By Mike Johnny
Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course is one of the top courses in Canada. Arguably one of Stanley Thompson’s finest works, this course sits adjacent to the historic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and the Bow River. The layout is majestic, the views expansive with the river and the mountains providing a stunning backdrop. It may well feature the greatest opening nine I have experienced and possesses numerous signature holes. Leading Canadian Golf publications place this course well within their top 10 and the Top 100 Golf Courses of the World currently ranks it #5 in Canada.
On a cold spring morning, I was fortunate to play as a single where I could take my time, take lots of pictures and enjoy a unique golf experience. The starter advised me holes which I should have my camera ready – 4 and 14. He may have said all 18 of them.
As a tribute to Canada’s 150th celebration, we would like to share with you our article that was published last year by the National Federation of Federal Retirees. I can’t think of a better way to explore our great country and meet our friendly people than in an RV.
The freedom to stay or the freedom to go, the freedom to explore or the freedom to move on — I’m talking motorhomes, not motorcycles. I fell in love with RVing almost 30 years ago when our walkabout in Australia turned into a “ride about” in New Zealand.
You see, a few months earlier, in what was both a very brave decision and a complete leap of faith, my wife and I sold our house and set out with our two young daughters to explore the Pacific Rim. En route, we stayed in a condo in Hawaii and a resort in Fiji. In Australia, we camped or stayed in caravan parks, hostels and the occasional hotel, but it wasn’t until we scored a motorhome in Auckland that I finally felt that I had a home away from home.
The cry “Allons!” — a single word that translates as “Let’s go!” — opens many of the stanzas in Walt Whitman’s poem Song of the Open Road. His story celebrates the out-of-doors, and the road in particular, as a place where people can come together in a meaningful way — where status matters less and the experience matters more. I believe that is also the mantra of the folks we have met who take off in their RVs to see friends and return to familiar places or, alternatively, satisfy their wanderlust.
Despite the fact that the days are getting shorter, fall remains my favourite time of year. I love the crispness in the air, the crunch of leaves under my feet and the smell of logs on the fire. Autumn is the perfect time of year to don your sweater and comfortable shoes and get out there and explore.
On our last trip to the Laurentians, my husband Dave and I arrived on the shores of Lac-Supérieur in the Laurentians in time to check in to our suite at Tremblant Elysium North and observe a lunar eclipse. After grabbing a few provisions, including a nice bottle of wine or two at the onsite L’Etalage Gourmand Marché, we settled ourselves on the deck with our cameras and to watch the show. As the earth slowly aligned itself between the sun and the moon, it cast a shadow across the entire moon, whose surface gradually turned red. That set the pace for the next few days, as we took our time discovering the Laurentians.
On a recent trip to the East Coast, I found myself at loose ends while Dave attended a conference, so I hopped in the car and headed out on my own to explore PEI and then the Cabot Trail. Some people I met thought I was very ‘brave,’ I didn’t think so, and others said how much they wish they could do the same. Let me assure you that with a little planning and the right attitude; anyone can have a great time, travelling the road, solo.
Walk the beach, hike a trail, climb a lighthouse or stop at a lookout and take a picture. When you’re solo, you can appreciate the beauty of your surroundings and stay as long as it takes to feel relaxed and at peace with yourself.
Golf Mountain Majesty in British Columbia by John Mooshie
British Columbia, Canada – August in Florida is hot, humid just about unbearable. Why anyone would want to play golf that time of year when there are northern alternatives is hard to understand. So I decided to take my game to British Columbia and spent 10 incredible days playing a collection of outstanding and picturesque courses.
The best time to play golf in British Columbia or Alberta is mid-August to mid-September. The weather is typically incredible and the courses are in superb condition. Their relatively short golf season usually opens in late March or early April and courses begin closing in early October.
For the most part, golf courses in that area are as good as most courses found in the USA. What makes the Canadian courses excel are the stunning 360 degree panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies and a pallet of colors as the leaves make preparations for winter. It was the Columbia Valley Golf Trail, serving up a collection of 8 golf courses that got my attention.
Alberta Rockies Golf – Feel the Rush in Canada by Tim Cotroneo
Alberta, Canada – Rush is one of Canada’s most famous rock bands. A rush is also the sensation you can’t help but feel when playing golf in the Alberta Canadian Rockies.
Where else in the world do golf courses embrace skyscraping mountain vistas on every hole? Where else is there a 50/50 chance of spying an elk or a bear at any moment? Where else can you top off a picturesque round with the thrill of adding 10 yards to each shot by playing in altitude with an attitude?
Arrive for your Canadian Rockies golf experience by flying into Calgary’s airport, and then breathe the freshest air known to man. Prepare to revel in an all-natural mountain theater and a golf setting that is second to none. From Calgary to Jasper, you’ll find five rarified 18-hole options for taking in the best of Rocky Mountain golf.
Autumn Magic: Chez Montebello, Québec
By Jane and Dave Finn
Montebello Quebec – It’s the first week in October, my favourite time of year. The days are still warm and sunny but there’s a bit of a nip in the air at night. The leaves are turning and the trees that line the road to Montebello are a riot of colour; brilliant orange, burning yellow and blazing red. Breathtaking to say the least but even Mother Nature has some competition in this neck of the woods.
The World’s Largest Log Lodge
Venerable is the word that comes to mind as we drive through the portico to the main entrance of the Fairmount Le Chateau Montebello. The impressive hand-hewn, log lodge was built in 1930 and is reportedly the largest structure of its kind, in the world.
ATV Adventure at Camp Explora in Montebello Quebec – by Laura Byrne-Paquet
Montebello, Quebec – I have to admit, I was a bit nervous when I saw how my 16-year-old daughter Stephanie and I would be exploring the wooded trails around Montebello, Quebec.
Our vehicle for the expedition resembled a bright yellow golf cart on steroids. Rémi Tremblay, owner of Camp Explora in Montebello, Quebec, unplugged the electric ATV from its outdoor outlet and reminded us to put on the astronaut-style helmets he’d given us.
By Laura Byrne-Paquet
Stratford ON – We came for the theatre, but it was the swans and the food that captured our hearts in Stratford, Ontario.
First, the play. We saw Colm Feore in King Lear, and Feore was fantastic. However, after the show, we still had a few days to fill, and that’s where the birds and the restaurants came in.
St. Andrews-by-the Sea, NB – I am not an extreme sports person. Heck, I’m barely a sports person. So off-road biking has never been high on my list of must-do activities, especially since I have a history of toppling off bikes that dates back to the 1970s.
But then I heard about Off Kilter Bike. Riders with this company, based in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, wear cute little kilts as they explore roads and trails around the pretty Maritime village. Kilts! How hard could it be?