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Canadian West Coast March Break Getaways

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Photo: whistlerblackcomb on Instagram 

Whether you have young kids of your own or you’re simply a kid at heart who is coveting those good old playground days, March Break is always a great chance to escape from fast-paced everyday life. It doesn’t really matter if you’re taking your own young family on a getaway or simply taking a few days off from the office- few things can beat the tranquility of a relaxed, late winter break. Unlike the frantic family affair that signifies Christmas and the sweltering temperatures of summer, March Break is typically a low key respite. Following on the heels of the recent Winter Olympics, we may as well keep the Canadian pride going strong and explore the True North this March.  From sand and surf (yes! even in the winter) to the last of this season’s snowy hills, there is so much to see and do in Canada’s majestic West Coast. Here are some must-see Canadian vacation destinations for this month, whether you are with the family, with friends or even travelling solo. 

Tofino, British Columbia

Contrary to popular belief, you can surf in Canada. Tofino, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is where you will find the most spectacular year-round surfing. Known as surfers paradise, the community is a great place to soak up some  surf culture. Offering more than just waves, the charming resort town has a variety of accommodations from luxurious beach front rentals to rustic cabins and cozy bed and breakfasts. As the tail-end of Tofino’s storm-watching season, visitors have the chance to sit by the shoreline and witness dramatic 20-foot swells crash along the edge.   

Whistler, British Columbia

Would it really be winter without a visit to a ski hill? It’s not too late to make it out to one of Canada’s most popular winter sporting destinations. With over 160 kilometres of trails, skiers and boarders of all levels can glide for days. When it’s time to give the slopes a rest, travelers can chill out in their home away from home – the Whistler Village. A quick stroll along the stone walkway will reveal all of the comforts you need. From shopping to cafes and restaurants, there is always an upbeat energy floating throughout the town’s crisp air.    

Banff, Alberta

If you’d like to steer clear of the Whistler crowds, Banff is another winter wonderland escape. With warmer temperatures yet plenty of snow on the slopes, skiing in the Canadian Rockies is often at its best near spring. Whether sticking to the winter classics of snowboarding or tubing or craving a little extra adventure with snowmobiling, dog-sledding or ice-climbing, there is no shortage of activities. When all of the adventure has knocked you out, relax in the mineral rich waters and harness the healing powers of nature at the Banff Upper Hot Springs.

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Travel Tips

Canadian Steakhouses And BBQ Spots For Father’s Day

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Photo: meat_yeg on Instagram 

With Mom having already had her turn to shine in May, this Sunday marks Dad’s turn, and an opportunity to celebrate your father, stepfather, favourite uncle or grandfather. While brunch is often the domain of the women in our lives, often the men in our happen to be avid carnivores with a passion for firing up the grill in the summer months. We’ve rounded up a few steakhouses in Canada for you to celebrate a very meaty Father’s day this year, whether you are based in Toronto or Vancouver. 

Carbon Bar

Toronto’s Carbon Bar claims to offer a laidback vibe, which consists of  un-pretentious meat platters in a rock n’ roll-esque environment. Carbon Bar is an alternative to fine dining, as it is known for its modern booths, signature meat dishes and neon signs. The menu claims to offer a selection of pork, beef, and chicken, which should satisfy meat lovers of all stripes. 

Big T’s BBQ and Smokehouse

This southern smokehouse located in Calgary infuses modern flavors into classic recipes. The local favourite is known for its smokey cedar aromas, smoked meats and belly busting briskets. Big T’s will also bring their BBQ to you, if you’re looking to host a Father’s Day shindig at home and prefer your backyard to a restaurant setting. 

Hy’s Steakhouse

This Calgary steakhouse is said to offer a temporary trip back in time, with vintage vibes which are reminiscent of the golden era of Hollywood and perhaps the days of Mad Men. This old-school steakhouse is rumoured to have a superb Ceasar salad which is prepared by your server right in front of you.

MEAT

Edmonton’s BBQ restaurant MEAT serves homemade sauces in a casual setting, with sharing plates that just might be suitable for anyone with a large family. MEAT is known to have a lively atmosphere, as it is slowly earning a good reputation in the Edmonton restaurant scene. 

Cut Steakhouse

Halifax’s Cut offers the ultimate meat experience as well as an abundance of creative cocktails. If you are not in the mood for red meats or if the dad in your life is a seafood fanatic, there is also a chilled seafood tower on the menu. 

Gotham Steakhouse Bar

This Vancouver steakhouse has a memorable name that brings to mind the excitement of the DC Comics Batman series, and also boasts a long wine list. Gotham offers red plush booths and Porterhouse steaks, along with an outdoor patio for anyone who wants to dine al fresco. 

Moishes

Montreal’s Moishes puts a carnivorous spin on the Quebec classic dish poutine by adding some tender beef to the cheese and gravy. This 80 year old institution is one of Canada’s oldest steakhouses, which may be an option for anyone ringing in Father’s Day in MTL this weekend. 

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Travel Tips

The Most Beautiful Beaches In Canada

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Photo: wasagaedgewaterresorts on Instagram 

Although Canada boasts the longest coastline in the world, the beautiful True North spends most of the year covered in snow. However, once summer rolls around and the snowflakes and ice disappear for the season, Canada offers some of the best waves to ride and sandy beaches to lounge on. Even if you can’t afford that expensive getaway to a faraway land, you can always take a break from your hectic schedule and enjoy the beauty of a local beach. From Toronto to Prince Edward Island, these are the beaches you should visit this summer. 

Long Beach

Don’t be fooled, this is not the famous Long Beach in Los Angeles, as this beach is located in Pacific Rim National Park, BC. Long beach is situated between Ucluelet and Tofino and claims to offer the perfect waves for surfing. Whether you like riding the waves, or simply adore surfer boys, there’s no need to fly out to L.A. for a beach getaway with your closest pals. 

Wasaga

Wasaga is located in Wasaga Beach Provincial Park in Ontario. This popular destination hosts over one million visitors a year. Wasaga stretches 14 kilometres, which makes it the world’s longest freshwater beach. The large beach offers jet skiing, sky diving, shopping, restaurants, walking trails and much more. From local cottage rentals to picnic spots, Wasaga is ideal for either a weekend away from the 6ix, or a Saturday day trip with family. 

Madeleine

Madeleine is located in Îles De La Madeleine in Quebec. This beach is compiled of a couple islands linked in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This an ideal spot for activities such as scuba diving, kite surfing, sailing and windsurfing. 

St. Catherines Beach 

This beach is located in Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia. The Piping Plover, an endangered shorebird, has taken up residence on this beach which makes the area very well protected. Although many people come to visit this beautiful beach, swimming is strongly discouraged as the frigid water has extremely strong sweeping currents. Instead, try enjoying the scenic sights from the shore, where you can take beautiful photos for your social media feed, or simply relax in the presence of nature. 

Singing Sands

Singing Sands is located in Basin Head Provincial Park, Souris, P.E.I. The beach’s silica sand makes a unique squeaking sound, which has earned the moniker “singing sands”. Other than having a beautiful name, this beach is often flooded with people who come to enjoy the warm water and serene atmosphere in the summer months. 

Grand Beach

Once named one of the sexiest beaches in North America by Playboy, this Manitoba beach stretches three kilometres along Lake Winnipeg, in the town of Grand Marais. Thousands of visitors come every year to fish, sail, swim and kite surf. You can even bird watch on the designated trails, if you prefer a calming activity and a break from fast-paced water sports. 

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Travel Tips

Canada’s Top Bike Trails

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Photo: jemwaldron on Instagram 

With the ends of winter just lingering behind us, the great outdoors are bound to be calling our names as soon as the sun rolls around and the warm air breezes. Whether situated near the bustling downtown core of Toronto or near the picturesque mountains of Vancouver, Canada has no shortage of rolling hills to add to your weekend list of spring and summer activities. Kick start the outdoor season with a bike ride that is worth pedaling for. From turquoise lakes to wild forests, Canada offers a host of trails around the coast that will make you fall in love with your home and native land. Here are a couple of Canada’s most scenic bike routes to schedule for the balmy weeks ahead. 

Take a pedal on the 780 kilometre route along the blue shore edges of Lake Ontario to explore Ontario’s Southeastern Waterfront Trail. Extending from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Ontario and Quebec, riders can cycle for as little or as much of the trail as their legs can handle. If you’ve got the stamina for 33 kilometres, start your ride with a courtyard breakfast at Chez Piggy in Kingston, Ontario and then head east towards Canada’s very own sightseer’s paradise, the Thousand Islands. 

Meanwhile, those who are in Quebec can explore the Route Verte, and check out the sights and sounds of Canada’s most bike friendly province with National Geographic’s top rated route. A mix of dedicated bike trails, on-road cycle paths and dirt tracks, Route Verte shows adventurists all of what Quebec has to offer: from cosmopolitan cities to quaint riverside villages and the in-between. With over 5,300 kilometre’s of land to bike through, perhaps the most stunning of paths to follow is Véloroute des Baleines (the Whale Route), which goes from Tadoussac to Baie-Trinité. Whichever route you decide to follow this spring, one thing is for sure- with a beautiful natural landscape of the True North, you’re in for a real treat wherever you go. Just make sure you take a stop every now and then to explore the beautiful scenery of the region, and take a few photos whenever you do! 

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