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SPAIN, no passport


Find us in the Spanish aisle at your LCBO.










Matthew Hasteley DESIGNER

Jessica Huras, Katie Bridges, Andrea Yu

April Tran


Ryan Faist


Andrei Bortnikau


Andrew Knapp, Sean Pollock, Curry Leamen

David Ort Taylor Newlands Michael Nicolian


ARE YOU SURE you want to walk two miles for a burger? Today is the first day we will hit a hundred degrees,” the concierge at my Las Vegas hotel says. Walking nearly the full length of the strip in asphaltmelting weather to satiate a burger craving was not the brightest idea, but luckily I didn’t have to. The strip had evolved since my last visit nearly a decade ago. They say “small is the new big” in Vegas, which means boutique hotels and next-level convenience. Everything is connected with a network of air-conditioned walkways, trams and casino gaming floors. If you hate the sun, well you’ll never have to see it. For our second issue we share a deeply felt love for exploring grand cities and immersive outdoor landscapes. From a crosscountry train ride to climbing a mountain on Baffin Island, we’ve assembled our dream bucket list for exploring Canada (pg. 33). Jessica Huras takes us on a trek through the Azores (pg. 81). Photographer Sean Pollock packs his camera bag for a jawdropping tour of Utah’s lesser-known national parks (pg. 40). In our city guides, we look at why Bogota’s booming graffiti culture (pg. 55) and Havana’s historic charm (pg. 28) are reasons why these two historic cities are on our list of favourite places for a quick escape right now. We also explore why Ontario’s Prince Edward County is one of the best up-and-coming staycation destinations east of Toronto (pg. 47). And, if you’re intrigued by the idea of Vegas, we’ve got an itinerary for a weekend of burger-optional indulgence (pg. 26). ◆



Nicole Aggelonitis, David Horvatin, Nick Valsamis MARKETING COORDINATOR




Mi5 Print and Digital Communications

Made possible with the support of Ontario Media Development Corporation. omdc.on.ca

@escapismto escapism.to

Suresh Doss, Editor

◁ Get your weekly dose of Escapism, direct to your inbox. just visit: escapism.to/newsletter

© Twenty Two Media 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All information contained in this magazine is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Twenty Two Media cannot accept responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Twenty Two Media a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine. All material is sent at your own risk and although every care is taken, neither Twenty Two Media nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be held liable resulting for loss or damage. Twenty Two Media endeavours to respect the intellectual property of the owners of copyrighted material reproduced herein. If you identify yourself as the copyright holder of material we have wrongly attributed, please contact the office.








12 ◆ In the Frame 18 ◆ Just Landed 20 ◆ The Escapist 22 ◆ Room Service ◆ Mexico, Madeira, Midtown 26 ◆ Short Stay ◆ Las Vegas, Nevada 28 ◆ Long Stay Havana, Cuba




Crossing Canada

Our grand list of experiences, from paddling the South Nahanni River to seeing the totem poles by the Skeena, for truly getting a taste of our beloved homeland. 40

Utah’s Parks

The sweeping, sun-parched expanses of Utah’s hidden-gem national parks seem to extend forever in front of Sean Pollock’s camera lense for his photo series.

EXCURSIONS 47 ◆ Prince Edward County, Ontario

With only a thin strip connecting it to the rest of Ontario, the County feels like an island escape with great food and top wine on the northeast shore of Lake Ontario. 55

Bogotá, Colombia

Bike-friendly and covered in stunning street art, Colombia’s capital has many surprises in store and Suresh Doss helps you plan a trip to discover the best bits.

73 ◆ The Checklist 81 ◆ The Intrepid Series: Azores, Portugal

Jessica Huras gets a firsthand, white-knuckle tour of the Azores and discovers why it’s a true thrillseeker’s paradise. 92 ◆  Like a Local

94 ◆ The Selector 98 ◆ Rear View

WANT MORE OUT OF YOUR ADVENTURE? PUT MORE INTO IT. G Adventures Active tours let you experience the best of Europe as you hike, bike, and paddle your way across it. From cycling through the Loire Valley to hiking the steep canyons of the Lycian Way, our active tours cater to a range of fitness levels to help you decide which trip is the right choice for you. It’s simple. We provide the opportunity, you provide the energy.

1 877 390 9050 gadventures.com






Room Service

Andrew Knapp


In the Frame The Escapist ◆

Short Stay


Mexico, Madeira, Midtown ◆

Long Stay

Las Vegas, Nevada ◆

Havana, Cuba


In Find Momo, Andrew Knapp takes readers on a journey to landmarks across North America with the help of his squee-worthy dog.





BELOW: Taken in

Ontario, with the warm glow of the summer night sky in the background. Can you spot Momo?

FINDERS KEEPERS FIND MOMO SERIES BY ANDREW KNAPP The Find Momo Series follows the travels of Andrew Knapp and his border collie, Momo, across the world. The result is part photography book, part game and part pure adorableness. Think of it as a canine version of Where’s Waldo. Find

Momo Coast to Coast sees the pair explore the United States and Canada. Meanwhile, a European book adventure is currently in the works. The following photo series shows the pair visiting landmarks and spots off the beaten track in North America. While the destinations the pair visit have striking scenery, we think Momo steals the show. $10.79 14.05, amazon.ca


BELOW: A flat tire

serendipitously brought Knapp and Momo to Albuquerque in time for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the largest balloon festival in the world.

BELOW: This train

track trail is a familiar walk that Momo and Knapp take when they visit their hometown Sudbury, Ontario.



borrowed Knapp’s raincoat to stay dry on a drizzly, winter day in British Columbia.



WestJet is levelling up their class act and the Eiffel Tower may be going red. Here’s the latest on the travel-news board.






The third edition of Where Chef’s Eat, the hyperpopular world guide to eating, has just been released, and it’s loaded with eating suggestions from over 600 of the world’s best chefs. Designed to be a travel companion, the book features over 4,500 restaurant recommendations in 70 countries, each divided by type of dining, cost and dishes to order. Keep this book handy for suggestions everywhere from the Americas to off-the-beaten-path places in South East Asia.


DREAM TICKET WestJet recently announced it has added the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to its stable. It will include a business class cabin, a first for the airline, with curated, on-demand, multi-course meals, widescreen entertainment and turndown service. The premium and economy cabins were also designed with tranquility in mind, with more seating room and the latest in in-flight entertainment. The first WestJet Dreamliner aircrafts are expected by early 2019.


TO INFINITY AND BEYOND A new digital art museum, opening in Tokyo this summer, looks ready to rival Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors for selfie-worthy art. The Mori Building Digital Art Museum is the first permanent space exhibiting pieces from the art collective teamLab, a group made up of artists, programmers, animators and engineers. The 10,000-square-foot museum will feature more than 50 exhibits that move and change, interacting with viewers and creating an immersive art experience. That means a space filled with hanging lamps that turn on when visitors approach and digital walls featuring flowers that fall when touched.

ABOVE: The exhibits

by teamLab at the Mori Building Digital Art Museum are all about movement, change and immersive interaction

One of Europe’s oldest private botanical gardens is reopening to the public after over 30 years. Located on Palatine Hill in Rome, the Farnese Gardens were originally commissioned in 1550 and featured frescoed aviaries, exotic birds and sculptures in their prime. The gardens fell into disuse in the 18th century but, after five years of restoration, have now been reopened as a temporary exhibition called the Palatine and Its Secret Garden. Cypresses, citrus trees, laurels and other flora have been replanted and several sculptures once found in the gardens have been loaned from the Farnese collection of Naples’ National Archaeological Museum. The exhibition runs until October and is included in Palatine-Roman Forum admission tickets.


TAKING NOTES America’s Musical Journey, a new film exploring the U.S.’s musical heritage, debuted at the Ontario Science Centre’s IMAX theatre on June 23. The movie starring singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc chronicles the evolution of American music genres like jazz, rock, blues and hip-hop. Blacc travels to cities like New Orleans and Detroit, talking with musicians and delving into the stories of American legends like Louis Armstrong. It’s sure to inspire trips south of the border.


Noodles by Rene DeAnda; Eiffel Tower by Jack Antsey; NOLA by Robson Morgan; Spain by Drew Graham

Paris’s most iconic landmark is getting a new paint job. The Eiffel Tower is set to undergo a three-yearlong renovation beginning in October 2018. The tower has been painted 19 times since its construction in 1887 (though most of us only know its current colour), in a rainbow of hues over the years, including red and yellow. Although no colour choices have been confirmed, the Ministry of Culture and City is considering restoring the tower to its original red.


Spain: With beautiful beaches, small canals and undeveloped coves, Spain’s coastal destinations run the gamut from large seaside cities to quaint fishing towns.

JUST BLUE IT The Blue Flag eco-certification is reaffirming Spain’s 31-year-old status as a prime beach destination with the release of its 2018 results. With almost 600 certified beaches, Spain has more than any other country in the world. The programme recognizes high-quality beaches in over 45 countries, measuring factors like water quality, accessibility, environmental management and amenities. Within Spain, Valencia takes the top spot this year, with 132 certified beaches.



PHRASE FINDERS Get ready for your next trip with these language apps.

From Turino to Thailand, Jessica Huras makes a personal connection to places she visits by setting out with, at least, a few key phrases from the local language.






DUOLINGO With over 100 million users, this is the most popular languagelearning app. Earning points for correct answers makes it a fun (and addictive) way to learn anything from Spanish to Swahili. BABBEL Babbel sets itself apart by focusing on practical topics like directions, dining and shopping, making it a convenient choice for travellers looking to get a handle on the essentials of a new language.


but I also believe that local people appreciate it when you show that you’re making an effort to speak their language. Even if your conversation skills are limited to: “hello,” “thank you” and “that was delicious,” it’s a small way of demonstrating that you’re trying to fit into their community instead of coming to their home and expecting them to adapt to you. Translation apps are getting increasingly sophisticated (I imagine if that interaction between my former supervisor and landlady were to happen these days, he would just pull out his phone), which means you don’t necessarily need to study the language to be a considerate guest in another country. But I think you miss out on a huge part of the cultural experience travel offers if you’re simply plugging words and phrases into an app without learning them. Language has deep ties to the history and traditions of a country and understanding it, even in a limited way, gives you a much more meaningful perspective on that place. ◆

BUSUU Busuu allows users to hone their language skills by interacting with native speakers through video and peer-to-peer correction of exercises.

Italian: Approximately 3 million people speak Italian as a second language. It’s the fifth most-studied language in the world after English, French, German and Spanish.

Dmitri Popov

OUR YEARS AGO, I took a job teaching English in Thailand. When I arrived, I was shuttled to my apartment by my supervisor, a man who had lived in a small town just outside Bangkok for over two years. I then had the cringeworthy experience of watching him try to discuss my rent payment with my new Thai landlady. “I’LL. PAY. YOU. TOMORROW,” he said to her in loud, slow English, adding a forward arching hand gesture to reinforce his staccato delivery. It’s an extreme case – a person not bothering to learn a basic word like “tomorrow” in the language of their adopted home country – but it’s also a perfect example of the bad tourist I think most of us consciously don’t want to become when we travel: The stereotypical, entitled Westerner, galumphing around the world and expecting the food to be familiar, all spaces to be air-conditioned and everyone to speak English. I’m not saying you’re a big failure if you don’t master Italian in preparation for your two-week trip to Rome,



The sprawling resort features over 700 rooms and a variety of options, whether you want a room overlooking Playa Mujeres’ nature park, or a beachfront room steps from the pool bar. Rooms were designed with a modern aesthetic, taking into account all the amenities one would need for a perfect getaway. All rooms are equipped with a mini-bar and liquor dispenser and free wifi is available throughout the resort. Looking to splurge? Go for the suite package, the European-style room is equipped with a hydromassage bathtub and offers the best views of Playa Mujeres beach.

Escape to Mexico for a week on the beach, stay where Churchill sunned or travel back in time to 1950s Toronto.







WATER PARK WHILE AWAY The Riu Dunamar is one of the most feature-rich resorts we have seen. The upscale resort has five pool options, including a massive island pool bar. If beaching is more to your liking, the resort offers a number of aquatic sports from kayaking to snorkeling. All non-motorized water sports are free. The resort is also home to its own water park which features several aquatic activities and water slides. In addition to the continental buffets, five on-site restaurants cover Italian, Asian and steak-focused menus. When the day is finished, there’s Riu’s signature entertainment program which runs nightly with live shows and music.

RIU DUNAMAR, MEXICO The Riu Dunamar is one of the newest hotels in Playa Mujeres. The peninsula is new to resort culture, isolated from the rest of Mexico and separated from the commotion of Cancun. Sunseekers visit for all the best aspects of resort life, without the distractions. The 5-star hotel is a secluded oceanfront paradise that offers all the amenities for a blissful vacation. The island of Isla Mujeres is a quick boat ride from the hotel, a great day trip for those seeking a slice of island life with a culture distinct from the rest of Mexico. Sunwing Vacations offers year-round service to Cancun from Montreal and Toronto. All packages include flights, Sunwing Experiences transfers and a Sunwing Experiences representative in destination. Rooms from $257, minimum 3-night stay. riu.com, sunwing.ca

RIGHT: From wading

to swimming laps, the resort covers all the aquatic bases with five pool options


BELMOND REID’S PALACE, MADEIRA Here you’ll find the posh, stately vibe you would expect from a hotel that counts Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw and Pablo Picasso among its past guests. Set on a dramatic cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by 10 acres of colourful gardens, the property has been regarded as one of Madeira’s best since opening in 1891. The hotel’s interior pays homage to its rich history, brimming with touches like antique furniture, marble pillars and black-and-white photos of the many celebrities and political figures that have stayed here over the decades. The atmosphere is a bit formal, but it will appeal to those with an affinity for classic luxury and historic charm. Rooms from $480. belmond.com

ROOM WITH A VIEW Gorgeous ocean views are a common theme throughout, from the pool terrace to Michelin-starred William Restaurant. An ocean-level pool is built into the rocks, giving swimmers protected access to the ocean waters. There are heated fresh and saltwater pools, too. Afternoon tea on the terrace of the Garden Room, with finger sandwiches and scones with clotted cream, is not to be missed. Tennis courts and a swish spa with ocean-view fitness centre round-out the amenities.

THE ANNDORE HOUSE, TORONTO Originally opened as the Anndore Hotel and Apartments in the 1950s, this revamped property looks to the hotel’s heyday for design inspiration. Mid-century touches are sprinkled throughout the rooms, which are outfitted with retro Smeg kettles and Crosley record players along with a selection of vinyl LPs. Bronze-accented bathrooms and exposed brick walls add a modern element and give the rooms a loft-like feel – a hipster home-away-from-home. The hotel’s app gives guests the option to check-in on their mobile devices, order room service and control lighting and temperature. Rooms from $299. theanndorehouse.com

CONSTANTINE THE GREAT Anchored by Constantine, a stylish Mediterranean restaurant from the La Palma team, the Anndore House’s dining options are good enough to make it worth a visit even if you’re not staying here. The restaurant continues the hotel’s sophisticated yet homey aesthetic with its richly-coloured accent walls and open-kitchen ringed by a chef ’s bar. Middle Eastern influences spice up classic dishes like pasta and pizza. An adjacent bar serves small plates and drinks, while the Scarlet Door cafe offers casual, grab-and-go fare like pastries and breakfast sandwiches. ◆

ABOVE: Even the

pools at Belmond Reid’s Palace have captivating ocean views





Capturing the rugged terrain of the Canadian Rockies, these three photogs are stars of dramatic Instagram landscapes.




Photographer Kyle Hamilton’s feed features an engaging mix of his photography work for clients and his personal explorations of the back roads and trails in and around his home of Fernie, British Columbia. This spellbinding highway shot captures the Piegan Carway Border Crossing, which connects the town of Babb, Montana to Cardston, Alberta.


@ROCKYMOUNTAINSCRAMBLER Jasper-based teacher Brigid Scott takes full advantage of her proximity to the Canadian Rockies, spending her summers camping and exploring mountain trails and her winters discovering her natural surroundings by skiing and snowshoeing. We love the pinky glow of this early morning shot she took of Berg Lake in Mount Robson Provincial Park.

@PAULZIZKAPHOTO Landscape and adventure photographer Paul Zizka focuses on sharing what he describes as “under-documented” scenes from around the world. Zizka captures compelling images of destinations ranging from Greenland to Hawaii, but his love for his home in Banff is evident from the regular appearances the national park’s landscapes make in his feed. This downward perspective on Cascade Falls, which can be spotted from the highway just south of Banff proper, provides an especially dramatic vantage on a well-loved attraction.



Las Vegas continues its meteoric rise as a destination for gourmands as well as gamblers. Here are the of-the-moment and classic attractions.






BY AIR: WestJet

and Air Canada offer daily direct 5-hour flights to Las Vegas as well as several connecting flights. Porter flights to Las Vegas stop in Boston where passengers change to JetBlue airlines. aircanada.com; westjet.com; flyporter.com GETTING IN:

Shuttle buses will take you to the strip and downtown for around $12-14 one-way. Taxis to the strip cost $15-22 and downtown about $5 extra.


The ever changing metropolis of fun and luxury is going through one of its biggest facelifts. New food and entertainment options are at the forefront of its latest offerings. The city is now home to more celebrity chefs in one row than anywhere else in the world. Paired with spectacle-driven entertainment and sights, it has become a haven for thrill-seeking tourists.


The Monte Carlo hotel has left the strip and been replaced by the Park MGM, a super-resort that aims to create a neighbourhood experience. Inside, everything feels a little cozier than the rest of the strip, starting with the new Bavette’s Steakhouse & Bar, which borrows from French country house vibes. It’s steps from the new Park Theater and the T-Mobile arena.

ABOVE: As well as

being America’s icon for pastiche and over-the-top luxury, the Las Vegas strip continues to reinvent its appearance with new developments


TOP TABLE GAMES From celebrity star power to a classic standby, these three are the reservations to make as soon as your flight is booked.

NOBU Nobu Matsuhisa brings sushi to Caesar’s Palace. The expansive restaurant (his largest yet) has a large sushi bar, private dining area and a lounge. There’s no compromise on freshly-flown-in fish.


Strip by lucky-photographer; High Roller by LPETTET; Nobu; Giada; Lotus of Siam

Taller than the London Eye or the Singapore Flyer, the world’s largest ferris wheel takes you 550 feet above Las Vegas for a bird’s-eye view of the sprawling city and the famous strip that looks nothing like anywhere else in the world. The High Roller is situated at the end of the LINQ’s Promenade, so you can take in the boardwalk filled with bars and restaurants before heading up for the vistas. While daylight views are breathtaking, they’re even better at night with the strip’s light show on display. Bonus: Some of the giant ride’s cars have their own bar and mixologist, so reserve accordingly.

ABOVE: As the

tallest ferris wheel in the world, the High Roller offers a can’t-miss view of the Entertainment Capital of the World

GIADA Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis’s restaurant is a hot destination for brunch from the modern Italian menu. Large, retracting windows give diners an overhead view of the bustling strip.


Small is the new big. Casinos are ditching size for boutique designs with their approach to bars. Several new gin, whisky and classic cocktail bars have opened recently, creating the perfect scenario for an oldfashioned bar crawl. Start at Juniper Cocktail Lounge, a dimly-lit cocktail emporium with a garden pavilion vibe. Juniper pours classic and modern interpretations based on your liquor of choice. If you like gin, there’s also the Dorsey where the gin list impresses. The Palazzo Hotel’s, Rosina, may be hard to get into, but the sparkling cocktails are some of the best on the strip. ◆

Rosina: To accompany your choice of craft cocktail, Rosina offers pairings of specially selected Debauve & Gallais chocolates for an extra treat.

LOTUS OF SIAM After two decades as one of America’s bestregarded Thai restaurants, Lotus of Siam keeps ticking. The cab ride from the strip is worth it for traditional regional Thai cuisine with one of the best riesling cellars in the country.



In the photogenic Cuban capital, it’s not just classic cars and colourful buildings. We find the best of Havana.


The heart of the city’s unique identity is Habana Vieja. A walking tour passes pastel-coloured façades and narrow alleyways. Havana’s traditional aesthetics will give a 1950s time-warp feel as beautiful classic cars zoom by while you enjoy lunch at a local paladar – independent restaurants, which have sprouted all over the city. Visit the Sia-Kara Bar for grilled fish and to find boozy rum cocktails head to Floridita Bar.






Rum is the soul of Cuba or so the saying goes. Most Cubans prefer Havana Club rum and it’s found in nearly every mojito and daiquiri on the island. Get acquainted with the sugar cane spirit by visiting the Havana Club museum, located downtown in the Plaza Vieja district. You can also sample sugar cane cocktails in the museum’s courtyard terrace.


You can easily spend an entire afternoon perusing this flea market, which happens to be one of the Caribbean’s largest. On the surface, the Alamacenes is a one-stop shop for island souvenirs from fridge magnets to cigars. Dig deeper and you’ll find a small contingent of local artists that showcase artwork and handmade items. You’ll find some of Havana’s best street food nestled in between the vendors.


Havana’s grandest 5-star hotel is steps from the Malecon, the city’s seafront esplanade. The Melia Cohiba is designed for travellers who need a little pampering after exploring the city. Rooms have a European aesthetic with all the modern amenities one could need, and the seaside suites offer a stunning view of the Caribbean sunset. Digital nomads will appreciate some of the best wifi on the island.


This stately vintage hotel located in Old Havana is walking distance to the key hotspots. The 96-room boutique property evokes the historic nature of its surroundings with its interior décor and locally curated artwork. Two restaurants in the hotel offer traditional Cuban and European fare. The rooftop pool and bar have spectacular views of Old Havana.


Yes, you can Airbnb in Havana. Three years ago, the country partnered with the online lodging service to offer properties to travellers on a budget. Havana’s homestays have a reputation as safe and friendly lodgings, that offer a glimpse into local life. Our favourite areas are the revitalized Chinatown and the central Vedado neighbourhood.




Havana’s Avenida de Maceo, also known as the Malecon, is one of the broadest seaside esplanades anywhere and continues to be a place of special significance for locals a century after its completion. Originally constructed for military defense, the Malecon is the spine that connects the core districts of Havana, from Old Havana to the Vedado business district. At night, the Malecon beams as it turns into a gathering place for locals. ◆


In a century-old oil factory, Fabrica is part art gallery, part theatre, part thunderdome nightclub. It seems like New York as you peruse the works of local artists, but turn a corner and it can feel like you’re in a postapocalyptic rave bar. Over a dozen rooms cater to every type of partygoer from sipping wine and listening to jazz, to those who want to get on the dance floor.


Havana by Kamira; Dancers by Suresh Doss; Malecon by Nikada

If we had to suggest one dining hotspot this is it. The multi-level complex is the most famous paladar in Cuba and remains a draw for tourists and celebrities. Set in a historic 20th-century Spanish mansion, La Guarida’s entrance is a grand marble staircase that takes you to a network of bustling dining rooms and cozy bars. The food is some of the best in Havana, combining Caribbean ingredients with European techniques. End your night with a rum negroni at the rooftop bar.

RIGHT: The seaside

avenue is an important gathering place that connects all of Havana’s major neighbourhoods


art runs in our veins – and down our back roads.

arts trail


Chase the muse at studios and galleries on the Arts Trail. Discover beautiful pottery, photography, paintings, glass, fiber arts and more. Plan your art-inspired trip in The County!

tastE trail


The Taste Trail is a choose-your-own culinary adventure! Find some of The County’s best restaurants, food shops,  picnic supplies, wineries, breweries, cideries and more. Be sure to bring your appetite!

plan your trip ArtsTasteTrail.ca

VisitpEC.ca Capturing the light at Point Petre Wildlife Conservation Area. Photo by Johnny C.Y. Lam.



Crossing Canada

40 47

Utah State

Prince Edward County, Ontario

Sean Pollock


Bogotá, Colombia

Rejuvenation. The Spirit of the Arctic.

Photo: Roger Pimenta for One Ocean

1.866.686.2888 www.DestinationNunavut.ca


GROGL, Shutterstock





THE “EH” LIST On Cape Breton Island and by Nootka Sound, from spotting the sundown in the Paris of the prairies to paddling a lake with loons, these are the ultimate Canadian experiences.

1,906 km

Distance from Toronto to Newfoundland


Best time to see the Northern Lights

5 hRS

Flight time from Toronto to Whistler

BELOW: Dip your paddle into the tranquil waters of the South Nahanni River for an opportunity to experience the true Canadian wilderness


N A RECENT study by the Canadian Tourism Commission, millennials reported recently taking 2.5 international trips vs. 1.7 trips within Canada. And that seems kind of shocking, right? Especially when you consider we live in a big, beautiful country with diverse cultures, incredible natural scenery and cool cities waiting to be discovered. The cost of travel within Canada has been the limiting factor for many, but the rise of low-cost airlines like Swoop and Flair Air means that domestic trips are becoming increasingly affordable. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up our picks for essential domestic experiences that every Canadian should add to their bucket list. >

> GO CROSS COUNTRY Giant roadside ornaments DIFFICULTY: ◆ ◆ A country that lives along a narrow band of highway needs to keep everything close at hand. In Canada that definitely includes giant novelty statues. Some, like the famous Big Nickel, make sense given a town’s industry or history. Others are just there for tourist chuckles. Colborne, Ont.’s Big Apple is hard to miss (the pies aren’t), at least thirteen Ontario towns have giant Muskoka chairs, but the monumental range, probably of at least 1,500 total, stretches across

Canada. Vegreville, Alta. has a giant Easter egg, Nackawic, N.B. showcases its forestry connection with the world’s largest axe, New Brunswick hosts the world’s biggest lobster in Shediac, and Vancouver’s giant orca (it’s digital!) was designed by Douglas Coupland. VIA Rail cross country trip DIFFICULTY: ◆ They say travelling by train is civilized and we agree. Via Rail’s trains cross the country, providing a cushy way to take in Canada’s distinct landscapes from snowy mountain peaks to the calming prairie fields. Starting out in Halifax, the Ocean train takes you

through the Maritimes to Montreal and from there the Corridor train heads to Toronto. The Canadian train is the longest stretch of the journey, travelling from Toronto to Vancouver. In the Panorama Car and a section of the Skyline Car, windows extend up to the ceiling for breathtaking views of the Canadian wilderness unfolding before your eyes as you travel across the country.

GO WEST Climb the Stawamus Chief DIFFICULTY: ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ “The Chief,” an affectionate name for the


REAL ADRENALINE JUNKIES WILL GO UPSIDEDOWN WITH “FREE RANGE HARNESSES” and belays), but tour operators have opportunities for novice climbers, too – and with hundreds of hiking routes, you don’t need to scale a sheer rock face for a view of one of the Pacific Coast’s deepest fjords.

LEFT: The Grand Wall of the Stawamus Chief was first conquered in 1961

Stawamus by Rowan Sims Photography; Totem poles by Chuck Schug Photography

granite monolith towering 700 metres above Squamish, B.C. and nearby Howe Sound, has long been a popular hiking destination. But it wasn’t until Ed Cooper and Jim Baldwin made the first ascent of The Grand Wall in 1961 that rock climbers started flocking there. Technology has advanced and it’s now possible to ascend it in a matter Remembered as one of the best alpinists of hours. The Grand in the world, Marc Wall route is still a André-Leclerc free serious undertaking, solo climbed the Grand Wall of the involving a multiStawamus Chief in pitch climb (requiring 57 minutes. professional gear

The Totem poles of Kitwangak Village DIFFICULTY: ◆ Kitwanga or Gitwangax is located in British Columbia by the Skeena River. The region is home to one of the oldest civilizations in Canada, going back over 7,000 years with the river long serving as a crucial trade route. The village of Kitwanga, a national historic site, is home to a tiny fishing village with significant First Nations roots that are still present today. It is also home to one of the best totem pole sites in Canada. Totem poles are visual pieces of history that remind us of ancient cultural beliefs, legends or notable events. Nearby, the village of Gitanyow known as Kitwancool, is home to one of the country’s densest clusters of totem poles. Here, there are 15 historic examples of Northwest Coast art, made from large trees, and carved with symbols or figures. Unplug and unwind on Hornby Island DIFFICULTY: ◆ Hornby Island bills itself as a secret refuge, tucked away in the Salish Sea and hidden by the two ferry rides it takes to get there. Just off the coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Hornby is a lush, beachy paradise for bohemians and artists of all kinds. One in every 18 residents on the island is a working artist so galleries and home studios abound. The Hornby Island Studio Guide lets you know which ones to make an appointment at before you drop in. The best time to visit is during the summer months when businesses keep regular hours and the island’s services are available. The Hornby Festival takes place every August and features 10 days of musical performances in various locales across the island, but you can catch live music and free concerts all summer long in various locations across the island.

Zipline in Whistler DIFFICULTY: ◆ ◆ ◆ Those scared of heights, should look away now. Whistler is not only home to some of the best skiing in the world, it also boasts the Sasquatch, which, at 2 kilometres, is the longest zipline in Canada and the U.S. The tour traverses the expanse over the Fitzsimmons Valley between the picturesque Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, offering a stunning view of the scenery from a 7,000foot vantage point. Real adrenaline junkies will dig the “free range harnesses”, which let guests (safely) go upside down. Superfly is another ziplining option, located a As the second largest salmon 10-minute drive north producing river in of Whistler Village in Canada, the Skeena the Cougar Mountain is integral to the area. If you’re looking migration and spawning of millions for a little moral of salmon every support, this company year. Stretching offers a unique service 610 kilometres, the Skeena River is also – guests can ride sidethe second largest by-side, each on their river in B.C. own cable. >

LEFT: Churchill, Manitoba is nicknamed the “polar bear capital of the world”

> Visit Haida Gwaii DIFFICULTY: ◆

Formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida Gwaii is an archipelago off B.C.’s coast. The isolated islands are the ancestral home of the Haida First Nation, and offer curious travellers a chance to enjoy their unique ecosystem of wildlife and culture. The island attracts outdoor The Haida Nation enthusiasts that love shares their history the surf-friendly and culture at the Ocean House, a beaches and endless floating wilderness hiking options. If lodge that is you’re interested in equipped with luxurious amenities learning more about and entirely owned the Haida people, visit by the Haida people. one of many ancient Haida village sites like the SGang Gwaay, a UNESCO heritage site with an ensemble of weathered totem poles lining the beach. You won’t find resorts in this remote area, but there are cabins and

camping grounds for weary adventurers to rest their heads.


are designated campsites, but they’re few and far between. Plan to include motels and B&B’s in your list of accommodations and be sure to map out your hike before you go.

Explore the Bruce Trail DIFFICULTY: ◆ ◆ Hiking the Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest footpath, is a very customizable experience. From a leisurely afternoon stroll with your pup to long-distance hiking and rock climbing, the Bruce Trail has it all. The Ontario hiking trail is over 800 kilometres long and runs along the Niagara Escarpment all the way up the Bruce Peninsula. At the north end of the trail, Bruce Peninsula National Park offers stunning views of Georgian Bay and the Grotto, a sea cave with a shimmering pool of water inside – climb down the open cliff face for a closer look. At the south end, Hamilton is home to over 100 waterfalls, most of which are located along the Bruce Trail. For multi-day hikes, there

See polar bears in Churchill DIFFICULTY: ◆ ◆ There are few things we’ll travel out of our way for (1,960 kilometres to be precise) in the subarctic cold, but a trek to see polar bears in Churchill, Man. is definitely one of them. The “polar bear capital of the world” is one of the few human settlements where you can see the “lords of the Arctic” in the wild. October and November are the prime months for observing. This is the time of year when the bears move from their summer habitat back across the packed ice that forms over Hudson Bay. There are a few ways to see the polar bears; accredited companies offer tundra buggy tours which move slowly over the ice on established trails or you can stay at a wilderness lodge.


Summer visits are possible for those not willing to brave the cold – boats travel to the coastal areas where polar bears can be seen on land and swimming in the sea.


GO EAST See Icebergs along the Newfoundland coast DIFFICULTY: ◆ If you’ve ever heard of a little ship called the Titanic, you already know the North Atlantic is a prime spot for icebergs. Millennia-old icebergs of all shapes and sizes drift down from Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, and they can be sighted floating off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. April through June is the best time of year to see these icy behemoths, which are often visible from the shore in well-known places Located 12 kilometres south-east of like Twillingate or St. John’s, Cape the Cape Spear Spear Lighthouse Lighthouse. For a sits on a jagged cliff at the most easterly closer look, book a point in all of North spot with an iceberg America. boat tour, many of

which combine iceberg viewing with whale and seabird watching. Visit Iles d’Orleans DIFFICULTY: ◆ This little island in the St. Lawrence River may only be a 15-minute drive from Quebec City, but it offers a charming glimpse into traditional French-Canadian countryside life. One of the region’s earliest French settlements, the whole island is a designated historical area. We recommend renting a car for the day and making a circuit of the main road that loops around the island, stopping at the lookout points, roadside stands and galleries that you’ll see along the way. Depending on the season, you can pick fresh strawberries, raspberries or apples at various farms. Don’t miss Chocolaterie de l’Île

d’Orléans, which serves chocolate creations made from imported Belgian cocoa beans and local ingredients like maple syrup along with fresh fruit for ice cream in the summer.

GO NORTH Canoe through canyons on the South Nahanni River DIFFICULTY: ◆ ◆ ◆ The South Nahanni River flows through the deepest canyons in Canada and plunges over the Virginia Falls – almost twice the height of Niagara. Past hot springs and over rapids, the South Nahanni runs 322 kilometres >

BELOW: Iles d’Orleans offers a taste of Quebecois countryside a short drive from Quebec City

Polar bear by chbaum; Iles by Andriy Blokhin


BELOW: The warm months from August to April are the best times to spot the aurora borealis

> through Nahanni National Park Reserve

in the Northwest Territories. There are no roads in the national park, so the river is inaccessible by car – the only way in is by chartered float plane or a demanding hike that qualifies as an adventure all by itself. Whitewater and an 8-kilometre stretch of almost constant rapids, make the South Nahanni a challenge for even the most experienced canoers. But beginners can still enjoy this breathtaking experience with a guided river trip that takes you canoeing on flat, meandering stretches of the river and portaging around the rest.


The name alone should tell you that this bucket list item isn’t for the faint of heart.

See the Northern Lights DIFFICULTY: ◆ ◆ When we think of nature’s ability to take our breath away, striking mountains and wavy landscapes with seasonal colours come

to mind. Other than a beautiful sunset, we rarely travel somewhere to stare into the sky. Canada’s northern lights is one form of nature’s magic we can see in our collective backyard. This beautiful and calming sky scene is created by a phenomenon where the magnetosphere is hit with solar winds that charge particles. They look like gigantic glowing curtains The arctic landscape waving through the of Auyuittuq sky in massive shapes. National Park The aurora is best ranges from enjoyed in the months glaciers and granite peaks to valleys from August to April, and meadows. and the shores of Waterways in Great Slave Lake near the park’s deep inlets are home to Yellowknife is the best narwhals and ringed place in Canada to seals. take in the views. ◆

Incredible Arctic

Climb Mount Thor

Located in Baffin Island’s Auyuittuq National Park, Mount Thor’s west face is the world’s highest vertical drop at 1,250 metres. This distinction makes it a popular spot for climbers, but suffice to say that conquering this peak is a serious challenge. While summiting Mount Thor might not be a practical goal for those of us with no climbing skills, Auyuittuq is considered to be one of the most accessible national parks in Nunavut, so seeing this impressive 1,675-metre-high mountain in person is something we can all aspire to.

Rejuvenation. The Spirit of the Arctic.

Photo: Michael Davies

1.866.686.2888 www.DestinationNunavut.ca





UTAH’S TRUE TEMPLES Sean Pollock brings us to Utah for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of standing in the sun and taking in the unending vistas of Canyonlands and Arches national parks.

136,621 ha

Size of Canyonlands National Park



Average June temperature in Utah

OU’D BE HARD pressed to find a more epic road trip destination than Utah. A drive through the state’s five surreally beautiful national parks, collectively nicknamed the Mighty Five, unfolds as a progression of theatrical cliffs, otherworldly sandstone formations and neverending panoramas. Photographer Sean Pollock takes us on a journey to two of the lesser-visited Mighty Five parks. We begin in Canyonlands, Utah’s largest national park, which is divided into four separate districts by the picturesque Colorado River and its tributaries. From there, we head down the road to Arches, a more accessible park known for its 2,000 sandstone arches, to discover even more dreamlike landscapes. ◆

4 hrs

Flight time from Toronto

Photography by SEAN POLLOCK

RIGHT: Located in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, the dramatic Shafer Trail twists and turns down canyon walls for almost 30 kilometres.


BELOW: The Green River Overlook offers an eye-popping view of the same-named river which, together with the Colorado River, has carved most of Canyonlands’ distinctive rock formations and gorges over millennia.


GETTING THERE Canyonlands and Arches national parks are best explored by car. Delta offers nonstop, 4-hour flights from Toronto to Salt Lake City. From there, it’s a 3.5-hour drive to Moab, the gateway to the two parks. It’s also possible to fly directly to Moab but rates are typically higher compared to flights into Salt Lake City. delta.com

ABOVE: Reaching 14 metres high and almost 10 metres wide, the Delicate Arch is Utah’s unofficial state symbol and the largest free-standing arch in Arches National Park.


BELOW: The Shafer Trail is named for Frank and John Shafer, ranchers who used the route to drive cattle into the canyon at the beginning of the 20th century; however, it’s very likely that the trail was first navigated by Native Americans much earlier.


Words by SURESH DOSS Curry Leamen







THE COUNTY’S BOUNTY Suresh Doss follows the parade of Toronto chefs to find out why they’re making the pilgrimage to the formerly sleepy, wine-producing Prince Edward County.

2.5 HRS

Driving time from Toronto


Average June temperature in PEC

1,050 km2

Size of Prince Edward County

BELOW: Even in the cider-dominated part of the County around Waupoos, grape vines stretch to the horizon

COD CAKES AND hot sauce. It’s literally the spiciest thing you’ll eat in the County today,” the woman operating a pop-up stand says as she hands me a paper cone stuffed to the top with golf-ballsized fried croquettes generously covered in a chunky sun-coloured sauce. We’re standing in the parking lot of a church in the town of Wellington in Prince Edward County. A gentle breeze rolls in from Lake Ontario on a sunny Saturday morning as groups of city slickers rush in. Every Saturday the dreary space blooms into a farmers’ market, a central attraction for anyone in the area, known to locals and visitors as “the County.” What started as a modest Saturday farmers’ market has now become a hive >

> of food and wine pop-up vendors. When in town, it’s a ritual to visit the Saturday market, even if you’re not shopping for eggs and bread. It’s a good way to ease into one of Ontario’s most popular staycation getaways. Prince Edward County is located at the midway point of a trip from Toronto to Ottawa. The barely-connected island, with its limestone-rich soil, juts out into Lake Ontario’s northeastern corner. Its modern history dates back to the late 1700s

when it became a United Empire Loyalist settlement. Over the last few decades it’s become home to a retirement community and a collective of artists and photographers who seek inspiration from the landscape. The scenery is a photographer’s dream with wavy roads, towering cliffs and rolling hills giving it a picturesque and calm setting. With hundreds of kilometres of diverse shoreline that shift between cream-coloured, sandy beaches and stretches of turquoise


ABOVE: Hinterland’s Jonas Newman fits right into the unpretentious atmosphere in the County and his sparkling wines have become a recognizable export

water, it has also become a destination for sunseekers and beach lovers. When you visit the County, pack your bathing gear and visit Sandbanks Dunes Beach. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported out of Ontario. The town of Wellington has one major road and intersection but it has already sprouted several cafes and restaurants. Wine bar? Check. Third wave cafe? Yup. There’s even a brewery across the street from where the farmers’ market is hosted. After breakfast, we head out for a wine tour of one of the seven townships that are the County’s antecedents. Our first stop is


a tiny boutique winery, tucked in between farms, called Trail Estate. Mackenzie Brisbois is one of the first winemakers in the County to experiment with orange wine – a natural winemaking technique (no additives) where mashed grapes and juice are left in a large vessel for days, weeks or longer for prolonged skin contact. The process dates back thousands of years to a similar system used in the Caucuses where wines were left to ferment underground in large vessels. For modernday winemakers, orange wine brings the allure of creating something natural and out of control, perhaps the truest expression of “terroir.” For Brisbois’s wine, the skin is in contact with the juice for 365 days. It’s an intense wine, crisp at first followed by sourness and funk. It’s unlike anything you’ll taste anywhere else, and she’s only managed to produce 25 cases of it. Brisbois is among a handful of winemakers shaping one of Canada’s quickly growing wine regions. She makes her wine at Trail Estate, a small-scale operation in one of the most interesting pockets of winemaking in the County. After a quick hike up a dirt road to The Old Third winery, we taste some incredible smallPEC is home to batch pinot noir in a over 30 wineries retrofitted barnyard and 50 vineyards. setting. The barnThe climate and soil has earned the cum-winery motif is region the moniker, an ongoing trend here “Burgundy of the and you could easily North”. do a tour of wineries situated in barns. In the other direction, a country home is the base for estate-made wines by motherand-daughter winemaking team Caroline Granger and Maggie Belcastro. At the 14-year-old winery, Grange of P.E.C., Granger and Belcastro make wines exclusively using their own grapes; they grow six different varieties that they believe are suited to the climate of P.E.C. “We’re trying to create wines that speak to the

RIGHT: Hinterland Wine Company, founded by Jonas Newman and Vicki Samaras, produces some of the most complex sparkling wines in Canada

MY GOAL IS TO TRY TO HAVE A VERY LIGHT HAND IN THE WINEMAKING. LET THE SOIL SPEAK, LET THE CLIMATE SPEAK local terroir as much as possible here. My goal is to try to have a very light hand with the winemaking. Let the soil speak, let the climate speak,” Belcastro says. At Hinterland Wine Company, producers of some of the most complex and layered sparkling wines in Canada, ex-Toronto sommelier Jonas Newman has been crafting premium offerings for nearly a decade using estate grapes. “People in the County, we’ve all come here from the city, either Toronto or Ottawa. Our goal was to see if we can produce sparkling wine and do it really well,” Newman says. He owns and runs the winery (also in a barn) with his wife Vicki Samaras. Newman’s current flagship product is his method traditional rosé sparkler, which has a creamy and lingering mouthfeel. When you

stop by, always try the rosé. All four of these wineries are within a few kilometres of each other on Closson; they’re practically on one tiny winding dirt road that takes you through an exciting patch of Ontario. With the soil conditions similar to places like Burgundy, winemakers are smitten with the prospect of making coolclimate wines: crisp chardonnays and soil-y pinot noirs that smell like ripe cherries and have a silky texture. Even until recently, accommodations and regular dining options were tough to find. But the County’s main attraction is its ability to morph from a collection of sleepy cottage towns to a bustling country getaway from the city. In the last decade there has been a steady boom of wineries that have sprouted from one end of the County to >


BELOW: Chef Grant van Gameren rents his property in Waupoos to groups and also offers private dinners

> the other, each of them with their individual character and approach to wine. P.E.C.’s aesthetic is still rustic barnyard compared to other regions in Canada. Facilities are simple, most wineries operate out of barns, some over a hundred years old. Where others have polished wine tasting rooms, the County offers up-close-andpersonal settings where the winemaker is almost always present. In some cases, the room you’re tasting that glass of fine chardonnay in doubles as an aging space for the next vintage. There’s something for nearly every palate, from approachable summer quaffers created to soothe a slight sweet tooth to the nerdy, funky tasting, natural wines. When the popular Drake Hotel opened an offshoot in Wellington in 2014, everything changed. The Village of Wellington is a favourite meeting point in the County for its close proximity to the wine trail and its downtown restaurant row. After the Drake Devonshire opened, staycationers flocked to the County in droves looking for a quick dose of culture, a mix of Toronto hip with cottage country aesthetics. And the wellknown chefs quickly followed, too. More recently, a second wave of Toronto chefs and popups have set up shop next to the greener pastures. This type of restaurant industry exodus isn’t rare: chefs abandon their posts in search of new opportunities regularly. As with each of Manhattan to Hoboken, Seattle to Spokane and San Francisco to Oakland, increased cost of operations and a changing food scene have all helped push the decision forward. “There’s something very alluring about being out here. It feels like you have a blank slate and the ability to do something new and fresh,” Grant van Gameren says. With eight restaurants under his belt, van Gameren is known for opening one “it spot” after another in downtown Toronto. Recently he purchased a lakeside cottage

in Waupoos, in east Prince Edward County nestled between a cidery and a winery. The 200-year-old, sprawling estate comes with 500 calming feet of lakeside views, an outdoor pool, three fireplaces and a small chardonnay vineyard. Waupoos, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful parts of Prince Edward County, an area where it feels like hills slide directly into the lake at points. This is the nature-lover’s dream, equidistant to beaches and wineries but an area that offers as much seclusion as you want. The Cressy Longhouse may be one of the most idyllic places to stay in the area if you’re the kind of vacationer who prefers to stay in rather than do a multi-stop tour of tasting rooms. Van Gameren has started to rent the property for medium to large-size groups. The County His property is prides itself on its designed to cater laid-back look and feel, with many to groups that are wineries housed in looking for the full centuries-old barns cottage experience and cottage homes. away with the occasional winery jaunt. “It’s quite tranquil out here. We’ve designed the property so that if you don’t want to leave, you don’t have to. There’s a winery literally across the street,” he says. The chef equipped the house with a full range of outdoor grilling gear and guests can hire van Gameren to prepare an outdoor seasonal dinner during their stay. The seasonal produce in the County is a big attraction for chefs who want to be close to the source of their fresh ingredients. “My eggs are from the farmer next door, the meat is from up the street. And the vegetables are from a few kilometres away,” Hidde Zomer says. The ex-Toronto chef is putting the finishing touches on his restaurant, Flame and Smith, an ode to outdoor wood-fired cooking. Zomer’s ambitious program will >



ABOVE: A plate of ember-roasted vegetables, including eggplant, onion, peppers and sunchokes. The burnt skins were removed and soft insides plated

> highlight immediate seasonality, and most ingredients come from under 10 kilometres away from the restaurant in Wellington. There’s also a new boutique hotel opening in a historic heritage site with Albert Ponzo, another Toronto chef, at the helm. In 2017, Ponzo left his position as the acclaimed head chef at Le Sélect and is currently waiting for the Royal Hotel to finish construction. Ponzo’s cooking is a balanced mix of French and Italian. The County’s fertile winery and market options also help support a growing number of food pop-ups. During the weekends, it’s not hard to spot a Jamaican truck that specializes in traditional pimento-woodsmoked jerk chicken or that Bajan stand serving cones of fried cod croquettes with

house-made scotch bonnet hot sauce. After running restaurants in Toronto for over 30 years and laying the groundwork for Toronto’s modern dining scene with highly acclaimed restaurants, Jamie Kennedy moved Make sure to visit back to the County a food stand in the county. Food-popa few years ago. At ups regularly set up his 100-acre farm, he at wineries in the continues his plot-toregion, or you can find them at many table philosophy with of the major farm winemaker dinners stands. and other food events. He also has a quaint Airbnb rental called The White House. Designed to host up to eight guests, it’s a quick drive to the Closson Road wine row. Kennedy is currently working on an exciting wine-focussed culinary project with a hint of nostalgia, and in the meantime operates a fry stand with his son at the weekend farmer’s market in Wellington. “The County has evolved so quickly in

such a short amount of time, but it has mostly managed to maintain its character. The qualities of the city blend into the cottage country aesthetics, and with all this talent pouring in, it has become an exciting place,” Kennedy says. ◆ Transportation for this trip was provided by Cadillac. cadillac.com

GETTING THERE Prince Edward County is roughly a 2.5-hour drive from downtown Toronto, depending on 401 traffic. Via offers train service from Union Station to Belleville and GO service runs as far as Oshawa. Also, Coach Canada has a bus to Belleville that picks up at Pearson International Airport. The County is served by several taxi companies.








ANDEAN ESCAPE Perched on a plateau high in the Andes, Colombia’s capital offers everything from picturesque colonial architecture to top chocolate. We find the must-see sights and attractions.

2,640 M Bogotá’s elevation

Words by SURESH DOSS Suresh Doss


Average June temperature in Bogotá

2,220 COP

to 1 Canadian dollar

BELOW: Instead of amenities, the designers of Hotel B3 Virrey focussed on environmental friendliness for their conveniently located crash pad

RIGHT: Street art has found a place in the civic culture of Bogotรก and is nearly ubiquitious in all of its neighbourhoods



In 2011, following the worldwide outcry over the death of teenage graffiti artist Diego Felipe Becerra by local police, there has been a massive cultural shift to support public artwork. Graffiti became an encouraged form of expression, and over the last seven years, it has transformed and permeated into the city’s facade. Street art has quickly become part of Bogotá’s landscape, and it features in nearly every district in the city. Artists pull from a variety of topics like socio-political and world issues to create elaborate and intricate tapestries throughout the city. Take a free walking tour that takes you on a journey of Bogotá’s street art history. bogotagraffiti.com


Bogotá’s elevation means that the temperature in the city stays comfortable year round. So, biking is the best way to enjoy the old quarters and graffiti alleys. Bogotá Bike Tours is entirely customizable. Our favourite ride takes you through the city’s La Candelaria district – which is home to a dozen museums and cultural attractions like the acclaimed Museo Iglesia Santa Clara, one of the oldest churches in Colombia, and the Museo del Oro (gold museum). The tour should be one of the first things you do when you arrive in Bogotá to get a sense of how the city is structured and laid out. bogotabiketours.com


Bogotá is surrounded by beautiful mountainscapes. The most popular one, Monserrate, sits at the edge of the city and can be accessed with ease. When you’re ready to take a break from downtown, head to the Teleférico (cable car) station for a quick ride up the mountain. The cable car treats you to the best bird’s-eye view of Bogotá as it climbs 10,000 feet above sea level in just four minutes. Up top, enjoy 360-degree views, a local merchants’ market and one of the best restaurants for local cuisine, Restaurante Casa Santa Clara.

Suresh Doss


Bogotá’s traffic is notorious for being some of the worst in the world, so choosing where you want to stay is crucial to your enjoyment. One of the city’s newest options is an eco-friendly boutique property located in the hip El Refugio shopping district. B3 provides an affordable stay for tourists that prefer to spend more time outdoors than in. Amenities are minimal here, so don’t expect a free breakfast, but wifi and coffee help as does the the top-notch concierge service which can connect you to any tour operator in minutes. B3 is conveniently located a few minutes from the El Retiro restaurant district. Rooms from $72. hotelesb3.com


For colonial-style Spanish comfort, the Four Seasons offers a luxurious setting. The global chain took over the historic Casa Medina property in 2015, and thankfully left most of its charm and accents intact. The hotel is situated in the bustling 93 Park shopping district and is within walking distance to a number of museums and attractions. Rooms are modern and feature all the indulgent amenities one could want. The Zona G neighbourhood has evolved into a hot spot for nightlife, with craft beer and night dancing options within a block. Rooms from $284. fourseasons.com/bogotacm


Stay at Hotel de la Opera for a chance to truly experience Bogotá’s historic and cultural old city, and to be within walking distance of plazas and museums. Hotel de la Opera oozes colonial vibes from the lobby to the ornately designed Spanish rooms. A pool and spa are on site, but the best part of this hotel is its location. Rooms from $154. hotelopera.com.co


LEFT: The Four Seasons group took over the historic Casa Medina property in 2015 and left the colonial charm intact

Christian Horan


ABOVE: Start with the standbys of Colombian cuisine at La Puerta de la Catedral



Long known for its cocktails and aguardiente, Bogotá’s beer scene is quickly on the rise. The best is BBC. There’s always at least a dozen beers to try, so order a flight of samples before you choose a favourite. BBC has quickly expanded throughout the city, and nearly every major district now has one. bogotabeercompany.com


Some of the world’s finest cacao comes from Latin America. República works with producers from Ecuador to produce a line of boutique chocolates while protecting and developing relationships to maintain a sustainable ecosystem between farm and shop. All ingredients come from small farms. Stop by to try the single-origin chocolates, made with cacao beans that can be traced to specific regions of Latin America. republicadelcacao.com

Suresh Doss

Bogotá’s food scene is lively and eclectic. Start with a meal in the La Candelaria district with its colonial architecture and sprawling plazas. La Puerta is a local favourite for classic Colombian cuisine. Get acquainted with the national dish, bandeja paisa, a platter of assorted roasted meat served with beans and vegetables. There are

a variety of candy shops located next to the restaurant that are worth a visit.



Escapism TORONTO HAS LANDED We celebrated escapism’s arrival in Toronto with a night of awesome food and drink at Assembly Chef’s Hall.

On BOARD SERVICE We kicked off the first issue of escapism at Assembly Chef’s Hall by partying with almost 200 hundred of our nearest and dearest. The cocktails were flowing with Flor de Caña Rum, Disaronno Amaretto, Sipsmith Gin and Fever-Tree Tonic keeping us refreshed! Wines included Parxet Brut Reserva 2014, Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2017, Casas Del Bosque Carmenère Reserva 2016, while Czechvar and Tiger Beer provided the beer. And if that wasn’t enough, we had Clase Azul serving their incredible tequila. The fantastic team at Assembly Chef’s Hall kept us fed throughout the night with tasters from Mira Mira, The Good Son Pizza, Bar Reyna, Short & Sweet Bakeshop, Resto Boemo, DaiLo, Colibrí and Cherry Street Bar-B-Que.

Sandro Pehar

Finally guests were treated to goodie bags at the end of the night from: G Adventures, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Flor de Cana Rum, Pilot Coffee Roasters, Central Roast Inc. and Fever-Tree Tonic.


73 81

The Checklist

The Intrepid Series


Like a Local

Sacha Styles

94 98

Azores, Portugal

Sydney, Australia

The Selector

Rear View

Page, Arizona



In association with



Seas the day Whether it’s the dreamy white sand beaches, infectious reggae beats or distinctive cuisine that draws you to Jamaica, this dynamic island is sure to win you over with its stunning scenery, rich culture and laid-back vibes. Head straight for the beaches or make your way inland to discover dramatic waterfalls, lush mountains and pristine forests. Stay up late experiencing the island’s buzzing nightlife scene and perk yourself up the next morning with cups of Blue Mountain coffee. With WestJet’s convenient non-stop flights from Toronto to Jamaica and many hotels and resorts located mere minutes away from the airport, the only thing standing between you and beachfront rum punch is a ticket.


wheels up, surf's up Great value flights from WestJet make getting to Jamaica as breezy as the palm trees you’ll soon be chilling under. Here are some tips for getting to the island and getting around once you arrive.

With WestJet’s frequent flights to Kingston and Montego Bay from Toronto, you could be leaving the city behind and en route to the sandy beaches of Jamaica sooner than you might think. WestJet prides itself on providing low fares without sacrificing quality service, so you can

count on enjoying a truly great air travel experience at a price you can afford. Get into vacation mode from the moment you arrive at the airport by booking Plus,1 WestJet’s Premium Economy fare, which treats you to a range of extra perks throughout your journey. With two checked

fly knowing you’re earning WestJet dollars for future trips

bags included,2 you can forget about overstuffed carry-ons. Pack everything you’ll need for the perfect getaway, plus have enough free space in your bags to bring souvenirs home from your trip. Sign up for the WestJet Rewards program before your journey and fly with the satisfaction of knowing that you’re earning WestJet dollars towards future travel. With no blackouts, using your WestJet dollars is simple. Redemptions start at only 15 WestJet dollars, allowing you to save a little or a lot on your next flight. Whether you opt for an Econo, Flex or



getting around Public Transportation Buses, minibuses and route taxis are budget-friendly ways to get around in Jamaica, collectively running to almost every town and village across the island. Minibuses and route taxis typically arrive and depart from each town’s transportation station and have their destination marked on their front window or the side of the vehicle. Not to be confused with regular licensed taxis, route taxis run along set routes picking up passengers along the way much like a bus – you’ll recognize them by their red license plates. Most public transportation options don’t run on a regular schedule, leaving when they’re full of passengers rather than operating on a timetable, so they’re not the best option if you’re in a rush; however, if you're patient, travelling by public transportation can be a rewarding opportunity to get a feel for everyday life in Jamaica.

Car Plus fare, you can unwind or be productive on board with WestJet Connect. WestJet Connect brings hundreds of hours of free streaming content to your mobile device, tablet or laptop. Enjoy a complimentary movie, or purchase an Internet pass and answer emails or update your social media. Minimize airport stress by choosing Premium Economy, which includes advance boarding and priority screening. Kick back on board with seats that offer additional leg and elbow room so you can stretch out and get comfortable.3 Premium food and beverage selections, including wine, beer and spirits, will keep you satiated during your flight, so you’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as you land.4 Jet off to Jamaica with WestJet - named Best Airline in Canada and one of the Best Low Cost Airlines in North America by TripAdvisor two years running. ◆

getting there With WestJet’s non-stop, year-round flights to Kingston and Montego Bay from Toronto, getting to Jamaica has never been easier. Flights to Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport depart two to three times per week, depending on the season. Travellers looking to explore the island’s capital, Port Antonio and the Blue Mountains should fly here. Direct flights from Toronto to Kingston take four hours. PLACE

Those flying to Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport have even more flexibility, with WestJet flights departing daily from Toronto. The island’s most popular entry point, Montego Bay is the most convenient airport for those en route to Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril. Direct flights from Toronto Pearson to Montego Bay take four hours.

For the ultimate freedom to sightsee independently and discover the island’s lesser-known gems, it’s tough to beat the convenience of a rental car. Your best bet is to pick up your car at the airport, with international chains like Hertz operating branches at Montego Bay and Kingston airports. Mopeds and motorcycles are another option, which are typically more affordable than cars and give you a chance to enjoy some fresh island air while you explore. Jamaica’s winding roads might be daunting for first-time visitors, so take your time and remember to drive on the left side of the road! If you’re only planning a few out-of-the-way excursions, hiring a driver for the day is often better bang-for-your-buck than renting a vehicle for your entire trip.

1 Not applicable on flights operated by our airline partners. 2 Overweight and oversized baggage fees may apply. A fee also applies for each eligible additional piece over two. 3 Our Boeing 737 aircraft include a blocked middle seat. Our Boeing 767 aircraft are equipped with wider seats. Seats in Plus on flights operated by WestJet Encore, and WestJet Link, operated by Pacific Coastal Airlines, do not have extra legroom or space. 4 Selections vary depending on flight length, time of day and availability.


it's a shore thing Beaches? Food? Golf? Where should first-timer visitors begin in Jamaica? Here are six experiences to add to your island itinerary.

From lively festivals and historic architecture, to postcard-worthy beaches and addictive cuisine, Jamaica offers a diverse array of memorable experiences for every kind of traveller. We’ve picked a few of our favourite, can’t-miss experiences to stoke your island daydreams and get you started planning your vacation. Chill out on Negril Beach Also known as Seven Mile Beach, Negril’s 11-kilometre stretch of white sands regularly ranks among the best in the Caribbean. Hugging a lagoon with a coral reef, the beach features some of the island’s top snorkelling and scuba diving, along with just about every other water sport imaginable. Celebrate at the Accompong Maroon Festival This annual festival held every January in the town of Accompong commemorates the signing of the 1739 peace treaty between the Maroons (escaped former slaves) and the British. Featuring music, storytelling and street food, the festival is a wonderful opportunity to get a deeper understanding of Jamaica’s Afro-Caribbean heritage. Soak up the sounds at Reggae Sumfest Jamaica’s most popular festival, Reggae Sumfest celebrates the country’s beloved local genre of music. Hosted in mid-July this year, the five-day fest held in Montego Bay kicks off with a massive party on Walter Fletcher Beach. The event attracts

some of the biggest names in reggae, with past performers including Damian Marley, Shaggy and Alicia Keys. Get spooked at Rose Hall This stately mansion dating back to the 18th-century was among the grandest houses in the West Indies in its prime; but today it’s mainly known for the legend of Annie Palmer. Once mistress of the house, she now supposedly haunts the property. Day tours highlight the house’s architecture and historic furniture, while evening tours focus on its spooky past. Nosh on vibrant island cuisine Jerk meat is easily Jamaica’s most wellknown dish, a cooking method that involves covering meat (most famously chicken), pork or fish with a paste of Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice and herbs like thyme and cooking it over a coal fire. Dive deeper into Jamaican cuisine by sampling street food patties and flavourful pepperpot soup. Tee-off on top-notch courses Jamaica is a golfer’s paradise, home to some excellent courses, many of which are concentrated around the Montego Bay area. Highlights include Tryall Golf Course, one of the island’s most challenging courses; and Cinnamon Hill Ocean Course, a picturesque course that traverses the seaside and takes golfers up into the lush mountains. ◆

Negril’s white sand beach ranks among the best in the Caribbean




keep palm and carry on From high-energy resorts to secluded beachfront hideaways, Jamaica has accommodation options for every travel style, many of which are included in WestJet Vacations packages. SUNSCAPE SPLASH M O N T E G O B AY MELIÁ BRACO VILLAGE






checking in Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa A huge oceanfront resort located 45-minutes west of Montego Bay, Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa is home to an 86,000-square-foot pool complex that includes one of the island’s biggest infinity pools. Sandals South Coast The only hotel in Whitehouse, Sandals South Coast is the perfect property for those looking to escape the crowds. The resort recently debuted a set of over-water bungalows with oceanview glass floors that are illuminated at night. Beaches Ocho Rios Set on a private white sand beach, Beaches Ocho Rios is one of Jamaica’s most family-friendly resorts, with programs for kids of all ages and a 27,000-square-foot water park. For adults, there’s all-inclusive dining, plus golf and scuba lessons.


Sunscape Splash Montego Bay This cheerful all-inclusive property offers excellent value for budgetconscious travellers, with direct beach access and a location close to Montego Bay’s key attractions. The main pool includes a swim-up bar and a fun, pirate-themed water park. Melia Braco Village Find Melia Braco Village on the island’s north coast, midway between the pretty town of Falmouth and popular Ocho Rios. Rooms feature works by local artists, along with minibars. There’s a picturesque beach and an adventure park with a paintball field, ropes course and climbing wall. Couples Negril As its name implies, Couples Negril caters to lovebirds with dedicated romance concierges, tree-house style spa treatments rooms for couples and candlelit beachfront dinners. In addition to the standard all-inclusive offerings, rates at Couples Negril cover golf, scuba diving, yoga and sailing.


Forget romantic getaways. Some places are better experienced with just you, yourself and you. Here are the best places to travel solo this February.

Austin, Texas Austin may be Texas’s state capitol, but this ultra-cool city’s friendly vibe makes it feel more like a small town. Welldeserving of its nickname, “Live Music Capital of the World,” you can catch performances in Austin almost every night of the week. If you’re not comfortable dining out solo, the city’s thriving food truck scene means you can eat well without having to endure a sit-down meal in a restaurant.

The Irish are known for their exceptional friendliness and the country’s capital is no exception. Discovering Dublin is less about checking off bucket list sites and more about wandering down cobbled streets and admiring pretty Georgian squares and townhouses — though the striking Long Room in Trinity College’s Old Library is worth a stop.

Dublin, Ireland The Irish are known for their exceptional friendliness and the country’s capital is no exception. Discovering Dublin is less about checking off bucket list sites and more about wandering down cobbled streets and admiring pretty Georgian squares and townhouses — though the striking Long Room in Trinity College’s Old Library is worth a stop.

Tokyo, Japan Tokyo’s fast-paced, salaryman culture means that dining alone is common, with many casual restaurants offering counter seating for single diners, so solo travellers out experiencing the city’s dining scene fit right in. If you feel like having company for a day, you can take advantage of one of the city’s free guiding services, which are generally staffed by locals looking Tokyo, Japanto practice English.

SIGN UP AT ESCAPISM.TO/NEWSLETTER Tokyo’s fast-paced, salaryman culture means that dining To see the rest of the list click here. alone is common, with many casual restaurants offering counter seating for single diners, so solo travellers out experiencing the city’s dining scene fit right in. If you feel like having company for a day, you can take advantage of one of the city’s free guiding services, which are generally staffed by locals looking to practice English.








E DON’T KNOW about you, but we’re pumped that summer is finally here. We only get a few months of this glorious, warm weather each year and we can’t wait to get outside and experience as much of it as we possibly can. For this edition of Checklist, we’ve put together a guide to all the gear you’ll need to make the most of the Canadian summer. Whether you’re going hiking, camping or canoeing, we’ve got you covered for just about any adventure with everything from

sturdy backpacks and paddles to the Eureka Spire LX Stove pictured above. This camp stove features two 10,000 BTU burners that can fit 10- and 12-inch pots simultaneously for cooking up large or small outdoor meals. Dual JetBoil burner controls give you precise flame control for simmering, boiling or grilling your food, while a windscreen on each side of the stove shields the flame and allows for consistent output. Flip the page to see the rest of our summer gear essentials. ◆







HOPPER TWO 20 COOLER: Your brews

will stay refreshingly cold in this semi-soft cooler, large enough to hold 18 cans and enough ice to keep them all frosty. The waterproof dryhide shell resists mildew, punctures and UV rays. $405, mec.ca

High-tech functionality combines with attractive style to get you ready for all your sunny scampers – from canoeing to camping – this summer.



comfy layer for those chilly evenings, this soft vest can also fold up to double as a travel pillow when you need some extra cushioning on road trips. $450, canadagoose.ca

◀ WALLAROO TAHITI HAT: Stay protected from the sun while still looking Instagrammably stylish with this raffia hat. It folds easily for packing and a hidden drawcord allows you to adjust it to get the right fit. $59, mec.ca



A reverse-facing top lid gives this pack a clean look plus helps to repel dirt and water. Tons of easy-access pockets and padded shoulder straps make it practical for everything from light hikes to challenging treks. $250, arcteryx.ca

tra-packable jacket on hand for lightweight protection against unexpected weather. Made from breathable Gore-Tex fabric, it keeps you dry when needed without adding bulk to your bag. $370, arcteryx.ca


BETA SL JACKET MEN’S: Have this ul-





Keep it simple with this minimalist daypack, which features padded back and shoulder straps with an inner layer of breathable airmesh. Its 16-litre size makes it a perfect, go-to bag for day trips. $35, mec.ca ▶ CANADA GOOSE RIVERHEAD: A lightweight jacket ideal for active days, the Riverhead features an interior drawcord hem for an adjustable fit, along with underarm venting to promote air flow and enhance breathability. $550.00, canadagoose.ca



Take your culinary skills on the road with this colourful camp stove. Cook your favourite meals on the two powerful burners, which can accommodate pots and pans up to 12 inches. $192, mec.ca


This three-season sleeping bag will keep you warm on cooler nights and comfortable when temps are milder. A side zipper allows you to fold the front of the bag down like a comforter for extra cozy sleeping. $129.99, sail.ca



A durable addition to your activewear wardrobe, this heavy duty belt won’t let you down in keeping your pants up. A snug metal buckle helps keep it in place no matter how much you’re moving. $40, arcteryx.ca

Canoe stylishly with hardwood paddles. Use the cherrywood Trip paddle for solo treks, or the walnut Deep Water paddle for long, slow strokes. Trip, $220, Deep Water, $240; strangeloveboatworks.com








THE KIT LIST Hike a mile, run trails and clamber over obstacles in these hiking shoes built for summer weather. Each has its own specialty or unique features.




Hike with ease with this sleek, lightweight option, which blends the sturdy, supportive structure of a hiking boot with the comfort of a trail running shoe. $169, mec.ca



to provide stability and speed in alpine environments, you can count on these high-performance shoes when taking on technical terrain and they transition well to everyday wear, too. $200, arcteryx.ca

shoes have textile uppers for cooling on humid summer hikes. A rugged toecap and heel plus rubber sole provide grip and protection against scuffs and scrapes.$90, mec.ca





cushioning and breathable mesh lining make these light hiking shoes super comfortable and supportive. A bellows tongue keeps out debris when you’re on the trail. $189.99, sail.ca


Move smoothly and quickly in these waterproof shoes, which feature a specialized midsole system designed to promote energy return. A woven mesh upper helps to shield your feet from trail debris. $189.99, sail.ca



Featuring breathable mesh uppers and a rocker sole that promotes smooth heel to toe transfer, these well-cushioned shoes are designed to provide stability for running on challenging trails. $109, mec.ca







One of 52 Places To Go in 2018 THE NEW YORK TIMES

er hang. Hey! Canalside iswatmychfavotheritesunsumm set over Lake

I’ll grab a beer and n up Erie or maybe take a water bike for a spi e rentals, the Buffalo River. There’s boat tours, bik light show concerts on Thursdays, and an awesome

g around for. every night that’s totally worth stickin l, Buffalo’s And don’t forget to check out Shark Gir most Instagrammed piece of public art. F, Looking forward to seeing you in the BU

The Unexpected Buffalo




expect the unexpected There’s never been a better time to visit Buffalo, with the city’s spirit of reinvention fueling new activity spaces, restaurants and hotels that make the most of its storied past.

Mike Shriver

Think you know Buffalo? Think again. New York State’s second-largest city is a hop, skip and a jump across the Ontario border and it’s filled with incredible restaurants, exceptional art and innovative public spaces waiting to be discovered. Set at the confluence of the Niagara River, Lake Erie and the Buffalo River, Buffalo’s absorbing culture and architecture stems from its history as a bustling port in the early 1900s. It’s therefore fitting that, over one hundred years later, the waterfront has been a focal point for the revitalization of the Queen City. Today, Buffalo’s Canalside is a lively outdoor activity area that hosts over 1,000 events each year, from concerts to maker markets. On the other side of the Buffalo River, you’ll find another example of the city’s ability to turn the old into new: RiverWorks. Constructed around the

remains of former grain silos, RiverWorks is a massive entertainment complex that includes a roller derby track, ice rinks, zip lining, rock climbing and much more. But the waterfront isn’t the only place where you’ll discover Buffalo’s talent for transformation. Northeast of the waterfront is Hotel Henry, a hotel set in a Henry Hobson Richardson-designed, 19th-century building that once served as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. South of Hotel Henry is Resurgence Brewing Co., a microbrewery set in a former boat engine factory. Be sure to try their Sponge Candy Stout, which is made with clippings of the city’s beloved Watson’s Sponge Candy. While Buffalo certainly knows how to revamp its historic buildings into modern cultural hubs, it’s also a master of preserving them. The city’s turn-of-the-century prosperity lead to the construction of grand

buildings and parks, making it an exciting destination for architecture buffs. Renowned architects like Frank Lloyd Wright made lasting contributions to the Buffalo cityscape, while the city’s park system was conceptualized by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York City’s Central Park. Whether it’s your first visit to Buffalo or your hundredth, there’s always something new to explore in this ever-evolving city. ◆

getting there Buffalo is a 2-hour drive from Toronto. Greyhound and Megabus both offer daily service. greyhound.com; ca.megabus.com


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HE INTREPID SERIES is the part of escapism where we set aside leisurely

city breaks, indulgent culinary tours and beachside getaways in favour of more daring travel experiences. Our writers put their minds and bodies to the test in search of boundary-pushing pursuits and bring you active, adventurous travel stories. This time around, we sent staff writer Jessica Huras over 4,000 kilometres across the Atlantic to the Azores, an autonomous Portuguese archipelago known for its

pristine natural landscapes and outdoorsy excursion opportunities. She thought she was in for some light hiking, hot springs, scenic vistas and plenty of cheese consumption; and while she did get to experience all of that and more, she also found herself donning two layers of wetsuit, locking into a safety harness and embarking on an unexpected canyoning expedition through Ribeira dos Caldeirões park on the archipelago’s largest island, Sao Miguel. How did it go? Flip the page to find out. ◆





THE INTREPID SERIES While wrapped in two layers of Neoprene, Jessica Huras discovers her sense of adventure by gritting her teeth and jumping into the expanse of the pictureseque canyons of the Azores.





LEFT: The Azores has earned a reputation as the “Hawaii of Europe”

PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE read my itinerary more carefully. I didn’t know we were going canyoning until dinner the night before, when the other journalists in my group started discussing the best way to bow out of this pre-planned activity. I feigned prior knowledge of the adventure while fumbling to pull up our itinerary on my phone. Sure enough, canyoning had been on it all along, right above the significantly more innocuous item: “visit hot springs.” Now I’m standing behind the open back doors of a minivan in the parking lot of Ribeira dos Caldeirões, a park in the northeastern corner of Sao Miguel Island in the Azores. I’m struggling to pull two skintight layers of wetsuit over my thighs, feeling not unlike a human version of meat being stuffed into sausage casing, and wishing I had passed on the third glass of wine at the aforementioned dinner. Only one member of my five-person group is battling beside me with her own wetsuit layers – the others are fully-clothed and smiling at us with faces that are encouraging but also reflect the relief they feel for already requesting an alternative activity for the morning. I suppose it would be easy for me to change my mind about canyoning and join the majority of my group in skipping it. But thanks to some combination of FOMO, and guilt about a tour planned for five people ending up as a tour for one person, I’m determined to go through with it. And after all, adventure is what the Azores are all about. A group of nine volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores are being dubbed as the “next Iceland” by many travellers thanks to their position between North America and Europe, which makes them an appealing destination for trans-Atlantic stopovers. Others describe the islands as “Europe’s Hawaii” for their unspoiled landscapes. Volcanoes, dense The Azores are one forests, thermal pools of two autonomousand green pastures regions of Portugal. are just the beginning The other region is of the wonders that Madeira, an archipelago comprised of make the Azores four islands found a growing hotspot 965 kilometres to for travellers to try the southeast. everything from >

ABOVE: Surprisingly, tripping on hidden rocks in streams poses a greater risk of injury than rapelling down the side of a rock face does

> cycling around craters to, as I’m about to discover, canyoning through ravines. There’s no turning back once I zip up the wetsuit, my fate sealed as the rubber seals to my body. I look up at my guide: “Nonadventurous people do this all the time right?” I ask. “Of course,” he says with a smile. We set off along a tree-lined path into the interior of the park. We’re walking uphill, making our way to the high point of the trail,

so we can navigate back to our starting point by following the canyon down through a series of waterfalls. I soon realize that walking, particularly uphill, is more challenging with the added bulk of the wetsuit. “This is a lot harder with the wetsuit on,” says Catherine, the only group mate who decided to take on the canyoning challenge with me. But she doesn’t seem to be huffing and puffing as much as I am. Our guide is talking about the Azores as we walk and I try to focus on what he’s saying instead of the growing sense of claustrophobia welling up within me, the wetsuit feeling like a full-body noose that tightens with each step.


The Azores are politically part of Portugal – Portuguese is the local language and the currency is euros – but with Lisbon located over 1,446 kilometres away, the islands have developed their own distinctive culture over the centuries and each is known for something a little different. Pico, for example, is famous for its volcanic vineyards, while Terceira is home to the UNESCO-listed Angra do Heroísmo, the oldest town in the archipelago. As a result, you haven’t really seen the Azores until you’ve Pico is home to hopped between the tallest volcano several islands. Sao in the Azores and Miguel Island, where the highest point in we’re currently Portugal, the 2351metre, Montanha trekking, is the largest do Pico. Yes, it is and most developed possible to hike to island, but particularly the summit. now in the low



how graceful I look at the moment. A few descents later, I’m starting to get the hang of it – or at least feel more confident that if I lose control, our guide will just take over the ropes and lower me down manually, like transporting a sack of goods in an old-fashioned dumbwaiter. At our next descent, however, I’m introduced to a new component of canyoning: Waterfall jumping. Leaping off a waterfall into a river requires none of the technical skill of rappelling (a point in its favour), but as I step up to the edge, I realize that what waterfall jumping lacks in difficulty, it makes up for in terrifyingness. It doesn’t occur to me until I’m in the water that if the wetsuit weighed me down on land, it would certainly weigh me down underwater too. The heavy wetsuit pulls me deeper into the river water than I expect and my frantic upward strokes are slow to propel me back to the surface. We’re out of the river now, walking on the trail again and the warm sun is starting to dry my wetsuit. We round a corner and I see my group mates waving to us from the upper ledge of the canyon. We’ve returned to our starting point and I’m feeling pretty selfcongratulatory now that it’s over, mentally patting myself on the back for overcoming my fears. It had actually been kind of fun. >

season, it feels rugged and remote. Sunlight seeps through the dewy plant-life surrounding us as we wade into a shallow, rocky canyon. Our guide tells us that the majority of canyoning-related injuries happen not from repelling down waterfalls, as you might expect, but from tripping over hidden rocks in streams like this one. He assures us, though, that no accidents have happened with this particular tour company in over 12 years. “Don’t ruin my record,” he says with a wink. Before we begin our descent down the canyon, our guide demonstrates some basic rappelling techniques on a low rock wall at the edge of the river. Rappelling (a term I would later Google) is a controlled descent down a rock with the use of ropes. He loops thick climbing ropes through his harness and secures everything with a series of knots and metal clips. He shows us how to

position our feet against the rock so we can walk down while positioned perpendicular to the face, releasing the rope as we descend to gradually lower ourselves. He asks me to practice lowering him down the wall, so I can get a feeling for how to control the rope. “Which hand do you belay with?” he asks and passes the rope to me. “I...don’t belay,” I say. He positions himself on the wall and tells me to release the rope slightly. Too much rope slides through my nervous fingers and he plunges into the water. Despite me having ostensibly failed the test run, we’re moving on to our first descent. It’s a thin but powerful waterfall that tumbles about three metres down a concave rockface. As I sway unevenly, making my way down the rock, I’m reminded of the firepole scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary and decide that it’s a fair approximation of



ABOVE: Satisfying a sense of adventure one of the many reasons travellers are heading to the Azores, which are also known for their beautiful scenery

> “Ok, we call this last part ‘jump jump,’” says our guide. We’re not done. I take back every thought I just had about this being fun. “Jump jump” turns out to be a three-metre waterfall jump, followed by a five-metre one. I hesitate at the top of the three-metre jump, staring down at the reflection of the leaves in the water and thinking about how insanely far three metres feels when you’re about to fall down that distance. “You can’t think about it. Just jump!” our guide yells from the bottom. So I do. The last jump, we discover, is optional. There’s a short path we can follow if we want to bypass the waterfall instead. No fuss, no muss. I feel like our guide is mostly directing this alternative at me, which is understandable given that I’ve been more tentative throughout this trek than my

bolder companion. However, his wellintentioned doubt provokes a stubborn determination in me. I am so doing this. Catherine walks up to the waterfall edge first, as she has every The two most time so far. She braces popular hot springs for the jump and then to hit in Furnas looks down. She steps are Dona Beija back. She’s barely and the springs at Terra Nostra finished asking me if I Garden Hotel – the want to go first before latter are set amid I’m rocketing into the landscaped gardens. air, knowing I’m going to lose my courage if I stop for even a second. Five metres is a long fall, long enough that I notice the feeling of being airborne before I hit the water. Back at the van, we strip off our wetsuits, which are much easier to get off than on now that they’re soaking wet. I didn’t think to bring a towel, so I slide my dry clothes, warm from sitting in the sun-drenched van, over my damp skin. We reunite with our group mates and pile back into the van.

GETTING THERE Azores Airlines offers direct flights from Toronto to Sao Miguel’s capital, Ponta Delgada. Flights depart three times per week, with round-trip prices starting as low as $570. Azores Adventure Islands offers half and full day canyoning excursions. azoresairlines.pt; azoresadventureislands.com



Our next stop is Furnas, a lakeside spot known for its geysers and thermal pools. It’s the “hot springs” part of today’s itinerary that I had been prepared for all along. As we drive, I gaze at the cows grazing on the sloping green meadows, looking as though they’ve consciously distributed themselves to create a bucolic scene; at the clusters of azaleas and hydrangeas fringing the road; and at the ocean, which occasionally reveals itself through gaps in the terrain. It’s a wild, beautiful landscape that stirs a sense of adventure – even in nonadventurous people. ◆

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explore canada in style With attentive service, modern style and prime locations, Le Germain Hotels are the perfect base for discovering Canada’s most compelling destinations.

Whether your summer travels across Canada bring you to Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City or Charlevoix, Le Germain Hotels will be your welcoming, home-away-from home. Le Germain Hotel Quebec City was Canada’s first boutique hotel when it opened in 1988 and this boutique touch continues to be at the heart of the experience guests can expect from a stay at any Le Germain

property. Regardless of which Le Germain Hotel you choose, you can look forward to personalized service, stylish design details and convenient locations in some of Canada’s most interesting cities. Le Germain’s newest property, Le Germain Hotel Ottawa, shares its unique, mixed-use complex with the Ottawa Art Gallery. The hotel takes inspiration from this creative space for its bold design.

The hotel’s restaurant, Norca, is equally memorable, drawing locals and visitors alike with its innovative cuisine. While the menu’s culinary influences are Nordic, ingredients are local. After a day exploring Parliament Hill or browsing the stalls at Byward Market, head to Norca in the evening to enjoy a nose-to-tail platter or stuffed whole cauliflower with smoked duck prosciutto. Local, sustainable cuisine is also a priority



Groupe Germain Hôtels

at Hôtel & Spa Le Germain Charlevoix, found northeast of Ottawa in the heart of Quebec (if you’re road tripping between the two cities, you’ll also find Le Germain Hotels in Montreal and Quebec City to stop at along the way). Fresh, regional ingredients are a focus at both of Le Germain Charlevoix’s on-site restaurants. Les Labours offers a more upscale experience along with an exciting open kitchen, while Le Bercail’s cozy ambiance makes it the perfect place to unwind in the evening. Le Germain Charlevoix’s impressive Spa Nordique offers an equally inviting setting for relaxation. You can appreciate the hotel’s serene countryside surroundings in hot and cold outdoor pools, as well as the Finnish sauna, which features a large window overlooking the peaceful surrounding fields.

Set in a former farm, Le Germain Charlevoix balances nods to its history with Le Germain’s signature urban style. Located in Baie St. Paul, the hotel is an attractive base for exploring Quebec’s stunning Charlevoix region. A designated UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, its inspiring scenery draws writers, musicians and other artists, along with active travellers looking to enjoy hiking, whale-watching and other outdoorsy pursuits. Whatever kind of vacation you have in mind this summer, Le Germain Hotels’ intimate atmosphere, thoughtful service and beautiful design will ensure it’ll be a getaway you won’t soon forget. ◆

getting there Le Germain Hotel Ottawa is around a 5-hour drive from Toronto or a 1-hour flight. The closest airport to Hôtel & Spa Le Germain Charlevoix is most easily reached by flying into Quebec City, from where it’s around a 1.5-hour drive to the hotel. legermainhotels.com




OYSTERS Start your morning with fresh bivalves. Local vendors committed to sustainable mariculture bring an array of oysters from nearby pristine waters. There are also mussels, cooked in wine and tossed with accoutrements.







ITH L.A.’S COMFORTABLE temperatures, coastal aesthetics and ideal produce-growing conditions, it’s no surprise that it has quickly become the most influential food city in the U.S. The culinary excitement peaks at the outdoor Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, which operates a quick walk away from the Pacific coastline. The market is one of the oldest on the West Coast, dating back to the early 1980s


and now spans three days: Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. The Wednesday market is often referred to as the “chefs’ market,” because many of L.A.’s top chefs visit for hyper-seasonal produce from over 75 farms. It’s not just about asparagus and peaches, with the market known primarily for heirloom varieties and interesting cross breeds of fruits and vegetables. The Saturday market, known as one of the largest and best organic markets on the West Coast, is a bustling setup of organic growers from across the state. Locals come in for fresh produce and tourists make their way to see why L.A. has some of the best fruit around. The Sunday market steps beyond the realms of seasonal produce by featuring a mix of artisans, craftspeople and those specializing in prepared foodstuffs. There’s always live music and activities for the kids. ◆

CITRUS California is home to an incredible array of citrus. On Wednesday, vendors will offer you a slice before you ask. Start with heirloom varieties of navel oranges, move to blood oranges and then wonderfully snackable cara caras.

PICNIC The best feature is its close proximity to Ocean Drive and the gorgeous Pacific coastline. Bring a blanket, and shop through the market to pick up picnic essentials: fruit, organic sourdough bread, pâté, and cold-brew coffee.

Market by Kyle Nieber; Oyster by Charlotte Coneybeer; Citrus by Clem Onojeghuo; Picnic by Toa Heftiba

California is famous for spearheading the North American model for seasonal cuisine. These days, L.A.’s Santa Monica Farmers’ Market is at the forefront.






Award-winning bartender Michael Nicolian moved to Sydney seven years ago. He worked in some of the hottest dining spots before opening Continental Deli and Bistro, a restaurant and cannery in Newtown. Here are his top places to hit.


The menu at this spot in Chippendale focuses on the smoked meats and treats that are cooked in their Southern Pride Smoker shipped from Tennessee. Head chef and owner, Luke Powell, and his crew are legends.


Head through the Betta Meats butcher shop (it’s a front) into my favourite bar in Sydney. Earl’s is a New Orleans-style cocktail bar, with cracking tunes, great mixed drinks, clean bartending and a short but strong wine list. The bar is usually lined with locals and I often bump into chefs, waiters and bartenders. Go in and get a Piña Colada or a sazerac – or if you’re like me, get both.


I grew up in London thinking lawn bowls was an old man’s sport, but it’s pretty cool here. It’s so beautiful looking out on all the beaches and great lawns. The beer is cheap and there are grills, so you can cook lunch while you play.



BELOW: After you’ve spent the requisite time gaping at Sydney’s Opera House, eat like a local


My local bottle shop is an authority on natural wine and local beer. They focus on minimal intervention and stock Australia’s best producers of the most limited releases of vino from here and the rest of the world.


This rugged looking Indian joint in Inner West Sydney is another great spot. It’s BYOB and stays open until midnight every day. Tandoori Hut has a secret menu which offers all sorts of regional Indian treats like lamb’s brain, but the standard menu nails the big hitters, too. Rock up late after a big night, order the butter chicken and the beef saagwala, crack open a beer and enjoy! ◆

GETTING THERE There are no direct flights from YYZ to SYD so you’ll need to make at least one stop. Qantas Airways flies to Sydney daily with a stopover in LAX. Return flights start at $1,900. qantas.com






Whether you’re looking to stick close to home with a staycation, tour the world in style or let all your cares wash away in a top infinity pool, we have you covered.



Daz z l in g d ig s From safari camps to restored Silver Streaks, these are the top spots to connect with nature without sacrificing comfort.

1) ELEPHANT HILLS, SURATTHANI, THAILAND Elephant treks have come under

pressure lately, but Elephant Hills offers close encounters, bathing, feeding and interacting with these majestic animals in an ethical way. It’s one of the only chain-free elephant parks in the world and they

don’t ever offer rides or force elephants to perform tricks. African safari-inspired luxury tents are equipped with a proper bed and hot showers. Whooping gibbon calls act as your morning alarm. elephanthills.com

Reconfigured from a tobacco pack barn, Burning Kiln Winery offers tours that take you through the complete process of winemaking, including pressing, fermentation, barrel aging and bottling.

2) LONG POINT ECO ADVENTURES WILDERNESS SUITES, ONTARIO Set on the site of an adventure park just next to a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, these tented suites offer the comforts you might expect from

a hotel room: Flush toilets, hot running water and hardwood floors. Adventurous couples and groups will appreciate the laundry list of nearby activities: Zip-lining, mountain biking, axe throwing, kayaking, and the excellent Burning Kiln Winery. Accommodations come with a full hot buffet breakfast featuring local fresh-baked bread and fruit grown in the region. lpfun.ca



3) YURTS TARIFA, ANDALUSIA, SPAIN At the southernmost tip of Europe, just across from Morocco, Yurts Tarifa offers unique accomodations in these iconic Mongolian structures. They’re purpose built and designed

4) SEVERIN SAFARI CAMP, MOMBASA, KENYA At the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tsavo West National Park, 21 octagonal canvas tents are styled with traditional African furniture and amenities like running water and electricity.

for the property’s climate and terrain, with tiled floors that stay cool and windows that roll up to help with air circulation and also let in sunlight. Pick up fresh eggs from the organic garden or order a hamper or breakfast basket to enjoy in your yurt. You’re just a mile away from the best windsurfing and kitesurfing conditions in Europe. yurtstarifa.com

Traditionally used by nomadic peoples all across Central Asia, a yurt is a round, lightweight structure covered in canvas. The word “yurt” translates to mean “home”.

5) THE COZY PEACH, ARIZONA On the site of an organic peach orchard that dates back 75 years, 10 vintage RVs and

From your private veranda, watch giraffes, lions and zebras on their way to watering holes. Embark on game drives or hire a plane to take in Kenya’s incredible wildlife and landscapes from the air. The camp is so isolated that, in the evening, a Massai personally escorts you from the main building to your accommodations. severinsafaricamp. com

campers from the 1940s to 1970s have been restored into adorable accommodations. Shiny tin metal Airstreams, Silver Streaks and Spartan Mansions each have their own theme and layout. Co-owner Carrie Schnepf has retained much of

the trailers’ original fixtures such as ovens and even working 8-track players while adding modern amenities like air conditioning and flat screens equipped with Netflix. It doesn’t get more Instagrammable than this. schnepffarms.com



IN fin it e Idy ll

If commercials for travel rewards cards have taught us anything, it’s that infinity pools are made for relaxation. 5

1) MARINA BAY SANDS, SINGAPORE Billed as Singapore’s grandest luxury

hotel, Marina Bay Sands’ iconic facade can be seen from most parts of the city-state. The cantilevered platform, which connects the recognizable three tall buildings, hosts

one of the loftiest infinity pools on Earth. The vantage offers swimmers dizzying views of Singapore. Because it’s in a resort eating and drinking options are plenty. marinabaysands.com

Pool l oop



This boutique hotel, in the village of Imerovigli, is carved into a cliff overlooking Santorini’s famous caldera, making for spectacular views from its infinity pool. White loungers lining the deck complement the blue waters of the pool and Aegean Sea. It’s long enough for a workout swim and adjoins the hotel’s sophisticated bar. gracehotels.com

With views of the shoreline of Hung Hom Bay, the newly built 16-storey hotel is the first to open on the Kowloon waterfront since 1995. A curated collection of over 1,000 art pieces are showcased throughout the property, but the real highlight is the city-side infinity pool which offers a panoramic view of Hong Kong. shangrila.com/kerry


Home to arts events, greenspace and a newly opened section of the waterfront promenade, the West Kowloon Cultural District is destined to become one of the largest cultural quarters in the world.



4) FOUR SEASONS SERENGETI, TANZANIA You don’t necessarily need to go


5) COURTYARD BONAIRE DIVE RESORT, BONAIRE Diving is the star attraction at this four-star resort on the west coast of the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. Between trips to

on safari to see the best of Tanzania’s wildlife. The resort’s 25-metre-long infinity pool directly overlooks the plains of Serengeti National Park and a large waterhole that draws tons of local wildlife. You

can easily spot wildebeest, elephants, zebras and dozens of other species while relaxing on a lounger and sipping. At night, an infrared camera streams the scene to the resort’s TVs. fourseasons. com/serengeti

stunning nearby marine ecosystems like Bonaire National Marine Park and Washington Slagbaai National Park, guests can still enjoy underwater fun in the resort’s picturesque infinity pool. After swimming a few laps in the pool, jump in the adjoining whirlpool for equally lovely vistas. marriott.com

Bonaire National Marine Park encompasses the entire coast of Bonaire and its surrounding waters. The park protects sea turtles and other endangered species as well as threatened ecosystems such as coral reef.



A pl ac e to stay Ontario’s 250,000 lakes, picturesque parks and countless villages beckon this staycation season. Here are the best.


Muskoka by Larry Wright; Kawartha by Justen Soule; Bruce by thebrucepeninsula.com

Located a short drive north of the city, Muskoka is the very definition of cottage country for most Ontarians. Home to over 4,000 square kilometres of woodsy terrain and over 1,500 lakes, it has long been a go-to destination for well-heeled city slickers. A bevy of top-notch golf courses, excellent spas and quality restaurants make it an approachable slice of nature within cell reception.

2) BRUCE PENINSULA From the Grotto, an ancient limestone cave, to the Natural Arch’s peek-a-boo view of Georgian Bay, the Bruce Peninsula is teeming with Instagrammable spots. With thick forests, the rocky Niagara escarpment and pretty beaches, this environment offers an opportunity to indulge your inner outdoor enthusiast with activities like kayaking, hiking and cycling. The area is a designated dark

sky reserve, which means you can bring your telescope and get reacquainted with what the night sky looks like without all the light pollution. You can camp in the park or there are lots of B&Bs and motels in towns like Tobermory and Lion’s Head.

Located on the south east side of the Bruce Peninsula, the golden sands of Sauble Beach gently slope into the warm, shallow waters of Lake Huron. At 7 kilometres, Sauble is one of the longest freshwater beaches in the world.



serene farmland, the Kawarthas are ready-made for canoeing, rowing and paddle boarding. For an indulgent escape from the city try following the Butter Tart Tour, a self-guided tasting trail with more than 50 stops at hotels, cafes, restaurants and bakeries to sample different interpretations of the beloved classic Canadian pastry. Don’t miss the namesake ice cream.



One of the best wine regions in Canada is located merely an hour outside of Toronto’s city limits. Famous for its waterfall, the Niagara region is a vast swath of low hills and glacial soils that created three distinct geological areas prime for winemaking. Driving and wining don’t mix, so staying the night is mandatory at one of the classic hotels in picturesque Niagara-onthe-Lake. With great wine there should be great food. Recently the region has become a hot spot for notable city chefs who want to open restaurants and cafes, like Daniel Hadida at Pearl Morissette and Paul Harber at Ravine.

If your idea of a staycation involves spending a considerable amount of time on the water and in nature without any distractions, then this is the place. The bucolic scenery of Quinte is tucked away south of the 401 and doesn’t get as much mention as its nearby commercially-grown counterpart, Prince Edward County. The vast Bay of Quinte is the backdrop to this nature-focused region where you can explore some of Ontario’s finest parks by bike, foot, or in a canoe. When you’re ready for for some action, PEC’s booming wine region is a quick drive across the bay.



The Kawarathas may fly under the radar compared to the usual summer stalwarts, but this picturesque area, two hours northeast of Toronto, is equally well-suited to outdoorsy getaways. With over 250 lakes and rivers set amid a backdrop of untouched wilderness and






Canyon National Recreation Area. Erosion from wind and water has shaped the canyon’s red sandstone walls over the centuries, creating the distinctive contours and textures that make it an attractive playground for photographers. April through September is the best time of year to visit to get that perfect snap of sunlight beams illuminating the canyon. ◆

Madhu Shesharam



OU MIGHT NOT know its name but you probably recognize the mesmerizing curves and supernatural glow of Arizona’s Antelope Canyon from countless Instagram feeds. Sometimes called Corkscrew Canyon, it’s one of the most easily accessible slot canyons in the southwestern U.S., set on a Navajo Reservation in Page, Arizona near the Glen

FEEL GOOD HALF NAKED It’s time to redefine what it means to be a #swimsuitmodel. What makes a body beautiful isn’t how it looks, but how it lives. We believe everyone is a #swimsuitmodel.

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Escapism - 2 - Toronto, The Great Outdoors  

Escapism - Issue 2 - Toronto, The Great Outdoors

Escapism - 2 - Toronto, The Great Outdoors  

Escapism - Issue 2 - Toronto, The Great Outdoors