ON­TARIO RE­SORTS MAKE OTHER VA­CA­TIONS PALE

Travel Guide to Canada - - Table Of Contents - BY JOSEPHINE MATYAS

In a world that seems to move at warp speed, dis­cov­er­ing and ex­plor­ing new des­ti­na­tions has be­come all about the ex­pe­ri­ence. Ac­tiv­i­ties are much more hands-on with learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties built in. Tra­di­tion is still ap­pre­ci­ated but, com­bined with mod­ern day sen­si­bil­i­ties, the resort ex­pe­ri­ence has moved up a notch. These pur­suits could be blur­ring the lines be­tween kitchen and din­ing space, or ped­alling a moun­tain bike through the for­est ... in the snow!

As the song goes, “For the times they are a-changin’” and On­tario’s re­sorts are rid­ing the wave.

FOR THE FAM­ILY THAT PLAYS TO­GETHER

YOU ARE ... look­ing for a hol­i­day ex­pe­ri­ence where the fam­ily plays to­gether. BE­CAUSE ... On­tario re­sorts are steeped in tra­di­tional fam­ily val­ues, but with a twist; these days, mom and dad want to have fun shar­ing ac­tiv­i­ties with their kids.

MIX IT UP ... Kil­lar­ney Moun­tain Lodge of­fers a blend of tra­di­tional and up­dated ac­tiv­i­ties such as group-sized sea kayaks

where the whole fam­ily can pad­dle to­gether and ex­pe­ri­ence the spec­tac­u­lar vis­tas on Ge­or­gian Bay (www.kil­lar­ney.com). In 2018, kite­board­ing is huge for all ages! Elmhirst’s Resort spe­cial­izes in kite­board­ing year­round, on Rice Lake or on a span of frozen ice (www.elmhirst.ca). Water ac­tiv­i­ties used to mean swim­ming and canoeing but these days it is ev­ery­thing from water bikes to jet­packs and water play­grounds in the mid­dle of the lake. Fam­ily-friendly Fern Resort has added ba­nana boat cruises and wake­board­ing to its water lineup and zorb­ing (rolling down­hill in a huge plas­tic orb), paint­ball, archery and a climb­ing wall to its menu of ex­treme sports (www. fer­n­re­sort.com). Par­ents want to set the elec­tron­ics aside and have the fam­ily en­gage in a hands-on, ed­u­ca­tional mo­ment to learn some­thing new. At Bayview Wild­wood Resort, 90 min­utes north of Toronto in Muskoka, guests can rent a boat and ex­plore the his­toric Trent-Sev­ern Water­way or have a direct en­counter with some of na­ture’s more ex­otic an­i­mals (www.bayviewwild­wood.com). Sev­ern Lodge’s award-win­ning kids’ pro­gram can help or­ga­nize a fam­ily pic­nic and ca­noe out­ing or a horse­back rid­ing ad­ven­ture (www.sev­ern­lodge.com).

A PLACE WHERE NA­TURE MEETS AD­VEN­TURE

YOU LOVE ... the wilder­ness, but ap­pre­ci­ate the com­forts of a good bed at day’s end. BE­CAUSE ... On­tario is rich with park­lands, lakes and rivers just wait­ing to be ex­plored. TIME TO TRY ... Be­ing en­gaged with na­ture and ac­tive in the out­doors has risen to new lev­els. Biking has evolved from sim­ple moun­tain bikes to moun­tain bikes with fat bal­loon tires that can be used on a sandy beach and, some­times, on the snow. Blue Moun­tain Resort has cre­ated a net­work of ded­i­cated moun­tain bike trails that have been cut through the bush, in­clud­ing tech­ni­cal down­hill de­scents for more ad­vanced riders (www.bluemoun­tain.ca). Beach­wood Resort’s lo­ca­tion is per­fect for group train­ing ses­sions in an in­ti­mate at­mos­phere where it is quiet and serene. There are great places for break­out groups— on a dock, around a camp­fire or in a meet­ing room (www.beach­woodresort.com). Au­then­tic, rus­tic experiences like dogsled­ding, wildlife watch­ing and hik­ing through the spec­tac­u­lar Cana­dian Shield with the Al­go­nquin Ca­noe or Log Cabin Ad­ven­ture are per­fect for guests with a pas­sion for the out­doors (www.voyageurquest.com). And ex­pe­ri­en­tial travel can mean hav­ing fun and learn­ing at the same time. Near Deer­hurst Resort, soft ad­ven­ture can in­clude stargaz­ing at a lo­cal ob­ser­va­tory or an evening Owl Prowl. More ac­tive choices in­clude tree­top trekking, paint­ball, hik­ing or a guided ATV tour (www.deer­hurstre­sort.com). The fam­i­ly­owned Kil­lar­ney Lodge makes a per­fect base

camp for ex­plor­ing Al­go­nquin Pro­vin­cial Park’s lakes, trails and primeval forests. Close to the road­way cor­ri­dor that passes through the park, a stay at Kil­lar­ney Lodge makes for easy ac­cess to the trail­heads, visi­tor cen­tre and na­ture cen­tre pro­grams. The lodge is a quiet refuge of pri­vate, lake­side log cabins (each with its ca­noe) tucked into the woods and craggy rocks of the Cana­dian Shield land­scape (www. kil­lar­ney­lodge.com).

EM­BRACE YOUR EATS!

YOU ... are itch­ing to get into the gar­den and the kitchen for a prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence. BE­CAUSE ... the in­ter­est in culi­nary cour­ses at va­ca­tion spots has be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar. Be­ing well-grounded in the ba­sics has be­come a way to en­joy your culi­nary hol­i­day time and bring the kitchen magic home.

HEAD TO ...The War­ing House Cook­ery School in Prince Ed­ward County for an overnight stay com­bined with a culi­nary class where the chef opens the door to new and creative blends of fresh in­gre­di­ents (www.war­ing­house.com). Hock­ley Val­ley Resort, one of six Re­sorts of On­tario prop­er­ties con­nected with Feast On—a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram that rec­og­nizes busi­nesses com­mit­ted to serv­ing On­tar­i­ogrown and made food and drink—has a learn­ing gar­den with an out­door pizza oven. Guests pick their own top­pings and cre­ate cus­tom piz­zas (www.hock­ley.com). Elmhirst’s Resort raises their own cows and guests head into gar­dens and pick veg­gies for the din­ing room. At White Oaks Resort & Spa in Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake the kitchen is 100 per­cent or­ganic (www.whiteoak­sre­sort. com). The Westwind Inn has put the chef front and cen­tre, cre­at­ing a work­ing din­ing room by bring­ing the kitchen to the peo­ple, in­stead of the peo­ple into the kitchen (www. west­windinn.net).

WEL­COME TO A DIF­FER­ENT KIND OF RO­MAN­TIC GET­AWAY

YOU ARE ... look­ing to em­brace an en­joy­able cou­ples’ ex­pe­ri­ence, at a get­away with at­ten­tion to de­tail.

BE­CAUSE ... the de­mand for tai­lored, one-onone ro­man­tic get­aways has sky-rock­eted. ES­CAPE TO ...The wish list has gone a step be­yond in-room fire­places—although they are still de­sired. Spots like Cou­ples Resort have in­di­vid­ual hot tubs in each unit. Their “in-room ex­pe­ri­ence” in­cludes break­fast served in the room while the guests lounge in thick terry cloth robes (www.cou­ples resort.ca). Many On­tario re­sorts cater­ing to adults may have a din­ner­time dress code to cre­ate the air of a spe­cial oc­ca­sion. The clas­sic Sher­wood Inn on Lake Joseph is fo­cused on ro­man­tic get­aways and has a smaller, but ex­cel­lent, spa. The in­spired cui­sine in Vin­tages, the inn’s fine din­ing restau­rant, is part of Ro­man­tic Muskoka Re­treats and Honeymoon pack­ages (www. sher­wood­inn.ca). The Westwind Inn caters pri­mar­ily to adults in an invit­ing rus­tic lodge-style set­ting. The all-in­clu­sive coun­try inn will serve break­fast in the room or even in bed. A stop at the spa has be­come a pop­u­lar part of cou­ples’ time. The clas­sic Elm Hurst Inn & Spa in south­west On­tario has a staff-to-guest ra­tio that al­lows them to take ser­vice one step fur­ther and of­fer per­son­al­ized at­ten­tion. The inn’s Stay & Spa pack­age is de­signed for part­ners look­ing to un­wind, re­con­nect and prac­tice a lit­tle re­la­tion­ship care (www. elmhurstinn.com). The spa at Hock­ley Val­ley Resort has an airy, free-flow­ing feel with ev­ery imag­in­able treat­ment avail­able. The White Oaks Resort & Spa in Ni­a­garaon-the-Lake of­fers a lux­ury ex­pe­ri­ence— fine din­ing at their award-win­ning LIV Restau­rant and bliss­ful treat­ments at the Spa at White Oaks.

MORE IN­FOR­MA­TION

Re­sorts of On­tario mem­bers in­clude more than 100 resort ho­tels, resort lodges, cot­tage re­sorts and in­ti­mate coun­try inns. Check the Re­sorts of On­tario web­site for in­for­ma­tion and an on-line reser­va­tions ser­vice (www.re­sort­so­fontario.com).

LAKE MUSKOKA • SHUT­TER­STOCK/LES PALENIK

BA­NANA BOAT, FERN RESORT

BEACH­WOOD RESORT

WAL­TER’S PUB, BAYVIEW WILD­WOOD RESORT

THE WAR­ING HOUSE COOK­ERY SCHOOL

WESTWIND INN, DIN­ING ROOM

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