Laurentides to Outaouais 


Sharing lake and forest moments second to none that are bound to conquer the heart of even the most fervent of city dwellers, the Laurentians cover a region that is 22,000 kms just north of Montreal. It’s a four seasons holiday destination with a rich history and plenty of wide open recreational spaces, often referred to as “Nature’s Playground.”

Oh what a pool
Known for its rustic charm, unique architecture and natural surroundings, Fairmont Chateau Montebello is described as one of the places to have a ‘true Canadian experience.’ Prepare for crowds who also want to stay in the world’s largest log cabin and enjoy over forty unique activities and experiences available on-site. It’s a special treat to swim a few laps in the 75 foot (23 metre) indoor swimming pool follow by time-out at the spa. Accessible from the hotel by tunnel, its housed in its own separate log cabin with painted totem poles supporting the roof accessible from the hotel by tunnel. 

Live on love and fresh wate
Unique in North America for its size and scope, Findandais, on the banks of the Mille Iles River is designed to be relaxing in so many ways. Celebrating a variety of different cultures and diverse thermal therapy traditions in a variety of pools and baths, a visit here is like spa-ing around the world. From the Icelandic Hot Pools to the Japanese Sauna and from the teas of the world lounge to the meditation gazebo to the in-house bistro this is our happy place.

Spoil me
With but thirty delightful suites, owned by a close-knit group of investors, Hotel Quintessence sits on a mountainside waterfront estate on Lake Tremblant. So close but oh so far from the hustle and bustle of the village, it’s a best of both worlds sanctuary for guests who enjoy both privacy and the finer things in life. Dine alfresco on the patio or head inside by the hearth for seasonal fine dining. Notables; the new private dock, the extensive wine cellar and the villages most attentive concierge service.


A labour of love
Elegance, distinction and tales of long-ago merge to create a gracefully refurbished Relais and Chateaux property nestled on the shores of Lac-des-Sables in Sainte-Agathe-des Monts. As told by the Manoir’s resident raconteur, Stonehaven Le Manoir was the family home of sanitorium founder and rubber tycoon, Douglas McGibbon. 

The story goes that, after he recovering from tuberculosis McGibbon searched for a “clean air” hilltop with land to spare where he could build a sanitorium and a home, which he called Stonehaven. It was here he spent his final days, tending his gardens and hosting the most flamboyant of soirees. Sadly, McGibbon’s extravagant spending left his wife in serious debt when he died and she was forced to sell absolutely everything. 

The estate finally fell into the hands of a group of monks but when they were no more, Stonehaven was left empty and in disrepair. Years later, thanks to the foresight of a Montreal restoration contractor who fell in love with the property and set about painstakingly restoring it, Stonehaven has recently returned to its former glory.



The Outaouais is a 33,000 square km region with thousands of lakes, a dozen rivers and the largest Scandinavian spa in North America. It is also home to the majestic Gatineau Park, a natural paradise for outdoor lovers and the Casino Lac-Leamy. 

On your bike
The Gatineau region is biker’s heaven. Never have I seen so much spandex.  Best advise book a tour with Namades du Parc who’ll not only provide the wheels and helmet but the guidance you’ll need to explore the park.

Also, unique, the Véloroute des Draveurs In the municipality of Low, the southern gateway to the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau you’ll find the starting point for a 72 km cycle path. It’s built on the route of an old railway line with a stone and gravel surface which is ideal for mountain, hybrid or fat bikes.

Happiness is in the air—in old Chelsea Square 
Since 1875 The Pub Chelsea has been a true institution. Now, surrounded by coffee and gift shops, a boulangerie at the entrance to the Gatineau Park, it’s remains a local favourite. 

Located at the entrance to the Gatineau Park, Lofts du Village are part of the lodging services provided by Old Chelsea Square. Chic, modern and spacious, they’re a light-lovers dream with high ceilings, floor to ceiling north and south window walls and open concept layouts.

Designed as short and long-term rental spaces, there are 21 spacious lofts and 9 studios that are fresh and new boasting full kitchen and laundry amenities along with comfy beds and modern furnishings. The Lofts are a contemporary, peaceful option for two -four  people who don’t mind open concept doubles and only one bathroom. In an ideal location for those who wish to visit Nordik Spa-Nature which is a 5-minute walk away, Note to self: Why not overnight here in the village again on your next Ottawa business trip. 

Pizza Romana–Best in town
One of the newest additions to the Square, Roberto Pizza Romana. This Euro-style eatery is the pride and joy of Roberto Catervi, a innovative Italian chef who got his first Michelin star at the age of 27. Local gossip: Catervi is said to have met his wife Genevieve Parent when she was a Canadian tourist in Italy and, unwilling to loose her, he packed up and moved his life and passion for cooking to Canada.

Today, Roberto Pizza Romana is his thriving pizzeria-café that’s truly one-of-a kind, for now at least. (we’re watching for more locations). RPR is a bustling roadside destination on the north side of the road with Italian-style counter service and tiny inside/outside tables. 

Chef greets us upon arrival in his pristine chef whites and proceeds to serve us himself …joyfully explaining every little detail of what he’s passionately placed on our noteworthy serving boards. Scrumptious artisanal pizza slices, tasty lamb kabobs, moorish artisanal bread and drool-worthy handmade desserts. A highly recommended destination that’s well worth a detour.


Village of Wakefield…

It all started with a mill
My agenda calls for some “me time” in Wakefield, where the main street boasts a smattering of browsable gift shops, casual eateries and a busy outdoor adventure equipment supplier. The main attraction however is still the Wakefield Mill and Spa that sits on the edge of the rushing waters of the MacLaren Falls. 

Constructed by Scottish immigrant William Fairbairn, as a stone mill in 1838 to serve the local farmers, it milled grain into flour and shipped it to Ottawa by rail. James MacLaren bought the Mill in the 1840s, and expanded the operation to include a sawmill, woollen mill, and a general store. The mill was destroyed by fire in 1910 and while the flour mill was rebuilt, but the woollen mill stopped operating. 

When larger mechanized flour mills started impacting the smaller-scale regional ones, MacLaren switched to producing livestock feed until 1980 when the Gatineau Historical Society took over the and created a museum.

Private buyers purchased the Wakefield Mill a number of years ago and now operate it as a boutique hotel and spa with three different room types: Heritage (located in the main building), Park (located in the Eco River Lodge) and River Grand (in either the main building or the Eco River Lodge). The hotel offers pleasant service, comfortable rooms, in-house dining and a small but well-staffed spa. Nice touches: 2 dog-friendly rooms (located in the Miller’s House) and an opportunity to enjoy yoga classes in the Mill’s private forest or a massage in the barn. 

It’s located just an easy 25-minute drive from Ottawa, and few steps away from Gatineau Park P17 entrance.  For history buffs, the Mill is also a short uphill walk from the burial place of Canadian prime minister Lester B. Pearson – 1963-1968 (we’re told Pearson had a cottage in Wakefield, hence his choice of final resting place).

Join the trail of kindness
The Trans Canada Trail, now known as the Great Trail, (and the trail of kindness in its fundraising is made up of 24,000 multi-use trails that connect Canada and Canadians. For the past two decades, the has brought visitors through Wakefield and across its famous Covered Bridge. 

This section of the trail starts north of the village, runs along the Gatineau River and into the Park. It continues through Wakefield along the River Walk and into the park where it continues, down the shores of the Ottawa River.

Get our newsletter

Get monthly updates with unique HomeFront updates and stay up to date with tips and trends

Away from everyday life at Montreal’s secret spa

Today, we’re hiding away at the Guerlain Spa at the Four Season’s Montreal, located in what’s affectionately known as “The Golden Square Mile’.  Far from the urban hustle and bustle of Rue de la Montagne, in an 18-storey mixed residential,

Field Notes

Onions, cheese, eggs: A look at kitchen divination Predicting the future isn’t only astrology apps, tarot cards dial-in psychics and crystal balls. Over the years people from various cultures have channelled the food in their larders using kitchen divination practices

Wild Blue Restaurant+Bar

Described as seafood forward, Pacific Northwest cuisine guided by French and Italian influences, Wild Blue serves the very finest of sustainable local ingredients accompanied by attentive service. A multi-award winning restaurant led by Chef Alex Chen, Executive Chef, Derek Bendig,

Liquid Assets

Utopian dream Make it vibrantly yours with style and personality that’s bold but Comfy, cozy self-care Taking care of yourself is more important than ever in today’s busy world. Take a deep breath and choose not to sweat the


Parades, cakes and costumes With origins from ancient times, Mardis Gras also known as Shove or Fat Tuesday and Pancake Day. It falls before Ash Wednesday, a day of repentance that ushers in Lent. Parade floats are organized by tight-knit

And then there were two! 

In big sister- little sister style, White Elephant Nantucket and White Elephant Palm Beach are, joined at the hip, when it comes to their fresh, laid back, summer holiday style.  Just two of a kind, the siblings share museum worthy