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British Columbia

New Anti-Cruelty Sled Dog Protections Passed in BC

By SHANNON KELLY

Photo: Kris Krüg

The adventure travel industry in Canada was cast in a negative light in 2010 when a mass grave of up to 100 dogs was discovered near Whistler, British Columbia. New legislation passed in BC this week aims to prevent mistreatment and gruesome killings of sled dogs. (more…)

14 Romantic Winter Escapes

Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho National Park, AB (Photo courtesy of Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts)

By Carissa Bluestone

You don’t have to run off to Aruba to celebrate Valentine’s Day or beat the winter blahs: there are plenty of options for romantic long weekends within our borders. Revel in unearthly icy beauty or hide from it in front of a roaring fireplace. (more…)

16 Summer Vacations to Book Now

Prince Edward Island; photo courtesy of Tourism PEI/John Sylvester

By Carissa Bluestone

Winter is far from over, but if you plan to visit one of Canada’s most popular summer destinations this year, don’t waste any time snatching up the choicest hotels and tours. If you do, you may miss out on early-bird discounts or have to postpone your dream vacation altogether. (more…)

Strait of Georgia Sunset—Richmond, British Columbia

Every Friday we feature an inspirational travel photo of a Canadian destination taken by one of our readers.

Why we chose it: BC has some of the most enviable sunsets in Canada, as evidenced here. It’s a beautiful silhouette—and the fiery sunset makes winter feel almost warm. But it’s the reflections in the puddles that makes it a truly remarkable shot. (more…)

The Smithsonian Guide to 12 “Evotourism” Hot Spots

BC's Burgess Shale, one of the Smithsonian's Evotourism sites. Photo by Daniel Arndt.

We’ve seen our share of niche travel sites and guides—a website for California dog lovers, the Chocolate Travel Guide, a blog about amusement parks, mobile surfing apps—but this is a first. (more…)

Perks & Quirks: Winter Storm-Watching at the Wickaninnish Inn

By Kat Tancock

Best known for its temperate rainforest, Tofino is, logically, also known for its rain: it receives an average of 324 cm (10½ feet) every year.

Rather than try and fight the climate, the veteran Wickaninnish Inn, sequestered on a private section of Pacific oceanfront, embraces it.

(more…)

Local-Food Luminary Jeff Van Geest of Mirado, in BC’s Okanagan Valley

By Waheeda Harris

Born and raised in St. Catharines in the heart of Niagara’s wine region, Jeff Van Geest learned the benefits of local ingredients early on from his grandparents, who were farmers. In 1992, he moved across the country to work as a cook in Vancouver, where he completed culinary training, did an apprenticeship at Bishop’s and in 2004 opened his first restaurant, award-winning, local-food-focused Aurora Bistro, which was fiercely adored by locals. (more…)

Infused and Smoked Salt from Vancouver Island Salt Co.

By Kat Tancock

“I essentially boil water for a living,” says chef Andrew Shepherd of his salt-producing venture Vancouver Island Salt Co. in rural southern Vancouver Island.

When Shepherd originally came up with the idea, he says, “My friend said I couldn’t do it. He came over and we stayed up all night boiling sea water. In the morning we had a pile of salt. I gave some away and everyone freaked out.”

Why bother, you might ask? Artisanal sea salts, says Shepherd, retain flavours from the bays the water is harvested from, so that each has a unique taste. His salt has a “big, clean flavour” and, he says, can be used in smaller quantities than other salts for the same amount of taste. As for flavours, Shepherd cold-smokes with maple, cherry and other woods, and has been experimenting with infused salts such as balsamic, roasted garlic, mustard and banana pepper.

Local chefs are supporting the venture: Shepherd cites the Harbour House Hotel on Salt Spring Island and the Whole Beast in Victoria as clients, and says that Raincity Grill in Vancouver “actually puts my salt out on the tables and lets the guests know where it’s sourced from”.

Where to buy: In retailers across Vancouver Island and in Vancouver, and online at http://visaltco.com.

Highlights Along the Pacific Rim Highway

Chesterman Beach. Photo by James Wheeler.

Vancouver Island’s 124-km Pacific Rim Highway is one of Canada’s great drives. (Get the map.) Along the way, you motor along past beautiful lakes, lush evergreen forests and rainforests, ending up in the beach capital of western Canada—Tofino. The drive can take two hours, or several days if you make leisurely stops along the way. (more…)

Perks & Quirks: Windborne B&B, British Columbia

By Kat Tancock

Winter or summer, BC’s southeastern Kootenay region is a destination that will keep visitors busy with outdoor activities such as hiking, boating and skiing. Staying at Castlegar’s Windborne B&B, you’ll also have the chance to find artistic inspiration in the mountain scenery by learning from co-owner and artist Mirja Vahala, whose studio and gallery, Inspiring Minds, is part of the B&B property. Call in advance to take classes in acrylic, oil, drawing or watercolour painting; or if you’re really motivated, consider a full artistic retreat with Vahala or other visiting artists.

Details:
Windborne B&B
3900 Broadwater Road
Castlegar, BC
windbornebb.ca

[map]

Travel Tuesday Q&A with Marc Télio of Entrée Destinations

Marc Télio on a polar-bear expedition in Canada last year.

Native Montrealer Marc Télio was just 23 when he opened a travel company specializing in high-end trips to Canada and Alaska. Seventeen years later Entrée Destinations continues to offer travelers the highest standard in service and unforgettable experiences, like helicoptering into a remote lodge in Manitoba for a polar bear photo safari or cruising British Columbia’s Gulf Islands by yacht. For some of us, these spectacular tours will be filed under “Canadian inspiration”, since they don’t come cheap. But in life and in travel, as Marc says, you get what you pay for.

(more…)

Road Trip: Vancouver Island Coastal Drive, From Victoria to Tofino

Photo: James Wheeler

By Tim Johnson

A place where the mountains meet the sea, Vancouver Island’s beauty is known the world over. At times wild and untamed, the Island can be equally refined and sophisticated as well as quirky and interesting. Traversing the two-lanes that link British Columbia’s capital with its best-known surf town is a pleasurable experience—especially if you make time for lots of stops along the way. (more…)