Oh, Canada

Our nationwide staycation guide is all you need to plan an epic March Break.
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Oh, Canada

Our nationwide staycation guide is all you need to plan an epic March Break.
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✨  Happy weekend! Today is Saturday, March 2, 2019 and the soundtrack to your weekend (life?) is right here.


TREND BULLETIN:
YOU DESERVE A BREAK

Chances are, you’re reading this a little earlier than usual — no, Daylight Saving Time doesn’t take effect until tonight, but with March Break officially here (in Ontario, Quebec, and N.B., at least — but it’s coming up fast for the rest of the country), your kids are probably jacked up and raring to go bright and early this morning. So, in the spirit of embracing the last breath of winter (first day of spring, T-minus 12 days and counting), we’re doing something a little different around here today. This issue, we’re giving you the ultimate staycation travel guide, packed with ideas for family-friendly activities and excursions a little closer to home.

But, we couldn’t kick the weekend off without our usual dose of lifestyle news. Here are some quick shots on what’s trending right now:

FASHION:
• The shortlist for the prestigious LVMH prize is out, and two Canadians designers are up for the honour: Marie-Ève Lecavalier of womenswear line Lecavalier and Emeric Tchatchoua of menswear brand 3.Paradis. Both Montrealers are in the running for the €300,000 grant. (We’re cheering them on. 🤞)

BEAUTY:
• Is Daenerys Targaryen your beauty idol? Urban Decay is teasing a Game of Thrones-themed makeup collection, coming in April.

WELLNESS:
• Doctor (🙄) Gwyneth Paltrow is prescribing psychedelics as the next big cure for mental health and addiction concerns. (This is not an endorsement — we’re just sharing the “news.”)

FOOD:
• Following the success of the Beyond Burger, A&W is beefing up (ha) its breakfast menu with an egg sandwich with a plant-based Beyond sausage patty, available starting March 11.

HOME:
• Decor company Parachute, beloved for its cozy sheets and bedding, has just launched a highly covetable collection of hand-woven rugs.
• (American) commitment-phobes rejoice: West Elm has paired up with fashion rental biz Rent the Runway to offer home decorating “textile bundles” (think curated collections of throw pillow covers, blankets, and bedding) for rent. (Why can’t we Canadians ever have anything nice?)

And now, on to the travel guide!


STAYCATION NATION

It’s not too late to take an unforgettable March Break vacation. We’ve rounded up road trips in every province, and we’ve gotta say, Canada’s looking pretty great…eh? (Sorry, we had to.)

• British Columbia

Leave Whistler to the snow bunnies and (Lulu)lemon heads and explore some of B.C.’s lesser known locals. For a culture trip, take the two(ish)-hour ferry ride from Vancouver to charming Salt Spring Island. The island is home to a noteworthy arts and culture scene, and you can easily spend a weekend popping in and out of galleries and studios, and relaxing at the Island’s cozy Hastings House hotel, a gorgeous historic manor house turned Relais & Chateau. Insert Jude Law and you’ve got yourself the quintessential winter weekend in the country.

For even more R&R, take a scenic drive to one of B.C.’s many picturesque hot springs. Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park is considered to be the province’s prettiest, but on the border between B.C. and the Yukon, the drive is a major commitment. For something closer to home, Halcyon Hot Springs offers gorgeous pools with views of the Monashee Mountains.

• Alberta

Visitors to Alberta tend to blaze right past Kananaskis and Canmore, on their way to Instagrammable Lake Louise and Banff, but locals have long enjoyed (and much prefer) the quiet beauty of both regions (#nohashtagsplease). Both are still close enough to the ski hills, but offer small town charm, exquisite hiking and flourishing food scenes (Crazyweed Kitchen in Canmore is a must-eat.). They also offer all of the classic winter activities (snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice climbing) you could ask for (plus the one activity you’re really there for: après ski).

• Saskatchewan

Play cowpoke for a weekend at one of Saskatchewan’s many charming ranches. Just picture it: a fresh blanket of snow surrounding your cabin, a crackling fire within it, and a bottle of red waiting for you after a day of cross-country skiing…it’s the stuff winter dreams are made of (when it’s -30°C). Some ranches, like Historic Reesor, even offer winter horseback riding (to fulfill every Legends of the Fall fantasy you’ve ever had…).

• Manitoba

If a road trip through Manitoba’s good enough for National Geographic Travel’s “digital nomad” Robert Reid, it’s good enough for us. Reid’s out-of-the-ordinary recommendations include Salisbury House for Neil Young’s favourite donut, Farmery Estate Brewery two hours from Winnipeg in Neepawa, and Whiteshell Provincial Parkfor exquisite cross-country skiing.

• Ontario

In just under two hours, Torontonians can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and slow things down at Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery. While a visit to Muskoka may seem like nothing new, the winery offers a winter skating trail, open late on Saturdays and lit up by 400 torches. Add in a mug of hot mulled wine, and it’s basically the most romantic winter scene imaginable. Well, almost…

Book a night following your skate at The Rosseau and spend the next day being pampered in their spa and soaking in a hot tub while taking in views of Lake Rosseau. (The best way to enjoy the beauty of winter is indoors after all.)

• Quebec

Montreal and Quebec City offer fine dining and a buzzing nightlife, but for true Québécois culture, locals know to take the road less travelled, the road to Magog to be exact. Nestled in the Eastern Townships, Magog sits on Lake Memphremagog, with close proximity to Owl’s Head for some of the best skiing in the area (plus an après skithat’s not to be missed). If the thought of hurtling down a frozen mountain isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps a thermos of hot cocoa, enjoyed while skating along a 2.8-kilometre ice trail will tickle your fancy. Can you say “ Oui, oui?”

• New Brunswick

Whale watching can be a snooze and the magic of the magnetic hill wears off after the age of 10, but that’s no reason to drive right through New Brunswick. St. Andrews is one of the most charming towns in the Maritimes, complete with waterfront adventures, golf and museums. It’s also home to The Algonquin, one of Canada’s premiere luxury resorts. A visit in winter is worth it for the spa alone (OK and the epic water slide, too).

• Nova Scotia

Three hours southwest of Halifax is the coziest lodge this side of Canada. Trout Point Lodge has all the makings of a classically rustic getaway (log cabin, outdoor fire pits) but paired with out-of-the-ordinary excursions. Forest bathing, anyone? Star gazing? These are the things Instagram stories are made of.

• Prince Edward Island

For a weekend in PEI (which you can drive from end to end in a day), Dalvay by the Seais a classic spot to stay. The hotel was transformed from a historic home, and made a cameo as the “White Sands Hotel” in Anne of Green Gables and Road to Avonlea. For something a little more modern, The Great George in Charlottetown boasts luxurious rooms, historical walking tours of the island’s capital, and a daily happy hour. (It also happens to be a five-minute stroll from Cow’s ice cream…)

• Newfoundland

You have to take a road trip to Dildo, Newfoundland, just to say you went to Dildo, but once you’ve gotten that out of your system, we recommend driving out to “iceberg alley,” St. Lewis, Battle Harbour and Red Bay, where you can sometimes catch a glimpse of majestic icebergs floating by. When you’re done sitting and staring at icebergs, head to Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve where you can sit and stare at birds. Thousands of birds make their home here, and you can visit all year round.

• The Territories

Travelling to the Territories? You’re a legit Canadian, and you better enjoy winter, because outdoor fun is about all you’re going to find up there. Days can be spent ice fishing, snow shoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling, but evenings are for relaxing under a night sky like nowhere else in the world. What Blachford Lake Lodgelacks in luxury, it more than makes up for in adventure. The lodge offers overnights in igloos, evening bonfires, and spectacular views of the Aurora Borealis. A visit here is one for the bucket list.

Feeling major true patriot love? Visit National Geographic’s Travel Guide of Canada for even more to explore in our home and native land.

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