Canada's Top 5 Destinations for Seniors
Coast to coast, Canada blesses seniors with great places to indulge in their passions. If you're young at heart, these highlights are for you. So start packing!

Vancouver Island: For seekers of well-being
Far from the madding crowd and fringed by coastal beauty, Vancouver Island is a haven for pampering your mind, body, and soul with luxurious spa establishments dedicated to rejuvenation. In Victoria, two hotels house specialty spas. After tennis at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa, unwind with a deep-scalp massage at its European-style spa. Guests at the Fairmont Empress Hotel's Willow Stream Spa dip into its mineral pool before indulging in limb-soothing manicures and pedicures that leave the arms and legs massaged, exfoliated, and creamed with emollients, and the nails immaculately painted.

Treatments are sublime at the Aerie Resort and Spa, high in the Malahat Mountains. Succumb to a slathering wrap of seaweed and glacial mud, a facial fragrant with distilled orange petals, and a gently kneading massage that turns the skin soft and the mind mellow.

The Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa in Courtenay boasts the novel Pacific Mist Hydropath that exhilarates guests with a route from showers to a lavender soaking pool, a massage pool, a steam cave, a cold shower, and, finally, to a river walk. The skin-tingling program of hydrotherapy, reflexology, body exfoliation, and seaweed wrap induces blissful sleep.

For more on Victoria and environs, visit

Vancouver Area: Paradise for golfers
When late fall prompts golfers elsewhere in Canada to tuck away their clubs, the Vancouver-area fairways remain green and joyfully playable. The area abounds with championship courses, many within an hour's drive of the city.

Even if you drive like the title character in Happy Gilmore, the panoramic ocean views from Furry Creek Golf and Country club, where the movie was filmed, are spectacular. It's just 45 minutes north of Vancouver along the Sea to sky Highway.

Challenges galore await duffers at the Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club. Set high above Coquitlam on Eagle Mountain, about 45 minutes east of Vancouver, this course, ranked by Score magazine as one of Canada's Top Ten Public courses, is a challenging succession of undulating elevations marked by granite outcrops, thick Douglas firs, and ravine hazards. Just 45 minutes southeast of Vancouver, near Surrey, the championship Mayfair Lakes Golf and Country Club hosts the Canadian Tour's Greater Vancouver Classic. Never mind the bunkers and hazards of its demanding layout, distractions loom with views of the lofty Coast Mountains and stretches of water. The terrain is fair and challenging at the historic University Golf Club at UBC, and its three signature holes will test your mettle. But the rates are agreeable and, if your game tanks, there's always the campus Museum of Anthropology.

For more information on all courses mentioned, visit and .

Toronto: Culture buffs
Toronto sets a dynamic pace on the global cultural stage; this season abounds with premiere productions and absorbing museum exhibits. The Art Gallery of Ontario presents Modigliani: Beyond the Myth (October 23 - January 23). The Royal Ontario Museum's dazzling international exhibit Pearls: A Natural History (to January 9) features rare objects. The CN Tower showcases The Secret life of Sets: Set Decorators at Work (to January 2) with sets from The Cat in the hat, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Spider-Man 2 among others. The Ontario Science Centre is a grandparents' delight: little tykes tackle the interactive activities at KidSpark; adults enjoy the IMAX domed theatre's films Forces of Nature and Volcanoes of the Deep Sea (opening October 15). For unique experiences, see the exquisite fabrics at the Textile Museum of Canada, be photographed with the Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame, or step up to 4,500 years of fantastic footwear at the Bata Shoe Museum.

See a different production every night in the Toronto Entertainment District. Visit for a list of CanStage's satiric comedies at the Bluma Appel and Berkeley Street Theatres. Visit for details on Mamma Mia at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Hairspray at The Princess of Wales Theatre (both to January 2), The Rat Pack: Frankie, Sammy and Dean at the Canon Theatre (Until November 14), or A Couple of Blaguards at the Winter Garden Theatre (October 26 - December 12). Buy discounted tickets for same-day performances at the T.O. Tix ticket booth in Yonge-Dundas Square.

To find out what's on at the Toronto Symphony or the National Ballet of Canada, visit

Montreal: Gourmets at heart
Walk anywhere in Montreal - from cosmopolitan St. Laurent Boulevard and swank rue St. Denis to Old Montreal - and arrays of croissants, raw milk cheeses, or grilled sausages sizzling in charcuterie windows will set your mouth watering. Aside from the simple pleasures - sweetly delicious bagels fresh from wood-fired ovens, or savoury bowls of pot au feu at L'Express - Montreal's culinary scene rivals that of any international dining city. For award-winning Canadian and Continental cuisine with wines to match, indulge at Nuances at Casino de Montréal or the Beaver Club at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth. Celebrated among gourmet cognoscenti, Toqué! Offers budget-friendly prix-fixe launches and rich dinner tasting-menus running from seared foie gras to decadent chocolate desserts. Try Au Pied de Cochon for hearty comfort foods like fragrant onion soup, plump, tender pigs' feet, and maple syrup-soaked pouding chômeur. Aromatic spices prevail at Anise: try the fallow deer chop glazed with guanaja chocolate and cassis-caramelized onions, venison osso bucco. The best deal in town may well be the three-course menu of market cuisine at Brunoise. Try the nippy salad with gribiche dressing, fisherman's stew spiked with saffron aioli, or roasted guinea hen and vanilla pannacotta.

For more on Montreal:

Quebec City: History aficionados
The most European city on the continent, Quebec city, founded in 1608, is notable as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the cradle of French civilization in North America, as French descendents scattered all the way south to New Orleans can trace their genealogy here. In this eminently walkable city, history buffs will find much to admire, from the architecture of the narrow cobbled streets to the Plains of Abraham, where the British won the 1759 battle that altered Canada's history indelibly. Numerous sites impart a sense of Quebec's cultural heritage. Among them, the National Assembly, the Old Port, the Citadel and fortifications, Battlefields Park, the Bois-de-Coulonge, park de la Visitation, Cartier Brébeuf Park, Montmorency Falls Park, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica, Île d'Orléans, as well as the villages of Cap-Santé, Neuville, and Deschambault in Portneuf, and the rue du Trésor - now a hub for artists' exhibitions. Along the way, step into a quaint bistro or café for a tasty local treat like onion soup, pot au feu, or crêpes bretonnes. For charming accommodations at budget-friendly rates, consider these three hotels: Auberge du Trésor, Hôtel Manoir Victoria, Hotel Acadia. Looking for more luxury? Consider Auberge Saint-Antoine or Hôtel Clarendon.

For more on Quebec City, visit

The Top 5 Destinations for Seniors are served by VIA Rail.


Vancouver Island
1-800-667-4677 / 250-360-2999 /
1-800-518-1933 / 250-743-7115 /
250-338-1323 /


514-282-8080 /
514-861-3511 /
514-499-2084 /
514-281-1114 /
514-276-6999 /
514-523-3885 /

Auberge du Trésor, 418-694-1876 / 1-800-566-1876
Hôtel Manoir Victoria, 418-692-1030 / 463-4093
Hôtel Acadia, 418-694-0280 / 1-800-463-0280
Auberge Sainte-Antoine 1-888-692-2211
Hôtel Clarendon, 1-888-222-3304

Copyright: Toby Saltzman 2004



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