Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

Vacation in Canada – Where Should You Travel Now?

There’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy leisurely outdoor fun throughout Canada, from the east coast to the west coast, on these great vacation options for the Great White North.

Fox Harb’r Golf Resort and Spa | Nova Scotia

Fox Harb'r Golf Course fairway
Fox Harb’r Golf Course fairway Photo Credit: Sherel Purcell

Fox Harb’r, Nova Scotia’s only five-star property and gated community, once hosted Tiger Woods. While you could arrive in style via the private airstrip or marina, the drive is a scenic two hours from the Halifax International Airport. Owner Ron Joyce, of Tim Hortons coffee fame, provides his highly addictive substance in all the suites and the otherwise high-end dining room.

The back nine holes hugging the Atlantic Ocean offer true links-style golf while the front nine feature super fast greens on odd-shaped holes carved out of the forest. A nine-hole par 3 course – perfect for the kids – is free with all reservations.

Eastern Townships | Quebec

Saint-Benoît-du-Lac Abbey, Eastern Townships, Quebec
Saint-Benoît-du-Lac Abbey photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Just north of Vermont and an hour south of Montreal, Quebec’s Eastern Townships offer a good selection of top quality inns, resorts, hotels and spas for all budgets. Scenic cycling and hiking trails, mountains and lakes and championship golf courses all provide ample opportunity to work off the extra calories of this popular foodie destination and add to your vacation enjoyment.

If you time it right, you can listen to monks performing Gregorian chants at the Saint-Benoît-du-Lac Abbey before stopping into their boutique for top-quality chocolate and cheese – all made on-site.

Mont-Tremblant | Quebec

Le Maitre 18th green
Le Maitre 18th green photo credit: John Cameron

Mont-Tremblant is a 1.5-hour drive from Montreal, serving as a playground for those who want to get out of the city. During winter, it’s a prime ski destination. The rest of the year finds the mountains and forests transformed into excellent golf tracks.

Thanks to the topography of the Canadian Shield, golfers can enjoy championship golf experiences with dramatic elevation changes.

CTMA Cruises | Montreal

Montreal from the deck of CTMA Vacancier
Montreal from the deck of CTMA Vacancier photo credit: Sherel Purcell

CTMA Cruises depart from the Bickerdike Basin Pier near the Old Port of Montreal and provide visitors a glimpse of the city and life along the St. Lawrence River, views that others rarely see. This departure point is a favorite of filmmakers for its unparalleled views of Montreal en route down the St. Lawrence River, all the way to the Magdalen Islands where another ferry continues on to Prince Edward Island.

Canada’s capital city | Ottawa

Diefenbunker, Canada's Cold War Museum, Ottawa
Diefenbunker photo credit: John Cameron

Ottawa’s favorite festival, Winterlude, encourages participants to traverse the frozen canals of this capital city on skates. In the other three seasons, visitors can hike the Gatineau Park trails and cycle the Rideau Canal.

Head underground to the Diefenbunker Museum for a look into Canada’s secret cold war past. Be sure to tour the Parliament buildings and grounds, as well as the sculpture garden of the National Art Gallery nearby.

Kingston, Ont.

St. James Anglican Church, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
St. James Anglican Church photo credit: John Cameron

Kingston, named the first capital of Canada in 1841, sits at the junction of Lake Ontario, Rideau Canal and St. Lawrence River.  You’ll find ample award-winning museums to explore and excellent dining to satisfy any foodie’s desires in this pretty limestone city.

It’s easy to get out of town, via Highway 15, for an afternoon stopover at the Jones Falls Lock station on the Rideau Canal. You can learn all about water management systems that accommodate boats, and paddlers can camp here with the option of using the locks or portaging their vessels.

Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course | Huntsville, Ont.

Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course
Deerhurst Highlands Photo credit: John Cameron

“A great golf course starts with a great piece of land,” says Thomas McBroom, co-designer of Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course in Ontario’s cottage country.

Utilizing Muskoka’s granite rock faces, tree-topped hills, lakes and ponds, McBroom and his mentor, Bob Cupp, created a beautiful – and playable – course. Watch out for deer crossing the cart path as it meanders through maple, white birch and pine trees. Across a narrow wooden bridge, spanning two pink and grey granite cliffs, sits an undulating practice green.

Canmore, Alberta

Sunrise over the Rockies in Canmore Alberta
Canmore Alberta photo credit: John Cameron

With endless ways to enjoy the outdoors, any winter getaway to the Canadian Rockies and Banff National Park should begin in Canmore. The countless peaks and vast wilderness offer snow enthusiasts ample opportunities for leisurely cross-country and downhill skiing, dog sledding, backcountry hiking and snowshoeing.

Dude ranch experience | British Columbia

Dude Ranch riders
Dude Ranch riders photo credit: John Cameron

If you’re heading to British Columbia, your Canadian outdoor adventure should include a visit to a dude or guest ranch. Similar to their U.S. counterparts, these week-long vacations receive high marks for the value of the leisure dollar. Excellent food, top-notch horseback riding instruction, beautiful trails to suit all abilities, a convivial social atmosphere and a range of outdoor activities keep the dudes coming back year after year.

Previously Published on USA Today 10Best.com

Nova Scotia’s Top Five Golf Courses

Nova Scotia’s Top 5 Coolest Golf Courses:

I know, it sounds like an oxymoron, ‘cool golf courses’ but they happen. With these Nova Scotia properties now offering everything from après golf skeet shooting to lobster rolls and views over a UNESCO World Heritage Site, how could you argue?

1. Fox Harb’r Golf Resort and Spa:

Nova Scotia’s only five-star property and gated community once hosted Tiger Woods. While you could arrive in style via the private airstrip or marina, the drive is a scenic, two-hours from the Halifax International Airport. Owner Ron Joyce, of Tim Horton’s coffee fame, provides his highly addictive substance in all the suites and the otherwise high-end dining room.

The back nine holes hugging the Atlantic Ocean offer true links-style golf while the front nine feature super fast greens on odd-shaped holes carved out of the forest. A nine-hole par 3 course – perfect for the kids is free with all reservations.

The very manly sporting lodge, buried deep on the property and missing only the “No girls allowed” sign offers skeet shooting as an après golf activity.



2. Glen Arbour Golf Course

Halifax is an excellent place to start or end your Nova Scotia golf trip. Twenty minutes from downtown, play the Glen Arbour Golf Course, host to the inaugural Wayne Gretzky and Friend’s Invitational and more recently, the BMO Canadian Ladies Open.

Canadian golf architect Graham Cooke, creator of Fox Harb’r, chose this property for its natural features and proximity to the capital city. At 6,800 yards, Glen Arbour is short by today’s standards but the water hazards, wooded areas, elevation changes and bent grass greens more than make up for the yardage to challenge players of all levels.

In addition to this championship course, Glen Arbour offers a nine-hole par 3 track that’s perfect for a quick practice round or a chance to get out with the kids.

Don’t miss lunch at the Georgian – style clubhouse for panoramic views of Sandy Lake and the 9th and 18th fairways.



 3. Chester Golf Club: 

Continue driving forty minutes south along Nova Scotia’s scenic Route 3 to the Chester Golf Club, which sits on Chester Basin. Try to play here at twilight for the great sunset views from the ocean holes.

On the narrow second hole, beware of the steep cliff dropping into the Atlantic to your right on the 183-yard par 3. You’re safer in the sand trap to the left should you miss the grassy slope that feeds down to the hole.



4. The Bluenose Golf Club:

Thirty minutes further along Route 3 in Lunenburg, play the nine-hole Bluenose Golf Club, overlooking the UNESCO World Heritage Site of downtown. On this hilly course most of your shots will be played with the ball either above or below your feet.

All of the holes are interesting in their own right, but the final par 4, played downhill on an angle, functions as an optical illusion. Aim 50% further left than what your eyes are telling you.

Celebrate your pars with a lunch of fresh lobster rolls washed down with a local brew while watching the fishermen tending to their scallop boats in the harbour below.



 5. Bell Bay Golf Club:

Bell Bay Golf Club sits high above Cape Breton’s Bras d’Or Lakes – the world’s largest inland salt-water bodies. Designed by Thomas Mc Broom, Bell Bay offers a Golf Digest-recommended round for a high season fee of less than $100.00 with ‘Stay and Play’ deals for not much more.

The course takes full advantage of the area’s natural features, with each hole boasting a different experience than the last. On some holes, fairways slant downwards towards wooded areas while others force players to shoot uphill towards the woods surrounding the flagstick.

Bell Bay’s 16th hole tempts players to go for the green, which requires a tricky draw shot in a perfect risk – reward scenario. The par 3, 17th signature hole requires players to hit over a 180-foot gully to a green protected by a grove of trees. Most players fail to take enough club on this one. You’ve been warned.

On the 18th, the Bras d’Or Lakes and Alexander Graham Bell’s summer estate are fully visible as players shoot over a gorge. The hole then winds its way to the clubhouse, under the Cape Breton Highlands.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.