Barely 2 hours north of Toronto, just outside Collingwood rests a four season playground built into the Niagara Escarpment; the destination of Southern Ontarians since 1979 – and it’s now attracting more European visitors. This was my first visit to Blue Mountain Resort and I quickly realized I’d found the perfect spot for a summer escape.
I knew it had been a ski and snowboard resort (over 75 years) but was astonished by its size and the year round activities available to guests. From the inspiration and hard work of Jozo Weider – who immigrated to Canada from Czechoslovakia – a ski area was developed on the Niagara Escarpment. Although Weider was a visionary, even he would be blown away by the Blue Mountain Resort today. From a small Ontario ski hill to a full-service family destination, with 42 runs and over 1,000 different guest accommodations.
Where to Play
This resort has enough going on to keep anyone busy all day, and the evenings too. There are lots of places to dine and plenty of nightly entertainment. Want a vacation full of activity – you’ve definitely come to the right place.
Rent a bike and hit one of the many trails, or take the lift and try downhill mountain biking. Play tennis, a round of mini-golf with the family, catch a few rays on the beach, or simply lounge around the pool.
For the adventure seeker the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, which opened in 2011, zooms around the course with speeds up to 42 km hour. They also have rock climbing, zip lining, and high & low ropes courses.
One of my favourite experiences was taking a Gondola ride to the top of the mountain and hiking along the mountain ridge. The views are breathtaking with Georgian Bay in the distance as well as the town of Collingwood, and here’s a shout-out to all photography buffs, the mountain is picture perfect in the fall, simply a blaze of colour.
Shopping and Nightly Entertainment
Blue Mountain Village (the look of a ‘turn of the century’ village) has 40 shops and eateries and the village square, a gathering place, has nightly movies for children and the young at heart. Not your scene – then venture to one of the restaurants for nightly entertainment. Live music is available at several spots in the village or on centre stage.
For retail therapy, there are lots of stores including brand names, like Columbia Apparel, Northface, L’Occitane en Provence as well as a Village Market.
Unwind at the IWA Spa
Need a Spa treatment to help unwind during your getaway, look no further than the Iwa Spa just a short walk from your accommodation. The spa offers everything you would expect to find from massages to manicures and pedicures. What really stands out is the Japanese Ganban Volcanic Rock Therapy – “The name “iwa” translates to rock in Japanese. Iwa reflects the unique aspects of the Gan•ban Volcanic Rock Therapy”.
Lying Fifty minutes on these stone beds soothes muscles and eliminates toxins from the body and allowed for increased circulation while heating your inner core. The rocks sauna is heated to 40-42°C. It’s amazing how quickly time passes as your body and mind relax with the Ganban Volcanic Rock Treatment. When the treatment is combined with a yoga class the mind and body benefits are magnified further.
Where to Sleep
The accommodation is bountiful and again, there’s something for everyone. Whether you want a dog-friendly room or a suite fully wheelchair accessible, the best value or a bit of real luxury – this should be your destination. They also have 13,000 sq. ft. of conference and meeting space.
I stayed at the Grand Georgian, fashioned after a historic railway lodge; it’s the original Village hotel. My one bedroom suite, complete with kitchen, dining and lounging area, was very comfortable and a welcome relief after my busy day out discovering everything in and around this beautiful resort.
Other accommodations include the Village suites and Mosaic Boutique Suites which have bachelors, one bed and 1 bed with den – the dens come with sofa beds.
There’s also the Blue Mountain Inn as well as the award winning Westin Trillium House which sits at the base of the Mountain and on the edge of the Village. It has a year round heated pool, hot tubs, and a 24-hour gym.
Where to Eat
You’ll never go hungry at the Blue Mountain Resort. If you long for an espresso, either Starbucks or the Italian Fireside Inn will fit the bill; fine dining is readily available at Oliver & Bonnacini or go casual and pick up food to go from burgers to poutine, they have you covered on all fronts.
I had dinner at M J Byrnes Irish Pub. Great location overlooking the main square and serves the usual pub fare – I chose a meal of chicken pot pie and a salad it was quite decent. The wine list was a bit lacking but it’s a perfect spot for beer lovers and live music fans.
Lunch at Tholos, Greek Mediterranean cuisine, was quite excellent; I enjoyed the Greek Salad and Lamb Sliders.
In the Marketplace store, you can pick up snacks – or groceries if you’re cooking your own meals – which can be very helpful in cutting costs. Eating all your meals at the restaurants can really add up especially for families.
If you go:
This resort is suitable for families, couples, girlfriend and getaways, just about anyone wanting a little escape from the city.
Blue Mountain Resort
108 Jozo Weider Blvd
Blue Mountains, Ontario, Canada L9Y 3Z2
Telephone: 705-445-0231 (Collingwood)
Note: My stay at this resort was arranged by Ontario Tourism but all opinions expressed in this article are my own.