Category Archives: Canada

My last visit

to Mont Tremblant's Spa Scandinave was in a mid-winter March, a glorious late winter sun, setting over a rushing Rivière Diable, her banks crusted with breaking sheets of ice. There was still snow on the ground, and the Spa’s smoky out-doors fire place became my favourite post-hot and cold waters resting spot. So zen in fact, at one point I shed a private tear at how wonderful this experience was.

Spa Scandinave

Winter at the Spa Scandinave

During the winter, the Spa caters to Tremblant's active skiers and the resort's professional circuit, providing soothing Nordic waters, and a rejuvenating hot and cold Scandinavian Bath and deep tissue massages to ease weary skiers bones. At least those were my bones, not being up on skis for over 25 years!

A Return to Spa Scandinave

My recent return to Spa Scandinave was in high summer, although the day we arrived proved to be a typical Laurentian summer day: cool and rainy. Cyclists, rock climbers, hikers returning from the rugged eight hour Via Ferrata du Diable in nearby Parc National du Mount-Tremblant, boozy partiers nursing hangovers from Tremblant’s big International Bluesfest, or weary participants in the Resort's IronMan competition; all seeking some quiet respite and warm water rejuvenation for both body and soul. To quote Angelique Papadopoulos, Spa Scandinave's Director of Marketing, 'It may seem obvious, but when on vacation, always take the time to relax. I mean really RELAX. That's no wi-fi, no phones, devices or digital escape from the digital world; just for a few hours." We couldn't agree more. 

image courtesy of Spa Scandinave

The little things stand out: refreshing choices of lemon and chlorophyll waters greet you at check in, friendly and engaging staff serving bites of fresh fruit, juicy pineapple on our summer visit, overflowing baskets of apples and warming tea stations to keep you hydrated. If you are hungry, their bistro offers fresh seasonal potages, unique and tasty sandwiches, organic juices and salads. Make sure you book a personal massage with your visit and indulge in a selection of Swedish deep tissue, therapeutic or prenatal. 


Scandinave Spa Mont-Tremblant is currently adding an additional 10,000 square feet of spa-ahhh, including a large open fire pit, new hot and cold water falls and pools, a large infinity hot tub and more zen inducing cozy, resting spots. With outdoor facilities at Whistler, BC, Blue Mountain, Ontario and Tremblant's original property, Spa Scandinave also engages tired and achy city dwellers with their indoor facility at Old Montreal’s Vieux Port.

No reason not to immerse yourself completely and indulge in some Spa-ahh.


Canada is now 150 years old,

but I will be celebrating the anniversary of Confederation all year long. In celebration of Canada150, Parks Canada has offered its Discovery Pass where you can have unlimited visits to its national sites. I hope these books inspire you to visit some of the places mentioned within its pages during Canada150.

FollowSummer reviews The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol

The Lightkeeper's Daughters is an amazing book that shows the beauty of Lake Superior.

The Lightkeeper's Daughters

The Lightkeeper's Daughters is written by Thunder Bay resident Jean E. Pendziwol, who spent much of her childhood on her family's sailboat, exploring the islands and bays of Lake Superior. And you can tell: Pendziwol not only loves the largest of the great lakes, but she also respects it.

In her author's note about some of the liberties she takes with her story, Pendziwol writes: “Lake Superior appears in full iconic truth; temperamental, beautiful, vast, magnificent, and moody.”

The LightKeeper's Daughters ($26.99, HarperCollins) is a story about Elizabeth, whose mind is sharp, but her eyes no longer see. She fills the void with music and memories of her family, a past that becomes present when her late father's journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.

With the help of Morgan, a teenager performing community service, Elizabeth goes through the diaries. Entry by entry, the pair are drawn deep into to Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, where Elizabeth’s father manned the lighthouse 70 years before.

The Lightkeeper's Daughters pulled me in from the moment I opened the book, with each chapter telling you whose perspective you were reading including Arnie Richardson, who describes Sleeping Giant Provincial Park in Thunder Bay this way: “It is a mystical place, this peninsula, jutting into Lake Superior; chiseled rocky cliffs and worn ridges, mysteriously carved by wind and rain and time, take the form of a giant slumbering in a cradle of icy gray water. Legends speak of an Ojibwe god, Nanibijou, lying down at the entrance to Thunder Bay, his magnificent form turning to stone, eternally protecting rich silver deposits.”

The characters are wonderful, even those who played small parts, and the story is amazing with a mystery I didn't solve. The descriptions, particularly of the lake, are beautiful and you come to know this part of Canada's north a little better.

FollowSummer reviews A Sea Glass Journey and the hunt for sea glass in Canada's oceans.

A Sea Glass Journey makes me want to spend the day looking for treasure.

A Sea Glass Journey Ebb and Flow

A Sea Glass Journey Ebb and Flow by Teri Hall ($24.95, Nimbus Publishing) is the book that made me want to visit the ocean and hunt for sea glass, which I did with my family last year. We spent a couple of weeks searching for sea glass.

Hunting for sea glass in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick.

My favourite find - blue sea glass from the Bay of Fundy at Bay in Fundy National Park in New Brunswick.

Sea Glass Journey, with a foreword by Chef Michael Smith, offers a look what sea glass is and the life it takes on afterward. The pictures make me happy and wish I was again hunting for treasures of the sea this summer.

“Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choices as beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.”

~ Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This is That Travel Guide to Canada offers a different look at travel writing

This is That is not your typical travel guide.

This is That Travel Guide to Canada

This is That Travel Guide to Canada ($19.95, Raincoast Books, The Tite Group).

I didn't hear of This is That, the CBC Radio show, hosted by Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring, until I picked up the book by the same name.

“We set out to write the most thorough, comprehensive, and accurate travel guide ever published about Canada. After reading this book, we believe you'll agree – we tried,” wrote the pair in the introduction.

I then should have known This is That would offer more jokes than stories about Canada and its people, more teasing to those who don't know us than practical ideas of the best places to see.

I will give the book this, I will have to check out the destinations mentioned in the book simply to figure out if anything said is true.

Happy Canada150, everyone! Now get out and explore!


Copies of the books were provided by Raincoast Books, HarperCollins Canada, and Nimbus Publishing for honest review.