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.”
Rainy Day Activities In Vancouver
Vancouver, one of Canada’s prettiest cities, is also known to have some of the dreariest weather. Avoid the seasonal affective disorder by keeping your spirits and energy levels high and check out our list of indoor activities. From cooking classes to yoga to go-karting, we have an activity for every age group and personality. Don’t wait for the rain to stop to have fun, throw on a pair of wellies and venture out to one of these awesome places.
Embrace your inner racer at SPEEDERS Indoor ProKarts, located at 13471 Crestwood Place. Spend the day zipping around the track on an electric go-kart with your friends and playing some of the other games that the facility has to offer. On a busier day, you can sign up beforehand online for only $15 a person or just drop in for a last minute race.
2. Learn to Cook
At the Dirty Apron, at 540 Beatty St. you and your friends can book one of the many cooking classes offered on every day of the week. Demo and Dine classes start at 2.5 hours and cost $95 a person. The price might seem steep, but you’ll receive a gourmet meal and chef-grade tips and tricks all while spending a relaxing rainy day learning something new.
3. Get Some Exercise
At The Hive, located at 520 Industrial Ave, you can learn to climb on beginner walls or challenge yourself with some of their more advanced courses. The great thing about this activity is that you can do it alone or with a few friends. You can drop in for just $20.95 a person or look into buying a multi-visit pass. Shoes are also available for rent.
If rock climbing isn’t your thing, consider heading to one of the Extreme Air Park locations. This indoor trampoline gym offers 3-D dodgeball and zero-gravity basketball. If you’re not interested in sports you’re free to just jump around. For $15 you can get 1 hour of jump time or 2 hours for just $4 more. A $ 21-day pass is also available.
4. Visit the Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium is home to walruses, beluga whales and 70,000 other aquatic animals. This activity is a favorite among families with small kids as it is both fun and educational. Adult tickets sell for $38, student and youth for $30, and children ages 4-12 sell for $21. Children 3-years-old and under are free. Fast pass tickets to jump long lines are also available.
5. Visit an Art Gallery or Museum
Visit the Museum of Vancouver, located at 1100 Chestnut Street, and visit one of its latest art exhibitions. Currently, Neon Vancouver/Ugly Vancouver features some of the big city lights that lit up the city between 1950 and 1970, a time when Vancouver had more neon signs than Las Vegas. Adult admissions cost $19, student and senior admissions cost $16, and kids age 5-18 cost $9. Children 4-years-old and under are free.
For those fascinated by art, pop by the Vancouver Art Gallery. Located at 750 Hornby Street, the gallery offers tons of interesting exhibits to view that are continuously changing. Admission fees range from $6.50-$24 depending on age.
The Best Cities For Bachelorettes In Canada
If you’re in your mid to late 20s, many of your girlfriends are most likely starting tying the knot. With weddings come bachelorette parties. These big pre-wedding blow-outs can quickly become repetitive and unoriginal. How many Vegas booze fests or Nashville bar hops before it’s too many?
We’ve come up with some underrated activities perfect for the Canadian bride. Whether she’s looking to get pampered, be adventurous, or try out new foods, there’s bound to be an activity on this list that fits her vibe. Take a look at our list of some of the best cities in Canada to host a Bachelorette party and what to do there.
Bourbon Room: This speakeasy-esque bar offer fun bourbon tastings and cocktail mixing classes. Located at 341b 10th Avenue SW., Bourbon Room charges $75 a head for classes and tastings and offers a variety of drinks starting at $10 dollars. This is a great place to have some fun with your best girls while enjoying some adult drinks and tasty treats.
Fairmont Banff Springs: Treat yourself to a stay at the Fairmont located in the Banff National Park. You’ll feel like a pampered princess after a massage at the Willow Stream spa. The bride and her bridesmaids can also enjoy drinks from Banff’s craft Distillery Park as they take advantage of the spa’s amenities.
MacEwan University Cooking Class: Enjoy a filling fiesta at MacEwan University, located at 11050 104 Avenue NW. You and your friends can choose from a list of classes including Italian Farmhouse, French Bistro, Thai Street Food and more. While cooking up a storm, sample some wines and snack on the delish meal your prepping. At $139 a person, you can experience a four-hour gourmet cooking class.
Pole Junkies Pole Dancing: Why not get some exercise in while having a laugh with some friends as you attempt to dance around a pole. Don’t be fooled it’s not as easy as it looks. But hey, you don’t need to be a professional to take a class. At Pole Junkies private classes are only $150 on Fridays. You can choose from pole dancing, burlesque, lap dances, aerial yoga, and more for your very own personalized class that will leave you and your friends with some fun new moves and hilarious memories.
La Champagnerie: At La Champagnerie, the only champagne bar in Montreal, treat yourself to the Bachelorette package! Here the charcuterie boards are $50, tasting menus start at $60 for five courses, and the Grand Cru seafood platter including oysters, black and white truffles and other crustaceans is priced at $100. Pop some bubbly and enjoy the DJ’s tunes for a girls’ night out on the town. Some special services available to make the night increasingly memorable are personalized bottles, custom Polaroid cameras, and initiations to sabring.
Bota Bota: If you’re looking for a more low-key weekend getaway with a few close gals this is the place for you. Bota Bota is the Instagram famous spa located on a boat in Old Montreal. With multiple hot baths and a stunning view of the city, you and your friends with are sure to grab some stunning pictures while melting into the steaming water. Although the spa is known for the on-deck water circuit, other amazing services available include facials, massages, mani-pedis, and more. There is also an amazing restaurant on board which features a seasonal menu.
East Coast Surf School: Take advantage of the stunning Halifax coast and enroll in a surf class. The East Coast Surf School offers private classes for five or more people starting at $65 a head. The class includes the board and wetsuit. So, all you and your girlfriend need to bring is a sense of adventure and probably a towel.
Hatfield Farms: If you’re looking to get in touch with nature while spending some bonding time with your childhood besties then look into spending the night at the Hatfield Farms. Roast marshmallows over a wood fire, enjoy a horseback ride through a woodsy trail, and gab all night with your girls in a cozy cabin. The Trail Blazing Over Night Adventure package ranges from $74-$99 a person and horseback riding starts at $56 per person.
The Most Luxurious Spas To Spoil Yourself At In Vancouver
Photo: shangrila_van on Instagram
Treat yourself to a spa day or weekend getaway at one of the many lavish spas located within and around Vancouver, B.C. We all need some rest and relaxation now and then. Why not indulge in massages, beauty treatments, sauna sweat sessions and more as you decompress from your hard work and stress. Our list of spas will help you unwind in peaceful settings and promise to send you home looking and feeling rejuvenated.
Smile Thai Wellness Spa
The Smile Thai Wellness Spa, which is located at 235 Robson St, offers authentic Thai massages that are sure to loosen up your muscles and have you feeling calm and relaxed. This spa uses alternative healing therapies in order to improve your well being and send you home a happier and healthier person both physically and mentally.
Chi, is a pricier spa located inside the Shangri-La hotel that lets you indulge in a variety of relaxing amenities such as hot stone massages, body wraps, facials, and more. Located on 1128 West Georgia Street, this lush sanctuary will provide you with the ultimate pampering experience.
Skoah is a niche spa with treatments focused on facial rejuvenation. The spa offer treatments that target clogged pores, wrinkles, sun spots, and more. This skin specialized spa aims to give you glowing skin in a zen environment. Keep in mind that these skin renewal procedures often come at high costs.
Scandinave is located in Whistler, about an hour drive from Vancouver, and offers stunning views as it is immersed in nature. The hot pools, saunas, and massages in the magical setting make for a great weekend escape to forget the stress of the city. The no-talk zone spa forces one to detach from their phone and all the worries that come with it as the sounds of nature filter in.
Float House spa offers an extremely unique experience to customers as its sensory deprivation tanks allow you to effortlessly float in water soaked in Epsom salts. The feeling of being weightless helps you to shed the figurative stress and weight that you carry around as your muscles begin to unwind and your mind wonders. There are four locations of this popular spa located in Gastown, Surrey, Langley, and Kitsilana.
Willow Stream Spa
The Willow Stream Spa is located at 1038 Canada Place on the fifth floor at the Fairmont Pacific Rim and features a giant patio offering some magnificent panoramic views of the harbor. The cozy atmosphere created by the many fireplaces encourages a welcoming and relaxed environment. The spa is well known for its couple’s room which has gigantic Japanese Zen tubs and skin scrubs made from seaweed and thermal salts. The spa also features a luxurious rooftop pool and hot tub to soak up some rays or have an evening dip.
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