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Snowcat Snowshoe Adventure with White Mountain Adventures

I love snowshoeing. I also love the mountains covered in thick, fresh powder and the amazing scenery of the backcountry. So when I was discussing different tours with the wonderful staff at White Mountain Adventures, I asked what they had for an adventurous snowshoe: something you couldn’t get “in town”. Their immediate response: The Snowcat Snowshoe Adventure. A full day of backcountry snowshoeing at Fortress Mountain, accessed by a bus ride and a snowcat. Awesome.

 

Mountain Scenery

Spoiler Alert: It was awesome!

 

My day started at the Coast Hotel in Canmore, because White Mountain picks you up! Our van arrived and I was greeted by our friendly guide, Marc. He made sure everyone on the tour was dressed correctly – winter coats, snow pants, hats and mitts/gloves are required. They tell you all about this when you register. We already had a couple people from Banff and we picked up four more at the Stoney Nakoda Resort. Then it was off to Kananaskis!

 

Marc stopped to put on snow chains before unlocking the gate at Fortress and heading up the hill. You know it’s a good day when the driver has to chain the tires! The sun was just beginning to rise, defining the mountains with angled shadows. “The snow is like makeup for mountains,” said one of the guests, “it defines their features and brings out their beauty.” The combination of the fresh snow and the early morning sunshine definitely made for some stunning scenery as we drove past the old ski lodge at Fortress Mountain.

 

Tire with snow chains

You know is going to be a good day when these babies go on!

 

Marc gave us all snowshoes and double checked that we had the necessary clothing. Because the day was sunny and relatively warm, we ran the risk of sweating. We had to make sure we weren’t overdressed for the conditions. Marc explained, “You don’t want to sweat. Your body cools down by sweating, but if we have to stop for some reason, your sweat will cool you down too fast and you could get hypothermia. If you are starting to sweat, remove a layer so your body doesn’t overheat.”

 

Our snowcat operators gave us a quick safety rundown before we loaded into the machine. They had a lot of experience with different movies filmed at this location, including The Bourne Legacy, Inception and The Revenant. They were preparing to shoot a film, which meant they would be doing some avalanche control during the day. We could expect to see helicopters and hear the bombs. With any luck, we might spot a few avalanches as well.

 

Then we were off! For anyone who hasn’t experienced a snowcat before, it is the ultimate machine for moving through deep snow. With a large track underneath and a plow out front, there was nothing that could stop us as we were transported to the best area given the day’s conditions.

 

KPOW snowcat and mountain

Nothing can stop a Snowcat!

 

We stopped at the top of a rise, 2300 meters above sea level. The snowcat drivers pointed out where different film sets used to be. They also shared some juicy stories about actors and directors as we put on our snowshoes and prepared to set out. They wished us well before heading back to the lodge to meet the incoming helicopters.

 

We were on our own for most of the afternoon. We had about three feet of fresh powder in the trees, which was our playground. The new snow had piled high on the branches, creating the perfect winter wonderland to explore. We were long past cell service at this point. There’s something special about being disconnected in the wilderness surrounded by trees and mountains.

 

Heavy snow on trees

It was a winter wonderland!

 

We had lots of photo opportunities as we bounded through the fresh powder. Marc told us about the different trees in the area as well as any tracks we discovered. He showed us the basics of snow layering and avalanche safety, although he assured us we would not be venturing into avalanche terrain during our trip.

 

We went through the trees and followed no set trail. Marc asked that we stay together, but we could venture on our own lines if we wanted. Most of us were happy to let him break trail and follow where he led. The further back along the line, the easier the trek becomes as the people in front work to pack down the snow. I broke trail in a few places, but I was also happy to let Marc take on the hard work! Everyone had a few moments of falling in the snow, and we all laughed as we struggled to regain our feet in the deep powder.

 

Our fearless guide, Marc!

Our fearless guide, Marc!

 

About halfway through our adventure, we stopped for tea, hot chocolate and cookies. It was a delicious snack that refueled us for the rest of the afternoon. Marc explained that the best way to ward off the cold was to “feed the fire,” or feed ourselves in this case. As we stood around enjoying our snack, we could feel the cold creeping up after our exertion. It was a warm, sunny day and we were all sweating a little bit. We were also wet from falling in the snow on difficult sections.

 

Because everyone in the group had experienced snowshoeing before, and we were all game for an adventure, Marc was able to take us to some pretty incredible places. The “wall” of Fortress Mountain was certainly impressive, and it showed how this place got its name. A few remnants of movie sets were still in place, although most of them had been completely dismantled after filming. There were some open areas for cat-skiing, which some enthusiasts still do at the resort. At the moment, the lifts are eerily still, a reminder of what was once a favourite ski hill for many locals.

 

Chairlift frozen in time

The lifts were eerily still

 

In the afternoon, the helicopters arrived. Although they were bombing far from where were snowshoeing, the explosions echoed throughout the valley. We could see the helicopters and a few of the explosions, although the avalanches were tumbling on the other side of the rise. As we made our way down a ski run to the snowcat at the end of the day, the helicopter circled overhead. At the cat, we were able to watch as they triggered avalanches in the area where we were dropped off earlier that day. We learned a lot about avalanche bombing from Chris “Chevy” Chevalier, the president of the K-POW team, who picked us up in the snowcat.

 

After the excitement of the helicopter action, we all piled into the snowcat to head back to the van. We were smiling from ear to ear with the excitement of the adventure. On our way down, we were starting to feel the cold creep up once again. We added some extra layers back at the van before settling in for the drive back to town.

 

We all shared stories of different life adventures on the drive back. Marc kept us entertained with some of his wild backpacking stories and advice on excellent summer backpacking trips. We returned home feeling tired from the exertion, but otherwise elated from having experienced such an amazing adventure.

Mountain Scene

We were all elated from our adventure.

Bottom Line: if you’re looking to experience the beauty of the backcountry in the Canadian Rockies, try the Snowcat Snowshoe Adventure from White Mountain Adventures. You will experience some of the best backcountry snowshoeing that the area has to offer with zero hassle. They provide the transportation, equipment and expertise. All you have to do is have fun!

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival 2019

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Zvizdal (Photo by Frederik Buyckx)

Jan. 17 to Feb. 3, 2019 For an evening spent on the edge—of your seat, that is—head to the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. Now in its 15th year, the annual fest celebrates groundbreaking theatre, dance, music and visual arts in 26 works by globetrotting artists from 13 countries. This year’s line-up features six world premieres, including contemporary dance by MACHiNENOiSY, and Afrobeat-infused dub poetry by D’bi. Not to be missed: Zvizdal (pictured), a provocative documentary that follows an elderly couple who refused to leave the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Get ready to bend your boundaries.

Remembrance Day events in Calgary

By SHAUNA MCGINN

November 11 is a very important day of reverence for people across Canada and around the world. Each year, there are a number of events in Calgary held specifically to honour those who lost their lives fighting for the freedoms we enjoy today. If you’re looking for a way to remember our fallen soldiers and give thanks, we’ve put together a list of options for where to pay your respects on Remembrance Day.

Photo: Silvia Pikal.

Remembrance Day installation at Cathedral Church of the Redeemer
This beautiful Church in downtown Calgary is honouring the fallen with a display of thousands of handmade crocheted poppies. It’s been up for over a week now and makes for a peaceful place to gather and remember.
604 1 St SE, www.anglicancathedralcalgary.ca

Field of Crosses
Over 3400 crosses line Memorial Drive, row on row, from November 1-11 each year, each memorializing the name and regiment of a Southern Alberta soldier who paid the ultimate price for our freedom in the line of duty. Each day that the crosses stand guard on the hill, a sunrise and sunset ceremony, complete with bugling and speeches, is conducted to accompany the raising and lowering of the flags. The ceremonies culminate in a Remembrance Day memorial service at 10:30 am on November 11. The general public is invited to attend any of the free ceremonies, or come walk among the crosses at their leisure whenever they can over their 11 days on duty.
Sunnyside Bank Park, 200 Memorial Drive NW, www.fieldofcrosses.com

The Hangar Flight Museum
Every year the Hangar Flight Museum holds an outdoor ceremony for Remembrance Day. Arrive by 10:15 am; ceremony starts at 10:30 am. This year, the museum will also mark the 75th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid and the 60th anniversary of NORAD. The museum is accepting donations to the Veterans Food Bank. Stay afterwards to tour the exhibits at the museum, where admission will be by donation.
4629 McCall Way NE, www.thehangarmuseum.ca

The Military Museums
After a traditional memorial service at 10:30 am, The Military Museums will be open to the public free of admission, with many veterans in attendance to share their stories. Non-perishable food item donations are encouraged. Keep in mind that there will be limited parking available on site in the field to the east of the Parade Square. You can also park at the Flames Community Arena.
4520 Crowchild Trail SW, 403-410-2340, www.themilitarymuseums.ca

Central Memorial Park
Pay your respects as the Calgary Highlanders infantry regiment march along 4th St SW. A free memorial ceremony is to follow, held at the Cenotaph in the heart of the park. The Highlanders can be found at many ceremonies across the city, committed to honouring those communities who contributed men to the Tenth Battalion and the Highlanders in times of war.
1221 2 St. SW, www.calgaryhighlanders.com

Batallion Park Ceremony
Speeches, a public address, wreath laying ceremony and performances of traditional songs and poetry are among the agenda of this memorial. The King’s Own Calgary Regiment are slated to march beginning at 10:30 am. Event is free and open to the public, and if able, participants are encouraged to walk to the site.
3001 Signal Hill Dr. SW, www.kingsown.ca

The poppy is just one of many war-time symbols explored in Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation. (Photo courtesy of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.)

 

Remembrance Day Cemetery Tour Banff
If you’re headed to the mountains this weekend, a tour of the Old Banff Cemetery is in order. Hear stories of hardship and heroism from veterans on hand, and learn the history of Banff as you never have before—during the World War era.
102 Wolverine St, Banff, 403-762-1200, www.banff.ca

Fort Calgary
There will be an indoor ceremony held at Fort Calgary starting at 10:30 am; arrive early to ensure seating. Afterwards there is a holiday artisan’s fair, and entrance is free with a non-perishable donation to the Veterans Food Bank.
750 9 Ave SE, 403-290-1875, www.fortcalgary.com

Jubilee Auditorium
Political, military, veteran, civic and community leaders will lay wreaths in honour of our fallen soldiers outside the auditorium beginning at 9:30 am, with a march to follow and moment of silence at 11:11 am. Anyone wishing to lay a wreath on behalf of a family member, friend or loved one is encouraged and welcome. Weather permitting, for the latest updates visit the Jubilee Auditorium online.
1415 14 Ave NW, 403-297-8000, www.jubileeauditorium.com

Visit your local Legion 
Remember to head down to your local legion after paying your respects, as this is where many veterans will gather after mid-day memorials to share stories, laughter, tears, and a few beers—and the company of those they fought so hard to protect is always welcomed and appreciated. Browse here to locate the Royal Canadian Legion nearest you.

East Coast Holidays

Live Music, Theatre, Parades, and More—Christmas Celebrations Abound in the Halifax Area

 

Grand Parade in Halifax (Photo Credit: Tammy Fancy)

FAMILY FIRST
The Holiday Parade of Lights on Nov. 17 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as thousands of spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts (and, of course, Santa Claus). Back downtown on Nov. 24, Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. Also on Nov. 24 (and 25), Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing holiday traditions dating back to colonial days. The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 1, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

 

The Celtic Tenors

SEASONAL SYMPHONY
Symphony Nova Scotia offers a full calendar of holiday concerts at the Dalhousie Arts Centre, starting Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 with A Celtic Tenors Christmas. Up next is perennial favourite The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) running from Dec. 7 to 9 and 13 to 16. As usual, things reach a crescendo on Dec. 21, 22, with Handel’s magnificent Messiah. This year presented in the historic “Dublin” arrangement, it features Mezzo-soprano Marion Newman, tenor Michael Colvin, and baritone Alexander Dobson.

 

The Ennis Sisters

MERRY MUSIC
Oh What A Night—The Christmas Show takes the stage at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on Nov. 18. The cast of the Oh What A Night tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons offer audience favourites from the original production, plus a musical tribute to “Mr. Christmas” Andy Williams. Prefer your holidays with an East Coast twist? On Nov. 30, The Ennis Sisters from Newfoundland combine original songs and holiday classics in a show that features stunning harmonies, recitations, lively step dancing, and playful humour. See them at St. Matthew’s United Church on Barrington Street. And on Dec. 6, Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street hosts Serena Ryder Christmas. The eponymous singer/songwriter offers a mix of new material, old hits, and holiday classics.

 

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

FESTIVE THEATRE
Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on Nov. 27 and continues through Jan. 5. Artistic director Jeremy Webb adapts Cinderella as a musical comedy for the stage, starring Samantha Walkes as the title hero. Concurrently, Neptune’s studio stage hosts another holiday mainstay: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a one-man show starring Rhys Bevan-John. The pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another annual family favourite. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, see Sleeping Beauty from Nov. 22 to Dec. 8.

 

Neon Dreams

AULD LANG SYNE
Join thousands of revellers at Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall for the East Coast’s largest New Year’s Eve party. The family-friendly celebration begins at 10:30 p.m., with headliners Neon Dreams and A Tribe Called Red offering live musical performances, followed by a giant fireworks show at midnight.

 

Hot Dining

Photo Credit: Emma Smith

LOCAL FAVOURITE
Go back in time at the True North Diner in Bedford Place mall. This 1950s-themed dinner dishes up burgers, fries, shakes, and more. The “Classic Diner” section of the menu highlights home-style fare such as meatloaf, liver and onions, chicken pot pie, fish cakes, and all-day breakfast.

 

BEER LOVERS’ TRIO
• At cozy RockBottom Brew Pub on Spring Garden Road, you’ll find six different beers brewed on site, plus a selection of other local beers, wines, and ciders. Pair with a tasty dish from the kitchen; highlights include pork-belly sandwich, lobster carbonara, pad thai, and more.
• Before the craft-beer scene exploded, there was The Maxwell’s Plum on Grafton Street. This friendly neighbourhood pub features a broad selection of local brews, plus highlights from around the world.
• Don’t let the strip-mall exterior fool you. Jamieson’s Irish-House & Grill on Cole Harbour Drive boasts 16 taps pouring local beers (and the Irish offerings you’d expect) paired with traditional Emerald Isle pub grub.

 

HEAD OF THE CLASS
Every year, Where magazines across Canada present a series of awards feting Canada’s Best New Restaurants. When it came to picking this city’s representative last year, the Where Halifax team had an easy choice: Rinaldo’s on Windsor Street. This intimate, casual spot—run by two brothers—offers an array of Italian-American favourites. Old family recipes are the key; they’re the sons of the couple that founded Halifax pizza mainstay Salvatore’s in the historic Hydrostone neighbourhood.

 

DESSERT FIRST
If you’re the sort of person who skips dinner to save room for dessert, proceed directly to The Middle Spoon on Barrington Street and at Sunnyside Mall. This stylish spot specializes in decadent desserts paired with creative cocktails. It’s the ideal place to while away an evening with friends.

 

PIZZA PERFECTION
Intimate Morris East, just steps from the waterfront on Morris Street, pairs artfully crafted wood-fired gourmet pizza with creative cocktails and local beer and wine. Not venturing downtown? Visit the newer locations on Nine Mile Drive in Bedford West and on Vernon Street (just off Quinpool Road) in Central Halifax.

 

CASUAL FAVOURITES
• A Southern-style smokehouse tucked away in a tiny Barrington Street spot, Boneheads BBQ is beloved by locals. The menu includes all the slow-smoked mainstays you’d expect: ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and more. Indecisive? Try the mammoth (and ideal for sharing) Pit Boss Sampler and get a little bit of everything.
• Just around the corner from the Atlantica Hotel on Quinpool Road, Relish Gourmet Burgers offers creative takes on the classic burger and fries. The house specialty is the Halifax Explosion: a flash-grilled pineapple ring dusted in habanero powder, plus pancetta bacon, curried onion frites, and aged cheddar.

 

EDITOR’S PICK: CLASSIC CUISINE
At Mappatura Bistro on Spring Garden Road, just steps from the Halifax Public Gardens, co-owners Simone Mombourquette and Chef Terry Vassallo combine their experience working in several world-class restaurants to offer a dynamic Italian menu, showcasing farm-fresh seasonal ingredients. Local favourites include calamari, home-style pasta with hearty ragù, and fresh seafood (delivered twice daily). The carefully chosen wine list embraces the Old World aperitivo tradition, pairing each course with the vintage that best complements it.

Hot Shopping

UNIQUE CHRISTMAS GIFTS
• Christmas at the Forum at the Halifax Forum on Windsor Street has been a holiday tradition in the city for four decades. Running from Nov. 2 to 4, this annual festival hosts dozens of vendors, offering gifts, decorations, food, antiques, and more. Discover quality arts and crafts from around the region. On Saturday, admission is two-for-one after 5 p.m.
• Visit the Christkindlmarket from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at Alderney Market on downtown Dartmouth’s waterfront, where the Halifax Transit ferries dock. This traditional German-style market features crafts, toys, and other arts and crafts, plus lots of holiday entertainment—marionettes, carousel, and musical acts.
• From Nov. 16 to 18, Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council hosts its annual Christmas Show at the Cunard Centre on Halifax’s waterfront. The juried selection includes top-quality textiles, jewelry, and crafts in a variety of media.
• Dalplex Christmas Craft Market is another perennial favourite. Dating back 30 years, it features vendors from across Atlantic Canada selling wares such as pottery, toys, food, and woodwork. Visit Dalplex on South Street from Nov. 23 to 25.
• From Nov. 9 to 11, take a drive to the Halifax Exhibition Centre on Prospect Road for the Christmas Craft Village. It’s another ideal spot to support local artisans while finding unique holiday gifts for everyone on your list.

 

HOW SWEET IT IS
Inspired by the distinctive culture of Canada’s easternmost province, Newfoundland Chocolate Company mixes its sweet treats with whimsy and fun. The packaging features Newfoundland sayings such as “oh me nerves” and the colourful jellybean homes of St. John’s. Inside the chocolate are Newfoundland flavours like partridgeberries or bakeapple. The gelato and truffles are made at the Sunnyside Mall location. Also located at Mic Mac Mall and Halifax Shopping Centre.

 

THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Bass Pro Shops is known for its huge stores with indoor ponds featuring local fish, taxidermy displays, Outdoor Skills Workshops, and vast array of hunting, camping, fishing, and recreation gear. Nova Scotia’s first Bass Pro opened in September (sans pond) on Cabela Drive in Dartmouth. It’s an ideal spot to gear up for wilderness adventures in any season.

 

EFFORTLESS STYLE
Sweet Pea Boutique on Queen Street has stylish dresses for any occasion. Find a basic style for everyday wear, flirtier styles for weekends, or the perfect dress for a holiday celebration. Choose from accessories such as shoes, jewelry, and hair pieces to complete your look.

 

LOCAL HARVEST
Located in a stylish (and environmentally-friendly) new home on the waterfront, Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is Nova Scotia’s largest and oldest farmers’ market. Browse through a huge array of local produce, meat, cheese, crafts, baked goods, beer, wine, cider, and more.

 

LIBATION LOVERS
• Just steps from the waterfront on Lower Water Street, Bishop’s Cellar is a must-visit boutique for aficionados of fine wine, spirits, and beer, specializing in varieties and vintages you won’t find anywhere else in Nova Scotia.
• The North End’s Rockhead Wine & Beer Market on Windsor Street boasts a selection of beverages from around the world, alongside local creations.
• West Side Beer Wine Spirits on Lacewood Drive is the city’s newest private liquor store, with a heavy emphasis on local craft beers.

 

EDITOR’S PICK: GOLDFINGER
Visit Touch of Gold on Spring Garden Road for the finest engagement and wedding rings. The experienced and knowledgeable staff will help you find the best fit and designs and offers a line of luxury watches including Rolex, Tudor, TAG Heuer, and Frederique Constant.

 

Hot Entertainment

A MIGHTY WIND
Nov. 10
Starting with the philosophy that “music should be fun,” Fifth Wind unites Jack Chen (flute), Suzanne Lemieux (oboe), Eileen Walsh (clarinet), Ivor Rothwell (bassoon), and Mary Lee (horn). The Dartmouth Community Concert Association hosts the talented ensemble at Woodlawn United Church.

Ken Jeong

COMEDY NIGHT
Nov. 29
It’s a good night for comedy fans in Halifax, with two big stand-up shows to choose from.
• He was once a doctor but Ken Jeong found his true calling in comedy, showcasing an uninhibited and razor-sharp wit. He first appeared in hits like Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, and The Hangover, and recently created the ABC sit-com Dr. Ken. See him in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.
• A veteran of the famous Second City club and the influential Just For Laughs festival, Ron James has been a mainstay of the Canadian comedy scene for a generation. The native Nova Scotian brings his wry and acerbic stand-up style to the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

REMEMBERING OUR HISTORY
Dec. 6
Some 101 years ago, two ships (one laden with ammunition) collided in Halifax Harbour, sparking an explosion that devastated the city, levelled the North End, and killed some 2,000 people. The Halifax Explosion Memorial ceremony at Fort Needham Memorial Bell Tower marks the tragedy from 8:50 to 9:20 a.m.

TIME TRAVEL
Continuing
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street takes visitors back to a fast-fading era of Japanese history with Hiroshige: The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō. This unique exhibition showcases woodcut prints by ukiyo master Utagawa Hiroshige depicting middle-class Japanese life in the early 1800s.

DON’T FORGET ME
Nov. 27
Ever since they won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1986, powered by the breakout album The Thin Red Line, pop-rockers Glass Tiger have stood atop the Canadian music scene. They recently marked 31 years together with the aptly titled album 31. Expect a high-energy mix of classic hits and new material when they take over the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue.

Photo Credit: E.S. Cheah

EDITOR”S PICK: HOT HIP HOP
Dec. 7, 8
Two of the nation’s most exciting hip-hop companies collide, as Live Art Dance presents Halifax dance rebels The Woods unleashing the world premiere of ______Interrupted—paired with Klorofyl (billed as a “multi-sensorial roller-coaster”) by Toronto’s Gadfly, featuring original music by world-renowned violinist Dr. Draw.

NOVEMBER EVENTS

Nov. 4
CECILIA CONCERT SERIES
Mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah joins pianist Robert Kortgaard for a performance of Italian art songs, ballads, and musical-theatre curiosities.

Sterling Scott

Nov. 9
LAST LAUGH COMEDY CLUB
The pop-up comedy club returns to the Atlantica Hotel on Robie Street, hosting Mike Delamont, Sterling Scott, and Michelle Shaughnessy.

Photo Credit: David Leyes

Nov. 23, 24
SYMPHONY NOVA SCOTIA
Sarah Slean joins the Symphony, combining some of her biggest hits with new music by Christos Hatzis.

DECEMBER EVENTS

Dec. 1
HALIFAX HURRICANES
As the National Basketball League of Canada season continues, the hometown hoopsters take on Kitchener Waterloo at Scotiabank Centre.

Dec. 15
HALIFAX MOOSEHEADS
In their final home game before the Christmas break, Halifax’s major junior hockey heroes host Maritime rivals Charlottetown.

Dec. 31
BRETT KISSEL NEW YEAR’S EVE
The Canadian country star rings in the new year with two performances (7 p.m. and 11 p.m.) in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

Concierge Q & A

Roger Poirier has been in the service industry for 40 years. For more than half that time, he’s been with Delta Hotels by Marriott Beausejour in Moncton, New Brunswick. He’s a member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada (an international concierge organization dedicated to high-quality service) and regular visitor to Halifax, staying atop the latest developments and attractions.

For Remembrance Day, where can a visitor go to learn more about Nova Scotia’s military history?

My two favorite places for history in Halifax are the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Both have great exhibits on Nova Scotia’s military history. Although its closed for the season, the Army Museum opens on Nov. 11 from 10 a.m. to
2 p.m., giving visitors a chance to explore it’s many exhibits on Canada’s military experiences in war and peace.

What’s your favourite event to celebrate the Christmas holidays in the Halifax area?

The Holiday Parade of Lights on Nov. 17 marks the start of the Christmas season in Halifax. Full of joy and light, this parade begins on Barrington Street and winds through the downtown and up Spring Garden Road to Robie Street, featuring dozens of floats, entertainers, and of course Santa Claus. The next weekend, return downtown to Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall for the Christmas Tree Lighting—live music, fireworks, and another visit with Santa Claus.

What’s an ideal place to find a unique gift?

Plaid Place on Barrington Street boasts an assortment of gifts reflecting Nova Scotia’s Gaelic heritage. You can find all manner of tartan-themed apparel, traditional Highland clothes, jewelry, Buchan pottery, and much more.

What’s a good way for a family to spend a blustery day in the Halifax area?

The Discovery Centre is always a good place to visit regardless of the weather. This hands-on science centre offers hours of learning (for all ages) disguised as entertainment. This season’s highlights include the Towers of Tomorrow exhibition, showcasing the amazing things creators can do with Lego. You’ll see intricate depictions of the world’s iconic towers, with 200,000 loose pieces on hand for young creators to follow their own muse.

What’s one experience every visitor to Halifax should have in November/December?

Over the holidays, I always enjoy walking on Barrington Street to Spring Garden Road to shop, dine, go for coffee or a drink. There are dozens of unique little stops on the way—boutiques, cafés, restaurants, galleries, and more. There are lots of festive lights and holiday displays along the way; it puts you in the holiday spirit!

Retail Spotlight: Supreme Men’s Wear Owner Darren Biedermann

By RACHAEL FREY

Supreme Men’s Wear has become a lifelong project for Darren Biedermann, from starting as a teenager, to taking over for his father in 1995, to celebrating the store’s 70th anniversary this year. Supreme is a fashion-forward boutique that offers premium men’s garments that can be ready-to-wear or customized. Not content to rest on his laurels, Biedermann also designs his own collection of luxurious, hand-crafted dress shirts.

Courtesy Rob McMorris.

What is your business philosophy?
Supreme is a catalyst for change using fashion to connect aware and beauty-filled people who are making a difference. We hire real people who love people and fashion and try our best to ensure everyone leaves Supreme feeling great about life.

What inspired you to start designing your own line of clothing?
You see the obvious cycle of fashion. A new collection comes along, focused on quality, and they count on the independent businesses to promote the brand so one day they can get it into the majors. Many things then transpire that make it difficult for independents to compete. The focus shifts to produce as much as possible for profit and collections are compromised. We then search out and promote the next up-and-coming brand. Something needs to break the cycle. Biedermann Connection><Collection was created to be shared exclusively with the passionate independents and never be compromised.

Staying in business for 70 years is no small feat. How do you keep attracting new generations of customers?
Operating a luxury men’s fashion retail store in the heart of downtown Calgary for 70 years shows the love we have for Calgary and the love Calgary has for Supreme. We are proud to open our doors and share what we have created. It really comes down to the golden rule: treat others as you wish to be treated. That simple. The world has more than enough stuff. We go the extra mile to find more than just stuff to present. We blend it all together to offer up an experience.

How has the fashion industry, in Calgary or just in general, changed over the last 30 years?
Awareness and individualism. Your clothing is your social skin; it has a direct effect on how you experience life. More and more people are becoming aware and connecting all the time. Quality fashions are a great investment. There is a huge benefit to supporting local small business. The best of times for honest, quality fashions is now.

CONCIERGE Q & A

Angela O’Brien, senior executive host at Casino Nova Scotia.

By Trevor J. Adams

Angela O’Brien is the senior executive host at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street. She graduated from Saint Mary’s University and has a true love for Halifax. She is a professional affiliate with Les Clefs d’Or Canada, which has provided her great opportunities for creating partnerships within the hospitality community.

What’s an ideal destination in the Halifax area for a late-night snack?
Antojo Taco + Tequila on Argyle Street has expanded to a late night Munchies Nocturnos menu and serves tacos until 1:30 a.m. Thursday to Saturday. It’s a great addition to the late night food scene in downtown Halifax!

If you only had one day in Halifax this month, how would you spend it?
Have to start with a coffee at Coffee Matters in the Brewery Market on Lower Water Street, explore the Halifax Brewery Farmers Market and take a stroll down the Halifax waterfront. Stop by to see Julie for an afternoon tour of the Halifax Distillery, and learn how JD Shore rum is crafted. No tour is complete without a tasting! For dinner I would go to one of my all-time favorites, da Maurizio. Great Italian food and excellent service in a romantic setting. My favorite dish is the gnocchi; I highly recommend it!

Who’s your favourite newcomer to the city’s dining and nightlife scene?
Bar Kismet recently opened on Agricola Street and is absolutely charming. The casual quaint atmosphere is a great place to share small or large unique plates with a great selection of craft cocktails.

Where should visitors go to find a unique memento of their visit to Halifax?
Amos Pewter in the Historic Properties on the Halifax waterfront has quality hand-crafted Nova Scotia products. A great selection of jewelry, ornaments, and household items to start your Christmas list.

What’s the most common question visitors ask you about Nova Scotia?
What’s the must-see-and-do activity in Nova Scotia? My answer is always to hike the Skyline Trail along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. It’s an easy seven-kilometre hike with stunning views of the ocean and rolling green landscape. It’s a great place to watch the sun set and you may even see a moose up close and personal.

 

Canadian Rockies Farm to Table

Surviving the Mountains on High-Quality, Locally-Grown Food

By Ken Wetherell

Illustrations by Lyuba Kirkova

You are strolling down scenic Banff Avenue; rugged, snow-capped mountain peaks ascend on all sides and you are taking your first breaths of fresh, crisp mountain air. You have arrived. But suddenly you are hungry — the fresh air of the Rockies has given you a voracious appetite for some locallly-grown food. Luckily, the prairies  of  Alberta, just east of the mountains, and the lush mountain valleys and river deltas of British Columbia are local farm havens. For example:

Beef and Pork
Benchmark Angus is a family-run ranch where premium, hormone-free Angus cattle graze the wide-open prairies.

Blue Ridge Farms produces grass-fed Angus beef, pasture raised poultry and purebred pastured pork.

At Broek Pork Acres, free-range Berkshire hogs, known for outstanding quality, texture and flavour, are raised on natural hay and grains without antibiotics, growth stimulants or animal by-products.

Redtail Farms is a third generation family farm that produces grass fed and finished beef, pastured pork, and natural honey. Their Scottish Luing cattle and Berkshire pigs are hormone- and antibiotic-free.

Bison
Carmen Creek raises bison that are free of additives, antibiotics, hormones and stimulants. The bison are raised on three local ranches.

Photo courtesy of Carmen Creek

Chicken, Turkey and Eggs
Mans Eggs produces organic and free-range eggs from small hen flocks on sixteen local farms.

Maple Hill Farms produces specialty chicken that is grain-fed (no animal by-products), antibiotic-free and humanely raised. They also produce free-range and certified organic eggs.

Ridge Valley Farm raises free-range chickens and turkeys in a humane environment using natural, locally-grown feed containing no artificial hormones or antibiotic growth promoters.

Stonepost Farms produces free-range eggs, chickens and turkeys, naturally grown produce, unpasteurized honey, and humanely raised grass-fed beef and pork.

Honey

Greidanus Honey Farms produces unprocessed honey, without blending or pasteurizing, collected from hives located in clover-rich fields.

Milk and Cheese

Fairwinds Farm produces organic milk, yogurt and cheese from goats that are fed an organic whole grain treat when they are being milked, and spend the rest of their summer days roaming the fields and eating fresh grass, which is converted to organic hay for their winter dining pleasure.

Sylvan Star Cheese produces lactose-free Gouda, Swiss and Edam cheeses from heat- treated milk containing no additives or antibiotics.

Vegetables

Broxburn Farm grows organic greenhouse peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as outdoor berries, vegetables and herbs.

Photo courtesy of Broxburn Farm

Mans Organics grows certified organic onions, shallots and garlic outdoors, and tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in a half-acre greenhouse.

Photo Courtesy of Mans Organics

Poplar Bluff Organics grows speciality organic potatoes, beets, carrots and parsnips.

 

Now that you’ve got the low-down on locally farmed food, how can you sink your pearly whites into some of it? Here are some of the ways:

 

In Banff, The Bison Restaurant and Terrace’s menu features a map indicating where ingredients are regionally and provincially sourced. For example, you can enjoy a roasted Broxburn cauliflower salad with your Benchmark beef.

At the Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff, you can reserve a table at Eden and enjoy fresh organic Alberta vegetables, caviar from Northern British Columbia and aged Gouda cheese from Sylvan Star. Or try the Maple Hill chicken from the Primrose Restaurant menu.

Todd Kunst, the owner of Canmore’s Sage Bistro, notes that he and his team “source quality ingredients from local purveyors and producers of fine foods to bring the best taste to your palate.” Vegetables from Broxburn Farms, Broek pork, Sylvan Star cheese and Fairwinds goat products are all on the menu.

The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel is unrivalled in its fine dining choices. Vegetables from Poplar Bluff or Mans Organics can be found in most of the hotel’s restaurants, along with Mans eggs and Greidanas honey. As well, you can find goat milk and goat cheese from Fairwinds Farms at the hotel’s 1888 Chophouse. Down the hill at the Waldhaus, enjoy cured sausages from Valbella or Ridge Valley chicken.

Photo courtesy of the Fairmont Banff Springs

At Olive Bistro in Jasper, chef and owner Darryl Huculak sources food locally because he wants his “restaurant to have a smaller ecological footprint, and because fresher food simply tastes better.” While much of his produce is from the Jasper Community Garden and his own small greenhouse, Darryl also sources poultry and pork from Blue Ridge Farms, and beef, eggs and produce from Stonepost Farms.

There is no shortage of farm-fresh foods to fuel your adventures in the Rockies. So eat well, burn o those delicious calories in one of the most popular mountain destinations in the world, and repeat.

The Rockies are Rough

YOUR SKIN DOESN’T HAVE TO BE

Words by Nicky Pacas

Photos by Rachel Boekel Photography

1

Being a ‘Mountain Man’ isn’t just about growing a beard; it’s about the skin, too. The Rocky Mountain Soap Company has made a collection of Men’s Stuff to help the roughest lumberjacks smooth things out after a day outdoors. Try the Soothing Face Cream, Energizing Face Scrub and Restorative Eye Cream to moisturize, exfoliate and prevent premature aging.

2

Do you have dry skin? Stop in at the Willow Stream Spa or the Spa at the Jasper Park Lodge and find relief using products by Kerstin Florian. The Rescue Cream was engineered specifically for Banff’s climate, the Neroli Water is perfect for use during or after air travel, and the Brightening Eye Cream instantly hydrates and smooths fine lines.

3

Stress stinks. Literally. But the ‘Tranquility’ line by [comfort zone] is a holistic relaxation treatment system with essential oils selected for their anti-stress properties. Try the Tranquility Body Lotion, Shower Gel/Cream, or Roll-on Fragrance for scents of sweet orange, Damascus, rose and cedar wood. Find [comfort zone] products at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa and at the Rimrock Resort Hotel Spa.

4

With a name like Achy Muscle Bath Bomb in a Bag by Simply Soak, need we say anything more? Find the powdery bath bomb at Project A in Canmore and bask in the anti-inflammatory properties of white willow bark and comfrey.

5

Break off a square from Field Kit Co.’s Travel Soap and clean up with scents like “The Lumberjack” (wood + smoke) or “The Explorer” (bergamot + ginger). If it’s your hair and skin that needs some extra love, add moisture with Dry Skin Facial Oil and Premium Hair Oil by Velvette Organics. All available at Project A.

Keep your skin feeling hydrated with essential oils from The Rocky Mountain Soap Co.’s Hydrating Outdoor Spray. Even though it’s not a bug spray, you can use it as a natural alternative to keep bugs at a distance.

6

Protect your peepers with a pair of Smith Sunglasses. Going out on the water? Opt for a pair of polarized glasses so that you can see through the glare. Available at The North Face, Helly Hansen and at Valhalla Pure Outfitters.

Find extra protection with a ball cap from The North Face, available in-store or at Wild Mountain and at Sports Experts.

Choose sunscreens made with zinc for protection and shea butter for moisture.

Try Éminence OrganicsTropical Vanilla Day Cream, an organic, natural, biodynamic and sustainable moisturizer with an SPF of 32, or the Sunscreen from the Rocky Mountain Soap Co., which uses a non-nano zinc oxide to provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. Find Éminence products at Mountain Wellness Day Spa and at Verde Day Spa.

The Breakout Buster from RMS can be used for bug bites and acne spots, but the moisturizing and soothing elements of this stick also work wonders on sunburnt lips.