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What To Do In Goderich, Ontario This Summer

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Goderich, Ontario is a small community in a part of the province known as Ontario’s west coast. Those who speak of it typically have travelled up the coast of Lake Huron from Grand Bend to Sauble Beach, and talk about the tornado of 2011 that devastated the downtown core, or bring up the historic Gaol or the unique downtown square. There is so much more to the town that is celebrating its 190th this year though, and if you are looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, here’s what you need to know about what is often referred to as the Prettiest Town in Canada.

Where To Stay: Goderich offers plenty of accommodations to choose from, from the contemporary Dreamz Inn located just outside the town, to the historic Hotel Bedford in the heart of the downtown square. There are also plenty of options for cottages to rent for the weekend, although you really need to plan well in advance if you want the best views. The Hotel Bedford is right in the thick of things though, and offers a great central point for your exploring of the area. It was built in 1896, and offers 35 rooms spread across its 3-story walk up interior. The design of the building, including the staircase that you see as soon as you enter, is an excellent example of classic architecture seen throughout. While the WiFi and TV may not be what you are used to if you are coming from a big city, you really don’t find it mattering so much because you spend more time out of the room exploring the town than in it.

What To See: Goderich is rich in Ontario history, and as mentioned earlier, one of the things most people think about when they go there is the historic Huron Gaol. You really don’t want to miss exploring the building that acted as the County Jail from 1841 to 1972. Full of artifacts and interesting historical tidbits, you’ll quickly discover why the building was named a National Historic Site of Canada. Part of the tour includes the Governor’s house attached to the complex, which in itself is an entirely new museum to explore. If you are looking for a day trip, you may want to consider checking out the Blyth Festival. This festival is located about half an hour outside of Goderich in the small town of Blyth. It runs annually from the end of June until late September, and every year it features a selection of original plays by local and regional artists. Of course, one thing you can’t miss are the beaches . There are three public use beaches located in the town. You can pick the beach of your choice and drive to it, or park at the main beach and walk the mile-long boardwalk to explore all three. For the hiker, there are several scenic trails located around the outskirts of Goderich as well, including the Menesetung Bridge and Maitland trail, which are part of the Tiger Dunlop Tomb Trail. This route offers amazing views of the Maitland river, and is a perfect way to get some fresh air. And if you are looking for something to do in the evening, you simply must check out the old-style movie theatre in the square. The Park Theatre may not offer the megaplex experience you are used to, with Imax and AVX screens, but there is a charm to it that screams small town and it adds to your overall experience of the area. And of course, you will want to check out the Goderich Square. An octagonal one-way street is at the heart of downtown, with a county courthouse and park set in the middle. The park consists of 166 trees of 46 distinct species. Most of the trees are new, as the 2011 tornado devastated the park and all but 8 of the trees were destroyed. If you come on a Sunday, you can walk the courthouse park arboretum and view the wares during the weekly flea market where you will find items from local merchants, from books, to smoked meats and candies, and other little surprises. One word of warning though, if you are not used to visiting a small town, a lot of things close early. By six at night, most people are at home spending time with their families. 

What To Eat: If you are used to chain restaurants and city eating, you are in for a treat in Goderich because the food there is so much better than that. Restaurants in the town really care about the food they feed you, and it shows in the delicious choices you are offered. For breakfast, you simply must try Pat and Kevin’s on the Square. One of the first things you’ll notice is that the owners are celebrities, having starred in a TV series called Dash and Dine. If you are lucky,  you’ll also meet one of the owners, Kevin Morrison, who also happens to be the mayor of the city. He’s a straight shooter that tells it like it is, and who you can tell is passionate about the town he runs. The decor of the place feels like a greasy spoon diner of days long past, and even has a toy train track hanging from the ceiling and a stuffed gorilla by the door. If you are looking for what to try, we just loved the Sun of a Beach breakfast with the farmer’s sausages, although the back bacon is an incredible option as well. For dinner, well there is a reason Thyme on 21 is ranked #1 out of the Goderich restaurants by Trip Advisor. The building is an old Victorian Mansion that is kept in great shape by the owners of the place, Peter and Catherine King, including the amazing garden out front. You can tell the duo put their all in the place, especially when Peter greets you when you enter and takes you to your seats. You simply must take a quick look around the four different dining spaces in the building before you go as well, because the pair have done a great job keeping things as original as possible, from the unique stained glass windows to the antique fireplaces. As for the food, there doesn’t seem to be anything on the menu that you don’t want to try. The crab cakes appetizer really only whets your appetite for what is to come. The pecan crusted breast of chicken comes served in a mustard, tarragon cream sauce that you really wish they would share the recipe for, but at the very least they tell you the location of the local butcher shop where they got the meat from for the delicious maple pork tenderloin. Even their kids’ menu was so good that the pasta and cheese appeased our fussy eleven-year-old. As good as their main courses were though, you simply cannot leave Thyme on 21 without trying their desserts. After trying a flourless chocolate cake, a perfectly made crème brûlée, a double chocolate brownie and an Italian chocolate raspberry ice cream, we left so completely satisfied that we found ourselves wanting to come back for more at a later date.

All in all, Goderich is a town you’ll want to visit when you need a little time to unwind, and when you want to explore a little bit of Ontario history. The people are friendly and willing to answer any questions you may have, and you will never have to worry about being stuck in a rush hour commute. As the mayor told us during our breakfast, it’s more like a “rush couple of minutes.”

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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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