Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Coolest Ride on Vancvouver Island - Mt. Washington

The remaining signs of last winter's snowfall are now only evident through deep snow drifts found at the upper reaches of the mountain. At lower elevations, the temperatures are climbing into warm territory and the perennials are poking their heads out. Summer has arrived at Mount Washington!

The resort opens up this Friday, June 29 at 11am for its first day of summer operations. Mile High Scenic Chairlift Rides, Bungee Trampoline and some of the finest views on the planet will be on offer.

“There's probably nothing better to show your visiting friends and family than the view from the top of Mount Washington,” explains resort spokesperson Brent Curtain. “It's a great way to show off the beauty of where we live.”
As an opening weekend special, Mount Washington is offering 25% off the Scenic Ride and Dine package. Adults get a ride up the mountain and lunch or dinner for under $20. “We're offering this deal from opening day through to Monday, July 2nd,” adds Curtain.

To celebrate Canada Day Weekend, the mountain will host the Thrifty Foods Canada Day Celebration on Sunday, July 1. The fun-filled event will feature a bouncy castle, crafts and face painting for the kids, plus a delicious Canada Day cupcake for all. The fun starts at 1pm.

An action-packed festival and event calendar is highlighted by the annual Suds and Scotch Festival at the Raven Lodge on Friday, July 13 and the Bearclaw Invitational Slopestyle on August 3-4. The Alpine Wine and Food Festival returns on August 24-25.

Mount Washington is open daily beginning Friday, June 29. The Eagle Express will deliver hikers and sightseers to the top of the mountain and back down again 7 days a week from 11am to 7pm. The popular Bike Park, which is currently on hold due to lingering snow, will open on July 28.
For all summer event details and mountain information, surf to
Mount Washington Alpine Resort is open for summer Mile High Scenic Chairlift Rides! The resort is located 30 minutes above The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. WestJet, Central Mountain Air, and Pacific Coastal Airlines service the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ). To find out about accommodation and package information, call Mount Washington Alpine Resort at 1-888-231-1499 toll free or locally at 250-338-1386. Surf to for additional information including our live webcams.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Fabulous Fairmont Empress Hotel

Last night we were provided with an industry tour of the fabulous Fairmont Empress Hotel. It is easy to see why this Fairmont hotel sets itself apart from most of the other hotels in Victoria. First the charm and history capture you immed...iately. We started our tour in the beautiful Palm Court with the amazing dome over head. We were provided with drinks and appetizers while we were greeted by Anita our hostess for the evening and we mingled and met many of the key staff of the Empress. The sliders and fish and chips were well presented and so very tasty. Well done, Chef Silva! Then it was off to see the Empress. We started with the amazing Bengal Room. The curry buffet is absolutely amazing. We often go there for a refreshing drink and an appy when we are downtown. Our favourite cocktail is the 1908...this is the year the Empress opened and starting serving tea. The Bengal Room is beautiful and a great place to relax and unwind. Then we had a good look at the shops in the concourse outside the Bengal Lounge. If you were looking for a great gift or keepsake from your trip, you would find it here. The staff were very proud to show us the Gold Rooms and Concierge Lounge. After looking at some of the luxury accommodations, we would certainly recommend looking into the gold plan. All forty-five exclusive Fairmont Gold Rooms and Suites have undergone a multimillion dollar renovation. For guest booking a gold room, a private Concierge lounge access with lavish continental breakfast, honour bar and evening hors d'oeuvres with attentive Concierge team is provided. An executive boardroom, laptop work station and WiFi features are designed to exceed the needs of the most discerning traveler. The we were off to the Wilow Steam Spa. Pround manager, Anita greetedus and provided samples from the Empress Tea Service and a tour of the Spa, including an arm and hand massage. This is the place to relax and unwind. It was a great place to end our tour. The staff we encountered throughout the tour were friendly and helpful. Thanks to the staff and management of the Fairmont Empress for such a wonderful tour.

For more photos, please go to Facebook.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Earl's Restaurant - One of the Best

Last night members of VGSN were given a fam tour of Earl's Restaurant. It was truly an amazing educational meeting. We were taken through the food line and then in the prep area. Watching the food team hustle dinners out for hungry customers was an amazing experience. No more whining about how hard dinner was to prepare. Try doing that for 40 people or more at a time. The logistics of all this blew our minds. Just to keep the ingredients there and ready to go would give any novice chef a headache. It is not longer acceptable to put food on the table that doesn't look great. Every single dish we saw go by looked amazing. The checks and balances that are in place to ensure top notch service was also amazing. There is an expectation of connecting with customers, providing excellent and speedy service, and top notch fresh food. You would be totally amazed if you could experience what it takes to make that happen. We were. Every time we go into a restaurant now, we will have total respect for the people who prepare and serve our food. We had the full tour last night and it truly was an education to behold. Chef Scott prepared a couple of dishes in the prep are so he could show us up close and personal what it takes to put some great food on the table and that is exactly what he and his team did. Everything we ate was great. Thanks for a great feast Scott, Christina, Courtney and all the staff that helped. For more pictures, please go to Facebook.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Malahat Drive offers some of the best sight-seeing opportunities Vancouver Island has to offer. We drove up to the Malahat Mountain Inn becuase there had been a change in ownership and we wanted to see what had changed. One thing that has not is the amazing views from the sun deck at the Hat Restuarant. Between the Malahat Drive and Saanich Peninsula lies an amazing fjord that is approximately 700 feet deep. I have seen below the surface and the average tourist would never expect to see cloud sponges the size of volkswagons dotted along the steep drop offs, or the eerie feeling looking from the drop offs into the deep dark black abyss below. Then there is the beauty on the surface - such amazing scenery. The food at the restaurant is good enough for return visits and the menu is quite diverse - something for everyone. The also have a deli if you just want something for a picnic down the road or a meal on the go. As you can see below, the scenery is unbelievale.  For more pictures go to our Facebook Page.

For years we have driven by their sign at the turnoff to Shawnigan Lake, wondering how far off the road this attraction was and wether or not it would be worth our time. Well, today we answered both questions. Once we turned off the Malahat, we were here in about one minute and it was worth every minute of our time and more. Ann and Grahame put on an amazing show. Both are congenial hosts and provided tons of information and a great glass blowing demonstration. Their products are amazing as you will see in the pictures below. Next time you take the Malahat, check out this amazing attraction.  For more pictures, see our Facebook page.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Mount Tolmie Viewpoint in Saanich

Mount Tolmie is located in the Municipality of Saanich very close to the University of Victoria.   Mt. Tolmie offers spectacular views of the City of Victoria, Oak Bay, and Saanich as well as views over Haro and Juan de Fuca Straits.  It is a favourite stop for tour buses.  It is very accessible.  Check out the entry road from Cedar Hill X-Road near Gordon Head Road.  Enjoy.
For more pictures of views from Mount Tolmie please go to our Facebook page.

Friday, June 8, 2012

World Ocean Day June 8th - Participate

above picture courtesy of Mike Ogilvie - for more exciting pictures go to our Facebook Page

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sandy Terry Art Show at Sooke Harbour House

A rising star in the art world has a show on in Sooke Harbour House. The Sensate Florals Solo Show runs from June 3rd - June 26. Visit the show and then enjoy Sooke Harbour House and their restaurant following the show. Sooke Harbour House is filled with art, so it is a great location for Sandy's show.te Florals Solo Show Opening: Sunday, June 3rd from 1- 3PM Show runs June 1st - June 26th
For more pictures and more of Sandy's art visit our Facebook Site.  Visit Sandy's Web Site too.