Up your weekend agenda with a staycation


Book it: From $489 per night for two

Contact: 800-896-8949

The buzz: A growing number of Canadians are interested in vacationing in the other La Province. Montreal’s most unusual neighbourhoods, like the industrial East Village and the newer entertainment and retail districts on Saint-Laurent Blvd., are now attracting crowds. Visitors take photos of Montreal’s colourful architecture in Cérémonne Park – Montreal’s 5-1/2-square-kilometre green space known as Plante-Ville – and plan to walk its 100 kilometres of pedestrian paths around the city. While both may appeal to frequent travellers, Burlington is perhaps a less obvious destination, occupying just an hour’s drive from the city. Its quaint neighbourhood, North Brookfield, is home to Old Town’s oldest synagogue, Beit Shalom, a new Jewish cultural centre and the Vintage Shopping Centre (sample the antiques, vintage clothing and accessories). Burlington’s organizers promise to keep the bustling weekend city part of the experience with a variety of activities and music.

Best for: Life-long Montrealers, hipsters, families and budget travellers who appreciate an area more than two hours from the airport.

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The deal: With accommodation included, the package includes four days and two nights lodging at the Capra Guest Farm (deluxe cottage rentals including couch and private bathroom plus three meals a day), three days of yoga at Brepper’s Spa and daily amenities at the Shanti Sanctuary.

Open this photo in gallery Capra Guest Farm has a more relaxed vibe than other northern Ontario attractions. Capra Guest Farm

Travel tips: Capra Guest Farm has a more relaxed vibe than other northern Ontario attractions, particularly along the Oxbow Drive between Negril Road and Lake Huron Avenue. Renting a motorhome is advisable when travelling in Ontario, with many provinces offering homeowners the option of renting it out to other tourists. One downside, however, is limited weekend road access in the winter. Try instead to visit during the warmer months.

The Wyndham Fort Erie Grand Resort & Spa is not too far from Capra’s. The resort is a 46-room option, one of the few along the lakeshore; it is home to a full-service spa and a lovely on-site restaurant. Recently renovated and boasting a new 15,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, the resort’s best feature may be its location: The Glen Africam is situated right across the lake on the Niagara Escarpment and at about 12.5 kilometres from the nearest town, the Wyndham Fort Erie Grand Resort & Spa allows visitors to get out and explore the area.

Iberostar Balmoral Resort & Spa, located on Leitrim Island in the Niagara Escarpment, is a 25-minute drive from Capra’s guest farm. And Leitrim’s progress on becoming a destination for outdoor fitness and adventure includes a major restorative lodge with two separate pools, as well as more cycling trails, hiking and backpacking options in the area. The retreat features a variety of water activities and includes holistic spa treatments.


Best for: Family-friendly locations and great price points.

The deal: in favour of the Queen City, but with a Canadian twist. In the fall, the Sordell Group launched offbeat Staycation packages in Ontario as a supplement to their popular conventional overnight trips. The packages include a nice continental breakfast every morning, regularly-priced lodging in some of the new trendy destinations (like Peggy’s Cove, Victoria), and priority access to the cycling, sailing and bike-messenger services.

Other services offered include a welcome gift, on-site yoga classes and a brunch on land (a bodywork and massage session is also available).

Where to eat

One of the newest and most dedicated restaurants to open in the area is OAK’S Irish Pub & Restaurant (1800 Provost Ave.). Since the restaurant’s opening in 2011, it has become a popular destination for brunch (and even a cocktail).

The restaurant has a sleek kitchen with its own private patio and offers a variety of Irish specialties with local seafood. Guests can also pop in for live entertainment. Stop by on Thursday to enjoy live music every evening from 7 p.m.

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