by Jane Finn, Photography by David Finn as published in the April 2023 Edition of Planet Golf Review Magazine
The snow-covered peaks loom large, piercing the sky before tapering off to meet the sea. As we descend into Vancouver, I have a bird’s eye view of the raw, rugged terrain and dancing lights below. Sandwiched between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, British Columbia’s natural beauty is breathtaking and draws me back time and time again. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best places on the planet to hike, ski, canoe, or golf. Still, on this trip, I want to spend time exploring smaller cities and the diversity of culture, cuisine, history and entertainment that makes BC not only an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise but a world-class destination.
“A bottle of white, a bottle of red, perhaps a bottle of rose instead.”
Join Jane Finn as she savours the flavours and philosophy of Canada’s Wine Country.
Writing this article was a challenge. Not because I had to sample so many delectable wines to make sure you would be delighted with my picks, but because Canada’s wine scene is as varied and diverse as the country’s landscape. From coast to coast, I’ve had the privilege of meeting passionate growers and world-class winemakers. I’ve walked with them in their vineyards, visited their cellars and spent more than a bit of time in their tasting rooms learning how to pair, serve, buy and enjoy a good bottle of wine. I’ve also gained a whole new appreciation for the vision, grit, and determination it takes to produce award-winning wines by listening to the stories of people who make a life and a living, sharing their labour of love.
By Paul Knowles
Moe Norman is a legend among golfers everywhere. Moe, who passed away in 2004 at the age of 75, was renowned for consistently making perfect golf shots. His swing has been praised and admired by hundreds of golfers up to and including Tiger Woods himself. Moe was also known as the quirkiest good golfer ever – an introvert, described as “slightly autistic” as well as “a savant.” His skill was unquestioned, but his struggles with learning disabilities and self-esteem robbed him of the success he could undoubtedly have achieved on the biggest stages of golf.
He was born in Kitchener, Ontario, and during his finest playing days, was primarily associated with Rockway Golf Course, the municipal course in the heart of Kitchener. But in his later years, Moe was mostly found hanging around Foxwood Golf Course, west of Waterloo, because Moe liked to spend time with his friend, advisor, and advocate – Gus Maue, at that time owner of Foxwood.
You can find dozens of Moe Norman anecdotes through a simple search on the internet. And in the works is a Moe Norman movie, the project of Canadian moviemaker David Carver, who told me that some big Canadian names are on board: famed Canadian comedian and actor David Steinberg and his wife, Robyn Todd “are executive producers, and Wayne and Janet Gretzky are co-producers.” Carver hopes to start production of the movie this fall, depending on the availability of a still-to-be-named director and actors.
This movie will tell the Moe Norman story to the world. But Gus Maue has a store of other, more private, and poignant Moe Norman stories – and he sat down to share some of them for this article. So, this is not an exhaustive, biographical piece – it’s a collection of powerful stories about Canada’s quirkiest – yet internationally revered – golf legends, a man who Gus simply describes as “a golf genius.”
A chat with Ontario golf icon Gus Maue is never really over – his supply of fascinating stories about golf and golfers is unending. We talked about a slew of golfing greats who have crossed paths with Gus – Arnold Palmer, David Feherty, Raymond Floyd, Al Balding, Moe Norman, and many more.
So, when Gus called me the day after our interview, to tell me about some important characters he had forgotten to mention, I wasn’t surprised – until he told me who these “characters” were. Their names were Willie and Bowdy. Willie was a black Labrador Retriever. And Bowdy was a yellow lab who gained national attention for his ability to find and retrieve golf balls.
Gus Maue has been involved with several golf courses, both as the pro and as owner – over the span of his storied career. One such – Foxwood – is located west of Waterloo. Foxwood is now part of the Golf North chain, which acquired it from Gus 19 years ago – but during the years Gus owned and operated the course, his pet dogs lived on the property. Continue reading
We’re all familiar with the vocabulary of the golf course, which ranges from the congratulatory to the scatological and often profane. But this year, the most common utterance may be one seldom heard before on the links: “Oops!”
Today, that’s the go-too word every time we forget – or hopefully, almost forget but remember just in time – the new pandemic golf protocols that let us play our old familiar game that just isn’t familiar, any more. Reach out to shake hands… “Oops!” Touch the flagstick. “Oops!” Get in the wrong cart by accident. “Oops!” Walk into the men’s room and find one, just one, other guy in there. “Oops,” said while backing out apologetically.
The feeling that we’ve entered another, slightly off-kilter dimension starts upon arrival at our course. We proceed directly to the clubhouse, carefully distancing ourselves from anyone also on that same mission. We don’t bring our clubs – they stay in the trunk – we don’t shake hands or give the ol’ shoulder-chuck to anyone. We stand on designated spots, replete with posted warnings, awaiting our turn to check in.
Sault Ste. Marie, ON – In our technologically-driven society, we’re always on or at least we pretend to be, so when you need a ‘break from life’, I can’t think of a better place to reconnect with yourself and nature than Sault Ste. Marie. Nestled along the banks of the St. Mary River, this friendly and diverse community of 73.000 people is the perfect gateway to Lake Superior, in area, the world’s largest fresh water lake and the pristine, rugged wilderness that surrounds it.
After dropping our bags at our hotel, an easy stroll along the boardwalk found us crossing the narrow bridge atop the locks to Whitefish Island also known as Bawaating. Legend has it that when the Chiefs of all the First Nations needed to find a meeting place to gather without boundaries, a place to exchange information, ideologies, trade goods, and socialize, they sent out a crane to find the perfect gathering space. He led them to Bawaating, the place where the fast water flows and he chose well. Hundreds of years later, it remains a place with no borders except those created by Mother Earth, a place to align mind, body and spirit and heal.
By Jane Finn
Legend has it that when the Chiefs of all the First Nations needed to find a meeting place to gather without boundaries, a place to exchange information, ideologies, trade goods, and socialize, they sent out a crane to find the perfect gathering space. He led them to Bawaating, the place where the fast water flows. Nestled between two sections of the St. Mary River, hundreds of years later, it remains a place with no borders except those created by Mother Earth. A place to align mind, body and spirit to make a change and make a difference.
The crane is a powerful and auspicious totem in almost all cultures. Crane is a harbinger of long life and success. They are protective, wise and generous. They pick their battles carefully, choosing quiet wisdom and privacy over aggression. When he chose Bawaating, he chose well.
In 1997 this significantly historical land site was transferred back to the care of the Ojibway people of Batchewana. Under their stewardship, it remains a natural oasis within an urban landscape, a safe haven accessible to everyone who wants to learn, explore or heal and respect the land. A place where you can feel into the culture and the tradition and learn how we can partner in the journey towards Truth and Reconciliation.
By Dave Finn
Earlier this week I had the tremendous privilege of participating in the 17th Annual Chelsea Hotel Charity Golf Classic at Wooden Sticks in Uxbridge, Ontario. Not only did I get the opportunity to play at one of Canada’s premier golf courses, the tournament raised over $100,000 for a very worthy cause.
Tournament Organizer and Director of Public Relations for the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto, Tracy Ford told me that:
“We have raised $1.5 million net for the following charities – Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity (when we were part of the Delta Hotels chain and it was their charity of choice) and then from 2013 to present, it’s SickKids Foundation. I chose them when we made the transition and had the opportunity to choose our own charity.”
Within our region, there are over 85 golf courses to suit every level of skill, and the majority are much more affordable than the GTA or Muskoka. Depending on your budget and location, there are 9-hole courses with green fees starting at $15, and championship courses like Blairhampton, that will test your skills. No matter your choice, our courses offer a relaxed environment with a lot less intimidation factor.
I was ten when I first swung a club, and I was hooked. I’d collect balls at the driving range and caddy, but I was in my twenties before I took my first lesson, one of my few regrets. If you have children who show an interest, I highly recommend that you take advantage of the many opportunities we have to teach them when they’re young.
Most of our courses offer group and individual lessons for adults, but I would suggest you enroll your kids in a summer golf camp. It will teach them patience, manners, respect, honesty and most importantly, perseverance.
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.