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Founder & President Gil Blutrich CEO Michael Sneyd President & COO Kevin Toth Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Skyline Resort Communities John Giffen Director of Communications/Managing Editor Kate Hillyar Publisher Fred Sanders | email@example.com Editor Bryan Dearsley | firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director Mark Tzerelshtein | markintoshdesign.com Advertising Sales Bill Percy | email@example.com Advertising Design Christophe Boilley Contributors Amanda Quinn Bianca Smellie Cameron Alexander Kate Hillyar Kelly Holinshead /Photography Kendra Nicholson Kevin David Leblanc Kim Kerr Laura Jackson Tanya Hsu TELL US what interests you, tickles you or even leaves you wondering about SkyLife Magazine. We value your feedback.
SkyLife Magazine 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 800 Toronto, ON M4P 2Y3 416-368-2565 firstname.lastname@example.org
all in Ontario is one of my favourite times of year, as the leaves turn from green to gold and red in preparation for the winter months ahead. At our Skyline Hotel & Resort properties, it is also the busiest time of year as we prepare for the snowfall and the excitement of the holiday season. This year we have more activities and events on offer than ever before. At Horseshoe Resort, we’ve launched the MultiSport Academy (page 13), which provides an engaging environment for visitors and locals to learn a multitude of sports—starting this season with Nordic and alpine skiing. With Olympian Bill Trayling and celebrated ski coaches Nigel Cooper and Andrew Doble heading up the program, I don’t think we could have a better team in place to make the program a success. Of course, we still have all of our great winter activities and more available at our resort properties—from dogsledding to winter hikes, snowshoeing and snowmobiling, no matter what your speed is, we’ve got you covered (page 14). And if you’re more of the type to cozy up by the fireplace, we’ve included some fun recipes for warm holiday drinks (page 44). To combat winter weather, our Shizen Spa experts and fitness partners, Fit Chicks, have given us some tips and tricks for keeping your body fit and healthy through the long winter months (page 46). More and more I meet happy returning guests and residents, and in this issue we wanted to give them a chance to tell us what they enjoy most about “living the Skylife”. We spoke with some of the first residents of our Deerhurst Golf Cottages, the Dorricotts (page 56), who let us photograph their stunning home, and we also had the chance to interview members of our SkyLife Club (page 52). I’m also very proud to announce some big news: Skyline has added a new brand to the family, Skyline Vacation Club. Ontario’s first urban and drive-to, points based vacation club, Skyline Vacation Club gives members access to everything we offer plus vacation options around the world through our affiliates (more on page 20). Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season and all the best in 2014!
Gil Blutrich Founder Skyline Hotels & Resorts Skyline Resort Communities email: email@example.com twitter.com/GilBlutrich www.skylineinvestments.com
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SkyLife Magazine, Fall/Winter 2014
6 UP-FRONT Fitness with the Fit Chicks, Why Wait Wednesdays at Cosmo and more.
12 SNOW QUIZ Find out which winter activity you should pursue this season!
13 GROWING HEALTHY KIDS MultiSport Academy encourages kids to have fun while keeping fit.
8 SNOW BIZ
Horseshoe Resort offers numerous ski, boarding and Nordic experiences for serious athletes and enthusiasts alike.
14 WINTER WANDER-LAND Our handy guide to winter fun off the slopes!
16 SKI GEAR The hottest new ski gear, gadgets and gizmos.
20 SKYLINE VACATION CLUB New memberâ€™s only program connects city, country and the world.
18 TRAVEL IN STYLE Vacation Clubs provide many exciting exchange opportunities for members.
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A VILLAGE AFFAIR
Fantastic fun at Blue Mountain Village.
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THE SKYLINE COLLECTION Cosmopolitan Hotel, Toronto 8 Colborne Street (Yonge & King) Toronto, ON M5E 1E1 1-800-958-3488 416-350-2000 cosmotoronto.com
Deerhurst Resort, Muskoka 1235 Deerhurst Drive
25 WORLD CLASS THEATRE Toronto’s smaller stage companies have much to offer theatre lovers.
28 EVENTS & ATTRACTIONS
LOCAL COMFORT Delectable winter dishes by Deerhurst’s Chef David Bakker.
Toronto welcomes one of the world’s largest aquariums.
Huntsville, ON P1H 2E8 1-800-461-4393 705-789-6411 deerhurstresort.com
Horseshoe Resort, Barrie 1101 Horseshoe Valley Road Barrie, ON L4M 4Y8 1-800-461-5627
38 TRAVEL WELL
Our handy guide to the year’s top travel accessories.
Pantages Hotel Toronto Centre 200 Victoria Street (Yonge & Dundas)
39 CONCIERGE CORNER
Toronto, ON M5E 1E1
Top Tips for Toronto Travellers
44 DRINK UP! Warm winter beverages to keep you cozy
46 THE HEALTHY TRAVELLER Fit Chicks helps you stay fit and healthy on the road.
Shizen Spa Four locations Shizen.ca
50 WINTER SKINCARE 101 How to prepare (and protect) your skin for the long, cold months ahead.
Port McNicoll Discovery Centre, near Midland, ON 81 Dock Lane
52 MEMBERS ONLY The many unique perks and privileges of SkyLife Club.
Port McNicoll, ON L0K 1R0 1-877-678-7678 705-534-1088 portmcnicoll.ca
56 HOME SWEET HOME King City couple make stylish Deerhurst property their second home.
For projects under development, visit www. skylineinvestments.com.
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UP-FRONT WEDNESDAYS GET WILD Eight Wine Bar at the Cosmopolitan Hotel is kicking Wednesdays up a notch with Why Wait Wednesdays, offering drink specials, small bites and music from DJ Vladi Dadi from 6-9pm. Enjoy $12 pitchers of sangria, $5 domestic beer, bar rails and wine on tap, and a new menu including gourmet burgers, mussels and build-your-own pizza. With deals this good, why wait for the weekend? #whyw8
SKYLINE WINS BIG! Skyline Hotels & Resorts has been named the 2013 Regional Company of the Year by Kostuch Media, publishers of Foodservice & Hospitality and Hotelier magazines. The Pinnacle Awards recognize the crème-de-lacrème in the hospitality industry and are awarded based on excellence in several categories including the candidate’s impact on the industry, innovations and achievements, as well as community spirit. Skyline will receive the award at the 25th annual Pinnacle Awards celebration in December.
AND THE FINALISTS ARE... Skyline International Development is proud to be named a finalist in this year’s Canada’s Best Managed Companies rankings. The award, presented by Deloitte, CIBC and National Post, recognizes companies who follow their core vision, create stakeholder value and excel in the global economy. Skyline’s SkyLife Rewards VIP business loyalty program is a finalist in the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation’s 2013 Marketing Awards of Excellence. Nominated for the Tourism Interactive Marketing Award, the winners will be announced at the industry gala on November 14.
READY FOR WINTER
FALL FITNESS AT ITS PEAK The Fit Chicks are returning to Horseshoe Resort for their sixth weekend-long fitness retreat. Set to take place March 21-23, 2014, the women-only fierce fall getaway is a fun schedule of workouts and workshops that will get your mind and body back in shape. Lead by Laura Jackson and Amanda Quinn, hosts of Rogers TV’s “Shape Up with Fit Chicks” the weekend explores yoga, nutrition, wellness and healthy eating, with menus specially designed by Horseshoe Executive Chef, Dylan Tulloch.
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Port McNicoll’s SS Keewatin is lighting up this year for the holiday season. Guests are invited to join the historic 1907 steam ship on November 21 from 6:00-7:30pm at Keewatin Park for the ship and 35-foot tall tree lighting. Enjoy music and caroling with Bev & Martha and Attitude, hot chocolate, roast marshmallows on the bonfire and watch as the official Township of Tay Christmas tree and the SS Keewatin are lit up for the holiday season. sskeewatin.com
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DISTRACTIONS & EXCURSIONS
BIZ HORSESHOE RESORT OFFERS WINTER FUN FOR BEGINNERS AND SEASONED PROS BY BRYAN DEARSLEY
hile Ontario might not spring immediately to mind when we think of the world’s most dramatic ski destinations—Whistler, the French Alps, Aspen—you may be surprised to learn that it does rank amongst the busiest. Don’t believe me? Then pay a visit to the slopes at Horseshoe Resort any time from December to March Break, and you’ll see what I mean. Located just north of Barrie, Horseshoe Resort has developed a well-deserved reputation for winter fun. Not only is the resort easily accessible geographically—Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is only an hour’s drive away—it provides the kind of experience that keeps bringing people back, whatever their skill level. Serious athletes—professionals and hardcore enthusiasts alike—love it as a place to practice their chosen sport, while the more casual users amongst us enjoy the fact it’s only as challenging as we’d like it to be. Founded in 1962 in what was originally called ‘Hungry Hollow’, the resort was conceived by a Toronto area builder by the name of Bill Lohuaru. The developer had been looking for suitable land to establish a ski resort close to Toronto for some time, and when Hungry Hollow came up, he was quick to recognize that its high elevations and unique topography—shaped thousands of years earlier by receding glaciers—would prove attrac-
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tive to the city’s swelling ranks of ski enthusiasts. He was also quick to realize the fact the valley, which opened up like the bottom of a horseshoe, faced west toward the waters of Georgian Bay. This, he knew, would mean an abundance of snow. It also provided the inspiration for a new name, Horseshoe Valley. That very first ski season 51 years ago was a far cry from the busy slopes we see today. Opening with just five alpine runs serviced by two T-bar lifts, a rope tow and a small lodge, Horseshoe nevertheless drew large crowds of enthusiastic skiers thrilled to have a facility so close to home. Two years later, Lohuaru added 10km of Nordic (cross-country) ski trails extending into the adjacent Copeland Forest to satisfy the growing demand for winter activities from ever-increasing numbers of visitors. It’s all a far cry from the huge development Horseshoe has now become. Today, the resort spreads across some 600 acres and 26 slopes served by six lifts, including a new carpet lift, a state-of-the-art terrain park, 40km of Nordic trails, 10km of snowshoe trails, five winter snowtubing chutes… plus extensive accommodations, restaurants, an Adventure Park and breaking ground soon, real estate opportunities at Copeland House.
Jonathan Reid, Horseshoe’s Director of Snow Sports and Events: Friendly slopes, fantastic staff, make for a fun experience. Photo: Kelly Holinshead
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MILES OF TRAILS FOR NORDIC FANS
Photo: Iden Forsd
For those who prefer their winter sports offslope, Horseshoe Resort boasts an extensive network of Nordic (also known as crosscountry) ski trails. Extending over 40km in length, Horseshoe’s network of groomed Nordic trails not only covers resort property, it extends into the adjacent Copeland Forest, a picture-perfect nature preserve whose trails are operated and maintained by Horseshoe. One of the fastest growing winter sports in Canada, Nordic skiing has proven extremely popular with mountain and road bikers keen to maintain their endurance abilities. Not only is it a great cardiovascular workout, it also tends to exercise many of the same muscles used for biking. As with downhill skiing at Horseshoe, a wide variety of programs are available, ranging from beginners to competitive courses. An increasingly popular variation of Nordic skiing is skate skiing. This fast-paced sport sees users propel themselves quickly along dedicated tracks and trails on short skis in a style similar to skating. It’s also proving popular amongst those looking for a cross training and endurance training alternative over the winter. But Nordic skiing isn’t just about keeping in shape. Family fun is also an important aspect to Horseshoe Resort’s Nordic programming, including kid-friendly courses as well as not-to-be-missed ‘moonlight skiing’ events. These fun events generally take place during the full-moon and see resort staff light up some 10km of Nordic trails with gas lanterns. Best of all, all trails lead to a huge bonfire where hot drinks such as apple cider are served.
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GET WITH THE PROGRAM… With over 200 dedicated instructors on its payroll, Horseshoe Resort has numerous programs and learning opportunities to suit all ages and abilities. In addition to the programs highlighted below, the resort has also launched a new Ambassador program to help ensure skiers and snowboarders get the best possible experience from their time on the slopes and trails. Also, a new shuttle bus service is in place to make the experience of getting to the resort as pleasurable and as easy as possible, departing frequently from Yorkdale Mall. Kids and adults have a variety of learning opportunities to choose from that give them the benefit of season-long learning in an eightweek program. Kinder Kolts is designed for kids ages three to five to learn the basics or continue to progress their skills in a small group environment with an instructor and an assistant. Then, from ages six to 16, it’s Junior Pintos, a skill-developing program for budding to advanced skiers and snowboarders in a safe and fun learning environment. HMA Kids, formerly known as Kids Korral, is a great option for children’s lessons anytime during the season or over the holidays. With both half-day morning or afternoon lessons and a full-day lesson option (including lunch), the program is ideal for athletes between three and 14. Choose one lesson, a week of lessons or the eight-pack option, which lets you pick and choose any eight days you want to attend. New this season is the full-day HMA MultiSport lesson. Unique to Horseshoe Resort, students develop their skills on skis or snowboards in the morning and explore the resort after lunch with activities like Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing and more. One of the best ways for those new to the sport to get started, or for those looking to work on a specific skill—adults and kids alike—is with a Semi-private Lesson. Simply recruit some friends and family to make your own group and get all the benefits of private instruction while having fun… and learning. Another great choice for first-timers is Discover Skiing and Snowboarding. This package (ages seven and up) includes a beginner lift ticket, equipment rental and a 1½ hour lesson where you’ll learn the confidence-building basics in a group setting. Horseshoe Nordic, now located in the Adventure Park, gives easy access to the resort’s network of trails while keeping guests close to food and guest services. Through HMA MultiSport, the Nordic program has expanded to include options for the whole family. HMA Bunnies, Jackrabbits, Kick Start and Track Attack are designed to develop young skiers into lifelong enthusiasts. HMA NExT takes Nordic skiers to the next level with the Nordic Excellence Team, aimed at developing racing skills through competition. For adults, the Active for Life program incorporates skill development with tips and tricks to living a healthy and active lifestyle. And, for those who like their two-wheeled fun year-round, Horseshoe Nordic now offers Fat Bikes. Take a guided tour of the forest and learn where big wheels can take you. For details of the programs and services listed above, please visit www.horseshoeresort.com.
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LEARNING CURVES All of which adds up not just to a lot of winter fun, but also to a good many learning opportunities, too. According to Jonathan Reid, Horseshoe’s Director of Snow Sports and Events, it’s the property’s friendly slopes—the fact they’re suitable to snow sport enthusiasts from all disciplines and of all abilities—that really sets it apart. “Horseshoe is a genuine place of learning,” says Reid, who in addition to his role at Horseshoe is President of the Board of Directors for Snowboard Ontario. “We’ve found our spot in the market. Horseshoe’s a place to come and learn the techniques and develop the required skills needed before heading out to the bigger mountains.” A former pupil of the National Ski Academy, Reid’s no stranger to the importance of education in winter sports. His own experiences led to his becoming a member of the Southern Ontario Ski Team before pursuing a career in professional snowboarding—a move that took him all the way to the Canadian National Snowboard Team with whom he competed on the professional circuit, culminating in a gold medal win at the Canadian National Championships. That Reid brings this same level of passion and dedication to his role as leader of Horseshoe’s snow sport team, along with his passion for educating, is very much in evident at Horseshoe. A quick browse through the resort’s 2013/14 winter activities materials reveals programs suitable for all ages and abilities, from toddlers to adults just getting started, as well as serious competitors. “There’s a wide variety of options available at the resort, no matter someone’s skill level or experience,” adds Reid. “We have a full snow sport program that offers everything from instruction for young children right up to adults, as well as private or semi-private programs. We even have unique offerings such as our ‘Mommy and Me’ program where moms and the kids can learn to ski together.” Reid’s quick to point out that beginners don’t have to be kids to benefit from the resort’s programs. Numerous visitors and locals alike have accessed Horseshoe’s teaching program, with new skiers often being able to tackle the hills within the first hour of instruction. Basics such as learning to slide and stop are taught
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first, before students progress onto the resort’s new 800 ft. carpet lift to try some gentle slopes. “It’s all part of our ongoing efforts to get people up the hill quicker,” says Reid. “It’s a much easier
learning curve, it’s a very gradual way of learning. You don’t have to be taught how to get on and off the lift chair, so you can instead focus on developing the skills needed to tackle bigger hills.”
For those seeking to get serious about their chosen sport, Horseshoe has developed a first rate competitive ski program that currently trains some 200 athletes. Competing under the Alpine Ontario umbrella, this extremely successful program boasts a strong coaching field that has helped many individuals take their sport to the max, whether competitively or for the thrill of it. Although racing as Horseshoe team members in a variety of categories from juniors to adult, the resort’s strong competitive downhill ski team train together, but when it comes to races find themselves competing head-to-head, often at the resort itself. The same levels of training and learning are available for snowboarders too, and in recent years the resort has made many new additions to its already popular and extensive terrain park. Horseshoe’s terrain park now boasts three full runs with a full field of steel rails on which boarders can jump and slide, as well as a variety of different jump features, including wall rides. Experienced boarders are able to attain jumps of up to 35 ft. in the terrain park, while heights of 15-20 ft. are easily attainable for most. Particularly hot for boarders is the increasingly popular ‘slope style’, which involves
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QUIZ: FIND YOUR PERFECT WINTER ACTIVITY Hard pressed to figure out what exactly you should be doing this winter? Take our quiz to find out which winter activity you should pursue this season! When winter arrives… A) You get excited for the new season and all the thrilling, heart racing activities that come with it! B) You’re already counting down the days until summer. C) You’re happy to get out and enjoy the changing winter landscape. D) You’re on the Internet researching all the new things you can learn this winter. There’s fresh snow on the ground, so you’d prefer to: A) Get outside and get your adrenaline pumping with a trip down the ski hill. B) Shovel the driveway and then curl up next to the fire with a hot drink. C) Go for a hike and build a snowman. D) Enjoy the challenge of learning a new activity. If you hit the slopes: A) I’m on skis. B) Slopes? What slopes? I’ll meet you in the chalet! C) I prefer my countryside a little flatter. D) I’m hitting up the terrain park on my snowboard. You’re planning a mini-vacation during the winter, so you: A) Look for the nearest ski/snowboard resort to get your downhill fix. B) Head south, you want to feel your toes again! C) Look for a resort with other winter activities, downhill is so played out. D) Find a new challenge, learning something new spices things up! The weather’s too harsh to head outside, so you: A) Take in a live show! Nothing’s more exciting than the thrill of a live performance. B) Good! That’s the way I like it, you’ll find me at the Spa. C) Take a swim and try and remember what being tanned feels like. D) Take a lesson at the gym to try and learn something new. If you answered mostly A’s... You’re an Adventure Seeker who belongs on the ski hill. Whether it’s strapped to a snowboard or skis, the hill is calling your name! Check out the 26 ski runs at Horseshoe Resort. If you answered mostly B’s... You’re an Indoor Enthusiast who’s most comfortable in the spa or curled up next to a roaring fire with a good book and a hot drink. Check out Deerhurst Resort where you’ll feel right at home in the Shizen Spa while your family enjoys the winter landscape Muskoka has to offer. If you answered mostly C’s... You’re a Nordic Explorer who prefers a lateral thrill to a downhill run! Test your athleticism on the largest network of Nordic skiing trails in Ontario at Horseshoe Resort and prepare to be challenged! If you answered mostly D’s... You’re a New Experiences Junkie who doesn’t care what it is that you’re learning as long as you’re learning something! Try dogsledding at Deerhurst or go snowmobiling at Horseshoe—but whichever adventure you choose you’ll be sure to find plenty of new and exciting learning options at any Skyline Resort.
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boarders riding one of three dedicated runs while tackling a few jumps and rail swipes in between. Another recent innovation is the opening of the terrain park to skiers. Says Reid: “We’re now seeing almost as many skiers in the terrain park as we are boarders, especially among people into twin-tip skiing. They’re perfect for terrain park jumps. In a sense, snowboarding has revitalized skiing.” The twin tipped skis Reid refers to are a modified version of traditional alpine skis. Designed to enable users to take off and land backward while jumping, even to ski backwards—or switch—down a slope, they take their name from the shape of the ski: while most alpine skis have a defined, curved-up front tip and a flat rear tail, twin-tips are curved at both ends. Created for freestyle skiing such as terrain parks and halfpipes, twin-tips have rapidly gained popularity on other parts of the mountain as well, and have even crossed-over into other skis such as powder skis and all-mountain skis. And as with the other snow sport disciplines available at Horseshoe, training is also provided for those wanting to try their hand with twin-tips. “We really are focusing on Horseshoe as being a top notch learning resort, whatever it is people want to learn to do,” says Reid. “We really aim to improve the whole learning experience, whether for beginners or those with experience, and then work with them as they progress. In the end, it all adds up to a much more satisfying experience for everyone involved.” SL
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DISTRACTIONS & EXCURSIONS
HEALTHY KIDS MULTISPORT ACADEMY ENCOURAGES KIDS TO HAVE FUN WHILE STAYING FIT… AND SMART BY CAMERON ALEXANDER
f Bill Trayling gets his way—and there’s every indication he will—there are going to be some major changes in our approach to sports education for kids. Well known as a member of Canada’s National Kayak Team at both the Olympics and World Championships, Trayling recently joined Horseshoe Resort as Director of Sport Development. He brought with him one very admirable aim: to help take our nation’s kids from the ‘playground to the podium’. While an ambitious goal, it’s one that Trayling is tackling with gusto as he works with resort staff to build Ontario’s first multisport academy. Following the principles laid out by Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development framework—a far-sighted program emphasizing the importance of developing children as well-rounded athletes first rather than focusing on a single sporting discipline—this multisport approach to athletic development will not only put more athletes on the podium, it aims to create healthy, active, lifelong sports enthusiasts. Under Trayling’s guidance, the Horseshoe MultiSport Academy has adopted these principles to create world-class opportunities for youngsters to develop as healthy, confident, successful individuals. In addition, the Academy will provide a year-round sport development experience by tapping into the resort’s extensive resources and coaching expertise. “We really do need to look at our young and how we treat them when it comes to sports,” says
Trayling. “So often we push them into areas we’re interested in when they’re really too young to decide for themselves. So it’s up to us as parents to be educated and aware of the opportunities that exist.” A multisport athlete himself—he’s competed professionally in seven very different sports disciplines—Trayling knows of which he speaks. “That’s what Horseshoe MultiSport Academy is really all about,” he says. “It’s a place for families to experience numerous different activities and the training that goes with them at the highest level with the best coaching and mentoring.” Focusing initially on the core sports that Horseshoe already has a strong reputation for—alpine and Nordic skiing, along with cycling—the Academy will work closely with its students not just on training, but also on fun. The latter is especially important, says Trayling, as all too-often he’s seen kids burned out and disappointed after reaching a dead end in the single sport they and their parents had been putting all their energies into. Trayling’s approach is well suited to Horseshoe’s mandate to make learning a key part of the sporting experience. The program consists of athletic evaluation, strength and physiological conditioning as well as sport specific training. Available activities include cycling, trail and adventure running, as well as group and individual challenges, and as Team Horseshoe builds toward the competitive snow sport season, specific preparation in alpine, freestyle, and Nordic skiing and snowboarding will be encouraged.
COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE Students at Horseshoe’s MultiSport Academy are encouraged not just to train in a variety of disciplines, but to compete in them, too. The following are just some of the upcoming events students will be encouraged to participate in. Oct. 20th: Single Track Challenge MTB www.pulseracing.ca Oct. 27th: Barrie CX Race www.simcoecycling.ca Nov. 9th : Real Deal CX classic www.realdealracing.ca Nov. 16th: Adventure Running Kids, Brampton www.dontgetlost.ca
OLYMPIC VALUES Acknowledging the fact that parents themselves often find making a commitment to their children’s sports education a challenge, a variety of programs and activities specifically for them to participate in are being developed. “The recreational side will run parallel with the developmental side of things,” says Trayling. “Everything will be geared to long-term athletic development, with all our sports based on age appropriate programming. It’s all about building healthy families. After all, everyone’s an athlete. It’s the way you think, it’s the way you eat. And we’ll help by providing the programming that gives people that feeling the moment they arrive.” The overall vision, says Trayling, is similar to that of an Olympic Village. “Everyone’s an Olympian in their own way,” he says. “And we want our guests, our athletes and their parents to think about the seven key Olympic values: inspiration, determination, excellence, equality, friendship, respect and courage. If we succeed in that, then we know we’re doing a good job.” It’s a philosophy that extends to the Academy’s staff, too. Hired as much for their coaching abilities as their ability to act as role models and mentors to young athletes, staff are encouraged to consider themselves as multisport coaches, regardless of their preferred discipline. It’s a move that Trayling is confident will ultimately, help them as competitors as much as it will their students. “We want to develop athletes,” he says. “We’re no longer simply talking about developing skiers or cyclists. At 15, our young athletes can specialize, and by then it’ll be much easier for them to know what they’re good at, and where their passion lies. Ultimately, that’s what we’re doing, teaching them to follow their passion. And that’s something quite unique in the world of sports.” SL
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DISTRACTIONS & EXCURSIONS
WANDER-LAND FUN ACTIVITIES TO HELP YOU MAKE THE MOST OF WINTER
ust because there’s a truckload of snow on the ground doesn’t mean you shouldn’t venture outdoors and have some fun. In fact, it’s because of all that white stuff that Ontario’s such a great place to explore in winter. And much of this fun stuff takes place north of the city, in places like Horseshoe Valley and Muskoka. With up to five snow-filled months (recent records indicate 18ft of snow in one season alone), Muskoka offers countless excellent outdoor winter recreation opportunities. Nordic ski enthusiasts in particular are spoiled for choice, as the region’s many parks and resorts offer mile-uponmile of superbly groomed trails—in all, some 250 acres of land in Muskoka is accessible for Nordic skiers, while Horseshoe Resort boasts some 40km of groomed trails.
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BY CAMERON ALEXANDER
Many of these same trails are used for snowshoeing, a sport that’s gained in popularity in recent years. Horseshoe Resort alone has some 10km of well-groomed snowshoe trails, minimal equipment is needed and it takes just minutes to master—modern snowshoes are a far cry from those huge old wood models of years past, and technology has led to a whole new generation of light, easy-to-use gear that makes the sport accessible for the whole family. These snowshoes can handle the deepest of snow, opening up the backcountry for winter hiking and camping. Other popular and accessible winter activities include skating, pond hockey, ice fishing, winter horseback trail and sleigh rides, curling and snow tubing. Horseshoe in fact operates six fast tubing chutes, as well as a magic carpet to whisk you back
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to the top. And your winter outdoor fun needn’t end there. Most Ontario communities hold fun winter festivals, many of them taking place during Christmas and March Break and hosted in conjunction with area resorts like Deerhurst and Horseshoe.
NEED FOR SPEED Ontario is famous for its huge snowmobile network—in fact, more than 30,000km of trails crisscross the province, making it one of the most traversed snowmobile destinations anywhere in the world. For those who don’t have a machine of their own, both Deerhurst and Horseshoe Resorts offer excellent snowmobile packages including machine and equipment rentals. Deerhurst’s snowmobile program is operated by Back Country Tours, and packages included guided tours of various lengths and night riding including a bonfire stop. ATV winter tour packages are also available, with no experience required as full instruction can be included if needed. And over at Horseshoe, tour provider Yamaha Adventures also offers both ATV and snowmobile packages that include full gear and machine rental, as well as expert training before riders are let loose on the trails. For something completely different—and a darn site quieter—Deerhurst’s dogsledding offerings are one of those quintessen-
Photo: Back Country Tours
tially Canadian experiences. Racing through silent forests, the only noise you’ll hear is the hiss of the sled skimming over the fresh snow, along with the occasional barking from excited dogs. It’s especially exciting for kids, who will love “Chili-Doggin” with pint-size sleds perfect for young mushers.
And finally, let’s not forget that hiking can still be a lot of fun on a sunny winters day. Both Horseshoe and Deerhurst Resorts maintain numerous walking trails around their properties, as well as many opportunities to stop off for a welcome warming drink when you’re done. SL
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IN STYLE & ON TREND
HILL STYLE HOT NEW GEAR TO MAKE YOU SIZZLE ON THE SLOPES
SOREL TOFINO HERRINGBONE LADIES BOOT The Tofino is quickly becoming a SOREL classic. A perfect combination of comfort, versatility and styling, its upper herringbone textile and faux fur cuff lend elegance to the waterproof breathable membrane construction of the PU-coated leather shell. A fulllength microfleece lining with 100 grams of insulation works with the removable, moulded EVA footbed and moulded rubber outsole to give warmth and comfort. Available at Red Devil Sports, Blue Mountain Village
SMITH I/O GOGGLE These trendy I/O goggles come with easily interchanged lenses, an amazing field of view, impressive comfort and fog-free optical technology. Key features include a spherical, carbonic-X lens with TLT optics, 5X anti-fog inner lens and three-layer DriWix face foam. Available at Lifted and Blue Basin, Blue Mountain Village
CANADA GOOSE JACKET
A stylishly modern take on this iconic company’s classic parkas, these new designs are slim, long and light, providing greater coverage during Ontario’s cold winters. Available at Red Devil Sports, Blue Mountain Village
COLUMBIA BASELAYER Developed by the world’s leading physiologists, Columbia’s new baselayer series for kids offers maximum warmth, minimum weight and zoned performance to ensure optimal comfort. Available at Columbia Kids Sportswear Company, Blue Mountain Village
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NEVE MARIEL SWEATER An artful medley of colour and texture, the Mariel—Made from 100% ultra-fine merino wool and knitted in a reverse jacquard—is an essential après ski pullover. The cowl neck design, with removable grosgrain ribbon option, is sure to keep you warm on blustery winter days… and cozy by the fire. Available at Red Devil Sports, Blue Mountain Village
TOP GEAR IT’S ALL FINE AND DANDY LOOKING GREAT ON THE SLOPES, BUT YOU’LL NEED THE GEAR TO GO WITH IT. HERE ARE SKYLIFE
MAGAZINE’S HOT TIPS FOR BOARDERS AND SKIERS ALIKE…
SALOMON Q98 (MENS & LADIES)
OAKLEY RECON MITT This multi-purpose winter mitt has Hydrogauge 10 waterproof protection, thinsulate insulation and under-cuff design, and features an antimicrobial lining, a PU nose wipe… and a handy goggle wipe on the thumb. Available at Tee to Ski, Horseshoe Resort
The optimum blend of powder readiness and on-piste stability for the adventurous skier. The Q-98 is stable yet playful, with semisandwich construction, full wood core, honeycomb inserts in the tips and Utility Rocker technology. Available at Lifted, Blue Mountain Village
REACH FOR THE COSMOS AND GYPSY SALOMON SNOWBOARDS
Mens: This is Bode Merrill’s vehicle of choice in the back, side and front country. Featuring ABC Green Roll construction, as well as Popster and Ghost technology, this bad boy will have you ripping man-sized lines all the way to the chalet. Ladies: Strike Gypsy gold and shine a light on your freestyle fortune as you migrate from park to park with ease thanks to EQ Rad sidecut, and break boundaries with the explosiveness of this board’s Rock Out camber profile. Available at Lifted, Blue Mountain Village
OAKLEY A-FRAME GRETCHEN BLEILER NORDIC GOGGLE Named after Nordic champion Gretchen Bleiler, these Scandanavian-inspired women’s pro-rider goggles are styled after Bleiler’s hometown of Aspen, Colorado. The A-frame is an iconic Oakley design with dual-vented lenses with F3 anti-fog coating, and a flexible Omatter chassis that conforms to the face. Available at Tee to Ski, Horseshoe Resort
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NEW MEMBER’S ONLY PROGRAM CONNECTS CITY, COUNTRY… AND THE WORLD BY KATE HILLYAR
he concept of urban vacation ownership is not a new one. In 1996, New York City developer Bruce Eichner had the bright idea of opening a vacation ownership resort in the heart of the city. Critics of the project claimed it would never be successful—after all, they said, vacation ownership was designed for resorts and destinations like Mexico, Orlando and Hawaii. Yet nearly 20 years later, the 26-storey Manhattan Club is still welcoming visitors. Since then, urban vacation ownership opportunities have sprung up in major cities around the world and continue to thrive. And just this year, Toronto-based Skyline International Development announced they’ll be joining the urban and resort vacation ownership market under the Skyline Vacation Club brand. Lead by Jude Carrillo, an industry veteran with 25 years experience in resort real estate and vacation ownership, Skyline Vacation Club is well
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positioned for success in the Ontario market. The Club will make use of Skyline’s existing assets—two boutique hotels in downtown Toronto and two drive-to resort destinations—to provide a unique mix of urban and resort vacation options. The vision, explains Carrillo, came from Skyline President and Founder, Gil Blutrich. “From the beginning, the vision for Skyline has been to create vacation experiences that enhance our guests’ lives and the communities within which we live and play,” says Blutrich. “As Skyline has grown, we’ve always thought about how we can continue to improve our guest experience. We have homeowners and we have guests, but there’s an in-between market—the loyal guest who returns for the Skyline experience year after year. Perhaps they like to ski and golf, or maybe stay a few nights in the city each year. We wanted to provide something for that person.”
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Enter Carrillo, a leader in the vacation club industry. “When I met Gil, I realized that Skyline could offer a truly unique and real opportunity to combine urban and resort vacations in one club— a one stop shop for members.” A year and a half later, Skyline Vacation Club is ready to launch. The Club, says Carrillo, is the answer for Ontario residents looking for flexible, four season vacation options in their own backyard. “The staycation trend is not going away,” he says. “More and more we meet families looking for affordable getaways one or two hours away from home that have something for everyone. That is certainly one option Skyline Vacation Club provides.” And Carrillo’s right. According to BMO’s 2012 Summer Travel Survey, nearly two thirds of Canadian vacations are taken within Canada and of that, 39 per cent are within the traveller’s own province. Nearly half of respondents (44 per cent) ranked affordability as the primary driver of their vacation plans, with an average summer vacation budget of $2,000. “The benefit of Skyline Vacation Club is members are pre-paying for their vacation and essentially guaranteeing they’ll make use of that time, whether they spend it with the family or enjoy a romantic weekend away,” adds Carrillo.
FROM DOWNTOWN TO COTTAGE COUNTRY Club members will have access to four Skyline hotels and resorts—the centrally located Pantages Hotel Toronto Centre; the Cosmopolitan Hotel, a Zen retreat in the city; four-season playground, Horseshoe Resort; and the iconic Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka. Skyline Vacation Club’s point-based system gives members complete control of their vacation experience. Points are redeemed on a per night basis, meaning members can spend two nights in Toronto or a week during ski season at Horseshoe Resort. The choice is theirs. “The club gives members both access and connectability,” says Blutrich. “It’s a very affordable way to get the town and country experience that so many Ontarians want.” With two locations in downtown Toronto, Skyline Vacation Club has positioned itself perfectly to take advantage of the high demand for city centre vacation offerings. “Urban vacation ownership is not typically cost-effective for developers,” says Carrillo. “That’s why traditionally vacation clubs have centred on resort destinations. The real estate and construction costs in the city can be astronomical.
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We were fortunately able to capitalize on our existing assets.” Cities that have been able to create opportunities for urban vacation ownership destinations have seen incredible return. With only six per cent of vacation ownership in the United States located in urban destinations, the product is still a niche market, but clearly in high demand. The same reasons that a city appeals to tourists make it attractive for vacation clubs: countless opportunities for recreation. With proximity to theatres, shopping, worldclass attractions and events, members of Skyline Vacation Club will join the nearly 10 million overnight visitors that come to Toronto on an annual basis. Centrally located, both properties provide easy access to restaurants, entertainment and on-site Shizen Spas. And for corporate members, both are within walking distance of Toronto’s business district. “We’ve got a vacation option for everyone,” remarks Carrillo. “If you want to get away from the city, Skyline’s resorts are within reasonable driving distance and provide the ultimate in relaxation and fun.” Skyline Vacation Club’s two Ontario resort locations give members access to more than 60 on-site activities in four season destination communities. With a rich history, the iconic Deerhurst Resort is set in Ontario’s desirable Muskoka cottage country on placid Peninsula Lake. In the summer, the waterfront provides a lively stage for all manner of activities, from waterskiing to fishing, and the change of seasons brings a colourful richness to the resort’s sprawling landscape. In winter, members can explore the area on snowshoes or snowmobiles, and in spring, golfers get set to tee off on Muskoka’s first championship golf course, Deerhurst Highlands. At Horseshoe Resort near Barrie, 26 ski runs line the valley, providing winter enjoyment for all
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ages. In the summer months, members take in more than 20 kms of bike trails and an easy connection to the lush Copeland Forest. An Adventure Park keeps the whole family entertained with gem mining and a maze for the little ones, and a zip line for thrill seekers. Club Concierge brings an added level of service and helps members navigate the wide range of activities and possibilities so they get the most out of their vacation experience. Located on-site, Club Concierge assists with everything from booking show tickets and dinner reservations to arranging grocery delivery in advance of members’ stays. “Our future members are busy people. That’s why Club Concierge is being introduced: to make planning vacations easy. Let us know what you want to do and we’ll take care of it. That in itself is a reason to join the Club,” explains Carrillo.
AROUND THE WORLD A partnership with the leader in global vacation exchange, RCI, means Skyline Vacation Club guests are not limited to where they vacation. Points can be exchanged for access to RCI’s 4000 plus resorts in more than 100 countries. “Finding a partner that could give our members more value and flexibility was very important to us,” says Carrillo. “We were approached by both of the industry leaders as well as smaller reputable vacation exchange organizations, but ultimately RCI offered the best combination of value and choice for our members.” Working with RCI gives members even more flexibility and customization when it comes to their vacation and ensures that points can be used wherever your dreams take you. “Ultimately, Skyline Vacation Club will give members access to downtown, cottage country and the world,” concludes Carrillo. “It’s simple, with no limits.” SL
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IN STYLE SKYLINE VACATION CLUB OFFERS MANY EXCITING EXCHANGE OPPORTUNITIES FOR OWNERS BY CATHERINE REYNOLDS
embership with a vacation exchange company such as RCI can add tremendous value to your vacation ownership. It allows RCI subscribing members the flexibility to discover new places by exchanging their timeshare ownership within a club for similar units at other properties within RCIâ€™s network of affiliated resorts.
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THE BASICS OF VACATION OWNERSHIP AND EXCHANGE Purchasing vacation ownership should be viewed as a lifestyle venture in future vacations, ensuring years of memorable and enjoyable experiences with your loved ones. When you purchase a vacation ownership, you’re typically allotted a certain amount of time at a particular resort, such as Skyline Hotels & Resorts’ beautiful properties in Canada. Vacation clubs like Skyline Vacation Club offer more flexibility than traditional timeshare experiences as owners are able to use their vacation ownership to stay in any of the properties in the vacation club’s portfolios. This opens up many options for owners. While many club owners are happy to return to their home resort or one of their club resorts year after year, you may want to add even more variety and flexibility by becoming a member of a vacation exchange company like RCI. With an exchange company, you can swap your allotted vacation ownership time for time at another resort. RCI is the world’s largest vacation exchange company, with more than 4,000 affiliated resort options in approximately 100 countries. With nearly 40 years of industry experience, the company sends millions of families on fabulous vacations each year through its RCI Points and RCI Weeks programs, along with its luxury exchange provider, The Registry Collection program.
HOW VACATION EXCHANGE WORKS By becoming a member of a vacation exchange program like RCI, club owners gain access to a network of thousands of affiliated resorts in hundreds of destinations around the world, including such popular destinations as Orlando, Las Vegas, Spain and the Canary Islands, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the UK. Or, seek more off-the-beaten-path adventures in South Africa, China, or Brazil. When an owner decides that they will not be returning to a property within their vacation club or their home resort, they can explore exchange options and choose among the available units within RCI’s vast network. They can search by destination, time of year, type of unit, and much more. RCI Guides are available over the phone to provide travel and vacation exchange advice.
The Registry Collection Program and Signature Selections by RCI BENEFITS THAT GO BEYOND EXCHANGE Along with the flexibility to exchange their timeshare, RCI offers members additional opportunities to enjoy supplementary vacations throughout the year. One of these opportunities is to use Extra Vacations getaways. Since one week is not always enough, Extra Vacations getaways offer the opportunity to purchase additional weeklong vacations at RCI affiliated resorts, with the option of not even using your Club Points in RCI. Instead, you can purchase seven-night getaways for less than the cost of a hotel stay yet while still enjoying spacious, resort style benefits and amenities. These come with a ‘Best Rate Guarantee’ to ensure that members are getting the best prices available. Last Call vacations are another option for RCI members who prefer not to use their Club Points. Members can purchase clearance-priced vacations at great RCI-affiliated resorts, which typically become available less than six weeks before check-in. Looking to expand your vacation horizons even further? As a member of RCI, you also have access to RCI Cruise vacations using your Club Points toward the purchase of a cruise vacation or purchase Cruise Extra Vacations getaways at RCI member-only special rates.
The Registry Collection program, part of RCI, is the world’s largest luxury exchange program with more than 200 affiliated properties accessible for exchange or under development at some of the world’s premier destinations. The program offers members access to an elite network of the finest vacation properties ranging from condo hotels and high-end fractional resorts to private residence clubs and fractional yachts. The program also offers several other benefits, including personal concierge services available 24 hours a day, whether members are on vacation or not, and discounts and special offers to several of the program’s Collection Partners, travel companies that offer a similar level of service and luxury as The Registry Collection program. Because of the new relationship between Skyline Vacation Club and RCI, members who own at Skyline will have access to the Signature Selections program. In addition to being able to exchange through RCI’s exchange system, these members are given some access to the lavish resort experiences available through The Registry Collection. This offers even more flexibility, choice and outstanding vacation experiences.
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VACATION OWNERSHIP TERMINOLOGY Because vacation ownership can seem complicated at first, there are several useful terms and definitions that can help you understand this great vacation option. The American Resort Development Association’s informational website, VacationBetter.org, provides several useful definitions: • DESTINATION CLUB: Members are not buying a specific property/real estate, but rather the right to use at any of a portfolio of homes owned or operated by the club company. With few exceptions, they offer a non-equity based membership emphasizing a broad selection in vacation home experiences. • DEVELOPER: The party or company owning the property, unit/weeks or club memberships. The developer is responsible for constructing the accommodations and on-site amenities, selling the product and in many cases, providing management services for the property. • FIXED OWNERSHIP: A type of timeshare ownership in which the owner knows the specific week(s) within a given year in which he/she has access to the accommodation annually. • FLOATING OWNERSHIP: A timeshare arrangement in which owners reserve each year’s vacation time on a firstcome, first-served basis. At most resorts with a floating program, unit allocation also floats, assuring owners comparable accommodations but not necessarily the same unit each year. Access may float within a season or year round. • FRACTIONAL/PRIVATE RESIDENCE CLUB: Resort accommodations with related use rights in increments of more than two weeks and sometimes as long as three months (quarter share). This type of ownership is almost always deeded and is a more affordable alternative to a second home. This product segment enjoys a high level of service and is considered the luxury tier of shared ownership. • HOME RESORT: The resort location where a new purchaser owns or has a designated week in a club or points-based program. Ownership is usually tied to this home resort and generally involves priority reservation rights in that location. • TIMESHARE: Traditional timeshares regardless of whether they are backed by a deed or not, allow buyers to purchase an increment of time, typically one week, in a condominium, villa or apartment type of furnished vacation accommodation. Timeshare owners receive either a fixed week or a floating time reservation arrangement that may vary by unit type and season. More than two-thirds of timeshare interests today are deeded. • UNIT WEEK: The basic form of vacation ownership accommodations, consisting of the use of a dwelling unit for a seven-day period from check-in to checkout. • VACATION CLUB: A marketing term often used to describe various types of timesharing that usually involves use or access to more than one resort location. Real estate owner-
RCI PLATINUM MEMBERSHIP To deliver even greater travel and lifestyle perks, RCI offers members the opportunity to upgrade to RCI Platinum membership, a premium-tier membership level given to all Skyline Vacation Club members. This provides owners with a range of valuable benefits in addition to the standard RCI membership. As an RCI Platinum tier member you’ll have access to even more exchange opportunities as well as opportunities for unit upgrades and Platinum Rebates. If a larger unit is available within two weeks of confirmed check-in, an RCI Platinum member can upgrade without paying additional RCI fees. In addition to offering enhanced vacation benefits, RCI Platinum membership also provides great savings throughout the year—whether you’re on vacation or not. Some additional benefits include monthly dining certificates, access to box office tickets, online booking of golf tee times, an online wine store, and much more.
ship or points are included in this type of timeshare vacation club, and provides vacation flexibility to the owner. • VACATION OWNERSHIP: A term often used to describe resort timesharing and other forms of shared ownership of leisure real estate, such as a fractionals and private residence clubs.
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WHAT SETS RCI APART? RCI’s legacy is found in a series of innovations that lay claim to being “first” in the industry. The company was the first to
introduce the idea of timeshare exchange nearly four decades ago and since then has shaped the industry with ideas such as the first global points exchange program, the first high-end luxury exchange network and, most recently, making the exchange process more transparent and flexible. The vacation ownership exchange model can be perfect for owners who relish experiencing new and exotic destinations while knowing the resort experience and standard of quality will remain consistent no matter the destination. RCI understands this and works diligently to cater to its members’ constant thirst for adventure. Since its inception, RCI has continuously added quality resorts to its portfolio of properties and looks for ways to improve the member experience. In fact, it added more than 100 new properties to its portfolio of affiliated resorts last year alone and has made the vacation search and planning process easier and more fun for members through cuttingedge service and technology. SL
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f, as they say, “the world’s a stage”, it stands to reason that Toronto, with its many excellent theatres and theatrical companies, must be a pretty important place. Visitors and residents alike are spoiled for choice, and with everything from big Broadway musicals to engaging (and often challenging) offerings from smaller professional companies, Toronto has much to offer theatre fans.
THEATRE WITH SOUL One of the city’s most successful professional theatre companies is the aptly named Soulpepper Theatre Company located at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the heart of Toronto’s historic Distillery District. Started in 1998, Soulpepper, this rep company founded by actors continues to
SMALLER STAGE COMPANIES HAVE MUCH TO OFFER BY KIM KERR
revisit (and reinvent) everything from well-known classics to sometimes little-known modern plays. At the same time, the company provides much needed space and production opportunities to budding actors, along with all-important mentoring from seasoned professionals from around the globe. A run-down of Soulpepper’s fall/winter line-up is enough to demonstrate the company’s eclectic nature. Back by popular demand (always a sure sign of success!), the award winning, heart-warming holiday hit Parfumerie (Nov. 27th—Dec. 21st) tells the wonderful love story of two shop clerks who conduct their affair through anonymous letters, all the while unwittingly squabbling whenever alone. Written by Miklós László and adapted by Adam
Always the bad guy/girl/thing: Ross Petty as Ogopogo in his pantomime, The Little Mermaid.
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Pettle and Brenda Robins, this first rate production is directed by Morris Panych and features a stellar cast that includes founding members William Webster and Joseph Ziegler. With another nod to the holiday season, Soulpepper is also putting on the suitable-for-allages Alligator Pie (Nov. 3rd—Dec. 1st), an original production and recent Dora Award-winner that brings to life the famous children’s poems of Canada’s Father Goose, Dennis Lee. This stunning production—created and performed by Ins Choi, Raquel Duffy, Ken MacKenzie, Gregory Prest and Mike Ross—literally fills the stage with wonderful music, clever invention… and, of course, Lee’s delightful imagination. While on the subject of Soulpepper, be sure to check out the company’s Global Cabaret Festival (Oct. 24th—27th). This annual must-attend event features over 100 artists performing original cabaret, theatre and dance works at the Young Centre, as well as the Soulpepper Dance Awards, established to recognize the best of Toronto’s dance professionals. And while you’re at it, stick around for the new-this-year Impulse Festival (Dec. 12th—15th), a four-day celebration of improvisation performed by the world’s leading improv troupes.
Raquel Duffy, Ins Choi, Mike Ross and Ken MacKenzie in Soulpepper’s Alligator Pie.
Daniel MacIvor in Tarragon's Best Brothers.
Patricia Fagan and Oliver Dennis in Soulpepper’s Parfumerie. Adam Paolozza wrote and stars in Tarragon’s Dostoevsky-inspiref The Double.
A THEATRE OF PREMIERES Another of the city’s leading professional companies, Tarragon Theatre has its home close to Toronto’s artsy Annex area. Founded in 1970, the theatre has grown considerably and today consists of two playing spaces (the 205-seat Mainspace and 100-seat Extra Space) along with three rehearsal halls, and has earned a reputation for the development, creation and encouragement of new work, including some 180 premieres. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s a Toronto premiere that launches Tarragon’s 2013-14 season. Written by award-winning playwright-in-residence Daniel
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MacIvor, The Best Brothers (through to Oct. 27) is a bittersweet comedy focusing on the lives of two brothers, one a straight-laced architect with little appetite for adventure, the other a free spirited real-estate agent. Thrust together to deal with the sudden death of their mother, the duo must wrestle fundamental questions of love and family such as whom mom loved more… and who gets the dog. Other sure-fired Tarragon hits-in-the-making include The Double (Oct. 15th—Nov. 24th), a play inspired by Dostoevsky’s novella of the same name, a triangle between a neurotic, his doppel-
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100 Years Young ELGIN AND WINTER GARDEN THEATRE CENTRE CELEBRATES HISTORIC LANDMARK
Chilina Kennedy (the Little Mermaid), Ross Petty (Ogopogo) and Dan Chameroy (Dame Plumbum) in Petty’s festive panto, The LIttle Mermaid.
ganger and a stand-up bass in 19th century Russia; The Valley (Nov. 6th—Dec. 15th), a touching story of the unexpected shared lives of strangers in an expertly woven story of healing; and The Ugly One (Jan. 8th—Feb. 16th), a razor-sharp satire from Germany about getting ahead in a narcissistic world obsessed with beauty, image… and plastic surgery.
FESTIVE FAMILY FUN No review of Toronto’s wonderful world of theatre would be complete without mentioning Ross Petty Productions’ always-brilliant annual festive pantomime. After tackling a James Bondinfluenced Sleeping Beauty last year, it’s Hans Christian Anderson’s turn for a little spoofingaround at the historic Elgin Theatre as Petty and his cohorts tackle The Little Mermaid (Nov. 22nd—Jan. 4th). With more puns than your average British sitcom, Ontario’s “O-Fishal Holiday Pantomime”—now in its 18th year—will see the lead role played by musical theatre powerhouse Chilina Kennedy, who recently starred as Mary Magdalene in the Stratford-to-Broadway production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Kennedy’s joined by an all-star cast including Dan Chameroy as the Little Mermaid’s aunt, Dame Plumbum (yes, in pantomime, the sexes do get a little mixed up); Canadian Idol finalist Marc Devigne as the inevitably handsome Prince; and So You Think You Can Dance Canada star Jordan Clark, making her stage debut as Ogopogo’s slithery assistant. And, of course, there’s
Mirvish Productions’ Aladdin
Petty himself—always the bad guy/girl/thing— as Ogopogo, the evil serpent sea wizard. Don’t you dare miss it… While on the topic of family theatre, you also won’t want to miss Mirvish Production’s world premiere of Aladdin (Nov. 1st—Jan. 5th), Disney’s new Broadway-bound musical adapted from the hit film and featuring some of the best-loved music by composer Alan Menken and lyricists Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin. Brought to the Ed Mirvish Theatre by the team responsible for The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin promises to be a similar extravaganza of incredible sets, costumes, characters and songs. SL
The iconic Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre this year celebrates its 100th birthday, making it one of Toronto’s oldest theatre houses and the last still-operating double-decker theatre in the world. After opening in December 1913, the Elgin was joined just two months later by the Winter Gardens. Built by theatre impresario Marcus Loew and designed by Thomas Lamb, the theatres served as the Canadian flagship for Loew’s growing entertainment empire, operating as vaudeville and silent film houses boasting appearances by such greats as George Burns and Gracie Allen, Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson and Milton Berle. The Winter Garden closed in 1928 and remained boarded up for more than 60 years, becoming Toronto’s “ghost theatre”, while the Elgin became one of Toronto’s favourite movie palaces. It wasn’t until 1981 that the theatre complex was given a new lease on life after being purchased by the Ontario Heritage Trust, the province’s leading heritage agency. The ensuing restoration—the largest of its kind in Canada— took place between 1985 and 1989 and included the addition of new lounges, lobbies and a backstage pavilion. Since completion of the project, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre has hosted such stars as Donny Osmond, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Celine Dion, Micheal Buble, Christopher Plummer, Anne Murray, Russell Peters, Conan O’Brien and Sandra Bernhard. Now a National Historic Site, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre—the majestic Elgin Theatre on the main level, and the magical Winter Garden Theatre seven stories directly above it—is hosting a number of events to celebrate its 100th Anniversary, including a Gala (Oct. 7th) and free public tours (Oct. 9th, 10th and 12th). Skyline Hotels & Resorts, through the Pantages Hotel and the Cosmopolitan Hotel, has partnered with the Ontario Heritage Trust as the Official Hotels of the Ontario Heritage Trust, as well as for the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre and its 100th Anniversary.
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DISTRACTIONS & EXCURSIONS
TORONTO WELCOMES ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST AQUARIUMS
BY KIM KERR
ust because the weather’s gotten a little cooler—okay, a lot cooler—doesn’t mean our craving for fun decreases. Fortunately, the changing of the seasons doesn’t seem to deter the folks who provide us with the wonderful entertainment and activities we all enjoy. And whether your preference is indoors or outdoors, this fall and winter is gearing up to be one of the busiest ever in Ontario with amazing new attractions and countless fun events to try out. By far the most anticipated new major tourist attraction to set up shop in the province is Ripley’s
Aquarium of Canada. Located at the base of the CN Tower in Toronto, the word “aquarium” really doesn’t do this stunning attraction justice—it’s mammoth, houses the world’s largest “fish tank” and is so big an underwater viewing tunnel (the largest in North America) has been constructed so that visitors can see things from a completely unique perspective... the seabed. Containing more than 5.7 million litres of water, the aquarium houses some 15,000 aquatic animals and offers visitors more than 100 unique interactive opportunities to immerse themselves in amazing exhibits that
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include three touch pools featuring horseshoe crabs, sharks, and rays. A total of nine carefully curated galleries showcase a cross section of saltand fresh water environments from around the world, including species from Toronto’s very own backyard, the Great Lakes basin.
The aquarium, located just steps from Toronto’s revitalized former rail yards, also features wonderful educational programs that will inspire kids of all ages to want to learn more about our lakes and oceans and the things that live in them. Programs include ‘Sleeping with the Sharks’, ‘Behind the Scene Tours’ and ‘Marine Teens’. Best of all, you’ll be supporting a world-class marine life facility that actively promotes environmental education, conservation and research while providing entertainment for visitors of all ages. www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada
ONE FOR THE GIRLS Sorry, fellas, you might want to skip this one! Huntsville’s annual Girlfriends’ Getaway Weekend (Nov. 8th - 10th), now in its sixth spectacular year, sees hundreds of women leaving their partners and kids (just for the weekend!) and heading to
Muskoka for a little R’n’R all by themselves. Last year’s event attracted upward of 1,800 visitors to the area—mothers, daughters, girlfriends and gal pals—for cooking demos, spa treatments, sports and great music. Things kick-off on Friday with a fun fashion show and VIP dinner hosted by wellknown chef Jeff Suddaby of local restaurant 3 Guys and a Stove at Canada’s Summit Centre, as well as live music from CP Lacey, one of the world’s top musical impersonators. The fun continues Saturday with a curling bonspiel, cooking demonstrations and a special “pre-show dinner” before the main event… Pat Benatar and partner Neil Giraldo live in concert. A variety of exciting GGW packages are available, including stays at Deerhurst Resort. For details of this not-to-be-missed all-gal weekend, visit www.huntsvillegirlfriendsgetaway.com. And for all you guys out there who feel left out, Muskoka’s hosting something special for couples. Comics on the Rocks (Jan. 31st—Feb. 2nd), now in its third year, includes indoor/outdoor events and activities taking place throughout Huntsville over the weekend, culminating in a stand-up comedian performance at the Algonquin Theatre (past headliners have included such greats as Rob Schneider, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood). www.huntsvillelakeofbays.on.ca
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Anna & Michael Olson
MUSIC THROUGH THE DECADES If you’re planning on visiting cottage country to participate in one or more of the great fall/winter events mentioned in this round up, be sure to checkout Deerhurst Resort’s excellent Decades show. This Muskoka tradition—a feast of fantastic music from the 50s right through to the present day—has itself been around for years, and is in fact where country singer and Canadian mega-star Shania Twain got her first big break in what was then called The Vegas Show.
Scarf by Marni Martin
Spruce Pendant by Miranda Britton
‘TIS THE SEASON
This most recent incarnation is an all-new show, and the energetic cast do an incredible job of covering more than 70 songs from artists as diverse as Madonna, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Gotye, Rod Stewart, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder and Queen, to name only a few. Incredibly, the cast undertakes over 300 costume changes over the course of the 90-minute show, an accomplishment in itself that serves to keep things fast-paced and fun. One of the newer highlights at around the mid-way point is a wonderful version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah performed by show veterans Glenn Bladon (guitar and vocals, and an original cast member since the Shania days), Will Main (bass and vocals), and Leaynne Connolly (vocals)… it’s just one of the reasons the show consistently receives standing ovations. For show dates and details, including information on availability for private functions and touring, visit www.thedecadesshow.com.
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Canadians, it’s true, are keen shoppers (apparently it has something to do with our long winters). And nothing provides a better excuse to get in some serious shopping than that looming December 25th gift-giving deadline. Fortunately, a variety of great festive shopping experiences have sprung up over the years, adventurous alternatives to the usual trek to the mall, and run the gamut from the massive One of a Kind Christmas Show in Toronto to smaller affairs across the province. In addition to excellent gift ideas, these events usually provide fun hands-on learning opportunities along with wonderful entertainment. One of the most unique new experiential holiday events (shopping and much more besides) is ‘Twas the Month before Christmas (Nov. 15th—17th), a funfilled weekend of holiday cheerfulness taking place at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville. Hosted by Karl Lohnes, design columnist for Metro News and home expert for CTV’s Canada AM and The Marilyn Denis Show, the event features festive tips and tactics from Food Network regulars Michael Smith and Anna and Michael Olson. Participants get to choose from a variety of workshops and demos on topics as diverse as holiday home décor, cooking, wine
Photography by Kelly Holinshead
tasting and crafting, followed up with interactive dinner events and dancing. Special weekend packages are available that include two nights’ accommodation, Christmas Village onsite shopping, a dinner hosted by Karl Lohnes with Michael Smith, yoga, workshops, tastings and cooking demonstrations. www.deerhurstresort.com/twas-christmas Few places in Ontario are as picture-perfect when the snow flies as Muskoka. So while you’re in the area soaking up the pre-Christmas cheer at places like Bracebridge’s Santa’s Village or Muskoka Pioneer Village, be sure to check out Made in Muskoka Christmas (Dec. 13th - 15th), a craft and art show being held in Huntsville. The show brings together some of Muskoka’s finest makers of arts and crafts, and kicks off on the Friday evening with a special reception. Best of all, a bottomless cider pot will be ‘on’ all weekend to make sure guests feel welcome. And when you’re done, be sure to visit Main Street Huntsville for a meal… and, of course, more great shopping. www.madeinmuskokachristmas.com Oh, and one final suggestion for Christmas fun: Disney On Ice… Princesses & Heroes (Dec. 20th - 29th) Roger’s Centre. You’re kids won’t be able to thank you enough! www.rogerscentre.com
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THE SOUND OF GREAT MUSIC There’s nothing much better than cozying up on a cold winter’s night to some great music. Better still if that music’s live on stage. For fans of fantastic classical music, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has lined up over 100 concerts for its new season, including two world premieres, a North American premiere and an impressive 11 Canadian premieres. While talking stats, the season also features 32 debuting artists, 28 Canadian guest artists, and works by nine Canadian composers. Whether it’s a one-off visit or you fancy seeing the lot, a variety of ticket options are available, including a compose-your-own subscription service available online at www.tso.ca. Under the guiding hand of Music Director Peter Oundjian, who this year celebrates his 10th anniversary with the TSO, this season continues the orchestra’s commitment to innovative programming with performances ranging from masterworks to new creations, as well as young people’s concerts and pops. New for this year, the TSO’s Friday Night Masterworks Concerts showcase the works of such greats as Orff (Carmina Burana, Nov. 1st) and Tchaikovsky (Variations on a Rococo Theme, Dec. 6th). And if you can swing it, try to join the TSO for one of their fascinating behind-the-scenes looks at how they prepare for
a concert, or one of their wonderful open rehearsals (check in advance for dates). From classical music… to classic music. Toronto’s Massey Hall recently announced its new Jazz at Massey Hall subscription series that begins this fall, a brilliant new program that will see the
likes of legendary guitar greats B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Joe Satriani and Canada’s very own Randy Bachman take centre stage. Other performers scheduled include George Thorogood and The Destroyers as they celebrate their 40th anniversary, and modern troubadours Steve Earle, Alejandro Escovedo and former Animals front man Eric Burdon. Another highlight will be the Cowboy Junkies’ premiere of their Kennedy Suite, a 14-song project set around (and performed on) the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. The great music doesn’t end there. Chris Botti, The Priests, Barra MacNeils, Ron White, Eddie Izzard, the Mariinsky Orchestra led by superstar conductor Valery Gergiev, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band all make welcome returns, as does the 27th edition of Toronto Blues Society’s popular Women’s Blues Revue and the 24th Annual Massed Military Band Spectacular featuring Col. Chris Hadfield. Finally, Classic Albums Live celebrates the very best of the 60s and 70s with performances from the country’s top session musicians. Albums featured note-for-note include Crime of the Century (Supertramp), Abbey Road (The Beatles), Hotel California (The Eagles), and Led Zeppelin II (Led Zeppelin). For details of all these and more, visit www.masseyhall.com. SL
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DISTRACTIONS & EXCURSIONS
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FANTASTIC FUN, WHATEVER THE WEATHER, AT BLUE MOUNTAIN VILLAGE BY KIM KERR
hen we think of a typical tourist-friendly village, most of us will conjure up images of century’s old cobbled streets, charming shops, intimate pubs and bars… and a sense of community that makes you feel you’re part of something truly unique. It also sounds— apart from the century’s old bit—a lot like Blue Mountain Village, a year-round vacation destination located on the southern tip of Georgian Bay. But this isn’t any typical village. It’s all relatively new, created to attract and entertain the throngs of visitors who come here year-round to enjoy numerous events and activities, to be wined and dined… and, of course, shop. Although at times it might seem as busy as a major city, it all works surprisingly well, and spending a day “in the Village” has become an increasingly popular way to pass the time. Located on 32 acres of prime real estate at the base of Blue Mountain, this “old-Ontario” themed Village includes 44 businesses, from restaurants and bars to clothing stores and specialty food shops. It’s a lively place pretty much any time of year, but it’s during the busy winter season that it really hustles: once the snow flies, it’s teeming with skiers young and old jostling for a place in the line-ups for the slopes, or looking for a cozy spot beside the bonfire in the alwaysbustling Village Square. Boasting some 70,000 sq. ft. of retail and entertainment space, there’s not much opportunity of ever being bored in the Village. The current tally of retail outlets covers everything from toys and games to entertain the kids (Jack & Maddy Toy Store) to designer jewelry (Azul Jewellery Boutique), and more than enough sporting goods stores to equip an Olympic team. As for dining,
there are 21 different food providers to choose from within an easy stroll of the Village Square, and encompassing everything from beaver tails and poutine to much fancier fare.
FUN FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES There’s never any shortage of fun things for kids to do in the Village, whether it’s on their own or with the rest of the family. The highlight for many youngsters is the chance to get wet and wild at Plunge! Aquatic Centre. Inspired by traditional Muskoka-style boathouses, this fun 10,000 sq. ft. waterpark has a huge indoor-outdoor heated
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pool (kids love watching each other’s hair freeze!), hot tubs, rope swings and slides, as well as a variety of kids programs. With three-hour, full-day or multi-day passes available, older kids can hang out by themselves and come and go as they please using the water park’s handy ‘In and Out’ wristband system. Another must-do on the Village’s long-list of kid-friendly activities is the wonderful Ridge Runner, Ontario’s first mountain coaster. It’s a rollercoaster-like thrill that winds and weaves its way down the mountain using nothing more than gravity. This exhilarating ride—so good once is simply never enough—took a year to construct and involves an exhilarating one-kilometer downhill ride at speeds of up to 42kmh. (A tip: if speed’s your thing, make sure you go ahead of the slower members of the family… not everyone likes to let go of the brake!) For kids with an artistic streak—and possibly looking for a respite from all that cold stuff – Crock A Doodle Studio offers hands-on pottery making. Kids love seeing their finely sculpted works of art glazed and kiln-fired to a brilliant, durable, food-safe finish. And while you’re waiting for their creations to set, you couldn’t do
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much better than take them for a skate on the four-acre Mill Pond. December’s a particularly good time to visit the Village. Every weekend leading up to Christmas will see it lit-up with an exciting seasonal family firework display over the millpond (Saturdays), as well as on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Horse and wagon rides are also available Saturdays and Sundays, as well as visits with Santa and a chance to join in a little caroling. Of course, there’s no need to wait until the snow flies to enjoy Blue Mountain Village or the surrounding area. October’s a great month to visit and join in the Thanksgiving celebrations during the Blue Mountain Apple Harvest Festival (Oct. 12-14). As well as the splendour of the fantastic fall colours along the Niagara Escarpment, visitors can participate in a variety of free fun activities including live music, buskers, hiking, biking, fall driving tours… and numerous apple-themed events such as cooking demos and pie tasting. The Village is also a part of the famous Apple Pie Trail, a network of businesses and events highlighting the region’s decades old affinity with all things apple, from restaurants to produce providers to cooking classes and museums. SL
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BRIGHTS GALLERY: Great Canadian Art Brights Gallery is home to a topnotch collection of original Canadian and international art. It’s as much a mini art gallery as it is a retail outlet. Winter activities like skiing and snowboarding feature heavily in the art on display, an indication of the influence these sports have had on the area’s many talented artists.
IN ADDITION TO THE BUSINESSES ALREADY MENTIONED, BLUE MOUNTAIN VILLAGE HOSTS ENOUGH RETAIL AND DINING OPPORTUNITIES TO KEEP VISITORS BUSY FOR HOURS. HERE ARE A JUST A FEW YOU’LL WANT TO CHECK OUT…
BIRCH & CO.: Edgy Fashion
KIKAKU SUSHI BAR: Always Fresh
This unique clothing store offers exclusive high-quality ladies and men’s wear from leading up-andcoming UK brands such as Scotch and Soda and Firetrap. Canadian manufacturers include Papillion Blanc and the ever-popular Canada Goose Down Parkas, and from the US, Lauren Moshi’s celebrity worn limited edition prints and Premium Paige Denim. A full range of fashionable scarves, gloves and hats are also available.
One of the newest additions to Blue Mountain Village, Kikaku features three great seating options for sushi fans: a bar, a sit-down dining room and an outdoor patio with its spectacular views of the Niagara Escarpment. Family owned and operated, Kikaku serves only fresh fish brought in daily from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and is proud of the fact they never use deep fryers—it’s all about healthy, tasty dining here.
ONE TOOTH ACTIVEWEAR: Yoga and Sports Accessories It’s one thing dressing for comfort while working out… but what about feeling comfortable and looking good at the same time? It can be done, and the folks at One Tooth Activewear are more than happy to indulge the fashion-conscious yoga fan in a little dress-up for the gym. Clothing lines include pants, capris, jackets, tops, headbands, hoodies and shorts, all in a variety of bright colors and styles and available for guys and girls of all ages, including children.
ROYAL MAJESTY ESPRESSO BAR BAKERY: Snack Attack There are few things better than a piping hot beverage on a chilly day, especially when it’s accompanied by a sweet treat. Royal Majesty Espresso Bar Bakery will satisfy your cravings
while offering a cozy retreat after a busy day having fun, serving great cappuccinos, espressos, loose-leaf organic teas and Belgian hot chocolate. The bakery’s fresh baked goods are also cause for a visit, whether your preference is for a gooey cinnamon roll, a perfect croissant or a decadent chocolate brownie. Royal Majesty is also known for its fresh soups and sandwiches… all of which could, if you’re brave enough, be enjoyed while snuggled up outside under a blanket on the patio.
VILLAGE MEMORIES PHOTO ART STUDIO: Moody Blues GEORGIAN CHRISTMAS: Year-round Jollies It’s the hap-happiest time of the year each and every day at Georgian Christmas, and never more so than in the lead up to the festive season. Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect Christmas-themed novelty item or just browsing while getting into the spirit of things, this fun shop has one of Canada’s largest arrays of custom-made Christmas ornaments, home decor, tree decorations, tableware and gift sets.
Nothing says “We had a great time!” quite like a holiday snap. And thanks to Village Memories, you can have your favourite ‘Kodak Moment’ transformed into amazing artwork to take home with you. One of the most popular digitally enhances the photo so it looks as if someone had painted it, right down to textured brushstrokes. Add a signature, and it’s extremely convincing. Your finished masterpiece can be mounted on canvas, metal, hardwood, slate… even phone cases.
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IN STYLE & ON TREND
OUR HANDY GUIDE TO THE YEAR’S TOP TRAVEL ACCESSORIES
Travel is always fun. But it can sometimes be a little stressful, which is why a little advance preparation can go a long way to ensuring everything goes as smoothly as possible. To help ease the stress, we’ve put together this useful guide to some of the latest gear and gizmos designed to ensure your travel experience— whether for business or pleasure—is as comfortable as possible.
WIRED(LESS) FOR SOUND Nothing soothes the travel-weary soul quite like a few good tunes. Thanks to the good folks at Jabra, one of the world’s leading producers of innovative headset and speakerphone solutions, you can now get big sounding speakers that easily fit into the smallest of carry-ons—even your pocket. Designed to go anywhere, the compact Jabra Solemate Mini ($99) packs two powerful speakers and a battery capable of lasting up to eight hours. Best of all, the Mini is completely wireless, and connects effortlessly to any Bluetooth device. Available in multiple colours, the durable rubber-coated speakers can also be used as a speakerphone. www.jabra.ca
WHERE’S MY BLANKIE? Whether you’re flying business or coach, this cozy cashmere Travel Blanket by Armand Diradourian ($495) fits perfectly into any carry-on or tote. Woven in two-tone bars and stripes and finished each end with a wide contrasting band and ribbed border, this handy throw—available in Krishna and ivory—rolls up easily and secures with a leather carry strap that doubles as a wristband. www.armanddiradourian.com
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NOT-SO-SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE Let’s face it, who hasn’t at some point in their travels wished for something soft and cozy on which to lay their head? Well, whether you’re in an airport lounge, in-flight or trying to catch some ‘zzzs’ in a car, the Ostrich Nap Pillow ($99) may be just what you’ve been wanting. Part pillow, part garment, the Ostrich Nap Pillow’s soothing cave-like interior shelters and isolates your head and hands, creating a snug environment in which to take a comfortable power nap anytime, anyplace. www.ostrichpillow.com
CONCIERGE CORNER Tips for Toronto Travellers Planning a trip to Toronto? Bianca Smellie, Guest Services Agent at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, shares her tips and tricks for getting the most out of the city.
HIS AND HERS: PACK AND GO!
Travel light. Toronto has great shopping, so you’ll be sure to pick up a few finds while you’re here, and your hotel’s front desk team can make sure you get any essentials you forgot to pack.
For ladies in need of a little posttravel (or in-travel) makeover, Shany Cosmetics offer a variety of unique make-up travel cases. The Mini Studio To Go Makeup Case ($200) is a top-of-the-line professional makeup case that’s not only lightweight, it’s easy to carry with you wherever—and however—you travel. Perfect for on-the-go makeup application, its compact size, sturdy aluminum and titanium structure— along with its interchangeable trays, wheels and lights—ensures it’ll remain a girl’s best friend for years. www.shanycosmetics.com
Don’t ditch your fitness routine just because you’re on vacation. Numerous local gyms offer free day passes, and Cosmopolitan provides yoga mats so guests can easily pay a visit to a local studio. Keeping active makes it easier to get back into the groove post-vacation. Be careful not to overbook sightseeing tours. The City Tour will give you the highlights and you can hop on or off to explore places that pique your interest. Get cultured. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) offers discount admission on Friday evenings, or visit Queen St. West to take in up-and-coming bands and cheap drink specials. For travelling fellas with a penchant for a good cigar, an investment in a good travel humidor is money well spent. One of the leading brands is XIKAR Travel Humidors ($25-$100), a made-in America line consisting of six different sizes of sturdy, airtight, waterproof travel humidors. Each battery-charged humidor contains a high-density urethane foam cradle to protect your investment, as well as a foam humidifier to keep your cigars from spoiling. www.xikar.com
Dine with the locals. Toronto is a mosaic of ethnicities, each of which has its own neighbourhood and restaurants. This is one of the few places in the world where you can try authentic Vietnamese bahn mi sandwiches, a fresh lobster boil and chocolate tamales all in the same day. Stay social. The lobby bar is always a great place to meet fellow travellers and locals who can point you to sights that might not be in your guidebook. Leave your work at home (if you can). A vacation can be a great time to unplug and unwind… so be sure to take advantage of this special time.
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FOOD & DRINK
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LOCAL COMFORT DELECTABLE WINTER DISHES, DELICIOUSLY DONE
BY KIM KERR | PHOTOS: KELLY HOLINSHEAD
he cooler weather brings with it many wonderful reasons to indulge ourselves a little more than usual—or perhaps a lot more than usual! Eating is no exception, and eating well, better still. So when it came time to think about our food and drink feature for this Fall/Winter edition of SkyLife Magazine, we thought we’d turn to the experts “up north”. After all, not only does Muskoka get more than its fair share of white stuff, it also just so happens to be home to one of the world’s best-known places to rest one’s head—the iconic Deerhurst Resort.
In the 117 years since Deerhurst first opened its doors, it has impressed the palates of pop stars, politicians… and, of course, the countless thousands of regular holidaymakers wanting to experience that something special you simply can’t get anywhere else: those incredible views of trees and water that make Muskoka so unique. Add to the mix the world’s finest dining, and it’s easy to see the attraction. Today, while the huge woodstoves that once dominated Deerhurst’s kitchens have long since gone, the resort’s ability to tempt guests with wonderful locally sourced ingredients remains
Executive Chef David Bakker David Bakker takes his duties as Deerhurst Resort’s Executive Chef extremely seriously. Responsible for overseeing all kitchen operations, menu development and quality control, Chef David has built a career out of his two passions: food and education. With a strong background in hospitality, Chef David is a co-owner, executive chef and culinary director at Liaison College Toronto West Campus, in addition to teaching at Humber College’s School of Hospitality. Under the tutelage of his mentor, Chef Shawn Whalen, Chef David competed on an international level with Culinary Team Ontario and Culinary Team Canada, winning numerous gold medals. As an apprentice, he competed in the National Escoffier Society Cook-Off and was crowned 2003 National Junior Culinary Champion, winning Grand Gold and Best Apprentice of the Show. Prior to becoming an educator, Chef David held positions at several leading Toronto hotels including the Westin Prince (Executive Sous Chef), Marriott Bloor Yorkville (Executive Sous Chef, Sous Chef) and Four Seasons Yorkville (Banquet Production Cook). He completed his Chef de Cuisine Certification at Humber College, scoring one of the highest kitchen marks to-date, and has a diploma in Culinary Management from Toronto’s George Brown College.
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A Weekend with Chef Susur Lee Deerhurst Resort will be hosting worldrenowned Chef Susur Lee at a special weekend-long event taking place next spring (May 23th—25th, 2014). Food aficionados will not only have a chance to meet the great Chef in person, they’ll also have the opportunity to watch and savour his artistry during this special culinary weekend. The celebrity chef’s daring creativity and consuming passion for culinary artistry has earned him acclaim the world over, especially for his delectable small-plate dishes fusing modern Asian and French influences—skills that have earned him a place as a culinary genius and one of the ‘Ten Chefs of the Millennium’.
Packages include a two-night stay with a dinner reception Friday featuring a variety of interactive food stations, Saturday cooking demo with demo dish tasting, followed by “A Chef’s Journey” special dinner event, all hosted by Chef Susur Lee himself. Over the course of the weekend, there will be plenty of opportunity to meet, mingle, and be inspired by one of Canada's most acclaimed chefs and to savour his signature exquisite culinary creations. Visit www.deerhurstresort.com for further details.
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very much intact. In fact, the resort’s desire to use only the freshest of local produce is perhaps stronger than ever: Deerhurst is not only a founding member of Savour Muskoka, a group dedicated to providing consumers with a wide selection of regional culinary products, experiences and packages unique to the region, it also actively supports its ‘locavore’ initiatives at each of its food outlets. “We’re working hard to create and sustain a unique identity of what Muskoka cuisine is through the utilization of as many local suppliers and Savour Muskoka products as possible,” says Executive Chef David Bakker. “While the locavore movement has been around a long time, it’s only now becoming mainstream as more people become interested in what they’re really putting into their bodies. The time has come to celebrate the way we’re really meant to eat, the way food was meant to be.” Deerhurst staff themselves are responsible for producing many of the ingredients used for the menus at the flagship Eclipse as well as at its other dining facilities—everything from maple syrup, honey, shiitake mushrooms and herbs. In addition, staff are encouraged to forage for seasonal ingredients should a dish require them, and Chef David and his crew work closely with over 20 area suppliers to ensure guests eat local produce whenever possible. The resort’s grounds department is also extremely supportive, and when doing their spring planting will consult with Chef David to find out if they can help by including plants that
could be used in the kitchens for cooking, pickling or preserving. And to store all this local bounty, a large pantry is under construction to allow staff to draw upon produce such as pickles, preserves and smoked meats throughout the winter months. “We’ve even found a plethora of ingredients, from foraged wild leeks growing around the golf courses to morel mushrooms and herbs, available around the property,” he adds. “We’re also working on having some large gardens put in to expand on the tomatoes, herbs, spring onions, rhubarb and edible flowers we already grow.” SL
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COSMO'S EIGHT WINE BAR PIONEERS ON-TAP SERVICE PHOTOS: TANYA HSU | FASHIONECSTASY.COM
oronto’s Cosmopolitan Hotel is taking the snobbery out of wine. The hotel’s intimate bar and lounge, Eight Wine Bar, is the first hotel restaurant in Ontario to introduce wine on tap to the menu. The innovative draught keg is
one of the latest trends in the wine world according to distributor Versay, who operates in Ontario and Quebec. “Wine on tap is perfect for guests who are hesitant to delve into the world of wine,” says Cosmopolitan General Manager, Ragnar Pedersen. Kept at the perfect temperature, Versay’s wine on tap is stored in stainless steel kegs. Constant pressure means that it never oxidizes or becomes corked and there is no bottle variation, making for a more consistent product across the board and a better wine tasting experience. The product is also environmentally friendly, reducing waste from bottle production, labels, corks, caps and cartons. Currently, Eight Wine Bar is featuring pinot grigio, pinot meunier, cabernet and unoaked chardonnay from Vineland Estates—four distinct wines known for their diverse palette and drinkability. Guests can enjoy these varieties and choose to have as little or as much as they want for $2 an ounce. Adds Pedersen: “With wine on tap, every glass is the perfect glass, which makes it accessible to everyone.” SL
THE PERFECT ACCOMPANIMENT One of Eight Wine Bar’s most popular appetizers—and a perfect accompaniment for Versay’s excellent wines—is Chef Shane Straiko’s East Coast Lobster Sliders with Dill Slaw. As a special treat, Chef Shane has put together the following recipe so you can enjoy this savoury treat at home. EAST COAST LOBSTER SLIDERS WITH DILL SLAW For the sliders: 110oz cooked lobster meat, chopped 4oz homemade or store bought mayonnaise ¼ cup celery hearts, finely chopped Salt and pepper Sour gherkins 3 inch toothpicks 12 slider buns 4oz soft butter For the slaw: 1 cup finely sliced green cabbage Fresh chopped dill 2oz mayonnaise 2oz rice vinegar 2oz white sugar Preparation: For the lobster salad, mix together in a bowl, the chopped lobster meat, mayo, celery and salt and pepper to taste. For the slaw, mix together cabbage, mayo, dill, rice vinegar and sugar. Let sit for at least 45 minutes or overnight. Drain excess liquid before using. Lightly butter the cut side of each bun and place in a heated pan to grill until golden colour, remove. This is best if done right before preparing the sliders. Place 1.5 oz. of lobster salad on the bottom of grilled bun top with 1 oz. of slaw, place top bun and garnish with toothpick and gherkin, makes 12 sliders.
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FOOD & DRINK
WARM WINTER BEVERAGES TO KEEP YOU COZY BY KIM KERR | PHOTOS: KELLY HOLINSHEAD
n front of a crackling bonfire, tucked away in a cozy cot-
tage, or centre place at a festive party with friends and family… all are perfect places to enjoy the winter bev-
erages featured in this issue of SkyLife. Whether you try
one, or try them all, we know they’ll keep you warm!
A note regarding measurements: In order to ensure all recipes remain accurate, and in some case due to the small quantities required, we’ve left measurements as they were supplied to us.
GLÜHWEIN: A TASTE OF OLD GERMANY Dating as far back as the 15th century, Glühwein is today as important a part of Christmas in Germany as the classic carols Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree) and Stille Nacht (Silent Night). So we asked our friends at the popular Wolff’s Den Café, an authentic European café located at Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst, if they’d share their special recipe for this (very!) heartwarming festive treat. Fortunately for us, they obliged… Prost! www.wolffsdencafe.ca Ingredients: 4 grams orange rind 4 grams cinnamon 4 grams cloves 2 tbs sugar if needed 1 x bottle red wine, preferably a quality heavy, fullbodied wine such as a Merlot (can be substituted with white wine if preferred) When serving, add a slice of orange Method Combine the wine and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer. Serve hot in mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water (cold glasses will break).
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CHRISTMAS VACATION EGGNOG A festive film classic since it’s launch in 1989, Christmas Vacation contains more hilarious oneliners (“Is your house on fire, Clark?”—“No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.” or “That cat had nine lives, he just spent ‘em all!”) and sight gags than should be legal. A favourite for many, of course, is the classic Moose Mug eggnog scene. As Cousin Eddie unwittingly destroys one of Clark’s treasured Christmas ornaments, Clark asks: “Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?” Well, thanks to the wonderful folks at RetroFestive.ca: Canada’s Pop Culture Christmas Store, you can now reenact the scene over-and-over again in the comfort of your own living room! All you need are the ingredients featured in the simple recipe below, a set of Moose Mugs (heck, why not go all out and get the Moose Punch Bowl to go with it!), and a few friends and family(*) over to watch the movie with. (* = Cousin Eddie optional.)
THE CLARK GRISWOLD Ingredients: 4 cups milk 1 1/3 cups sugar 12 large egg yolks 1/2 cup Bourbon (optional) 1 cup chilled heavy cream Grated nutmeg (optional) Method: Whisk the milk and sugar over medium heat in a medium saucepan until sugar is dissolved (1-2 minutes). Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl. Whisking constantly, pour hot mixture into yolks in a slow and steady stream. Return mixture to pan, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon (20-25 minutes). Do not let simmer. Quickly strain into a bowl. Stir in bourbon, if desired, and cream. Cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with nutmeg, if desired. For further fun festive ideas, visit www.retrofestive.ca.
For a slightly different twist on the traditional eggnog—and carrying on the Christmas Vacation theme—the makers of Bombay Sapphire Gin have come up with the suitably named Clark Griswold. This tasty variant will certainly help you deal with whatever the season throws your way… Ingredients: 1 oz Bombay Sapphire gin 1/2 oz Bacardi Oakheart spiced rum 1/3 0z Amaretto Disaronno 1/3 oz Creme de Cacao 2 oz eggnog Shaved dark chocolate garnish Method: Combine all ingredients with ice. Stir briefly and fine strain into a rocks glass. Top the glass with ice, garnish with shaved dark chocolate and serve. SL
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
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TRAVELLER TOP TIPS FOR STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY ON THE ROAD BY LAURA JACKSON AND AMANDA QUINN
WHILE TRAVELLING IS ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING WAYS TO FEED THE SOUL, IT CAN WREAK HAVOC ON YOUR WAISTLINE AND FITNESS GOALS. BUT WITH A LITTLE FOCUS AND COMMITMENT, IT REALLY DOESN’T HAVE TO. WHETHER YOU’RE HEADING OUT FOR A CITY WEEKEND AWAY OR A GREAT CANADIAN OUTDOOR ADVENTURE, THE FOLLOWING FIVE FOOLPROOF FITNESS TIPS WILL HELP MAKE SURE YOU STILL GET YOUR SWEAT ON, NO MATTER WHERE YOUR TRAVELS TAKE YOU... »
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Fit Chicks group
TOP 5 FITNESS TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS Plan, plan, plan! When you fail to plan, you plan to fail, so do your research in advance. When booking accommodations, ask about the fitness facilities: what equipment do they have, and what are the opening hours? Skyline Hotels & Resorts, for example, have awesome offerings at both their city and resort properties including fully equipped gyms, indoor/outdoor pools and classes, making it easy to plan in advance to get your sweat sessions in.
SHORT ON TIME? Try some tabatas… How can you get a killer workout in the shortest time possible? Try tabata training! These simple four-minute drills will have you dripping with sweat in no time. Tabatas are a high-intensity interval pattern made up of 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated eight times (for a total of four minutes), and can be done in combination with any of the following exercises: • Squat jumps • Jump lunges • Sprints • Burpees • Jumping or plank jacks • Standing or ground mountain climbers • Weighted exercises To get the best results, you’ll need to push yourself during the 20 seconds of workout, but the 10 seconds of recovery is just as crucial. At the end of the four minutes, you should be pretty tired… if you feel you can barely go on, you’re doing it right. Tabata Quick Tips: • Do a quick tabata set in the morning to raise your metabolism, and burn more fat throughout the day. • Alternate exercises to give your workout variety. For example, maybe do squats on work period 1, and then on work period 2 try jumping jacks, and alternate between the two. • Find a good tabata timer! It can be distracting when trying to focus on a timer. • Check out www.tabatatimer.com or download the app for your phone.
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Steppin’ out! One of the best parts of any vacation is checking out the surroundings. And what better way to get the heart pumping than exploring on foot. Wear a pedometer to track your steps, and aim for at least 10,000 per day (the equivalent to walking eight kilometers or 500 calories burned)… it’s an awesome holiday workout. Make fitness part of the package. There are no excuses when you make your getaway all about health. Book a package that includes fitness activities (think skiing, hiking and golf), or try one of Horseshoe resort’s Fit Chicks Fitness Retreats (Nov. 8th - 10th 2013, March 21st - 23rd 2014, and Nov. 14th - 16th, 2014). It’s an all-inclusive weekend of fitness, yoga, nutrition, wellness, adventure and fun…all you have to do is show up. Visit www.fitchicks.ca/retreats for further details. High intensity rocks! You may be short on time while travelling, but you don’t want to be short on results. Try high intensity interval training (HIIT) like tabatas for the best results in the shortest amount of time. HIIT combines short intervals of maximum intensity exercise (for example, 20 seconds to two minutes) separated by longer intervals of moderately intense exercise. Because it involves briefly pushing yourself to the max of your aerobic exercise zone it’s more effective than doing a steady state of exercise (a 1-4 minute round of tabatas is better than 45 minutes on an elliptical trainer). The gym? That’s so last season! Hotel rooms make for surprisingly good exercise spaces. Squats, push-ups, jumping jacks… bring a workout video on your laptop or try the ‘Hot Hotel Hundred’ workout (see sidebar below) for a fierce calorie burn you can do at any time in less than 20 minutes.
NUTRITION TIPS TO KEEP YOU TRIM There are so many confusing messages of what and how to eat, and it’s even harder to make healthy food choices when you’re on the road. To keep things as simple as possible, we’ve put together our top tools to ensure you come home with awesome memories, not extra weight. Real, whole foods. Travelling can lead to a “grab and go” mentality where we find ourselves reaching for cholesterol clogging chips and sugary granola bars. Don’t give in to temptation! Instead, look for real, whole foods that are unpackaged and unprocessed. One rule is to choose foods that your great-grandmother would recognize and that your body knows how to process. And part of the excitement of being in a new place is trying the local cuisine. Ask for the best local and organic creations and see how much more delicious food is when it’s cooked with passion! Use the ‘complete in three’ rule! What’s the simplest way to avoid weight, keep your energy high and get full nutrition while away from home? Use
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20 MINUTE “CHICK STYLE” WORKOUT
the “Complete in Three” rule to create complete meals without calorie counting or stressing out. To make it complete, make sure each meal includes the following three elements: protein, fibre and fat. For example: eggs (protein) with sweet potato hash (fibre) cooked in coconut oil (fat). Use this rule when hitting the buffet or enjoying the chef’s signature creations. Not only will this keep your blood sugar balanced to avoid dips in energy, weight gain and overeating, but you won’t need to bust out the “buffet pants” on the way home!
can get a little more creative. Don’t like the hard stuff? Here are some other less deadly choices: • A Caesar is delicious and filling, plus you get the nutrients from the tomato juice and celery. Best of all, the average Caesar will set you back only about 150 calories. • Wine: a 5oz glass of vino has about 100 calories. • Light Beer: a bottle has about 100 calories (order by the bottle, not the pint, for instant portion control).
Cut down on cocktail calories. Want to enjoy a tipple or two and still stay on track? You can as long as you make the right choices. A typical vodka-based martini rings in at about 250 calories and a frozen margarita from 500 to 700 calories, depending on the size of the glass. Yikes! The best choices are drinks that are mixed with still or soda water. Vodka soda, vodka water, rye and water... you get the idea. Most of these drinks have around 70 calories in a 1oz shot (depending on how free the bartender is with the pour). Need more taste? Try flavoured vodkas! They have the same amount of calories as regular vodka but you
Make it Special. You’re the one who gets to choose what goes into your body so don’t be afraid to make special requests, and don’t worry about being a pest. This is your holiday and your health. Gluten free, vegan, low sodium, swap out grains for greens… the culinary team is there to ensure you get amazing foods that are in line with your healthy eating philosophy. SL
Laura Jackson and Amanda Quinn are co-founders of FIT CHICKS, an award winning, Canadian-based women’s only fitness company, and hosts of ‘Shape Up with FIT CHICKS’ on Rogers TV.
The Hot Hundred Warm up for two minutes, then set your timer for 16 minutes. Perform ten reps of each exercise before moving on to the next one. Keep going through the exercises, performing as many circuits as you can in the 16 minutes. Then try to beat it next time! Equipment needed: A timer and a chair • 10 Jump Squats • 10 Dips • 10 Step-ups per leg • 10 Push-ups • 10 Burpees • 10 Jumping jacks • 10 Mountain climbers • 10 Walking lunges • 10 Crunches • 10 Tricep push-ups Cool down and stretch!
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
GET YOUR SKIN READY FOR THE LONG, COLD MONTHS AHEAD EXFOLIATION “Your skin goes through a transition period during the winter months, so exfoliation becomes an essential part of cellular regrowth,” says Kalfayan. “A good scrub down is a necessary part of any weekly winter skin regimen to both remove dead skin cells and encourage cellular repair.” Exfoliation speeds up the cellular renewal process allowing for healthy, youthful skin cells to grow in their place. But be careful not to overdo it: twice a week should be the maximum. Those with sensitive skin should use a less abrasive scrub with rounded granules. For normal skin, try Guinot Biological Peeling Scrub ($48). It’s a natural exfoliant with gentle fruit acids and works to gently to remove dead cells to revive the complexion and radiance while refining overall texture.
HYDRATE BY KENDRA NICHOLSON
e all agree, winter has a way of leaving you feeling down, dried up and overall pretty miserable. Yet while the majority of people are sun-smart when it comes to caring for their skin in the summer time, skincare during the winter months seems to fall by the wayside—which is a little surprising considering Canadians spend the majority of their year braving the cold. This winter, learn how to adapt to your skin’s ever-changing needs with a few tips from Andrea Kalfayan, Spa Manager at Shizen Spa, Pantages Hotel Toronto Centre.
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Winter skin hydration starts from the inside out. Although it may be appealing to forgo water for warm comforting drinks like coffee, tea or cocoa, drinking the recommended intake of H2O is just as important as ever. If you’re a juice or soda addict, try breaking the habit by keeping a flavour infused water bottle handy.
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“While the freezing temperatures may tempt you to seek refuge in hot baths and steaming showers, they can end up doing more harm than good,” warns Kalfayan. “Opt for shorter, lukewarm showers as prolonged exposure to hot water can break down the skin’s lipid barriers, which strip away your body’s natural moisture.” When you’re showering make sure to use an exfoliating loofah on damp skin and a moisturizing shower gel like Phytomer’s Invigorating Moisturizing Shower Cream ($48). Work the loofah in a circular motion to encourage circulation. When exiting the bath or shower, pat yourself down 90 per cent dry and apply a headto-toe moisturizer while your skin is still slightly damp to recover any lost hydration. The light and easy to apply Hydracontinue Moisturizing Body Milk by Phytomer ($48) is absorbed in a flash, infusing the body with a gentle fragrance and leaves the skin soft and moisturized.
MOISTURIZE “Water is an indispensable source of life for cells and for the well-being of the skin. A good moisture balance ensures a healthy complexion, especially during winter,” says Kalfayan. Guinot’s Hydrazone Moisturizer ($92) provides perfect, long-lasting moisture to the cells while softening and relaxing skin surface and reviving skin’s radiance.
DITCH THE PETROLEUM Dry, chapped lips are a regular and painful occurrence in the winter months. Make sure you combat them with a high quality natural balm made of products like shea butter or almond oil. “Fruity tasting balms dry out your lips with artificial flavours and perfumes and their taste can cause you to lick your lips more often,” warns Kalfayan. Any lip balm containing petroleum jelly creates an artificial layer of hydration on your lips which signals to your skin to stop producing natural moisture. Kalfayan recommends sticking to all natural lip balms that are made with Shea butter and vitamin E.
“Indoor heating can exacerbate dry itchy skin. To combat dry air place humidifiers throughout your home and office to restore the moisture balance in the air,” recommends Kalfayan.
KEEP YOUR HANDS PROTECTED “The skin on our hands is extremely delicate and is the first area to crack and chap during the winter season,” says Kalfayan. Wearing gloves made of natural fibres helps to prevent exposure to harsh environments and repair damage. When doing dishes, make sure to wear rubber gloves as overexposure to hot water and chemicals can strip away natural moisture in your hands. Take hydration into your own hands with an overnight moisturizing treatment. From head to toe and inside to out, how you treat your skin at its most vulnerable stage will leave lasting results that you will notice throughout the rest of the year. SL
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ONLY SKYLIFE CLUB OFFERS MANY UNIQUE PERKS AND PRIVILEGES
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BY CAMERON ALEXANDER
un, fellowship… and financial sense. Sounds a lot like an advertisement for a family holiday, doesn’t it (except perhaps the part about the financial sense)? Well, it’s not. Rather, these were just some of the many benefits mentioned by members of an exclusive new lifestyle club owned and operated by Skyline Hotels & Resorts that brings together a prestigious portfolio of drive-to properties and outdoor adventures. Established as Ontario’s first ever year-round, city and country club, SkyLife Club offers its growing
membership exclusive recreational, leisure, social and travel activities and benefits through Skyline’s ever-evolving portfolio of resorts and hotels. With offerings as diverse as golf, skiing and boarding, spa and wellness—as well as trendy bars, boutique hotels, fabulous fine dining and accommodations— SkyLife Club has quickly garnered support and endorsements from its members. “We were among the first to join, and are in fact founding members,” says Mac Shiells who, along with his wife, Jane, were happy to share their experiences regarding membership in SkyLife Club. “We did some research and number crunching and decided it made sense, especially as we’re golfers and skiers. It certainly was an attractive package.” An attractive package indeed. In addition to the golf and ski privileges at Skyline’s Deerhurst and Horseshoe Resorts—unlimited green fees, unlimited access to driving ranges, free golf club and cart rentals, priority tee time bookings, to name but a few—Mac and Jane are also fans of the many other perks members receive. “We always stop in for something to eat or drink, give them our card and away we go,” says Jane, a particular fan of the food credits and discounts available at Skyline’s restaurants. “It’s a very useful tool, and it’s a lot of fun sharing it with friends.” The ability to share their experiences with friends and family is an important aspect of membership for both Mac and Jane. For example, if one of them is unable to play golf, they’ll take along a friend who can enjoy the same full benefits as the member they accompany. The same rule applies to skiing at Horseshoe Resort. Says Mac: “We’ve used it for skiing ever since we’ve been members. All you need is the SkyLife Club tag around your neck, and away you go. You don’t need to get a lift ticket or anything.” For Jane, another important aspect of membership is the ability to access Skyline’s other hotels and resorts, whether city or country properties. “We like using the accommodation portion of the membership either at Deerhurst or Pantages in Toronto. All of the hotels do a very nice job of recognizing SkyLife members, and they treat us well.”
CLUB KUDOS Jack and Nancy Haggerty were also among the “early joiner-uppers” (Jack’s term) of SkyLife Club. For Jack, a former corporate executive, the decision to join was as much to do with its financial aspect as it was the lifestyle. “I attended several membership meetings hosted by the Club’s President, John Thornton.
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I admit I was skeptical at first,” says Jack. “But when I did a comparison of the upfront costs and benefits with membership in a golf club, it seemed like a good deal as it was not costing anything more than we were spending anyway. Overall, it’s been a fair deal for us economically. And the benefits certainly helped.” But Jack would be the first to admit that, as important as the cost savings and privileges are, there’s one aspect of the couple’s membership you can’t place a dollar figure on: sharing the club with friends and family. “The fellowship aspect is very important to us,” he says. “You make new friends, and get to meet old friends at various club activities. Just recently a group of us members went to Deerhurst for an overnight stay and golf, the third year we’ve done it. The complimentary accommodations make it all worthwhile. In fact, the three hotel nights we’re entitled to every year are very important to us, and we always build a stay around those.”
For the Haggertys, as important as using the Club with friends is the ability to share it with family. Recent adoptees of the trend to head south to Florida for a few months each winter, the couple make their SkyLife Club membership available to their adult children when away. Not only does it give Jack and Nancy a great deal of satisfaction knowing they can share their privileges, they know their children enjoy the perks it provides. “We let them use our card for a dinner at Horseshoe once a month, as well as for skiing,” adds Jack. “That’s a tremendous benefit for us.” And for the Haggertys, as well as the Shiells, it’s just one of the many reasons they’ve continued enjoying their membership and all it entails. “We’re totally satisfied,” says Jack. “We were only five year members initially, but just last month we signed up to a plan to add on another five years. That’s probably the best possible illustration that we’re content with the program.”
“OUR GOAL IS TO HAVE HIGH-USERS OF OUR FACILITIES JOIN AND ORIENT THEIR LEISURE TIME TO THE MANY DIFFERENT COMPONENTS OF SKYLINE’S OFFERINGS.” – John Thornton, President of SkyLife Club.
PROPERTIES AND PRIVILEGES Billing itself as Ontario’s first ever year-round city and country club, SkyLife Club offers family-orientated recreational, leisure, social and travel activities and benefits through the premier portfolio of Skyline’s destination communities and strategic alliance partnerships. In short, all those things you love to do with your family, friends or business associates is now conveniently packaged into a single club.
SKYLIFE SKI • Unlimited access to Alpine ski lifts (Horseshoe), Nordic trails and equipment rental (Horseshoe/Deerhurst) • Discounts on ski and snowboard equipment repairs and ski lessons (Horseshoe)
SKYLIFE GOLF • Unlimited green fees, Valley Course and Highlands Course (Horseshoe) • Unlimited green fees, Deerhurst Highlands and Deerhurst Lakeside • Unlimited access, Highlands Course Driving Range (Horseshoe) • Unlimited access, Deerhurst Lakeside Driving Range (Deerhurst) • Free golf club and cart rental (Horseshoe/Deerhurst) • 30 day tee time booking window (Horseshoe/Deerhurst)
SKYLIFE MARINE • Free use, two-person sailing boats (Deerhurst) • One free ride per day, motorized pontoon boat (Deerhurst) • Free access, Splash Zone (Deerhurst Resort)
SKYLIFE ADVENTURE • Unlimited access to Adventure Park activities, including snow tubing; mini golf; Ogo ride; tower climbing; Red Horse Maze; Mountain Bike Park (Horseshoe) • Discount off mountain bike rentals, Zipflyer (Horseshoe)
SKYLIFE HOSPITALITY • • • •
Three free room nights 50% discount for an additional 20 nights per year Free upgrades Discount off real estate (equal to the applicable portion of initial SkyLife Club membership)
SKYLIFE DINE • Discounts, food and non-alcoholic beverages • Monthly food non-alcoholic beverages credit
John Thornton, President of SkyLife Club. Photo: Kelly Holinshead
• Discounts, Shizen Spa • Unlimited access to Sports Centre exercise facilities and activities (Horseshoe/Deerhurst) • Discount, Kids Korral (Horseshoe) • SkyLife lounge (Horseshoe Resort) • Invitations to SkyLife events
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Photo: Kelly Holinshead
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Photo: Kelly Holinshead
As the Haggertys and Shiells have discovered, membership in SkyLife Club in fact consists of a number of unique “clubs-within-a-club” offering a variety of experiences at Skyline’s destination properties. These include golf, ski, and adventure clubs, a wellness and spa club, a residential club, and a planned-for sailing and fishing club. An extensive list of member benefits have also been created that allow members to enjoy discounts and special privileges, including: unlimited golf at both Deerhurst and Horseshoe Resorts (a total of four top courses), priority reservations, free rentals and carts, as well as complimentary rounds for friends and family; full access to Horseshoe’s ski hills and facilities; three free nights per year at one of Skyline’s luxury properties, plus a further 20 nights at half price; and a monthly food allowance for use anywhere from the golf course snack carts to martini bars and restaurants. “Our goal is to have high-users of our facilities join and orient their leisure time to the many different components of Skyline’s offerings,” says John Thornton, President of SkyLife Club. “Basically, you’re putting money up front for services you’re going to get over the next few years. So, if you plan to play a lot of golf or enjoy activities like skiing or taking in some culture in the city, it really is an affordable alternative.”
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Adds Thornton: “We have to be certain that everything is exactly as it’s promised, making sure people feel comfortable that they’re getting what they’ve paid for. Even after they join, we have to continue to deliver that wow factor.” Membership options are designed to suit any lifestyle and recreational need and, as Thornton notes, are particularly suited to local homeowners and Skyline’s resort-home purchasers. Categories include corporate (four transferable memberships), family (two adult and two transferable memberships), couple (one adult and one transferable membership), and single (one adult membership). Initiation fees start at $6,000 for couples and increase in five-year increments, right up to a 25-year corporate membership for $49,000. Most memberships also come with transferable cards that provide the same level of access and benefits for guests accompanying you, and memberships can be sold or passed along. Does it work? Mac and Jane Shiells certainly think so. “We like to recommend the club to our friends, and people have joined as a result of us recommending it,” says Mac. “In fact, almost everybody we know is a member. It makes so much sense.” SL For further details regarding SkyLife Club, visit www.skylifeclubs.com.
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DWELL & DÉCOR
AWAY FROM IT ALL
KING CITY COUPLE MAKE DEERHURST THEIR SECOND HOME BY KATE HILLYAR | PHOTOS: KEVIN DAVID LEBLANC
hen Sandra and Keith Dorricott were looking for a new place to call their home-away-from-home, they didn’t have to look far. The retired couple from King City already owned a condo in Muskoka, so it wasn’t a surprise when they fell in love with Deerhurst Golf Cottages, just a few minutes down the road. “We’ve been coming up to Muskoka for 19 years,” says Sandra. “We got to the point where we were looking for a bigger place to accommodate our family, and to dock our boat.” Keith, who retired from the Bank of Montreal after a battle with leukemia, appreciated the slower pace of the region.
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Sandra and Keith, now 66 and 70, considered options online and in the area, but ultimately chose to build their dream cottage alongside Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course because of the amenities. “We kind of wanted a cottage, but we also wanted the privileges of owning on a resort, so this really suited our needs for our family,” says Sandra. “We are quite private. We like having the trees around us and all the benefits of the resort without all the business around us.” The couple worked closely with local builder, Infinity Fine Homes, to customize one of the existing Deerhurst Golf Cottage designs. The upstairs loft of the threebedroom layout was enclosed to create a fourth bedroom and three feet was added on to expand the basement and living room areas. “Paul Barber of Infinity Fine Homes, and Randy Blain of Randy Blain Construction, were terrific to work with. All of the team were very friendly, courteous and tidy. Nothing was too much trouble,” Sandra shares of her experience. An avid interior decorator, Sandra knew exactly what she wanted the home to look like. “As we went through the process and Paul got to know me, he would make suggestions, like ‘Have you ever considered metal staircase railings?’ I didn’t realize I could have that option.”
The Dorricotts, whose home was completed in July, have already found plenty to keep themselves busy at Deerhurst. “All summer there was somebody up here, either us or our family,” says Sandra. “No one wanted to go home after their time was up. We had the whole family here for Thanksgiving, 14 of us. Throughout the winter, we plan to come up for a few days here and there. Our family likes to ski at Hidden Valley.” Taking advantage of everything the resort, and Skyline, has to offer is easy with a SkyLife Club membership. Homeowners become part of a network of owners and locals with discounts on many Skyline Hotels & Resorts activities and accommodations—from golf to ski to nights out in the city.
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“Keith golfs, so we’ve used the membership quite a bit,” says Sandra. “The course personnel let two of my younger grandkids (five and three) on the practice green with little golf bags. They loved it. It was a nice thing for them to do to get their own golf bags.” The beach, golf, ski and winter activities are what the Dorricotts plan to take advantage of the most. Mere minutes from Deerhurst Resort’s main pavilion, homeowners can enjoy access to nearly 70 seasonal activities spread across the resort’s 760 waterfront acres, including horseback riding, zip lining, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails. Nearby, a 133acre nature sanctuary features a network of trails marked by naturalist Robin Tapley for homeowners to explore and enjoy the scenic views, trails, wetlands and streams of the mixed forest habitat. “Deerhurst is just so peaceful and calm,” says Sandra when asked what she likes most about having a home there. “We like the Huntsville area. There’s a good hospital. We’ve already met the people up the street.” The community is new, but she expects it to flourish with time. “It’s a lovely area, beautiful in all seasons. Even in winter, the way the snow lays, it’s very pretty.” SL
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