottage’s kitchen.

BY THE NUMBERS
Size 400 acres of scenic countryside
Rooms 28, including eight spa cottages
Price  Rates are seasonal and dependent on the day of the week. The day spa rate is $170 to $220, and includes a three-course lunch, afternoon tea and $120 allowance for spa and wellness services. The overnight getaway rate is $299 to $515, which includes a four-course dinner, breakfast, three-course lunch, afternoon tea and $120 allowance for spa and wellness services.
Conference Facilities  Three newly created meeting rooms can accommodate corporate groups and retreats for 12 to 20 people. Each facility boasts the latest technology including smart boards, conference phone and audio-visual equipment. And since they’re located in spa cottages, access to a full kitchen, bedrooms, deck and outdoor hot tub are also included.

AMENITIES
Consistently voted as one of Canada’s favourite spas by Spafinder, Ste. Anne’s is best known, of course, for its relaxing treatments, which can be performed at the main inn, at your spa cottage, or, from June to September, in a garden gazebo. There are more than 35 treatments on the menu, including 11 types of massages, plus body wraps, exfoliations and facials. Seasonal offerings include a maple scrub (April to May), a strawberry and sugar exfoliation (June), and a citrus foot scrub and hydrotherapy bath (July to August). The spa uses select Aveda products as well as its own Ste. Anne’s Skin Nourishment creams and lotions, which are made with 100 per cent pure botanical ingredients—some of which, such as rosemary, sage and geraniums, are grown right on the property.

There’s also a fitness facility with elliptical machines, treadmillls, recumbent bike, rowing machine, inversion table and weights. Daily wellness classes include morning and afternoon yoga, stretch, meditation and circuit training. Walking trails also wend their way around the property; in winter, they can be used for snowshoeing. There’s also an outdoor pool, a grotto with a hot tub, plunge pool and lap pool, and a eucalyptus steam room. An equine program allows guests to take part in the morning muck or the evening turn-in at the stables, help groom the horses or even learn to ride.

FOOD
The kitchen serves healthy, well-balanced meals with vegetarian, gluten-, nut- and dairy-free options. Mains could include chicken breast stuffed with spinach and gorgonzola cheese with a roasted red pepper sauce, ratatouille, slow-roasted beef with a wine demi-glace, a quinoa pattie or tandoori marinated tofu with stewed beans and lentils. Afternoon tea is served daily from 3 to 5 p.m., with a sweet, savoury or fruit-and-cheese plate with the likes of orange cranberry scones, white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie, cucumber sandwiches with sundried tomato cream cheese, or fruit skewers with a blood orange maple yogurt dip. The resort is not licensed, but guests are invited to bring their own wine to Ste. Anne’s and enjoy it responsibility anywhere on the property. Staff can uncork the wine (there is no fee), but they cannot serve it to guests.

Well known for its gluten-free baked goods and desserts, Ste. Anne’s Bakery is open to guests as well as to the public. Pick up goodies such as banana bread, honey quinoa bread, almond milk bread and burger buns. Take-home desserts include shortbread or pecan sea salt toffee cookies, tiramisu, flourless chocolate cake, pecan tarts and granola. Or bring home savoury frozen meals such as lasagna, shepherd’s pie and roasted veggie quiche, along with cuts of pasture-raised beef, chicken and pork.

1009 Massey Rd., Grafton, Ontario, 1-888-346-6772; steannes.com

You Gotta Eat Here! 12 Restaurants That are Worth the Drive from the Big City

You Gotta Eat Here host John Catucci (photo: Geoff George)

You Gotta Eat Here host John Catucci (photo: Geoff George)

Canada’s big cities are home to all manner of acclaimed restaurants. Each year local and visiting foodies flock to by the thousands to the likes of Vij’s and Hawksworth in Vancouver, Canoe and The Black Hoof in Toronto, and Chives in Halifax. But there’s also great food to be had off the beaten path. On his Food Network Canada show You Gotta Eat Here, John Catucci travels across the country in search of the most mouth-watering dishes at hometown-favourite eateries. In advance of You Gotta Eat Here‘s season-three premiere on April 4, Catucci tells Where about some excellent restaurants that are well worth a road trip.

Click onward to see the restaurants that are worth the drive from Canada’s big cities!

HOTEL INSIDER: Château Mont-Sainte-Anne

By LINDA LUONG
Château Mont-Sainte-Anne

ABOUT THE HOTEL
Originally built in 1983, Château Mont-Sainte-Anne has recently undergone a renovation led by renowned Montreal architecture design firm Lemay Michaud. Contemporary aesthetics—think black, grey and blonde wood, leather seating, and stainless steel appliances—accent every room in the Nordik Studios, each of which has its own kitchenette. Visiting with a bigger group or for more than a night or two? Stay at the Espace Nordik penthouse or condo suites, which has fully-equipped kitchens, a washer-dryer and a fireplace for at-home convenience.

Château Mont-Sainte-Anne is also recognized by the Hotel Association of Canada as an environmentally-friendly facility. It was awarded Quebec’s first ‘4 Green Keys’ as part of the organization’s eco-rating program, which measures sustainable practices such as energy and water conservation, indoor air quality, sold and hazardous waste management, and community outreach.

Located just outside of Quebec City, Beaupré is best known as a skiing town, and the powder here doesn’t disappoint whether you’re going downhill or cross country skiing. The resort is a family-friendly ski-in and –out destination with gondolas that go right from the hotel to the slopes, along with a ski shop for renting or tuning skis, snowboards, helmets, goggles and more.

BY THE NUMBERS
Rooms: 215
Price: Approximately $250 per night in winter; $150 per night in summer
Conference Facilities: Hails itself as being Quebec’s biggest resort conference centre with a 36,000 square-foot space on the premises, as well as six boardrooms in the resort itself.

FOOD
Chef Franck Jourdan mans the 60-seat on-site restaurant, Bistro Nordik, which draws on fresh, seasonal fare and new Nordic cuisine. On the menu this winter are hearty offerings such as duck confit-stuffed chicken breasts and venison medallions with bilberries and cranberry chutney. Sweet and savoury options provide a happy ending to each meal, ranging from an apple crumble with cranberries and nuts to a cheese platter.

AMENITIES
In winter, hit the slopes. Château Mont-Sainte-Anne is a short distance from two ski hills: Mont-Sainte-Anne and Le Massif de Charlevoix. Or slap on some snow shoes or cross country skis, hop aboard a dog sled or snow mobile to experience the pristine trails along the property. If après ski activities are more your speed, get pampered at Spa Château with facials, reflexology, and massages—try the hot shell massage for a unique experience. Indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, two all-season hot tubs, a gym, and separate games and movie rooms for children and teens ensure that those staying indoors are as entertained as those playing outside.

In summer, hike or mountain bike along trails that stretch from the top of the mountain to the Jean-Larose waterfalls. Year-round, the Mestachibo Trail proffers another option for marveling at nature’s bounty, including river rapids and a canyon, and crosses over the Sainte-Anne river. Or tee off at Le Grand Vallon, an 18-hole, par 72 golf course with 6,618 yards of tree-lined stretches and 40 pure white sand traps.

530 boulevard de Beau-Pré, Beaupré, Quebec, 1-866-900-5211; chateaumontsainteanne.com

Where’s Best New Restaurants 2013

Canada’s best new restaurants of 2013, chosen by the editors of Where

Where’s Best New Restaurants 2013

Where Canada’s Best New Restaurants is an annual award program recognizing the nation’s top chefs and outstanding restaurants. Editors from each of the following Where magazine regions select an exceptional restaurant to be honoured: Calgary, Canadian Rockies, Edmonton, Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler and Winnipeg.

In this year’s selection, a tie is declared in Calgary with two bistros claiming the prize, while an eclectic mix of cuisine is highlighted including Spanish fare in Toronto, Mediterranean dishes in Victoria, market menus in Winnipeg and much more.

Click on the slideshow to see all of Where’s Best New Restaurants of 2013.

Moveable Feast: Dine Out Vancouver Is Back

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Bring your appetite—and make a reservation—because Dine Out Vancouver, the city’s delectable annual festival, is back for its 12th year

Plated & Paired Market

Plated & Paired event. (Photo: Tourism Vancouver)

Fresh West Coast seafood, spot-on sushi and ethnic fusion—the list of cuisine to sample here whets any appetite. The annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival (Jan. 17 to Feb. 2) raises a glass to the city’s cutting-edge culinary scene with 17 days of great events and tempting three-course prix fixe menus priced at $18, $28 and $38. With hundreds of participating restaurants—from casual cafes to bustling bistros to elegant dining rooms—Canada’s largest restaurant festival is a unique and wallet-friendly way to sample Vancouver’s top-notch dining spots.

Find the full menu of eateries and their offerings starting Jan. 6 on the festival website, and filter the options by price, location and cuisine. Or close your eyes and let fate decide. Whatever way you choose, be sure to act quickly—seats at the city’s most popular restaurants fill up fast. Hungry for more? Dig into the many food-and-drink-themed festival events to learn about the region’s cuisine, sip local craft beer, partake in the food cart scene and tour the best brunch spots, just to start.

For more information and events, visit dineoutvancouver.com/events.

50 Things To Do With Kids in Montreal

By LAURA PELLERINE

# 3 – Granby Zoo (Photo: Austin H. Kapfumvuti)

Montreal is a festival city, and explodes with activity year-round. There’s always something family friendly to do, whether it’s biking on the waterfront, learning circus skills, exploring a living-history or science museum or pigging out at the city’s decadant ice-cream parlours, chocolate shops and crêperies. (more…)

Western Canada’s 12 Best Hot Springs

By WAHEEDA HARRIS

Lussier Hot Springs (Photo: Tourism BC/Dave Heath)

With cool nights year-round in the Canadian Rockies and on Canada’s the west coast, a soak in a warm pool is a welcome end to a hard day on the trail or a bonus for surviving another work week. The lack of options in eastern Canada isn’t an oversight: the subterranean thermal activity that feeds the springs only exists out west. (more…)

10 Amazingly Unconventional Canadian Tours

By BRITTANY HENDRY

(Photo courtesy of Banff Activities and Tourism)

The Grotto Canyon tour in Banff (Photo courtesy of Banff Activities and Tourism)

Canada attracts over 35 million visitors per year thanks to its natural beauty, cosmopolitan cities and amazing attractions scattered throughout the country. With so many options for those visiting the Great White North—and for Canadians just checking out a new part of their own country—it can be hard to pick options that will let you get the most out of your itinerary. Here, we profile 10 of the best unconventional tours that will be sure to leave a long lasting impression.

Heading North – Vancouver, British Columba

By BRITTANY HENDRY

Heading North

“Heading North” by Ann Hung

WHY WE CHOSE IT
This photograph captures the chaos of Vancouver life while reminding us of the beautiful environment that surrounds the city. The sea of lights and action are mesmerizing, until one’s eyes are directed down the middle of the photo where calming fog-covered mountains peak out from behind the high-rises.

Submit your photo to our Flickr Group and we will consider it for inclusion in our Photo Friday series on Where.ca! We’ll credit you and link to your photo.

The Sunken Garden – Victoria, British Columbia

By BRITTANY HENDRY

Sunken Garden—Victoria, BC

“The Sunken Garden” by TOTORORO.RORO

WHY WE CHOSE IT
You can practically smell the flowers as you gaze at this wonderful shot of the Sunken Garden part of Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. The photograph captures the depth and vastness of the surrounding environment while exploring the shapes and sizes of various types of plant life. Using creative positioning and various types of line—the steps, the railings, the winding paths—”The Sunken Garden” engulfs viewers with intricate details.

Submit your photo to our Flickr Group and we will consider featuring it as part of our Photo Friday series on Where.ca! We’ll credit you and link to your photo.

13 Obscure Canadian Laws Still in Effect

The door to the highest court in the land (Photo: Jamie McCaffery)

Did you know it’s illegal to whistle in Petrolia, Ontario? Or that a merchant can turn down $5 payment, if you pay entirely in nickels? In Canada, we have a few quirky laws that somehow fly under the radar, and are worth knowing about if you’re travelling here. We learned about 13 of them recently from Reader’s Digest, which posted a story by Lucy Izon called 13 Strange Canadian Laws That You Never Knew Existed.: Curious about the other 11? Read more, over at readersdigest.ca.

 

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