Stoney Lake Nostalgia

by Nicole Rogerson, Marketing Manager

I love history and all things vintage and retro. Podcasts that talk about little known facts in history, old books, antique shops, history documentaries about the way people lived, the crackle of a record that’s been well-loved and much-played before; such joy!

Photo from 1960s showing man and young boy with fish at Viamede Resort

This is all to try and explain my delight when I came across a folder containing old photos of Stoney Lake and Viamede Resort. It’s so neat to look at the way people dressed, the typography on the signs, even old postcards sent to loved ones with a message written in beautiful script. The original Instagram shares in a way!

One of the things I love about the Stoney Lake area is that it retains a lot of those nostalgic qualities. The classic Canadian summer experience of cottaging, boating, fishing, swimming, and enjoying good food and good company has remained unchanged. There are cottages that have been kept in a family for generations, lovingly maintained and filled with memories. Neighbours connect over the shared experience of life on the lake.

Something I enjoy about working at Viamede is that it has kept much of its historic charm; and we’re proud of it. Some of the floors are crooked, none of the rooms or cottages share a floor plan, the wood paneling in Mount Julian is stunning, and the 19th century chapel creaks as you walk through. Not that I could give up my modern amenities like internet or electricity, but I like to imagine what it was like when it was first built. I wonder about the people who have been through these halls since and what their stories may have been. A guest is coming with their family to Viamede this summer and shared that they have an old family connection to the resort which has inspired the visit. I’m so excited to connect and learn more!

Black-and-white photo of Viamede Resort in the 1950sMy job, simply put, is to share Viamede’s story. It’s one that has been unfolding for a long time. If you come to the resort, certainly take advantage of all the activities and amenities (um, hello indoor pool!), but it’s also well worth taking some time to explore the historic charms that make this place so unique. The massive 450-year-old Viking Oak. As I mentioned previously, the 1800s chapel. Mount Julian, originally built between 1865 and 1875. There’s much to discover if you let this regal place speak.

If you have old photos of Viamede or Stoney Lake you’d like to share, I’d love to see them and hear the story behind the capture!


Conferences Done Right

by Kayleigh Hindman, Operations Manager

You might be asking yourselves a very, very, important question right now. “Why would I host my corporate event at Viamede?” And its a perfectly fair question… so we’d like to tell you our top five reasons for retreating at Viamede Resort for your business that we think you’d like to know. Every conference centre you talk to is going to tell you they have meeting rooms, snack delivery, and a pool. We’ve got that too, but we decided to tell you about everything boldly different we do to make Viamede your personal corporate meeting hosts.

First, we think you’ll like our simplified billing process.

We know that you don’t know all the details; Janice from accounting will probably bail, someone has a newborn they can’t be separated from, and your CEO wants everyone to bunk up except them. Don’t worry. We have you covered. We offer seasonal rates based on single occupancy (your CEO taking up all the space they want in a king bed) and double occupancy (you and your closest work buddy in a room with two doubles). Take how many people you have coming, how many double rooms you want, and how many single rooms you want and we multiply it out. We’re not going to penalize you for Janice and we’ll let that newborn baby hang out at your conference if that’s what you’d like.

Plus that magical price includes almost everything you can think of: meeting room, protector, flip chart – yep, yep and yep. Meals – try snacks too – you work hard you could use a snack. Caffeine? We’ll have you so caffeinated, you won’t ever want to make it back to those rooms you’re sleeping in.

Second, our food is pretty great.

We’re not going to give you run of the mill triangle cut sandwiches that are unlabeled, you’re not sure if you’re eating chicken or turkey, and the bread kind of tastes like the fridge it has so clearly been stored in… no, not us, because we like food and we want you to like food. We’re going to get you fish and chips, homemade potato salad, pizzas, pastas, and we’ll work around your dietary restrictions. Your breakfast will consist of eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, toast, and it’s included in the cost of your room package.

Third, location, location, location.

Tired of people sneaking out on team building to go catch a movie? We’re conveniently located 30 minutes away from the closest theatre. Your employees will be in a remote location together. Makes it much harder to escape your team building plans. You want everyone to go kayaking? We’ll take them kayaking. If a guided nature hike is more your style, let’s show you the Viking Oak. If you think you’d enjoy learning to bar tend and enjoying an adult beverage by the fire instead, let us show you all the tricks we have up our sleeves. Think your group would benefit from spending less time together? It’s a pretty big resort and they’re welcome to wander.

We can be as involved, or uninvolved, as you’d like us to be. If you all want to play board games in 1885 and chat – that’s fine. If you want the staff to overload you with the worst jokes you’ve ever heard, let me tell you, we’ve got plenty of dad jokes to share.

Fourth, we plan like pros.

You stress about this yearly, twice yearly, quarterly, whatever shindig. We know you do. Let us take that stress off of you. We will get your rooming list and assign the rooms for you, we will work with your dietary restrictions, we will get you an appropriate sized room. You ran fifteen minutes late for team building because you we’re really enjoying your quarterly reports? We’re not worried, we can plan around that. You want lunch at 2 in the afternoon? That’s fine with us. You need an early breakfast? Alright; let us know when you are waking up so we can have the coffee brewing. Your group is really into running? We won’t go for a run with you, but we’ll happily point you in the right direction.

You’ll look like you’re a pro who’s been planning this all year, and we’ll even tell your boss it was all you.

Fifth, we have the best staff.

Whether you want us involved in your team building or not we will be around to see you through. We’re the nice folks in blue shirts sneaking into your meeting room to check on your coffee, dropping off your snack, troubleshooting the trails, letting you know about the weather patterns in the area, and where to find things you might have forgotten to pack. We have a secret hoard of markers if yours runs out, we know where the coolest parts of the property are, we know how to pour a pint and tell a joke, and we know the importance of teamwork to your business – because that’s our business.

So if you’re still wondering why you would pick Viamede for your company? We’re wondering why you wouldn’t.


For rates and more information on retreats and conferences at Viamede, click here.


How to Grow Basil Indoors

by Bob the Gardener

Basil is an annual herb that can be found in dishes all around the world. This is an easy plant to grow indoors and it will thrive in a sunny location with regular watering. The following steps will help you grow your own basil indoors.

Growing Basil Indoors

  1. Start seeds a few weeks before the last frost.
  2. Fill your pots with a good quality potting soil.
  3. Pre-soak the soil and sow the seeds 1/4″ deep.
  4. Place the plant pots in a sunny location.
  5. Keep the soil moist at all times; if the soil dries out, it will kill the seeds or seedling germination.
  6. Basil seedlings will take approximately 5-12 days to grow.
Transplanting Seedlings

Seedlings can be transplanted in a 4″ pot after they have two (2) sets of leaves.

Watering

As a general rule, whenever the soil starts to look dry it can be watered. Soil should always be moist, but never soggy.

Companion Planting

When basil is planted near tomatoes, this will repel flies and mosquitoes and will enhance the flavour.

Basil Varieties

Sweet Basil: Medium sized aromatic leaves.

Thai Basil: Used in Thai cooking, the leaves are anise flower. It holds flavour well when cooked.

Cinnamon Basil: The leaves retain the spicy sweet flavour of cinnamon.

Italian Large Leaf Basil: The leaves grow 4″ long and the flavour is sweet and mild.

Purple Basil: Dark opal basil is a beautiful plant with purple leaves and a sweet flavour.


Bob can often be found maintaining the Viamede gardens during the summer and enjoys leading garden tours for guests. He will be holding Planting Classes as part of our March Break activity schedule.


Cooking with Kids

by Chef Kyle Wagenblast

Cooking with children can be challenging, but rewarding in so many ways. It’s a great way to spend time together with your kids and give them a chance to learn and obtain hands-on experiences.

In baking we use a dash of science, a pinch of math, a cup of patience, a tablespoon of confidence, and lbs of accomplishment. We use science by getting the yeast to bloom and start eating sugars; this creates gasses that help our bread to rise. We use math to determine ratios of how much liquid to dry ingredients we need, and to adapt our ingredients if we decide to double or half our recipe. Patience is needed to give the dough proper time to proof and rise. We use confidence as we read through all our steps and know it will turn out, as well as afterwards in knowing that we can change subtle things and still have it work out. The more you do the more confident you become. As for accomplishment, well, who doesn’t like a fresh loaf of bread!

Don’t forget there are also many quick breads that can be made such as banana bread, pancakes, or muffins. These are great fun to make, and can be a better choice for younger kids with shorter attention spans since there is no proofing time required. Just a quick mix and you’re ready to go!

East Coast White Bread

Photo of freshly basked loaf of bread cooling on a wire rack.

This is a Recipe adapted from a friend on the east coast for a traditional white bread. These instructions will walk you through making the bread by hand.

Ingredients
  • 5 cups or 635 grams all purpose flour
  • 1 package or 7 grams traditional active dry yeast (not instant yeast)
  • 2 teaspoons or 10 grams of fine salt, good quality
  • 3 tablespoons or 45 grams sugar
  • 3 tablespoons or 55 grams butter, melted (need only 45 grams, use the rest to grease proofing bowl)
  • 2 cups or 290 grams milk, lukewarm
Instructions
  1. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar into 1/2 cup lukewarm water; sprinkle yeast over surface of water. Let stand for about 15 minutes until yeast foams well, then stir to combine.
  2. Combine 3 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt into large bowl. Add prepared yeast, melted butter and warm milk. Using a wooden spoon, mix for 4 to 5 minutes until mixture is smooth.
  3. Slowly incorporate remaining 2 cups flour, mixing gradually until soft dough forms and leaves sides of bowl. You may need to use a little more or a little less flour; add only enough flour to form a dough that releases from sides of bowl and remains slightly tacky, but can be handled with your bare hands.
  4. Turn the dough out onto work-surface to knead; knead for 8 minutes, then form into a ball and place in a large greased bowl.
  5. Cover dough and proof in a warm place for one hour until the dough doubles in size.
  6. Punch dough down and knead a few minutes by hand before resting for another 10 minutes.
  7. Grease 2 medium loaf pans; divide dough into 4-6 equal portions. Form each division into a ball, placing 2 or 3 balls of dough in each loaf pan.
  8. Cover with clean tea towel; proof until about 2 inches above rim of loaf pan (approximately 2 hours, depending upon room temperature).
  9. Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes depending on size of pans, or until loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped.
  10. Turn loaves onto wire rack to cool; brush tops with melted butter to soften top crust.

Chef Kyle will be leading bread making classes as part of our March Break activity schedule.