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winter

Find Your Nirvana

BY SHERI RADFORD

Apr. 2018

Photo by Jakob Ager

On one of those perfect cold-but-sunny Saturdays that make Vancouver seem worth every penny of its astronomical housing prices, Paul (my husband) and I embarked on a North Shore adventure. Sofie, a student, and Jakob, a photographer, were our guides for the day—Locals, in the parlance of Yervana, while Paul and I were the Explorers. Sofie and Jakob took us to Cypress Mountain, where the four of us donned snowshoes and tromped around the mountain trails, past one tiny tot trying to ski for the very first time, past picturesque cabins nestled in the snow like something out of a storybook, past giggling groups of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides on their own snowy, chaperoned adventures.

Photo by Jakob Ager

We lost track of time, snowshoeing through the pristine wilderness. Eventually, we stopped for sandwiches (still warm from Whole Foods) and snacks and decided, reluctantly, that is was time to head back from this winter wonderland.

Photo by Jakob Ager

All too soon, we were back in civilization. Further snowy adventures would have to wait for another Yervana day.

Yervana is a new website and iOS app that offers personalized outdoor adventures in Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler, including snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, trail riding, kayaking, sailing, stargazing and long-exposure photography. Yervana matches up knowledgeable Locals with eager Explorers. Visit www.yervana.com to learn more.

10 Fun Things to do in Toronto this February

Some patriotic frozen art at Icefest.

Winterlicious
To Feb. 8
This citywide celebration of Toronto’s food scene is an excellent opportunity to experience a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. Prix fixe lunch and dinner menus (ranging from $23 to $53) are available from restaurants like The Shore Club, Canoe, The Carbon Bar and Bannock, as well more than 200 other participants.
Various locations 

Prohibition: The Concert
Feb. 9, 10 and 14
Prohibition, a U.S. law banning the production, transport and sale of alcohol during the Roaring ’20s, was problematic, to say the least. It’s also romanticized for its iconic gangsters, flappers and jazz music. Albert Schultz and Mike Ross look back on this era in an evening of stories and songs.
Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Ln.

Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival
Feb. 10
Bundle up and head outside to enjoy craft beer from some of the best Ontario Craft Brewers. Live DJs and roaring campfires set the mood as you sample the stouts, lagers, IPAs, and more.
Roundhouse Park, 255 Bremner Blvd.

Come From Away
Feb.13 to Sept. 2
Audiences around the world have been captivated by the true-life story of a small Newfoundland town that comes to the aid of airline passengers stranded after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This heart-warming musical sold out on Broadway, was nominated for seven Tony Awards, and has become a source of national pride.
Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. W.

Rhubarb Festival
Feb. 14-25
This showcase of new experimental works is now in it’s 39th year, and features a variety of dance, theatre, music, and performance art. Book seats for three or four shows each night—performances are structured in such a way to enable audiences to see as much as possible.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.

Winterfolk Blues & Roots Festival
Feb. 16-18
Get your fill of urban, blues, rock, jazz, country, folk and roots music performed by more than 150 artists at this three-day festival.
Various venues

Canadian International AutoShow
Feb. 16 to 25
More than $100 million worth of exotic cars were on display at last year’s show, and 2018 is set to top that record. Luxury automakers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Bugatti and Aston Martin are joined by the likes of BMW, Jeep, Audi and Buick among others, showcasing their latest vehicles and innovations. Drop by the Evolution Zone to check out (and test drive) the electric cars of the future.
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W.

Celebrating David Bowie
Feb.18
David Bowie’s 2015 death stunned and saddened music fans worldwide. Celebrating
David Bowie takes a page out of the artist’s own book, with futuristic reworkings of the artist’s classics that, like the musician himself, look forward, never back. Special guests and long-time collaborators such as Carmine Rojas, Andrew Belew, Mike Garson, Garry Leonard, Angelo More and Joe Sumner are featured.
Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave.

The Artist Project
Feb. 22-25
Explore the works of more than 250 artists and designers from Canada as well as abroad at this annual event for art lovers, collectors, buyers, and curators.
Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, 195 Princes’ Blvd.

Icefest
Feb. 25 and 26
What better way to celebrate a country known for its cold weather than with 20,000 pounds of ice? The Canada 150 celebrations spill over into a new year as the 12th annual Icefest transforms Bloor-Yorkville into an outdoor art gallery featuring frozen depictions of the Parliament Buildings, the Centennial Flame, Mounties and maple leaves—many of which will be created live. Vendors are also on hand offering a variety of food and drink, including “kiddie cubes” (ice pops with a toy inside) and maple taffy.
Village of Yorkville Park

Top 5 Shops for Winter Essentials

Winnipeg boutiques offer wonderful winter essentials to keep everyone on trend and toasty.
    In Osborne Village, Silver Lotus keeps fashionistas comfortably cozy with a selection of soft, hand-woven blends of merino wool and mohair Kolapore hats and Nakiska Loop scarves (pictured) by Canadian designer Olena Zylak. 103 Osborne St, 204-452-3648
   For smart and sustainable separates, slip into one-of-a-kind Sarah Sue Design cashmere sweaters modernized with Modal and Bamboo fabric. These sleek winter statements are a beautiful and popular local brand sold at several Winnipeg locations, including the
Gallery Shop at the WAG. 300 Memorial Boulevard, 204-789-1769
    Windproof outwear is what’s-in-store at Tamarack clothing, retailers that provide quality made parkas from renowned suppliers Canada Goose, North Face and Royal Robins. 2090 Corydon Ave, 204-940-4800
    Men and women can put their best winter boot forward by stepping into the European Shoe Shop for a smart selection of Manitobah Mukluks and Smartwool socks. 436 Academy Rd, 204-487-4193
   The Wonderful World of Sheepskin carries a wide selection of high quality, custom-made sheepskin slippers, gloves, and fur coats for everyone in the family. 250 Dufferin Ave, 204-586-8097

Artist Spotlight: Kal Barteski

KAL BARTESKI is a Winnipeg-based multimedia artist, activist, and author known for her signature illustrated typescript and wildlife paintings. Her artistic journey has seamlessly evolved from a love of painting animals into projects with a purpose.
    The aspiring artist sold her first painting (a portrait of a dalmatian) in Saskatchewan at the age of 8, validating her pursuit of doing what she loved. Kal’s move to Winnipeg in her twenties proved to be the ultimate brush with destiny, as a fascination with a polar bear at the zoo inspired an impressive portfolio of 150 polar bear paintings that became an international sensation.
    Regular visits to Churchill, Manitoba prompted study of polar bears and their habitat, leading to The Polar Bear Fund initiative in 2016 supporting non-invasive polar bear research. In June 2017, Kal participated in Churchill’s mural festival and inspired a “Back Alley Arctic” campaign in Winnipeg’s Wolseley neighbourhood (pictured). The walkable art gallery included several garage murals featuring her beloved bears and other illustrated wildlife.
   
Kal’s wild obsession garnered attention from Brent Christensen, Creator/Founder of Ice Castles, spurring a cool collaboration. Kal’s paintings can be viewed inside the shimmering icy tunnels and glowing palatial archways of Ice Castles throughout the winter months at Parks Canada Place at The Forks.
    Of her famed polar bears, Kal acknowledges that “it’s not the hipster cool theme, but I’m grateful for who I am and how this intuitive journey has gifted me some beautiful opportunities.”
   Followers can view her work website kalbarteski.com and on Instagram @kalbarteski.

Concierge Q&A

Todd-Young

An outgoing person with a theatre background, Todd Young has been concierge for Southwest Properties at Bishop’s Landing since 2011 and a corporate affiliate member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada. He enjoys his role at a property with many permanent residents, where he’s in a unique position to be part of their daily lives and discover more about the city.

Q: What’s the best way to spend a blustery winter day in Halifax?
A: 
Building a snowman on the Halifax Common or skating at the Oval followed by hot chocolate and a delicious treat at The Old Apothecary Bakery & Cafe on Barrington Street. You can’t get much blusterier than downtown in the winter and the European-style hot chocolate helps a lot! The baked goods are incredible and the breads are divine.

Q: What’s your favourite winter day trip from Halifax?
A: Taking a sleigh ride at Hatfield Farm in Hammonds Plains or a trip to Sugar Moon Farm: a maple-syrup farm and restaurant in Earltown, a 90-minute drive north of Halifax in Central Nova Scotia. It’s nice to get out of the city in any season and enjoy the great beauty that Nova Scotia offers.

Q: What’s your favourite place to enjoy a hearty bowl of seafood chowder?
A: The Esquire Restaurant, an old-fashion diner on the Bedford Highway, hands down. One of my favourite wintertime meals! Friendly staff, great food. It’s like being hugged by Nova Scotia.

Q: What’s one must-visit Halifax destination for craft-beer aficionados?
A: Nine Locks Brewing Company on Waverly Road in Dartmouth. Its Scottish Ale and Vanilla Porter are amazing and the brewer is always working on something new. If you’re a chocolate fan, their Chocolate Stout is a must-try.

Q: What does Halifax have on offer for sports fans this winter?
A: Catching a Halifax Mooseheads or university hockey game is one of the best winter activities in the city. After, grab a wonderful dinner at a downtown restaurant like Ristorante a Mano or Little Oak.

Concierge Q&A

TrevorProude

Trevor Proude is head concierge at the newly renovated The Hollis: A DoubleTree Suites by Hilton. He’s a member of Les Clefs d’Or and the new director of the Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic region. The organization promotes guest-service expertise worldwide.

Q: What’s the best way to get into the holiday spirit in Halifax?
A: Neptune Theatre is performing It’s a Wonderful Life throughout the holiday season. It’s a great start to get the family in the mood for the holidays.

Q: What’s a great place to find a unique gift in Halifax?
A: Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique and letterpress studio on Brunswick Street carries specialty printed paper products and handmade gifts. There is also Argyle Fine Art on Barrington Street; it’s one of the city’s most progressive contemporary galleries, showcasing emerging artists.

Q: What’s your favourite spot to enjoy a Nova Scotian craft beer?
A: The craft brewing scene in Halifax is exploding. I would suggest trying 2 Crows Brewing on Brunswick Street, Good Robot Brewing on Robie Street, and also The Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar. They specialize in brews made in Prince Edward Island not to mention great food and friendly atmosphere.

Q: What do you recommend for a family whiling away a blustery day in Halifax?
A: Try the Seven Bays Bouldering cafe and rock climbing centre on Gottingen Street in the North End. It’s a fun place for the family for breakfast combined with a little extra adventure.

Q: What do you recommend for visitors who want to experience a unique attraction, restaurant, or shop that they won’t find in the guide books?
A: A couple suggestions come from my fellow Les Clefs d’Or concierges in Halifax. First we have The Kitchen Table on Gottingen Street: a unique dining experience offering an eight-course tasting menu using local and foraged ingredients. Great reviews from our hotel guests. Another best-kept secret is the Bar Kismet on Gottingen Street, a small 30-seat restaurant known for hand-crafted cocktails and seafood appetizers.

Photographing Winter: an Interview with Cai Priestley

In October Where Canadian Rockies held a photo contest for our Winter magazine cover. For several weeks, we were overwhelmed by the number of quality submissions sent to us by photographers from all over the world. After much deliberation and debate, we chose Cai Priestley’s photograph of a red fox, taken on the Bow Valley Parkway, as our winner. The fox captured our attention because we couldn’t help but think it was looking right at us, demanding that it become our selection (we hope you feel the same way)!

Cai’s skills as a photographer extend well-beyond the fiery fox in the snowy landscape; his website (www.caipriestley.co.uk) offers stunning wildlife photography from Asia, North America, Europe, and Africa—we really think you should buy one of his calendars (!)

We wanted to know more about Cai, and he took the time to answer our questions about his bucket list, his training as a photographer, and the craziest thing he’s ever experienced while out photographing. Have a read below to learn more about the man behind the Winter 2017/18 cover:

WHERE ROCKIES: You are from Wales, but you specialize in Canadian wildlife photography; what brought you to Canada?

CAI PRIESTLEY: Back in 2008 I decided to do some traveling, with the intention of finding and photographing some wildlife along the way. I spent a couple of months in Africa and then came to Canada to meet some friends who were living in Banff.

My plan was to keep traveling around Canada for six months, but after seeing the mountains and some local wildlife, I decided to stay in Bow Valley for as long as I could. I’ve run out of work visas now, but I was able to live and work in Banff for five of the last ten years, and I hope to call it home again someday soon.

WR: You capture what seem to be really intimate moments with animals (a bear cub looking back at you while walking with her mom and siblings, the peek from a pine marten, the fox…!); how are you able to capture them so perfectly?

CP: I put in a lot of time looking for wildlife. I try to get out as often as I can, and by doing so, I’m always increasing my chances of having an incredible encounter with something really cool. When it comes to capturing an image that I’m happy with, it’s a whole other story. It’s not always glorious wildlife and great photos. There are a lot more failed attempts and missed opportunities.

WR: Were you formally trained in photography or are you mostly self-taught?

CP: I’m mostly self-taught, but I did do a short photography course as part of my art foundation in college. That was mainly working in the darkroom learning film processing and developing though. I’ve also had some great mentors along the way who have taught me lots, especially since arriving in Canada. John Marriott and Peter Dettling were both instrumental in helping me learn the ropes when it came to Canadian wildlife.

WR: On your website, you note that you came home because you’d reached the end of your working visa; do you want to come back to the Canadian Rockies anytime soon?

CP: I’d love to make the Rockies my permanent home someday, but in the meantime I’m visiting for a couple of months every year. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best I can do at the moment until I’m in a better position to be able to move back for good.

WR: Is there anything that you haven’t captured on camera that still remains on your bucket list?

CP: The holy grail of Canadian wildlife for me would be a wolverine, a cougar or a fisher. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for wolverine but the chances of ever seeing one let alone photographing one, are incredibly small.

WR: How do you describe your photography style?

CP: I’ve never really pinned down a particular style as far as I can tell. I like shooting very wide scenes that show a subject in its environment or habitat, but I equally like a nice intimate portrait where fur or feather detail can be easily seen.

WR: Where is your favourite non-Canadian place to shoot?

CP: I love photographing on home soil here in Wales, but most of my photography is done abroad these days. I visited Alaska very briefly a few years ago and it’s somewhere I’d love to return to someday.

WR: In a landscape with sublime mountains (the Rockies), why animal photographs?

CP: I love the mountains, and I can’t say no to a good sunrise or sunset, but I’ve been obsessed with wildlife from a very young age, so wild animals will always take priority over landscape images for me. Every time I stop to shoot a sunrise, I can’t help but thinking there could be a pack of wolves waiting patiently for me in a meadow somewhere, and that’s all it takes for me to turn my back on the scene and keep searching.

WR: Can you tell me about some of your Rocky Mountain Favourites (best places to dine, visit, etc.)?

CP: I used to be a huge Barpa Bill’s fan, and I still recommend it to anyone looking for the best burger in town, but since turning vegetarian my favourite dining experience has got to be Nourish.
When it comes to my favourite places to visit or spend time at in Banff, I’d have to say the Cave and Basin or the Banff Springs Golf Course. Both places are seriously beautiful and great for a stroll close to town.

WR: What is the craziest thing that’s happened to you while photographing?

CP: Luckily I’ve not had many crazy moments when I’m out taking photos. I try my best not to put myself in those situations, or in scenarios that could potentially turn ‘crazy’. Sometimes though, things happen that are unforeseen, and there’s been a couple of times where things could have turned sour.
One that comes to mind was not long after I moved to Canada, and I got fairly close to a cow moose in a meadow in Kananaskis. I had made quite a long silent approach towards her, and I was fully visible so that I didn’t spook her. She was comfortable enough with me to carry on doing what she was doing, as I’d shown her that I wasn’t a threat.

What I hadn’t seen though, was the big bull moose that had emerged from the trees behind me and was making his way towards her. I got quite a shock when I eventually heard him thrashing his antlers in the willows just a few yards away. My exit was now blocked, and I had a river to my right that was way too deep and fast flowing to try and cross, especially with my tripod and camera. What ensued was a very intense twenty minutes where I stood still right in between the cow and bull, as the bull slowly closed the gap with his approach. Luckily, I didn’t have to get wet to make my escape in the end, as the cow decided to walk off in a different direction, which drew the bull away from my exit. As soon as I had enough room, I snuck out of there with a huge sigh of relief, and let him continue his advances alone.

Do yourself a favour and follow Cai on social media, @caipriestleyphotography + Cai Priestley Photography, you’ll be happy that you did.

The Winter 2017/18 issue of Where Canadian Rockies can be read here: http://rmvpublications.com/whererockiesdigital/

The Winter Issue of Where Canadian Rockies, featuring the photography of Cai Priestley

 

Where to Eat in Banff this Winter

By Where Writers

From mountain-top venues with epic snowy views, to cozy patios downtown, Banff is packed with great places to eat. Here’s our round-up of the bars and restaurants to visit this winter.

Mountain-top Meals
Want a meal with a view? Sky Bistro won’t disappoint. Ride the Banff Gondola to the restaurant on Sulphur Mountain’s 2,281-m high ridge for snowy views Banff and delicious tastes of Canada. Choose from regional dishes with upscale twists. And from the bar, sip locally crafted beers and spirits.

Banff Dining, best Banff restaurants, where to eat in Banff (more…)

Indoor Fun in Banff & Canmore

March 15, 2016
By Where Writers

Read on for some of our favourite places to escape chilly weather.

FenlandsDSC_8950

The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre: Get your ice time in at public skates Sunday to Thursday. The $20 drop-in learn-to-curl class (Wednesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm) includes gear.

The Banff Centre: See top international talent at a music, dance or theatre performance. Coming up soon (March 26), Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Going Home Star: Truth & Reconciliation portrays a First Nations woman in a life of youthful excess.

(more…)

Cross-Country Skiing the Goat Creek Trail: Great For Beginners & Families

Feb. 12, 2016
By Morgan Kwan

Winter always seems to pass by faster when you’re busy with activities. Don’t let the season get you down; there are plenty of winter activities to warm up to in the Canadian Rockies. Cross-country skiing is a great low impact sport that the whole family can do. If you’re looking for something a little different, I highly recommend the Goat Creek Trail that runs from Canmore to Banff through the Spray Valley.

Goat-Creek-3

A popular summer mountain biking trail, Goat Creek also makes a fantastic cross-country ski trail, even for beginners. Track set for the full 18 km, you pop out at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel where you can take advantage of the scrumptious Sunday brunch or go for a dip at the nearby Banff Upper Hot Springs before heading back to Canmore. (See my note about transportation at the end of this article). (more…)

7 Ideas for Winter Fun in the Mountains

Dec. 10, 2015
By Afton Aikens

We talked to local extreme sports athlete Will Gadd in our winter feature Big Mountain Adventure about some of his favourite places to ice climb and backcountry ski. But if the suggestions in that article are a little too adventurous for you, Gadd has more ideas for fun:

Grotto Mountain Ice Walk, Canmore Kananaskis

Grotto Mountain Ice Walk, Canmore Kananaskis

(more…)

Winter Wildlife Watching

Photo: Tourism Jasper

Photo: Tourism Jasper

By Afton Aikens

What could be more picturesque than seeing a bighorn sheep with impressive horns against a snowy mountain backdrop? Wildlife add such character to the landscape of the Canadian Rockies. Perhaps you’ll be fortunate enough to spot some this winter!

The Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park is a slower, more scenic alternative to the Trans-Canada Highway between Banff and Lake Louise. Drive this route and you may be rewarded with more than mountain views. Aptly named Moose Meadows is an ideal habitat for these large mammals. Elk are more commonly spotted—watch for them east of Johnston Canyon. If you’re lucky, you might see wolves. Please don’t feed or get close to animals.

(more…)