Calgary - TRAVEL & LEISURE
August 29th, 2012
Our Editor-in-Chief moves some of her favourite things to her new Palm Springs getaway.
The Elephant in the Room
For my girls’ shared bunkroom, this Elephant is the perfect mid-century kids décor. Originally designed by Charles and Ray Eames for their own family in plywood, it’s now reissued in glossy plastic. $320 at EQ3, www.eQ3.com
Other than my Nexus card, these made-in-Italy Roots sandals ($168) were the life-saver of my last trip. Breezy enough for the weather, yet sturdy enough to traipse through succulent nurseries. www.roots.com
Designer Trina Turk owns a home in Palm Springs, and has recently expanded her store there to include a swim boutique. I especially love the Palm Springs Block Towel ($58) in orange, inspired by the decorative “brise soleil” walls you see everywhere.
Most of our décor is coming from the amazing consignment shops in and around Palm Springs, but this stunning poster for my friends’ architecture documentary, Coast Modern, will take pride of place in the Master. $150 at www.coastmodernfilm.com
Keep Calm and Carry On
When the reno stress gets to me, I’ll simply spray on my Dermalogica UltraCalming Mist, which also hydrates and reduces redness from heat, sunburn, waxing, or, I hope, concrete dust. $45, www.dermalogica.ca
August 2nd, 2012
On a recent trip to Southern California, we were blown away by the beachy-chic lifestyle of Santa Monica—so we’ve decided to drop everything and move there.
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the luxury Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows used to be the private mansion belonging to Senator John P. Jones, the founder of Santa Monica. With that history lesson in mind, it’s easy to see that this 123-year old SoCal staple is one lavish and classy stay. Work up a sweat (for real) in a barre class at Exhale Spa, and reward yourself later with a dip in the outdoor hot tub and a nightcap at FIG Restaurant before returning to your elegant suite and freshly turned-down bed. Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-576-7777, www.fairmont.com/santamonica
Apart from the obvious beach appeal, Santa Monica is a bike lover’s paradise, spanning just 8.3 square miles. The city’s new Bike Center is the largest in the U.S., and has two downtown locations for rentals, valet parking, and tours (we did a self-guided exploration of the excellent vintage shops). In the next few years, look for the light rail system that will connect to Los Angeles and Hollywood. Bike Center, Unit A 1555 2nd St., Santa Monica, 310-656-8500, and one other location, www.santamonicabikecenter.com
West Coast hot spot Michael’s Restaurant, just a few blocks up from the Fairmont estate, has a romantic garden patio, mind-blowing seafood dishes, “California Cults” wine list, and another equally successful restaurant New York. (Anna Wintour is rumoured to be a regular, and allegedly likes her steak blue-rare). Michael’s Restaurant, 1147 Third St., Santa Monica, CA, 310-451-0843, http://www.michaelssantamonica.com
In this town, beach is the new black, but that doesn’t mean they’re short on clothing. Stroll Third Street Promenade for classic American retailers and the first West Coast Converse store, where you can customize your own souvenir-pair of kicks à la Santa Monica, complete with palm trees and the infamous pier. At the end of the strip, get lost in Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Barneys Co-Op at Santa Monica Place.
… for celebrities. While our brush with fame happened in our hotel lobby with funny man Adam Sandler, the Fairmont Miramar has a history of welcoming celeb guests (Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Kennedys, to name a few). Outside the hotel, the place to see and be seen is Montana Avenue. —Caroline Gault
Booking info at visitcalifornia.com
August 1st, 2012
If you're pitching a tent this weekend (or opting for a luxury lakeside cabin), there is something to be said for bringing a little fine design into the woods.
The Bag: You've got to stash all your gear in something - why not a classic rucksack out of Portland? The Poler Orange Rucksack ($66) carries everything you need for a peaceful weekend (bug spray, a thick book and a deck of cards). We're totally digging the 1970s hiker vibe.
The Picnic: Spread out some food and fun with the Anorak Canoes Picnic Blanket ($45). The waterproof and machine washable blanket is easily toted with adjustable handles and the retro canoe print in orange elevates your picnic from campy to cute.
The Pullover: Stay cozy and look sweet in this Happy Camper Pullover ($58) from local Calgary design company Camp Brand. Typography at its best - on a sweatshirt! —Kait Kucy
July 31st, 2012
We may not be in London to watch the Summer Olympics in person, but we're still going for the gold in team spirit.
Downtown Calgary has Olympics-addicts covered: from July 27 through August 12, join fellow cheerleaders at the Stephen Avenue Celebration spot for volleyball, swimming and high-drama competition.
Must-haves for outdoor viewing:
Snacks and drinks from nearby food trucks.
Go Team Canada! —Kait Kucy
Screen located on 300 W block of Stephen Avenue between 2nd St. SW and 3rd St. SW, Calgary, 403-215-1570.
July 26th, 2012
The dream of the '90s is alive in Portland and so are our dreams of a great weekend escape.
It doesn’t get any more quirky – or more Portland – than a night in a McMenamins hotel property. Their flagship, the Kennedy School (pictured), will have you sleeping in a converted classroom, but the Chrystal Hotel is right downtown.
The fact that it’s well outside downtown makes St. Jack that much more charming. It doesn’t hurt that they serve French cuisine, like gratin de macaroni, that would satisfy any gourmand.
The Alphabet District in Northwest Portland is lined with small boutiques slotted between the likes of Restoration Hardware and Urban Outfitters. When you’ve worked up an appetite with all that shopping, stop into the unassuming Red Onion, which serves killer Thai food.
Stroll through the Portland State University Farmer’s Market on a Saturday afternoon and you’ll find all the organic, local produce you’ll need for a lunch al fresco Portland-style. —Kelsey Dundon
July 19th, 2012
Our Editor-in-chief Sarah Bancroft's recent tour proves Montrealers do everything in style.
Its central downtown location and stellar views are one thing, but that we met the Scissor Sisters in the elevator and ended up at their show, well, that doesn’t happen just anywhere. Marriot Chateau Champlain, 1 Place du Canada, Montreal, 1-800-200-5909, www.montrealchateauchamplain.com
Only in Montreal would a top chef get to put a sleek, modern shipping container on the sidewalk and serve horse tartare. The signature salmon with shaved fennel is sublime, and, in keeping with the aesthetic, The Contemporary Art Museum is just steps away. Brasserie T, 1425 Jeanne-Mance St., Montreal, 514-282-0808, www.brasserie-t.com
Old Montreal is one of the prettiest places to walk in the city. We suggest getting your bearings with the 18-minute multi-media show Yours Truly, Montreal (designed by the all-female Montreal team Moment Factory, who work with Jay-Z and Madonna). Lunch at its rooftop restaurant (pictured) with view of the Old Port is highly recommended. Point à Callière Museum of Archeology and History. 350 Place Royale, Montreal, 514-872-9150, http://pacmusee.qc.ca
If you are an all-natural spa junkie, you need to get yourself to Dr. Hauschka’s only Canadian outlet for an incredible facial with healing ingredients like rosemary. They use tiny brushes to perform lymphatic drainage so your visage will be toned and lifted, too. 1444 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, 514-286-1444, www.spadrhauschka.com
After the spa, pop into the garden of the nearby Maison Bouloud at the newly refurbished Ritz Carlton Hotel. We suggest a glass of rosé in the just-opened Glass House overlooking the duck pond. But don’t worry about the ducks ending up in your dinner: Canard Confit is not on the menu. Le Jardin du Ritz at Maison Boulud, 1228 Rue Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, 514-842-4212, www.danielboulud.com
Our Montreal editor Christine Laroche took us to Editions de Robes, run by a former Jacob executive with an eye for high quality vintage. We loved the look of a new pink dress based on a Balenciaga, but left with a covetable Yves St. Laurent vintage clutch. 178 St-Viateur St. W., Montreal, 514-271-7676, www.editionsderobes.com
July 16th, 2012
Finally, a set of wheels when we really need them.
Car2Go brings the eco- and wallet-friendly car sharing alternative to Calgary. A one-time membership fee gives users access to a fleet of shiny new Smart Cars parked throughout the inner city. Once you're behind the wheel, you are charged $0.35 per minute (to a maximum of $65.99/day). So if you need to stock up on groceries or want to take a road trip to Banff, this beats the expense of car ownership by a mile.
Fingers crossed, a bike sharing program is next. —Kait Kucy
Car2Go, 1107 Eighth St. SW., Calgary, 1-855-454-1002, www.car2go.com
July 10th, 2012
Downtown’s Devonian Gardens have finally re-opened after nearly three years of renovations and the welcome respite from downtown's hustle and bustle was worth the wait.
The spectacular indoor garden space is home to an abundance of beautiful plants only found in Calgary due to the indoor nature of the garden. The perfect place for a lunch break or a cheap date, entry to the garden is free for all. Encouraged as a community spot to relax and enjoy all year round, the re-opening marks the full completion of The CORE shopping centre.
Rumour has it that a well-loved local restauranteur will be opening up a new dining spot in the gardens, raising the bar above the typical food court fare nearby. —Kait Kucy
Devonian Gardens, 324 Eighth Ave. SW., Calgary, 403-268-3830, to book a private event visit www.calgary.ca/parks/devonian
July 5th, 2012
Turquoise lagoons, adrenaline-pumping activities, cultural landmarks… all served with a side of rum punch and Bob Marley, of course.
Kick back in style at the timelessly elegant yet warm and cozy Jamaica Inn, a favourite of celebs ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Kelly Rowland. With zero distractions (read: WiFi or television), grab a Planter’s Punch and soak in the views of the hotel’s private sandy beach. The toughest decision we had to make? Choosing whether to watch the sunset from our room’s private deck, the beach, the al fresco spa or one of outdoor dining spaces. 1-800-837-4608, www.jamaicainn.com
For a little bit more action, it’s all about the Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Montego Bay. Besides the Nantucket-esque vibe (rooms were refurbished by Ralph Lauren, so pack those nautical stripes!), there’s a slew of on-site activities to choose from, ranging from a coffee and sugar body scrub at the spa (housed in what was a plantation house during the 18th century) to deep sea diving and tennis. Kudos if you manage to ever tear yourself away from the stunning double-edged infinity pool. 1-800-972-2159, http://www.roundhill.com
Ocho Rios, the city where Christopher Columbus is believed to have first set foot in Jamaica, is home to some of the country’s most exciting, not-to-be-missed attractions, including Dunn’s River Falls and Dolphin’s Cove.
Take a trip back to colonial times with a visit to Greenwood, a house built by Richard Barrett (Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cousin) in the 1800s. It is filled with fascinating artifacts from both Europe and Jamaica and the view from the breezy veranda is more than worth the slightly treacherous trip up into the hills.
There are patties aplenty (look for Juici or Tastee, the two most popular shops), but Jamaica is jerk country, so grab an outdoor seat at one of several Scotchies locations and enjoy some authentic jerk chicken, pork or fish The combination of jerk spice and grilling on wood planks produces the deliciously addictive flavor. Add some Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce – a.k.a. one of the world’s hottest peppers! – at your own risk but don’t skip the yummy sides (think fried dough balls, pumpkin rice and a Red Stripe).
Ja man! —Christine Laroche
For snapshots of our trip to Jamaica, visit the Editors’ Diary.
June 22nd, 2012
Shine up your wheels and get ready to cycle – Cyclepalooza starts tomorrow.
An incredible community-run initiative, the festival is fun for all cycling enthusiasts. A family-friendly event, bring everyone along and experience Calgary’s arts and culture via our beautiful bike paths. With hilarious group rides like Bike Prom and The Hangover Ride, there truly is something for every kind of cyclist out there.
Feeling inspired? It is not too late to organize your own group ride – we are thinking something along the lines of a Vitamin Daily tour – a stop at all of our favourite spots! —Kait Kucy