The maple life The maple life

Category Quebec

Crazy-Sexy-Cool: Montreal’s W Hotel

Maybe the W stands for ‘wow’, because that was certainly my reaction when I walked into my suite at the W Hotel Montreal. I’m not much given to hotel hyperbole but sometimes you open a door and all you can do is whoop with delight. Spread elegantly across two stories with a swooping view across Victoria Square, if you’re visiting the city for a special occasion –or if you want

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Spa Adventures in the Laurentian Mountains: Ofuro Spa

In wintertime Scandinavian-style spas make a virtue of the pay off between a little ‘pain’ and a lot of pleasure. Stepping carefully in flip flops dressed in a woolen ‘toque’ hat, and a towelling robe, across an icy path as a blizzard of snowflakes pelt you from every angle, it’s hard to not look longingly back at the warmly-lit indoors and wonder what on earth you are doing… and whether

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Spa-gasm at Spa & Hotel Le Finlandais

I think I may have just found my new favourite spa. And, wonder of wonders, it has a hotel attached too, so should your heart desire (and your wallet allow) you could never, ever leave. After twenty minutes in the spa and hotel Le Finlandais that’s pretty much all I was planning so consider yourself warned, this spa and hotel have impressive powers. Hyperbole aside, what makes this great? It is,

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Aboriginal Adventures Part 5: Storytelling with Yolande in the Wendake Longhouse

I looked up over my breakfast and pondered the stuffed lynx staring glassy-eyed into the distance as I spooned up my yoghurt. I thoughtfully licked my spoon and turned my head a little and spotted a stuffed owl. The clink of china and babble of slow morning conversation mixed with a CD of rhythmic chants and tribal songs of the Huron Wendat people. Welcome to breakfast time at the Hôtel-Musée

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Aboriginal Adventures Part 4: Ice Fishing with the Atikamekw

I guess I’d imagined that ice fishing would be like one of the cartoons that I’d seen when I was a kid. I had some Hanna-Barbera eskimo in my mind, a guy in a parka sawing a hole through the ice, baiting his hook and lowering the line. But this, if you’ll excuse the pun, was a different kettle of fish altogether. The Atikamekw way of ice fishing means that

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Aboriginal Adventures Part 3: The Story of Saint Kateri

I wasn’t expecting to see her when I walked into the tiny church, but there she was, in pride of place on the wall, just above photos of the new pope and the old one. Who is that? I asked my guide. It’s Saint Kateri, she told me. The world’s only First Nations saint. Truth be told I’d not wanted to bother with the church at all on my tour

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Aboriginal Adventures Part 2: Nothing Is Wasted, Everything Used.

“I’ve lived here my whole life.” says Isabel as she shows me how to carefully thread the tiny beads on to the wire needle. “You’ve never lived anywhere else?” “Never. I love it here. My front door, I’ve never locked it. Ever. I know everyone and everyone knows me. My mum is my neighbour. I see my dad every day. Any time I’m not working and I want to talk

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Aboriginal Adventures Part 1: Travel to Manawan, Quebec

“Do you like to live so far away from everyone?” “Yes. It’s nice to to be with the nature here, the city is too busy.” I don’t think I’ve ever known what it meant to travel somewhere truly isolated before. Spending time in Manawan, a First Nations reserve for the Atikamekw (pronounced ah-tick-a-mick) nation some five hours away from Montreal pushed my limits like no other trip has done. You can only

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Nordik Spa-Nature Aufguss Ritual: ‘Pagan, Wild and Incredibly Thrilling’

For a spa-fiend like myself, the joy of discovering a new ‘spa toy’ is a rare and wonderful thing; so you can imagine what a bundle of glee I was at Gatineau’s Nordik Spa-Nature when I found not just one but three things I’d never experienced before. Nordik Spa-Nature is the largest spa in North America, boasting 7 outdoor baths, 8 saunas and an infinity pool set across three separate

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Feeling at home in Fairmont’s Charlevoix Chateau

Out of all the things I imagined that I’d miss about home, one thing I didn’t anticipate missing was old buildings. Vancouver is such a modern city, it celebrated its 125th birthday in 2011. Gleaming high rises are everywhere and but it wasn’t until I arrived at the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu in Quebec’s Charlevoix region and beamed at its stone exterior and gleaming wooden interior that I had a

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