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6 Easy Weekend Getaways from Montreal


Golf Le Diable (Photo: Tourisme Mont Tremblant)

Golf Le Diable (Photo: Tourisme Mont Tremblant)

With so many long weekends on the horizon this summer, now is the time to jump into the car and discover what local gems lie just beyond Montreal. Here are our top six picks for an impromptu last-minute getaway.

Go to the Montreal getaways »

Meet Rick VanSickle: Wine Writer and Niagara Wine Region Expert

In the 1990s, few wine writers were focusing on Canadian wine. Rick VanSickle, then the executive Sunday editor for the Calgary Sun, was a frequent visitor to Okanagan Valley wine region from his then home in Calgary and when the wine writer position at his paper became available in 1999, he snatched it up himself (it helps to be the boss!) and started peppering his wine coverage with stories about homegrown wine varieties. He later branched out, writing wine columns in Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg, and eventually moved to his current  home in St. Catharines, Ontario (he’s a Toronto native), to focus on the Niagara wine region. (more…)

Weekend Getaway to Ontario’s Spirit Tree Cidery


You may have been to some breweries, wineries or distilleries, but have you ever visited a cidery?

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery has been producing ciders for a number of years in southern Ontario. Its first apple trees (15 different kinds!) were planted in 2005, with cider production starting a few years later. Only about an hour north of Toronto, the cidery makes for a perfect weekend day trip. (more…)

Canada’s Top Wine and Wine Touring Regions from Coast to Coast


Similkameen Valley, British Columbia (Photo: Megan Mallen)

By global standards, the Canadian wine industry is still in its infancy, but increasingly its vintners are perfecting the varieties of grapes that thrive in our climate and wineries are producing award-wining bottles.

Young also means interesting: Many Canadian wineries are a pleasure to visit for their innovative pairings and tours, forward-thinking design and meals prepared by chefs snagged from top restaurants in metropolitan areas, who enjoy creating menus from the surrounding local bounty. A small wine community can also mean a chance to chat with the winemaker directly and not fighting back-to-back tour buses. (more…)

Niagara’s Best Winter Wine Events

By Waheeda Harris

Like chocolate? Like wine? The perfect pairing can be discovered during the upcoming Days of Wine and Chocolate in Niagara on the Lake, held on weekends in February. (more…)

Talking BC Wines with Kurtis Kolt and Jake Skakun of Cherries and Clay

Vancouver-based wine blog Cherries and Clay was started by Jake Skakun and Kurtis Kolt in 2008 to share their passion for wine, report on “rad tastings” they attend or just blog about things they “get stoked on”, which may veer away from wine into hockey, music and urban planning. (more…)

Winter Wine Tour: Experiencing Niagara’s Icewine

Icewine tasting at Peller Estates Winery

By Pamela MacNaughtan

Icewine originates in 18th-century Germany, but it has been perfected in the Niagara region, and people travel from all over the world to try icewines from this southern Ontario appellation. Today Niagara is the only place on earth where the full-flavoured dessert wine is produced annually.

See the slideshow.


Foodie Excursion: Niagara-on-the-Lake


© 2011 Creative Media

A foodie adventure is always a great reason to travel. The pretty waterfront Victorian town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, at the heel of Ontario’s greenbelt, has a wealth of wonderful restaurants and shops that make use of local produce and wineries—especially during the autumn harvest. There is a lot you can learn from a city just by the food and the people who create the dishes.

Get the map. (more…)

Niagara’s Other Wine Route: St. Catharines to Beamsville

By Waheeda Harris

A visit to Ontario’s wine country is the perfect way to spend an autumn day or an overnight escape to the area of Niagara locals call “the Bench” on the edge of the Niagara escarpment. Here you’ll find memorable vintages, a relaxed drive, and several distractions for your palate.

Start: St. Catharines, ON
End: Beamsville, ON
Overnight: Jordan Village, ON

Get the map.

Roadside Attractions

1. Kick off the journey by heading along Pelham Street North, which leads out of St. Catharines to the vineyards. Make your first stop at Short Hills Provincial Park to see the trillium, Ontario’s provincial flower, and hike paths lined with sugar maples and black oak trees showing off dazzling shades of yellow, orange and red. (15 min, 8 km)

2. Less than five minutes from the park is Henry of Pelham Family Estate, one of the first vineyards to produce wine from 100% Ontario-grown grapes. Make sure to taste the critic’s choice: Reserve Baco Noir or Reserve Cabernet/Merlot. Visit the Coach House Café & Cheese Shoppe for some pairing items and take advantage of the vineyard picnic areas. (3 min, 1.3 km)


Interview With DobbernationLoves’ Andrew John Virtue Dobson

Dobson at a noodle house in Tokyo, Japan.

Andrew John Virtue Dobson started his blog DobbernationLoves (on Twitter: @dobbernation) after his first solo backpacking trip through Europe. The Toronto-based blogger’s day job is at Planeterra Foundation, the charitable arm of Gap Adventures, the Canadian-based travel company that hosts tours around the globe. The blog’s title is a clever play on Dobber (a nickname) and Nation (which he sees as “an authoritative stance on what I was doing and where I was going”). Dobson describes DobbernationLoves as a “lifestyle blog with an encyclopedia’s worth of information on travel, Toronto-based restaurants, cheese, wine and beer. I post consistently throughout the week all of the things I love, whether it be covering a fashion or arts based event, or some recipe I came up with over the weekend. I share whatever makes me smile.”


Canadian Tourism Commission Releases Signature Experiences Collection

Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada. (By Benson Kua)

Ever been asked what are must-see spots by friends visiting from abroad and drawn a blank, or thought about taking a trip to another province but not known what’s on offer besides a city stop?  The Canadian Tourism Commission has released their Signature Experiences Collection. The federally funded program has released an initial list of 48 (undoable in 48 hours, so don’t get any ideas of a Guinness-worthy task) attractions to see, spanning east to west. Aimed at high-end tourists from Europe and Australia, they’re not exactly the waterfalls and whale watching your parents took you on when you were kids.


Winieries and Distilleries across Canada

Wine Region Photo: Canadian Tourism Commission

Italy and France are usually the first two countries that come to mind when wine regions are mentioned. But Canada has quite a few wineries and distilleries that boast some competition and enhance your stay in the country.  Here are a few of our favourites across the nation. (more…)