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Canadian Holiday Escapes For Every Girl


 
Canadian Holiday Escapes

Canadian Holiday Escapes For Every Girl
Whether you’re a die-hard urbanista or love the island life, we’ve uncovered the perfect coast-to-coast holiday escapes for every kind girl. From the breathtaking Canadian Rockies to Cape Breton’s fresh salty air, there’s so much to see and do on your own home turf! Doing the local-thing, after all, is so au courant.
By Martina Stritesky



 



 



 



 



 

For the
City Girl
For the
History Girl
For the
Island Girl
For the
Nature Girl
For the
Romantic Girl

For the City Girl…

Toronto at night


 
Toronto at night

Toronto at night

If your heart skips a beat at the thought of a whirlwind weekend in Manhattan, time to pay a visit to that other city that never sleeps: Toronto. Home to world-class museums, shopping and restaurants, and packed with exciting things to do and see during the holiday season, the Big Apple of the north is where us FLARE-ettes strap on our Manolos and live out our Sex and the City inspired lives.

Drake Hotel


 
Drake Hotel

A suite at the Drake Hotel. Photo by Keith Pace Asciak Photography

NEST: The hippest hotel in hog town? The Drake . Located in the uber-cool Queen West area, it’s the see and be seen haute spot on any given night. Each of the 19 boho-luxe suites – think 10ft ceilings and hardwood floors – are adorned with handcrafted pieces by local artists and come complete with all the high-tech toys you need.

Manolo Blahnik


 
Manolo Blahnik

Pick up Manolo Blahniks at Brown’s Shoes on Bloor St.

INVEST: If you want to shop like your fave celebs, don’t miss Mink Mile, aka Bloor Street. You’ll find everything from the posh department store Holt Renfrew, to smaller Canadian boutiques like Aritzia, Mendocino and Brown’s shoe boutique.
Travel Tip: As a starting point, have your cabbie drop you off at H&M at Yonge and work your way west.

Authentic pizza


 
Authentic pizza

Nosh on authentic pizza in Little Italy

INGEST: Pizzeria Libretto is quickly one of the hippest hangs for those who crave an authentic Neapolitan pizza in a cozy atmosphere – we loved the open kitchen and the perfect crust! The ‘hood is up-and-coming, but we’re sorry to say the establishment isn’t so be prepared to wait your turn. No reservations accepted, but we promise the pie delivers. Pizzeria Libretto, 221 Ossington, 416-532-8000.

Bata Shoe Museum


 
Bata Shoe Museum

Bata Shoe Museum

THE REST: The Bata Shoe Museum is like making a pilgrimage to Mecca for accessories addicts. The museum celebrates the style, function and history of footwear in four impressive galleries and while we’d normally suggest comfy walking shoes for the jaunt, in this particular case, it’s perfectly acceptable to break out your stilettos. Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor St. W., 416-979-7799.

The Natrel rink at Harbourfront


 
The Natrel rink at Harbourfront

The Natrel rink at Harbourfront

DON’T MISS: Ever since we saw that scene in Serendipity where Sara and Jonathan meet at Central Park’s ice-skating rink, we’ve had a penchant for twirling on ice. And there’s no better time to indulge your serendipitous side than ice-skating at Harbourfront during the holidays. Lit up in a whimsical display of Christmas lights and overlooking the water, the lively gathering place in front of city hall is the perfect meeting point to begin your love affair with TO.

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For the History Girl…

Quebec City


 
Quebec City

Quebec City

If the old-world European lifestyle beckons you, you’ll love super-cute Quebec City. From the gothic churches to the cobblestone streets, the French-village charm of the province’s capital – which recently feted its 400th anniversary – is sure to strike a cord in your history-loving heart. Why not cozy up to the Quebecois this holiday season and return home with a little l’air sophistiqué yourself?

Auberge Saint Antoine


 
Auberge Saint Antoine

Auberge Saint Antoine

NEST: In the heart of Quebec City’s Old Port, facing the St. Lawrence River is the Auberge Saint-Antoine , a 95-suite inn of sheer luxury. Rest your head on the finest linens, and wrap yourself in a goose down duvet for a holiday nesting spot that will be difficult to part with. A Bose sounds system will lull you to sleep in this hotel room made for royalty.

Quartier du Petit Champlain


 
Quartier du Petit Champlain

Quartier du Petit Champlain

INVEST: Take a stroll through the historic Quartier du Petit Champlain neighbourhood. As the oldest shopping district in North America, you can quench your thirst for history with some leisurely shopping along its cobblestone streets lined with unique little boutiques and warm bistros.

Panache


 
Panache

Panache

INGEST: Local and visiting foodies alike nosh at Auberge Saint-Antoine’s resto Panache for its gourmet ecstasy and cozy, hearth-like atmosphere. Experience fine dining at its best, with entrees such as roasted duckling or saddle of lamb, created with local ingredients and genuine expertise. Panache, inside the Auberge Saint-Antoine, 8 Saint-Antoine Street, Quebec

Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec


 
Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec

Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec. Photo: © Les Photographes Kedl, 2004

THE REST: Quebec City’s foremost museum, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec , is focused almost exclusively on fine art, with a collection containing more than 20,000 works and spans over two centuries. And with its dozen galleries and ever-changing exhibits, the museum is a history buff’s dream.
Travel Tip: Enjoy your visit with petit dejeuner at the cafe, which specializes in local produce.

Chez Marie


 
Chez Marie

Get fresh baked bread at Chez Marie

DON’T MISS: Nestled in the countryside just outside Quebec City, you’ll find the family-owned Chez Marie bakery with their freshly baked breads prepared in 150-year-old outdoor ovens. How’s that for history? Chez Marie, 8706 avenue Royale RR 3, Chateau-Richer, QC, 418-824-4347

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For the Island Girl…

Cape Breton


 
Cape Breton

Cape Breton

For a laidback holiday splendor by the sea, head east to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Recently named the world’s most beautiful island by Conde Nast Traveler, Cape Breton is a jewel for the island girl who craves fresh salty air and ocean breezes. Unwind by a romantic seaside with its rocky cliffs, hidden caves and uncrowded beaches or discover the unique Scottish heritage of a town where the late Alexander Graham Bell chose to call his home for its simple beauty and charm.

Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa


 
Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa

Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa

NEST: High on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic is the magnificent Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa . Surround yourself with the rugged glory of the island by booking a cozy two or four-bedroom cottage, each with its own fireplace and ocean-view. Just off Ingonish Beach, the Keltic’s cottages offers superior comfort in a beachside atmosphere.

The Glass Artisans Studio and Gallery


 
The Glass Artisans Studio and Gallery

A cuff from The Glass Artisans Studio and Gallery

INVEST: Along the St. Ann’s Bay region of the Cabot Trail are 13 hidden gems made up of unique shops, studios and galleries. Peak inside and you’ll find original works of art created by local artisans and craftsmen and inspired by the beauty of Cape Breton. Our favorite? The Glass Artisans Studio and Gallery , where brother-and-sister Wendy and Duane work side by side as stained glass artists, creating magnificent custom blown glassworks. Call ahead for an appointment (888) 262-6435.

Purple Thistle cuisine


 
Purple Thistle cuisine

Purple Thistle cuisine

INGEST: No true Maritime meal would be complete without the fresh catch of the day. Look no further than the Keltic Lodge Resort’s own Purple Thistle Dining Room, boasting a bounty of local sea fare prepared by award-winning chef Dale Nichol. Local ingredients are crafted into each delectable meal.

The Cabot Trail


 
The Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail

THE REST: Named after the famous explorer John Cabot, the Cabot Trail is regarded as one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the world. Hop into a hybrid and coast along the magnificent highway that’s carved into the sides of mountains spanning over 300 km along the island’s northern shore. End your drive at Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which boasts over 25 trails throughout a colourful tapestry of woodlands, tundra and bogs.

The Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site


 
The Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site

The Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site

DON’T MISS: The Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site pays homage to the famed inventor who once said, “I have traveled the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes and the Alps and the highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all.” Located on a national historic site, Bell’s estate, Beinn Breagh (Gaelic for ‘beautiful mountain’) can be viewed from the rooftop gardens of the complex.

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For the Island Girl…

Whitehorse


 
Whitehorse

Whitehorse

Craving a dose of Mother Nature? Pack up your parka and head north to explore the wilderness and picturesque landscapes of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. This true gem of the north is sure to leave you breathless with its panorama of preserved National Parks, snow-capped peaks, and starry-filled skies. A few nights’ rest in a cozy cabin and a few days of fun in the fresh wintery air will have your cheeks painted rosy in no time.

Uncommon Journeys’ Homestead


 
Uncommon Journeys’ Homestead

Uncommon Journeys’ Homestead. Photo: B. Kirby

NEST: For the perfect mix of nature and comfort, check into Uncommon Journeys’ Homestead . Each cozy log cabin is hand-crafted from local spruce and offers breathtaking coastal mountain views. Enjoy star-stargazing in the communal living room by a blazing fireplace, or end your day in the relaxing sauna.

Perfect Earth Tours Spa & Resort


 
Perfect Earth Tours Spa & Resort

INVEST: The just-opened Perfect Earth Tours Spa & Resort is the world’s first luxury spa-retreat located inside a teepee. And for those squeamish about sleeping within a canvas tent, trust us, this isn’t like any wigwam you’ve seen in a Western. Each of the five guest teepees has more square footage than your average condo, with a queen-sized bed, silk sheets, wifi, solar-powered DVD player, fully stocked bar, private dining area and personal bathroom. When not relaxing in your cone-shaped palace, your activities include adventure hikes through the moose- and grizzly-laden wilderness (relax, there’s an electric fence), plus aroma flow massages, alpine honey body wraps and detoxifying steam baths. And for late-night cravings, there’s room service—er, teepee service—or you can always cook up some vittles over the in-tent fireplace.

The restaurant at the Uncommon Homestead


 
The restaurant at the Uncommon Homestead

The restaurant at the Uncommon Homestead

INGEST: If Alaskan halibut with chardonnay butter or slow roasted prime rib with peppercorn gravy makes your mouth water, there’s no reason to outbound for dinner while staying at the Uncommon Homestead . The restaurant prides itself in creating healthy and hearty meals to satisfy your hunger after an action-packed day. Just leave room for dessert! The apple pie a la mode, drizzled in pure maple syrup and served with four-year-old aged Canadian cheddar is to die for.

Husky puppies


 
Husky puppies

Husky puppies

THE REST: If you dream of meshing a team of lovable huskies through the wilderness, bundle up and explore Whitehorse by dogsled. Most travel expedition companies in the great north offer exceptional dog sledding tour packages. Our pick? Uncommon Journeys, led by husband-and-wife nature experts Rod and Martha Taylor. Considered the “club med” for sled dogs, their 50 incredible huskies are bred and trained with devotion, to ensure your sledding experience is as safe as it is spectacular.

The Northern Lights


 
The Northern Lights

The Northern Lights

DON’T MISS: Make sure to bring your camera on any outbound trip; you just never know when nature will strike in the wilderness. Expect to see a pack of wolves come out on a crisp winter night or wild caribou roaming past. If you plan to stay at The Uncommon, they’ll have a pair of binoculars at the ready.

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For the Romantic Girl…

Lake Louise


 
Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies lies a holiday escape that, dare we say, rivals any romantic rendezvous in the Swiss Alps (minus the language barrier). Enter Lake Louise, one of the world’s most pristine crystal clear lakes surrounded by long winding roads that twist and turn around the tumultuous mountains of Banff. Hop on the Polar Express to peak your girlish imagination as we take you through the very best of Alberta’s most romantic region.

A view from the Fairmont Chateau


 
A view from the Fairmont Chateau

A view from the Fairmont Chateau. Photo: courtesy of the Fairmont Lake Louise

NEST: NEST: Nothing spells romance like a 5-star hotel tucked away in the mountains. The Fairmont Chateau overlooking Lake Louise is like being transported to heaven on earth. For a truly majestic view, check yourself into a special lake view suite. Just don’t blame us if you never want to leave.

The Lake Louise Gondola


 
The Lake Louise Gondola

The Lake Louise Gondola

INVEST: Experience the most spectacular scenery in the Canadian Rockies with a romantic, scenic gondola ride. Lake Louise Gondola takes you to an elevation of 6850 feet, where you can take in the panoramic splendor of the majestic Canadian Rockies from your choice of an open-air chair or fully enclosed car. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the beauty of the glaciers, natural springs and wildlife.

Mini burgers at the Bison


 
Mini burgers at the Bison

Mini burgers at the Bison

INGEST: The Bison Mountain Bistro and Lounge is a cozy mountain hangout with a relaxing lit lounge and a gorgeous dining room serving warming meals like crispy chicken with celery root puree and chanterelle mushrooms.

Sleigh-riding in Banff


 
Sleigh-riding in Banff

Sleigh-riding in Banff

THE REST: The sound of sleigh bells can be heard echoing through the valleys of both Banff and Lake Louise during the winter months, as visitors and residents alike enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides. Travel Tip: Book a romantic sleigh ride for two complete with Bernard Callebaut chocolates, liqueurs, and an authentic buffalo robe blanket to keep you warm. Brewster Lake Louise Sleigh Rides, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Tel. (403) 762-5454.

Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House


 
Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House

Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House

DON’T MISS: One of the most famous hiking trails in the Rockies ends with a sweet surprise: Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House. The rustic log home serves up finger foods and fresh strawberry leaf tea.

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