Laura McLean1Need a perfect getaway with your kids this summer. Resorts of Ontario can help and in fact, our resorts excel at providing a superior family oriented experience. We specialize in the family experiences by providing kids programs specific to age group. You can rest easy knowing that your child is being cared for by trained staff whose job is to make sure all the kids are having fun. And while your kid is off on daily adventures, you can go for some of your own fun or relaxation by taking in a game of golf, treating yourself to a favourite (or newly discovered) spa treatment, or just sitting in quiet area of the natural Ontario resort settings.

Some of the activities your child(ren) will enjoy at our resorts are mountain biking clinics, golf clinics, learning to fish, wakeboarding and waterskiing, tubing, playing games and more. While each resort is different the bottom line is having fun. At Blue Mountain their KidsRosa program, will keep your little one smiling all day with their different themed adventure days, plunges in their pools and even tennis clinics. Kids Korral at Horseshoe Resort, will take your kids through the discovery of something new each day by teaching different activities and skill levels based on the age group your child fits into. Cleveland’s House Resort’s – Cleve’s Kids Club offers “Ontario’s largest and most extensive children’s program.” Here your kids have an emphasis on fun and learning in a safe environment up to 18 years old. At Cleveland’s House, they also have programs to get the whole family involved with their talent shows, amazing family race nights, bon fire nights and more. At Fern Resort, your family will have so many fond memories that you’ll be looking forward to your return visit. Whether you go for the kids programs, the entertainment, dance parties to cooking classes they offer something for everyone. The VIK Club (Very Important Kids Club) at the Delawana Inn, Spa and Conference Resort is a supervised day camp for children ages 3-12 and includes arts and crafts, rock climbing, land sports and water activities, and more. There are several resorts that offer children’s programs and I encourage you to visit the family resorts section of our website.

As the day winds down, you can catch up with your kids on their fun-filled day over some of the fantastic meals prepared by the resort chefs. Don’t worry, the chefs still have kids in mind and prepare meals for the palates of youth and adults alike with a variety of menu options to choose from. When you have finished your meal, relax and sit back for some of the nightly entertainment provide which includes everything from water skiing shows, family friendly comedians and shows and even outdoor movies.

There is still lots of time left in the summer, so pack the car and come on up to our place for your great family friendly adventure.

Surfing in Muskoka? Really? That’s exactly what I thought when I first heard about this awesome new activity being offered at Colonial Bay Cottage Resort this summer. Sure enough it’s true and if you haven’t yet seen this activity take a look at this video to see what you and your friends and family could be doing this summer on Lake of Bays.

If surfing isn’t your cup of tea, Colonial Bay has much more to offer their guests. Located on the outskirts of Huntsville, it is conveniently located down the road from Algonquin Park and several other hiking/biking trails that are located off of Hwy 60. There is boating, canoeing and kayaking on the great freshwater.  In Northern Muskoka area, there is an abundance of wildlife including black bears, moose, deer, beavers, and even the occasional howl of the wolves. It truly is a nature lovers (and photographers)  paradise and a perfect holiday vacation spot.

Of course you don’t have to leave Colonial Bay at all to find great photography, fun in the sun and let’s not forget that it’s great way to spend a day relaxing on the shores of Lake of Bays. For more great information on Colonial Bay and what they have going on this summer, visit their blog at http://colonial-bay-ontario-cottages.blogspot.com/.

Westwind Inn

Westwind Inn

Summer is here and that means it’s time to plan your escape(s) to resort country. There are few things that feel as nice as a cool breeze on a hot summers day and with the beautiful views overlooking Buckhorn Lake Westwind Inn is a great place to escape to on your next vacation.

Nestled among 65 acres of forest on the shores of Buckhorn Lake, this country inn on the lake, provides stunning views of open water and terrific Canadian Landscapes. Throughout the day, you can relax on the shores in a hammock, take in the sights of some of the nearby attractions include Petrogylphs Provincial Park (a place I recommend everyone see at least once in their life,) or tour Gallery on the Lake, located next door to Westwind and also provides art classes. Then finish your day with a fantastic meal provided by Westwind  (an excellent compliment to your days activities.) As your day winds down, relax at the water’s edge and enjoy the stunning sunsets that present themselves.

Buckhorn Lake is also a known hotspot for fishing and there are a variety of species available to be caught. To make your fishing experience one to remember, Westwind has partnered with local operators and guides which you can rent a boat from (and have it delivered to the Inn,) and to show you some of the local hot spots.

Westwind Inn and the Jensen Family are celebrating 20 years of owning and operating this Kawartha gem. Their clientele has traditionally been couples but they also welcome solo travelers, groups and children (although no kids programs are offered.) With the beautiful lake scenery, nearby attractions and shops, excellent fishing and more, Westwind Inn is a great spot for you to take your next vacation.

For even more great resorts, visit www.resortsofontario.com or call 1-800-363-7227 to order your free resort guide.

Resorts of Ontario is pleased to launch its second annual Resort Week promotion running from May 20 – May 30 2011. Participating resorts from across Ontario are opening their doors with special offers to the travelling public. As part of this special promotional kick off to summer, participating resorts will be donating 10% of the revenue received to Camp Trillium when a resort week package is booked between May 20-30.  This post will focus on the family packages available and you can view the entire list of participating resorts and all 30 available packages by visiting http://resortsofontario.ca/index.cfm?DSP=Chapter&ID=111.

Photo taken by Peter Sibbald

Photo taken by Peter Sibbald

The Briars resort family expedition gives families the comfort of a resort getaway while offering a glimpse of camping adventures only steps away from your Woodland Cottage. Starting at only $159 per person, The Briars resort continues its camping theme by offering guests a s’mores kit to take home or use while gathering around the resort fire. All meals and recreation are included and one child under the age of 10 stays free when accompanied by two adults. For more information visit www.briars.ca.Scotsman Point Resort

Single Parents – This package is for you. Curious about trying fishing? Then you’ll want to visit Scotsman Point Resort for Resort Week. They are offering single parent families the opportunity to take your child to learn to fish. Don’t have a fishing rod, don’t worry about it. Scotsman Point will loan you a rod and reel for each child this weekend.  This fantastic getaway includes fishing activities, teaching how to make lures, crafts, games and even learning how to canoe and row a boat. For 2 nights 1 adult and 1 child the cost is only $149 on May 27-29. Visit www.scotsmanpoint.com for more details.

Americana Conference Resort, Spa and WaterparkWhy not reward those closest to you with the Ultimate Family Fun package from Americana Conference Resort, Spa and Waterpark. Starting from $299 per family, you can enjoy two nights accommodation and 3 days of unlimited play at Waves Indoor Waterpark. You also get 20 game tokens for the kids (adults with an inner child,) pop corn and drinks, in room movie and 2 breakfast vouchers. Go to www.americananiagara.net/resortsontario to learn more about this great getaway offer.

Summer getaway warm up with Pine Vista Resort’s family getaway package. Included in the $480* for a family of 4 package is a two night stay in one of Pine Vista’s cottages or townhouses. You can also take in a relaxing and scenic boat cruise of Stoney Lake, swim in the heated pool, lounge on the sand beach, de-stress in one of the two hot tubs on site. You can also use the canoes or kayaks, take in the nature trails or just sit and unwind at your leisure. To warm up to summer vacationing, visit www.pinevista.com.

Irwin InnLooking for a true resorting vacation experience, then you’ll want to take advantage of the 5 night Back to Resorting Package offered at The Irwin Inn. During your 5 day stay, you’ll enjoy lakeside accommodations, delicious dinners and breakfasts daily, a personal s’more kit upon arrivel, free boat and motor rental for 1 days, guided trail ride at Irwin Inn’s Milestone Farm and complimentary use of the 9 hole golf course and other resort activities. This experience is $775.00 per person and children under 3 are free, 2 additional children under 12 free. Taxes are extra. www.irwininn.com/resortweek.  

Come on up to our place and celebrate the kick off to summer resorting. Book your Resort Week getaway and vacation while giving to Camp Trillium. Visit us at www.resortsofontario.com, www.resortweek.ca or phone 1-800-363-7227 for more informaiton and to make a donation with our resort team.

*Not valid Victoria Day weekend.

Sheila Maxwell and Mark Rich

Celebrating the presidents evening

On March 28, 2011, Resorts of Ontario held its annual general meeting and preferred supplier’s tradeshow at Nottawasaga Inn and Resort, located in Alliston, Ontario. Sheila Maxwell of the Briars Resort and Spa was elected as the new president of Resorts of Ontario.

Born in Scotland, Sheila grew up in Toronto where she attended York University. During her summers she worked at seasonal resorts in Haliburton and fell in love with the tourism industry. With an educational background from York, Sheila also graduated with honours from Hotel Management at George Brown College. Sheila has worked in the industry for 25 years and is currently the Director of Food and Beverage at the Briars Resorts and Spa.  

Sheila has served on the Board for Resorts of Ontario for the past 8 years. She succeeded Mark Rich – Director of Sales at Blue Mountain Resort who served as president from March 2009 – 2011. As outgoing president Mark will continue to serve the board of directors as chairman of the board.

As part of the evenings festivities, Resorts of Ontario also took the time to recognize the dedication and contribution of individuals from the industry who have facilitated the growth and progress of the Association.

The George Martin Award which shows outstanding contribution to the growth and success of Resorts of Ontario, was awarded to Anne Marshall of Elmhirst’s Resort. Anne has been involved with the association as a board member for 20 years. Anne is also a past president and represented the industry on the provincial and national level. Her passion, experience, leadership and dedication are greatly appreciated.

The second award given was for Outstanding Contribution. The recipient of this award went to Jamie Staring of Raesgo Advertising Graphics. For nearly 20 years, Jamie has made enormous contributions and has played a significant role in portraying our image. He understands the essence of “ resorting in Ontario “ , the culture of Resorts of Ontario, playing a key role in conveying our story in print, electronically, and to our key audiences.  

Congratulations to Sheila and thank you to Mark, Anne and Jamie for your contributions and dedication to Resorts of Ontario.

Voyageur Quest

Voyageur Quest

Algonquin Cottage Outpost/Voyageur Quest has been providing unique Algonquin experiences for years. This year they are proud to add to their list of experiences, the opportunity to stay on a private island in Algonquin Park. The Algonquin Island Retreat is a perfect place for you to indulge in a romantic escape for two.  

This incredible experience starts with a traditional 15 minute (1 km) canoe paddle from access point #1 at the Voyageur Quest Outpost on Kawawaymog Lake located at Algonquin’s

Voyageur Quest

Voyageur Quest

 Western boundary. As you arrive at the island, you’ll find a restored and comfortable ranger cabin. Since the renovation, the cabin now offers running hot water, solar power and of course the walk out deck from the second floor master bedroom. From the cabins two decks you are provided with a 360 degree view of water and stunning landscapes perfect for spending the day relaxing in peace and quiet. The comfortable accommodations mean you can enjoy all the sounds of nature without having to “rough it” in a tent. Also included with your stay is the opportunity to use the floating sauna which is an experience onto itself.

While this would be the perfect escape for a romantic week, artisans are also welcomed. When this cabin was still used as a ranger station it had many famous guests including famed “Group of Seven” artist Tom Thomson. There is plenty of inspiration that comes from Algonquin Park and this experience would be sure to provide some creative sparks. Stunning

Voyageur Quest

Voyageur Quest

sunrises/sunsets, the call of the loons or howl of a wolf, and nature unfolding…who wouldn’t find this artistically pleasing.

Voyageur Quest offers many other getaway experiences and excursions from photography workshops to hiking, romance to “stew and brew.” They have something for everyone and you can find out more about their unique Algonquin experiences by visiting them at http://www.voyageurquest.com/index.php.

This past weekend I had the great opportunity to stay at White Oaks Resort and Spa in Niagara on the Lake and was treated with outstanding customer service. As a gift for my in-laws, we had given them a free nights stay package so they could also stay at White Oaks. Unfortunately I forgot about this package and when I made their reservation, neglected to realize that I was supposed to mention the certificate before arriving for our stay. The women at the front desk pleasantly informed me of this but before I could even ask about making an exception, she went to see what could be done about excepting the certificate. Within a minute she was back to let us know that this would not be a problem. This may seem like a small request but you would be amazed at how many hotels would not be happy to help in similar situations. This is what makes the resort industry unique from other standard hotels. Owners and operators of resorts realize that they provide so much more than just a standard hotel room… they provide a vacation experience.

The excellent service continued from there when our bags were taken to our room. The bell hop actually gave us a tour of our room showing us where the light switches were, how to operate some of the electronics, etc. (White Oaks has small tv’s in their bathrooms.) Later this same young man, held open the car doors for my wife and mother in-law to get in. Again a small detail but not something most of us get to experience when staying at standard hotels.

At breakfast the next morning, the service again showed through, this time with our server (and in fact all the restaurant staff.) He was enthusiastic and courteous and always made sure our coffee was topped up. After giving us time to review the menu, he suggested that we go with the buffet since it had everything from the menu anyways. It was a great suggestion as the food was hot, very delicious and with the option of the buffet we were all completely satisfied.

Good customer service is not something that we as consumers always get so it was great to be treated in such a fantastic way. In fact White Oaks does so much to ensure a positive guest experience that even the garbage cans and ashtrays were cleaned – not just emptied but actually wiped down, throughout the day. The gardens were also kept well maintained and looked ready for spring flowers despite the fact that we are still in March and could easily get more snow.

My only regret about this stay was not having more time to enjoy the use of their facilities which include the pool, spa services and a state of the art fitness club. And of course would have liked to have visited some of the local wineries.