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Oban Inn main entrance

Dating back to 1824, the four-diamond Oban Inn is well regarded for its exceptional service and friendly staff. Wine lovers will appreciate the short drive to nearly 30 local wineries, or if you’re staying on the premises, enjoy the lush English gardens, on-site spa, restaurant, pool and hot springs.

Choose from rooms located within the main building, or four adjacent spaces with their own decks, or at the adjacent Oban House. Inn accommodations include deluxe double, queen or king-sized beds. Reserve the Oban Suite for a truly secluded hideout, complete with a seating area, spacious bathroom with a standalone tub, and pretty views of Lake Ontario and the golf course.

The pretty grounds—a blooming garden and gazebo, need we say more?—also make the Oban Inn a popular destination for intimate (up to 40 guests) weddings, along with a personalized honeymoon suite.

26, including four pet-friendly rooms.
Price Rates vary by season and are dependent on midweek and weekend bookings. November to April $140 to $210 per night, May, June and October $$240 to $300 per night, July to September $260 to $320 per night.
Conference Facilities A fully-equipped board room and a separate meeting room are each formally decorated and can accommodate up to 32 people. Take note of the Millroy meeting room, which faces Lake Ontario and connects to an enclosed sun room facing the gardens, where meals can be set up as well.

The OSpa is a tranquil escape with a range of treatments including facials, massages, reflexology, manicures, pedicures and hair removal. A special menu features male-centric offerings such as hand and foot treatments, as well as side-by-side massages for couples (or any combination of two people). Be sure to visit the steam room before or after your treatment to maintain your zen.

The fitness facility is open year-round, while from June to September, the infinity lap pool and outdoor hot springs are both open.

Oban Inn can also arrange a private winery tour with expert guide Denis Davicino, who can take up to four guests ($75 per person) to several local businesses, complete with tastings. Tours for larger groups (up to eight people) can also be arranged, with two tour guides.

A complimentary breakfast is served each morning, while lunches and dinners can be enjoyed in one of three spaces: Shaw’s Corner, a sun room, or fireside dining room. A seasonally-changing menu marries classic dishes with modern cuisine prepared with the bounty of local ingredients. The fall menu, for example, featured a kale salad with pomegranate seeds, slow-braised bison short ribs, and a Yukon potato soufflé with goat cheese and spinach crepe.

160 Front St., Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1-866-359-6226 or 905-468-2165; oban.com

Oban Inn is a member of Ontario’s Finest Inns, Hotels and Spas.

Where Canada’s 10 Best New Restaurants

Canada’s best new restaurants of 2014, chosen by the editors of Where


Where Canada’s Best New Restaurants is an annual award program that recognizes the top new dining destinations across the country. Where magazine’s editors deliberate at the end of each year to nominate an outstanding restaurant from their region.

This year’s selection celebrates cozy cuisine—like Prairie 360, Where Winnipeg’s pick, offering a curated mix of wild game and locally-sourced ingredients; or Tavern 1883, nominated by Where Canadian Rockies, that serves up “proper Canadian comfort food” in a charming mountain cabin atmosphere. Creative Italian fare is also in the spotlight—Bufala, selected by Where Vancouver, serves up down-to-earth rustic fare while Bar Buca, Where Toronto’s pick, showcases around 30 perfect-for-grazing small plates. Together, these restaurants and 6 more, represent the top 10 new restaurants in Canada in 2014.

Click on the slideshow to see all of Where’s Best New Restaurants of 2014.

5 Delectable Cheese Plates in Calgary


The Lake House (Photo: Jason Dziver)

The Cheese Plate at The Lake House Restaurant in Calgary, AB (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Cheese is produced all over the world in hundreds of different varieties. It’s also one of the most deliciously indulgent foods, particularly when it’s made under the watchful eye of an artisan cheesemaker. Here are some of the best places in Calgary to sample rich, creamy (or crumbly) cheeses from around the globe.

The Lake House
Perched over the serene waters of Lake Bonavista in Calgary’s southeast, The Lake House is a rustically elegant restaurant focused on showcasing the regional flavours of western Canada. Appropriately, almost everything on the cheese list is produced in Canada and three are from within the province: a semi-hard, medium sharp gouda from Vital Green Farms in Picture Butte, Alberta; a firm, slightly salty goat cheese from Fairwinds Farm in Fort Macleod, Alberta; and an extra aged gouda with a rich, nutty taste from Sylvan Star Cheese in Red Deer, Alberta.
• 747 Lake Bonavista Dr SE, 403-225-3939, lakehousecalgary.com

Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro
Located in the heart of downtown Calgary, Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro occupies a sandstone building on the busy, historic Stephen Avenue. Well known for an excellent wine list, Divino boasts an equally impressive cheese list with varieties from all over Europe and Canada, from the soft, ripe, buttery L’ Extra Triple Crème of Longueuil, Quebec to the pungent, creamy Stinking Bishop of Glouchestershire, England.
• 113 – 8 Avenue SW, 403-410-5555, www.crmr.com/divino

Blink Restaurant
A focus on the best local products and unexpectedly delicious flavour pairings are two of the reasons Blink won Restaurant of the Year in Where Calgary’s 2014 Where to Dine Awards. While the cheese plate doesn’t come with a list of options, it does feature some interesting tastes such as Etorki, a hard, smooth-textured sheep cheese from France with a subtle burnt caramel taste, and Cambazola, a triple cream blue cheese similar in style to a brie. There’s also an extra little treat on the plate—a piece of real honeycomb from Okotoks, Alberta.
• 111 – 8 Ave SW, 403-263-5330, blinkcalgary.com

Farm Restaurant
Expert cheesemonger Janice Beaton opened Farm to complement her next-door shop, Janice Beaton Fine Cheese. Though there’s more to the locally sourced menu than just cheese, Farm serves as a tasting room for the shop’s most delightful cheese and charcuterie selections. While the list is always evolving, it’s very robust and cheese lovers of all stripes are sure to find their hole-y grail here.
• 1006 – 17 Ave SW, 403-245-2276, farm-restaurant.com

Tucked away in the beautiful, historic Central Memorial Park in Calgary’s Beltline, Boxwood is the little sister of the renowned Teatro. Local, sustainable foods and mouth-watering rotisserie meats take centre stage here, but there’s also a Canadian cheese plate featuring Baluchon, an organic, semi-soft cheese with a taste of hazelnut from Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Quebec, and St. Benoit Blue, a semi-soft blue cheese with a creamy, slightly salty flavour made by monks at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Quebec.
• 340 – 13 Ave SW, 403-265-4006, www.boxwoodcafe.ca

15 Great Reasons to Visit Toronto in 2015


Perhaps you’ve heard: Toronto is one the most dynamic cities in the world. An endlessly fascinating place to live; an equally amazing destination to visit. Whether you’re an international jetsetter or on a cross-Canada excursion, travelling within Ontario or just looking to be a tourist in your own hometown, there are literally thousands of compelling reasons to visit Toronto. And for 2015, here are 15 more.


Football Fever: Grey Cup 2014

The Grey Cup makes its way to Vancouver, bringing fast-paced football and four days of celebrations that go way beyond the usual end-zone dance


    The 102nd Grey Cup Championship Game will take place in Vancouver, November 30

The 102nd Grey Cup Championship Game will take place in Vancouver, November 30

From the stands at BC Place Stadium to the streets of Vancouver, the 102nd Grey Cup promises to have fans on their feet for a weekend of football and festivities. The Canadian Football League (CFL) championship game will see the sports arena packed to capacity with 52,000 cheering fans on game day. But the celebrations don’t start—or end—there. Street festivals, a parade and concerts featuring Trooper, Tim Hicks, Hey Ocean! and 54-40 mean there’s just as much excitement outside the stadium as inside. (more…)

The 5 Best Pizzas in Toronto


    The Honey pizza from Pizzeria Defina with fior di latte, gorgonzola, pickled pear and roasted pecans (photo: Pizzeria Defina)

The Honey pizza from Pizzeria Defina with fior di latte, gorgonzola, pickled pear and roasted pecans (photo: Pizzeria Defina)

A bit of dough, some tomato sauce, cheese and an assortment of meats and vegetables may be all it takes to make a classic pizza, but that doesn’t mean just anyone can make a delicious one. There’s an art to making this dish that originated in Naples, Italy; these establishments—our choices for the five best pizzerias in Toronto—consistently serve up culinary masterpieces on thin crust.


Guide to Holiday Entertainment in Calgary



There is never any shortage of things to do in Calgary, and the winter months are no exception—seasonal shows and holiday-themed events abound! Here are 25 seasonal highlights to enjoy:

1Jake’s Gift Until Nov 22
This charming play honours the spirit of Remembrance Day with a story about a Canadian veteran’s return to Normandy to reconcile his brother’s war-time death.

2Liberation Days Until Nov 9
A community in the Netherlands struggles to return to their “normal” lives post-WWII in this inspiring drama by a Canadian playwright.

3Vanishing Ice Until Jan 4
Explore frozen frontiers and the North Pole—indoors—in this Glenbow exhibition that explores how artists’ interpretations of the arctic have changed over the centuries.

Winte4r Bobsleigh Starting Dec 26
Soar down an Olympic bobsleigh track—piloted by a pro—through 14 twists and turns at 120 km/hr.

5Ice Skating at Olympic Plaza November – March
Bring your skates and go for a glide amidst twinkling, lighted trees in the heart of the city on this outdoor ice rink.

Silent Night No6v 8 – 14
Calgary Opera commemorates the centennial of WWI with the moving story of a truce between troops on Christmas Eve 1914 to celebrate the holiday and bury their dead.

7Spruce Meadows Christmas Market Nov 14 – 30
Reindeer games, light displays, hot chocolate, fire pits, live music, and shopping in the vendor marketplace: make a visit to this market a family affair.

Once Upon a Ch8ristmas Nov 22 – Dec 21
Nothing feels more traditional than a day at Heritage Park for Christmas and Hanukkah activities, gift shopping, antique photos, sleigh rides, and homemade treats.

9Max & Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite Nov 23
The charming bunny siblings from the children’s TV show perform a kid-friendly version of the holiday classic with upbeat music and storytelling.

10Bach for the Holidays Nov 30
The Calgary Civic Symphony and Cantaré Children’s Choir perform classical holiday music as well as tracks from holiday movies like Home Alone and The Polar Express.

11‘Twas the Night Nov 27
This after-hours shopping party at The Core is a red-carpet affair with host Tanya Kim and festive music performed by jazz musician Matt Dusk.

12Deck the Walls! Nov 25 – Dec 24
An art show you can shop! The walls of Newzones gallery are decked out in various sizes and styles of artwork that are perfect to give as gifts.

13A Christmas Carol Nov 27 – Dec 24
It just wouldn’t be Christmas in Calgary without Theatre Calgary’s heartwarming annual production of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story.

14Zoolights Nov 21 – Jan 4
See some unique animals at the Calgary Zoo… ones made out of coloured lights! Bundle up and stroll the elaborate outdoor light displays.

15With Bells On Dec 1 – 24
This hilarious, contemporary holiday play conveys the heartwarming spirit of the season.

16Christmas at the Opera Dec 4 – 7
Calgary Opera’s emerging artists and a live music ensemble perform delightful sounds of the season.

17Stuart McLean Vinyl Café Christmas Dec 4 – 5
Stuart McLean shares stories—joined by musical guest Chic Gamine—in the live holiday-themed version of his popular CBC Radio show.

18A Merry Little Pops Dec 6
Sing along to carols and jolly holiday songs with The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, a choir, and Santa himself.

19Handel’s Messiah Dec 6
The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus perform this grandiose classical score that has become synonymous with the Advent season.

20Trailer Park Boys: Dear Santa Claus Tour Dec 14
Enjoy some Christmas chaos with the boys as Bubbles’ good-hearted holiday plans are thwarted by Julian’s scheming and Ricky’s pursuit to meet Santa.

21Sleigh Rides Dec 20 – Jan 1
Go dashing through the snow in a cozy horse drawn sleigh with Horsin Around Trail Rides.

22Lions’ Festival of Lights Nov 30 – Jan 8
Calgary’s beautiful Confederation Park is covered in light displays that are free to view.

23Country Christmas Dec 17
Canadian country music superstar George Canyon performs holiday music with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra—and a meet-and-greet reception is available.

24The Nutcracker Dec 18 – 24
The Alberta Ballet presents the whimsical story of Clara and her Nutcracker with dazzling choreography, detailed costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s timeless musical score.

We hope you have a festive holiday season full of fun, health, and happiness as you spend time with family and friends exploring our wonderful city!

5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Calgary


Lotus Root Salad at The Coup (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Lotus Root Salad at The Coup (Photo: Jason Dziver)

If you’re a vegetarian, you must love salad—because if you don’t, there won’t be a single thing you can eat on most restaurant menus. Fortunately for your taste buds, these five Calgary restaurants are turning out (mostly) vegetarian menus loaded with options.

Be sure to arrive with time to spare in order to gain entry to this 17th Avenue hotspot. Well known and loved among Calgary’s vegetarians, The Coup is entirely vegetarian with a focus on fresh, whole, local, organic food. Vegans and gluten-free diners will be comfortable here as well. Don’t forget to try one of their unique cocktails such as the Kombucha Gimlet with schizandra berry, rose, citrus, vodka and elderflower liqueur, topped with hibiscus rose kombucha.
Must Try: Lotus Root Salad (pictured). Okay, technically this is a salad, but it’s a lot more hearty and flavourful than the standard pile of lettuce. Warm Asian greens, lotus root and organic cherry tomatoes are dressed in a citrus ponzu sauce, then topped with toasted pine nuts and perfectly crisped tofu.
• 924 – 17 Ave SW, 403-541-1041, www.thecoup.ca
Map and reviews

HOTEL INSIDER: Prince of Wales


The Prince of Wales Hotel

From the horse-drawn carriages parked in front to the bellhop attired in a red jacket, it’s clear that guests staying at the Prince of Wales hotel are treated like royalty. Named for King George V and Queen Mary, who were guests here in 1901, this property is owned by Vintage Hotels, whose other holdings include Queen’s Landing, Pillar and Post and the Millcroft Inn & Spa among others. This establishment in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake is the crown jewel however, meticulously decorated with Victorian-era furnishings but with modern conveniences like LCD TVs, Bose Wave music systems and Keurig coffee machines.

Rich dark woods, ornate wallpaper and mouldings, wood-carved and embellished sofas and chairs upholstered in rich fabrics and embroidery nod to the historic charm here. (Be sure to take note of the beautiful stained glass scene in the lobby.) Cosy seating arrangements and fireplaces are inviting spots for quiet conversations and solitude.

Choose from a range of accommodations whether it’s for a romantic getaway, a mother/daughter bonding weekend, business retreat or even for a wedding party. Book The Royal Suite for the ultimate experience, which has a four-poster canopied King-sized bed, a walk out balcony, a separate seating area, fireplace and a pampering bathroom with a jetted tub.

110, including pet-friendly rooms
Price Rates vary by season and are dependent on the day of the week. May to October $290 to $640 per night; November to April $220 to $540 per night.
Conference Facilities Seven meeting rooms that can accommodate groups of up to 90 people.

Named by Spas of America as one of Canada’s Top 50 Spas in 2013, the Secret Garden Spa is an ideal spot for pampering. Choose from individual treatments like manicures, pedicures, facials, body wraps and massages, or day packages, and treatments for couples and mothers and daughters, which exclusively uses the Babor line of face and body products. Choose from signature treatments that are inspired by tea such as the Beau-teas facial or body wrap, or the green tea pedicure. Spa guests are can also relax in the salt water pool.

Three restaurants—Escabèche, Churchill Lounge and the Drawing Room—means that guests can enjoy an assortment of dining experiences right on the premises. Upscale Escabèche is a beautiful restaurant with panoramic views of Simcoe Park. Executive chef Chris Smythe utilizes fresh, local ingredients for a seasonal menu inspired by French cuisine, while chef sommelier Fred Gamula—who has been with the Prince of Wales for more than 20 years—can provide expert pairings from the wine cellar, which has more than 8,000 bottles representing Niagara wineries, but also France, Australia, Italy and California.

Churchill Lounge is a more casual spot for tucking into pub-style fare in a library-inspired space with bookcases and leather wingback chairs.

Of local renown is the afternoon tea service in the hotel’s Drawing Room. A cheery space in an elegant palate of crimson and ivory, guests can indulge in this midday treat served daily from noon to 6 p.m. Sip a variety of teas from beautiful fine bone china cups and saucers, while nibbling on housemade scones with strawberry jam, Devonshire cream and butter, pastries, cookies, finger sandwiches or a selection of cheeses.

6 Picton St. Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1-888-669-5566; vintage-hotels.com/princeofwales/.

Treasures From the Forbidden City


"Album of Twelve Months of Seasonal Activities." (Photo: © The Palace Museum)

“Album of Twelve Months of Seasonal Activities.” (Photo: © The Palace Museum)

Indulge your inner voyeur and cross the threshold into the Vancouver Art Gallery’s The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors (Oct. 18 to Jan. 11). The exhibition showcases nearly 200 awe-inspiring artefacts from Beijing’s Palace Museum, a historic site that mysteriously closed its gates to the world for 500 years. The array of rare treasures includes 80 that have never travelled beyond the palace walls, and ranges from paintings and ivory to ceramics and textiles. It’s a peek into the past that’s impossible to resist.

Vancouver Roaster Celebrates 25 Years


This fall, the folks at Bean Around the World are raising a glass—better yet, a mug—to 25 years of top-notch coffee with West Coast roots

Bean Around the World roasts their beans daily. (Photo: KK Law)

Bean Around the World roasts their beans daily. (Photo: KK Law)

Some leave their heart in San Francisco, but founder Pete Boëda found his when he spotted his first coffee roaster while visiting the Golden City in 1978. Though it took over a decade, Boëda’s newfound love came to fruition when he opened a small cafe complete with in-house roaster—not a common sight at the time. Now, 22 independently owned cafes, each with their own unique style and flavour, bear the Bean Around the World name. (more…)

50 Things We Love About Vancouver’s Granville Island


Want to explore False Creek on your way to Granville Island? Take the Aquabus mini ferry. (Photo by Dominic Schaefer)

Want to explore False Creek on your way to Granville Island? Take the Aquabus mini ferry. (Photo by Dominic Schaefer)

1. Commuting via Aquabus or False Creek Ferries.

2. SeaVillage, a charming collection of floating homes.

3. Browsing for fresh produce, bread and seafood in the Granville Island Public Market.

4. Spotting orcas with Wild Whales Vancouver.

5. Ocean Concrete, the oldest and largest tenant on the island. It’s been there since 1917.

6. Edible Canada at the Market, with its fresh regional fare on the menu, plus foodie tours and a gourmet artisan retail shop.

7. Watching buskers perform: musicians, jugglers, magicians and more.

8. Hand-pressed, hand-bottled sake from Artisan SakeMaker.

9. Splashing around in the Granville Island Waterpark.

10. Watching artisans hard at work in their studios.