Posts Tagged ‘Blue Mountain’

Resorts of Ontario is pleased to announce that 3 of our current resort members have been selected as readers choice winners through the Toronto Sun. Nottawasaga Resort in Alliston Ontario won the top honour with the Gold award for favourite Ontario resort. Silver went to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara falls and the bronze went to Blue Mountain Resort near Collingwood. Nottawasaga Resort also secured the gold award in the category of favourite recreational hockey arena and bronze for restaurant with a view.

It’s no surprise to us that some of our resorts took this honour but if you aren’t familiar with the terrific resorting experiences Ontario has to offer, we encourage you to come on up to our place for your next getaway. With activities like a year round indoor hockey rink at Nottawasaga, fantastic activities like skiing and the new Ridge Runner roller coaster at Blue Mountain and the ever fun water park at Great Wolf Lodge; you’ll leave with new memories as a reminder of the fun you can have when you visit an Ontario Resort.

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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.

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Resorts of Ontario’s Spring Conference, “It’s Showtime” trade show and Presidents dinner was held last week at Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood (Mar 23 and 24) and what an event it was. The day started with a presentation from Michael Kurts from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, outlining how regional tourism organizations will play a role in Ontario starting July 2010. This was followed by the Annual General Meeting which featured the annual report and an outline of new initiatives planned for 2010.

The “It’s Showtime” trade show kicked off on Tuesday afternoon with a lunch featuring a classical french cheese station, a pasta station and a seafood station. Everyone raved about the meal and commented that we need a similar lunch every year going forward. The resort owners and operators made their way around the trade show floor which had representatives from different Resorts of Ontario preferred suppliers. Swissol, Planet Energy and Sam Group promoted their products through informational showcase sessions. (One of the highlights of the tradeshow was certainly the fashion show featuring different clothing items for the resort industry put on by the Sam Group and featuring volunteer models from some different resorts as well as a few staff members from our office.

The afternoon also had information sessions with the first being a presentation done by Sarah from Galigraph Design focusing on the “Keys to successful advertising.” Later in the day was a presentation from Gord Bell of Beauview Cottages on “Understanding Social Media.”

Anne carrying her Olympic TorchA wine reception started off the evening and dinner attendees where able to participate in a traditional wine tasting presented by the wine specialists of Inniskillen. Resorts of Ontario putting on a rockin’ good time with its Rock and Roll themed night. The dinner opened with a parade of current board members being led by Olympic Torch bearer Anne Marshall from Elmhirst’s Resort. This was followed by a tribute to past presidents. Dinner was concluded and the  live music from Jamie Williams began. Despite most people being on their feet the majority of the day the dance floor was full and Jamie even invited a few people on stage to help him perform.

The next morning began with many tired but happy people returning to their booths on the trade show floor or attending breakfast with a presentation by Kevan Ashworth (Ashworth Photography) and Barb Kienapple (Jack’s of Hearts design) on “How to tell your story!” which drew on real life experiences and how customers are motivated to buy. From there resort operators were given the opportunity to bid on donated items with benefits going to Camp Trillium.

Needless to say it was a great event and thanks go out to all who were involved.

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If you live in Ontario, no doubt you heard about the massive snowstorm that hit Ontario’s cottage country late last week. It dumped well over a metre of snow! Ontario ski resorts are delighted with snow conditions which are expected to be excellent right through the holiday season. 

We corresponded with many ski resorts last month. All are offering competitive rates. Check here for overnight getaways that include skiing or snowboarding at Hockley Valley, Sir Sam’s, Blue Mountain, Hidden Valley, Horseshoe Resort, Mount St. Louis Moonstone and Calabogie Peaks. 

New Year's Eve party at Great Wolf Lodge

New Year's Eve party at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls

 

Many other Resorts of Ontario members sent us their Christmas and New Year’s Eve plans and we included these on previous posts. On a November 13th post,  you’ll find Christmas ideas and deals. On November 18th, we posted about resort family, food and spa ideas for the holidays. On the November 26th post, we turned our attention to what some of the resorts have planned for New Year’s Eve. And then last week’s post, we added more deals for New Year’s. You can also scroll down and find other resort getaways suitable for a holiday break on earlier posts. The holidays at the resorts include elaborate chef menus for Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve dinners, some great food and spa getaways for couples and lots of Christmas and New Year’s deals for families and couples at hotels, lodges, inns and cottage resorts across the province. 

outdoor ice hockey

The Taylor Cup competition – outdoor hockey at Bayview Wildwood Resort

 

Further ski, Christmas and New Year’s getaway deals can be found on the Resorts of Ontario website. Over one hundred resort members are linked to this site. They’re listed alphabetically. There’s also a search engine that will help you narrow down your resort choices by type, by Ontario region, by season and by activity. Click on winter, for example, and you’ll see you get more options to further narrow your search. Even pet owners can check which resorts are pet-friendly. A monthly resort newsletter is also on the site and it lists package deals too. To view or to sign up for it, check here

Safe and happy holidays everyone! 

small plane on skis at Elmhirst Resort, Ontario

Pontoons get changed for skis in winter at Elmhirst Resort

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With Winter 2009-10 fast approaching we thought it might be fun to check out some of the ski deals that Resorts of Ontario will be offering this year. The resorts included in this post either have their own ski hills or they are offering a ski deal with lift tickets included. However, there are plenty more out there with great winter deals that are close to Ontario’s downhill ski centres. For a complete list of these, check here.

Blue Mountain, Ontario’s best known ski destination, gets a lot of newbies wanting to try skiing or snowboarding so it developed a Discover Ski & Snowboard program. Since the program began, hundreds of couples, groups of friends and families have learned to ski and snowboard at the resort. This year, Blue Mountain Inn has a new Stay & Learn to Ski package to go along with its Discover Ski & Snowboard Program. The package includes one night of accommodation, a beginner lift ticket, equipment rental and lesson, a breakfast and a Pottery Restaurant dinner and is priced per person, double occupancy. Village Suites has a similar package with breakfast as a buy in option. If you decide to book either deal, drop by Jozo’s in Blue Mountain Inn for some great apres ski. When we visited Blue Mountain earlier this year, we heard it’s where all the locals hang out after a day on the hill. Similar getaways are offered at other Blue Mountain accommodations. For the best rates, reserve online or call one of the resort’s leisure and travel representatives at 705-445-0231 or 877-445-0231.

WaterSpa at Sir Sam’s Inn

The new WaterSpa at Sir Sam’s Inn

Looking to combine romance and skiing? Sir Sam’s is the perfect find. This romantic Haliburton-area inn not only has its own ski hill, its WaterSpa is spectacular and the inn’s dining and wine list are both superb. Its ski hill has lots of gentle runs and a welcoming atmosphere for newbie skiers. This winter, Sir Sam’s has a two-night “Learn to Ski” package that includes accommodation, dinner and breakfast each day, plus a day on the hills with full equipment, lift ticket and lesson. Save $55 and go mid week when this getaway is priced from $670 per couple.

Eastern Ontario’s Calabogie Peaks and Dickson Manor have developed a fun package for couples looking for a brief escape from the holiday crazies. Running from December 20-23, the package includes an overnight in one of the manor’s deluxe rooms, dinner for two in its Canthooks Fine Dining Restaurant, 20% off of ski or snowboard lift tickets and complimentary ice skating, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. It’s priced at $199 per couple. Dickson Manor also has an outdoor hot tub, indoor pool and fitness centre.

A room at Hidden Valley Resort

One of the rooms at Hidden Valley Resort

Hidden Valley Resort is just outside of Huntsville, Ontario. Considered to be a good value ski hill with no line ups, Hidden Valley has its own luxurious hillside resort and restaurant. Ski & Stay packages here start as low as $85 per person, per night, double occupancy. Learn to Ski/Skateboard are two night packages starting at $215 per night, double occupancy. A variety of ski lift tickets are also offered to guests at a discounted rate.

Horseshoe Resort is just over an hour north of Toronto near Barrie, Ontario. It has a Ski & Stay package this season that combines unlimited skiing or snowboarding for two with one night of accommodation and breakfast, based on double occupancy. All rooms have wireless hi-speed internet, movies and video games. And here’s something worth noting, this hotel is pet friendly and has an 8000 square foot dog park. Priced from $2o3 per night, double occupancy, the package runs November 27-28, December 4-5, 2009 and then from December 11, 2009 – March 21, 2010

horseshoe-resort-chalet

View from the deck of The Chalet at Horseshoe Resort

Close to Horseshoe Resort, you’ll find Carriage Ridge. This family-oriented resort has partnered with two area ski hills this winter; Horseshoe Resort and Mount St. Louis Moonstone. Its open-concept condo suites are suitable for couples, small families or groups of friends. The suites include kitchen facilities, a king side bed, queen sofa-sleeper, balcony and living area. One or two bedroom suites with full kitchens, fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs are available for larger groups. There’s also an indoor pool, kids pool, hot tub and games room. A “Ski-Xtreme getaway” is one of several offered this winter. It includes a one night stay in one of the oversized condo suites, a lift pass for Mount St. Louis Moonstone or Horseshoe Resort, lunch voucher and skiers welcome gift. Packages start at $89 per person, double occupancy and kids stay free.

Hockley Valley Resort

The main buildings at Hockley Valley Resort

Hockley Valley Resort is another ski resort close to Toronto. We wrote a bit about it in last week’s post. It has a bunch of great ski packages listed on its web site starting at $229 double occupancy but we liked its Winter Bliss package. It includes one night’s accommodation, lift ticket for skiing or snowboarding, full buffet hot and cold breakfast, three-course dinner for two and a $75 spa credit per person for Hockley’s hillside spa. Priced from $463, double occupancy.

For more resort packages, sign up for the Resorts of Ontario newsletter.

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Part of the millpond at Blue Mountain Resort, Collingwood, Ontario

Part of the millpond at Blue Mountain Resort, Collingwood, Ontario

Blue Mountain Resort is better known as a winter destination, but we decided to check it out at the height of summer. Our ride up Hwy 400 from Toronto was brutal. Heavy rains all the way. But when we arrived at this Ontario playground on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, the rain had moved on.

View of the pooldeck from our room at Mosaic, Blue Mountain

View of the pooldeck from our room at Mosaic, Blue Mountain

Blue Mountain Village is similar to other Intrawest properties such as Mont Tremblant, Panorama and Whistler. Even in summer, you get the feeling that this place rocks in winter with its apres-ski. As we walked through the village, we passed by all kinds of great shops, including Azul Jewellery. I’m a big silver fan and I fell in love with a beautiful Edwardian-style brooch while Glenn hit an expresso bar for a coffee and snack. From there, we passed  a martini and tapas lounge, a wings joint, 3 Guys & A Stove, which I first saw in Huntsville so, I guessed they’ve opened a sister restaurant here. We also passed several gift and clothing stores before I spied a “board” store. Snowboarding and wakeboarding are both big in these parts and this store had all the latest. Blue Mountain is also hosting “Wake Stock” on August 7-9, a big action sport and music festival.

The resort spreads out at the bottom of the ski hill.

The resort spreads out at the bottom of the ski hill.

Half way across the village, we saw the Gondola Rides sign and headed for it. Even though the upper Blue Mountains were shrouded in fog, we decided to take a gondola to the top so we could get some pictures of the resort village below. Normally the gondola would be packed with mountain bikers but because of the heavy rains they had closed the trails for the day. This is big bike country and we were keen to see some of the trails that we’d heard so much about. What I didn’t expect to see were the amazing wildflowers. Much of the top of the mountain is meadow-like. Just gorgeous. I was also taken by the shale. The Blue Mountains are part of the Niagara Escarpment, a huge ridge of land stretching from Niagara all the way north to Manitoulin Island on Lake Huron. The ridge is some of the world’s oldest rock and at the top of the Blue Mountains, much of the vegetation has worn away, exposing the shale. It’s also exposed some caves. We found a small one off one of the trails. Further west, at the Scenic Caves, you can actually go splunking, take a zipline or canopy walk or cross a huge suspension bridge that gives you one of the best views of Lake Huron found anywhere.

Jozo, the founder of Blue Mountain Resort

Jozo's is a great bar where the locals hang out, named after the founder of Blue Mountain Resort

We chose FireHall Pizza for dinner and walking in I thought oh, oh, popular with young families, this boomer couple may be sorry. So I suggested to Glenn that we sit at the bar away from the crowd. The gal behind the bar was really friendly and recommended the vodka penne so, I took her advice and I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised. Glenn thought the nachos were great too. After dinner, we continued our Blue Mountain walk and ended up at the Blue Mountain Inn. Built by Jozo Weider, an athletic Czech immigrant with a love for skiing, this is the original Blue Mountain resort. The architecture is right out of the 60s. Larry, a guy who has been working here for 25 years told us a bit about the place and about Blue Mountain Pottery. According to him, Blue Mountain was an early ski destination and Jozo, keen to have an off-season income, opened Blue Mountain Pottery. There are clay deposits west of Collingwood so, there was always a steady supply of clay for the company which, at its height, employed 125 people. It closed in 2005 but pottery lives on at Blue Mountain. Recently a Crock a Doodle opened in the village where you can transform ready-to-paint pottery pieces into your own works of art.

Samples of Blue Mountain pottery

Samples of Blue Mountain pottery

We’re just back from checking out Blue Mountain Resort’s own private beach, a little beauty right on Georgian Bay. A beach event had been cancelled because of the weather so, we had the place all to ourselves. Now we’re settling in for the night in our home away from home – a gorgeous suite in the resort’s newest addition, Mosaic. It comes complete with gas fireplace, a balcony overlooking an outdoor pool, lap pool and hot tub and a kitchen that includes a hot plate, microwave, fridge and toaster. Tomorrow we’ve got Scenic Caves on our list before heading back into the city. This has been a fun summer getaway.

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