Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

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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horse-drawn sleigh rides at Pine Vista Resort

Old-fashioned horse-drawn sleigh rides at Pine Vista Resort

Last week, we blogged about the Idlewlyd Inn’s Dickens Dinner, Bayview Wildwood’s family Christmas plans, a Pillar and Post’s icewine lovers’ getaway and a Shamrock Lodge snowmobile package that’s close to OFSC trails.  This week’s post brings you holiday news from five more Resorts of Ontario: Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, the Little Inn of Bayfield on Lake Huron, Pine Vista Resort in the Kawarthas, The Briars on Lake Simcoe, and the Millcroft Inn in Caledon Hills.

water slide at Great Wolf Lodge

Santa and his elves on the water slide at Great Wolf Lodge

Holiday time in Niagara Falls is the season to combine waterslides and Niagara’s Winter Festival of Lights. From December 1-24 Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor waterpark resort, has tons of family things to do. There’s a gingerbread house so big you can eat in it. Santa pays a visit on December 5th. Family scavenger hunts and family dances will be held on Saturdays up to December 18th and Winter Friends Story Time is on every night at 8pm. Best of all, a one night stay gets you two days of water park play. Combine all of this with a visit to Niagara Falls’  Winter Festival of Lights and you’ve got yourself a great Niagara getaway. Great Wolf’ Lodge has a Winter Wonderland overnight that includes lunch in the Antler Shanty, one colour-you-own-craft for each child, 20 arcade tokens for each child and a 6X8 Thrill Pix photo and frame. Log on to the  Great Wolf Lodge website for rates and availability or call 1-888-878-1818.

ice hockey at Pine Vista Resort

A pickup game of hockey at Pine Vista

How about a bit of stargazing with your family in a big outdoor hot tub? You’ll find one at Pine Vista Resort. It’s on Stoney Lake in the Kawarthas, 90 minutes northeast of Toronto. Each of Pine Vista’s cottages and townhouses come with a fully equipped kitchen so you can cook your own Christmas turkey. They also  have jacuzzi tubs, TVs, DVD players, woodburning fireplaces and decks with BBQs. Over Christmas, a mini winter carnival is planned with face painting, movie nights, outdoor games, maple toffee-making, campfire, and crafts. There will be horse-drawn sleigh rides too, along with skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and  tobogganing. An indoor hot tub and games room are available and if a spa treatment sounds good, the resort can arrange that too. Affordable three-night Country Christmases are priced at $610 for a family of four or $505 a couple. To book, click here or call 1-800-634-2848.

Dancing Santa at The Briars Resort

Dancing Santa at The Briars

We visited The Briars earlier this year and blogged about its fascinating new history room. The resort is in Jackson’s Point,  Ontario’s first cottage country, an hour north of  Toronto. People used to travel to this little Lake Simcoe community from Toronto by radial railway (somehow that sounds incredibly civilized!). Two and three-night Christmas packages are available.  If you’re a crowd,  look into their lakeside family lodges. They sleep up to twelve comfortably. Highlights of a Briars holiday itinerary include a mulled cider welcome, an Irish Coffee party, a champagne breakfast followed by guided country walks or horse-drawn sleigh ride. They’ve even got a treat-making workshop for winter birdwatchers. On Christmas Eve, a festive buffet dinner with  live entertainment and a visit from Santa is planned. Christmas Day includes the resort’s annual snow golf tournament followed by a punch party and a Christmas feast with all the trimmings. There’s also an afternoon at the movies, and to work off all the food and drink, a fitness centre with indoor pool, sauna and  hot tub. Yoga lovers, don’t forget your mats!  There are yoga classes here too, along with a wonderful spa. To book, call 1-800-465-2376 or book online

Two more inns sent us their Christmas menus this week. Both have loyal food-loving fans:

The Little Inn of Bayfield, 45 minutes west of Stratford on Lake Huron, is Ontario’s oldest hostelry. In the 1830s it operated as a stagecoach stop. Today it caters to those with a nose for fine food and wine. Cooking class weekends and winemaker’s dinners are held every month. Positive reviews have come from a long line of respected Canadian and US food writers. Every year, the Little Inn posts its Christmas menus on its website. A quick peek by yours truly made my mouth water. All  Christmas meals will be paired with outstanding Ontario VQA wines and depending on the meal, meal prices range between $45 and $100 per person. If you and your significant other or the family want to make an overnight of it, check the Little Inn’s selection of one to four-night Christmas packages.

plate of gourmet food from Little Inn of Bayfield

Food-lovers can expect great fare at the Little Inn of Bayfield

In early September, I blogged about my visit to the Millcroft Inn & Spa with a Canwest food writer. Roberto Fracchioni is the well-loved chef here. He hosts monthly cooking sessions that always draw a crowd. This holiday season Chef Fracchioni has planned a  Christmas Day Dinner menu as well as two Christmas menus suitable for larger family gatherings.  Lots of house delicacies are on all three menus. Dinners run between $56 and $65 per person. Chef  Fracchioni and Pastry Chef Enrico Schulze will also create a customized menu experience if you want your own holiday event. Now, that would be a treatl!  The Millcroft has a spa that is one of the largest in Ontario. Its spa menu for men has received a lot of attention. A Winter Bliss getaway ties this inn’s spa and culinary together nicely. It includes a three-course dinner for two, breakfasts, a $100 spa credit, and an ovennight at the inn. Priced per person from $282, double occupancy, Sunday through Thursdays. On Saturdays, the price is slightly higher at $295 pp/do. To view this and more Millcroft getaways, click here.

More new package deals are included in a monthly Resorts of Ontario newsletter. To sign up, click here.

Next week, we’ve got  New Year’s Eve ideas  from Resorts of Ontario, so stay tuned.

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lobby of the Pillar & Post Inn, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Holiday decorations at the Pillar & Post

Every Christmas we used to be like hamsters running flat out on one of those wheels. His mother would want us to spend Christmas with his family. My mother would want the same. Our holidays were one big blur.  We’d entertain his family with a Christmas Eve dinner and gift exchange, then stay up into the wee hours cleaning up before heading out at some ungodly hour to make it to my family’s Christmas gift-opening. Then one year I got smart and told my husband, “That’s it, no more. Let’s make this easy for ourselves and start to truly enjoy our families and the holidays.” Now we book dinner for everybody at a fabulous country inn. And you know what, everyone loves it. No dishes, no cooking, not even any Christmas shopping to speak of.  Just great conversation, good food and fine wine. So, if you’re the ‘old us’ trying to keep everyone happy during the holiday season, here’s some ideas to inspire you to try something new. Check back often. We’ll be posting more over the coming weeks:

book cover Beeton’s Book of Household Management

Beeton’s Book of Household Management

Calling all foodies! Isabella Mary Beeton was a contemporary of Charles Dickens and the author of “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management“. One of the famous cookery writers of the Victorian era, Mrs. Beeton’s recipes are the inspiration behind a Dickens Dinner to be held at the Idlewyld Inn in London, Ontario on Sunday, December 6th. Intriguiing dishes like Mulligatawny Soup from the days of the British Raj and Nesselrode Pudding, a frozen pudding with ground chestnuts, candied fruit and liqueur will be served at the six course dinner. There will be readings by Charles Dickens and carolers too. Two seatings are planned for 5:30pm and 8pm. $65 per person. To reserve, call the Idlewyld Inn at 519-433-2891.

If you’re looking for a storybook setting to celebrate, Niagara-on-the-Lake is about as picturesque as it gets. You won’t find the golden arches in this architecturally pleasing town. Home to the Shaw Theatre Festival, this  historic town’s buildings are beautifully decorated and strolling carolers are known to take to the streets during the holidays. At the town’s Pillar & Post inn, a former Niagara fruit cannery, they’ve put together an Icewine Lovers Getaway. Available until the end of February, it includes a three-course dinner and full breakfast in the inn’s Cannery restaurant as well as a night of accommodation. If you book mid-week, it is priced at $143 per person, double occupancy. Weekend rates run from $163 per person, double occupancy.

Since  the 1880s, the Stanton family at Bayview Wildwood Resort has been involved in the business of travel in Ontario. So you might say they’ve figured out what makes a resort family Christmas truly special. Just 90 minutes north of Toronto on Sparrow Lake, this classic lakefront resort is a picture postcard setting. In winter, skating, snowshoeing and tobogganing are all popular and it’s not unusual to see families face off in a lively game of broomball too. Traditional horse-drawn sleigh rides always draw a crowd, and for the young fry, a popular entertainer hosts a special Christmas Eve family music revue which culminates with a visitor from you-know-who. Besides an indoor pool and whirlpool, the Bayview Wildwood has its own squash courts to work off all the good food. A three-night family package running from December 24-27th includes eight full meals, supervised children’s programs, evening entertainment and all the fun you can manage. Priced from $354 to $441 per person, double occupancy. One child stays for free.

Shamrock Lodge in winter snow

The Shamrock Lodge

Finally, for all you sledders looking for a place to park your special “sleigh” Muskoka’s  Shamrock Lodge in Port Carling is an affordable choice if you’re looking for somewhere to head during Christmas week. Open from December 27th, this cozy lakeside lodge has easy access to OFSC trails. There’s also homecooked country meals, a floodlit skating rink, Hot Stove Lounge and games room with billiards, and indoor pool, hot tub and sauna. Call for rates which include most meals and box lunches for the trails.

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