Top 5 Photo Spots at Viamede

by Nicole Rogerson, Marketing Manager

Photos are one of the best souvenirs of a vacation. The memories and moments that can be captured in a single snapshot are wonderful ways to remember the trip, the people you were with, and the sights you saw. One of the fun things about Viamede is that there is such a wide variety of things to do and see, that it makes for tons of photo opportunities. It was hard to narrow it down, but I’ve picked my top five favourite spots:

Indoor/Outdoor Pool

Indoor pool at Viamede Resort; Ontario resort in the Kawarthas

The indoor pool area at Viamede has beautiful wood paneling, lots of natural light with its floor-to-ceiling windows, a fireplace, and a swim-through section to an outdoor pool area. It captures really well in a photo and you can either get some action shots of the kids cannon balling into the pool or relaxing by the side of the pool taking in the view of Stoney Lake. This lends itself to various shots as well, whether the trees are changing to autumn colours, snow flakes are falling, or boats are drifting past on the lake.

Photo Tip

For a different angle, grab your camera and walk back out the pool entrance and then take a quick trot up the stairs to the second floor. This will take you to the balcony overlooking the pool which makes for a really cool perspective. Another angle, which I took in this photo, is sitting the camera low to the floor so you get the reflection from the window in the water.

Viamede Farm

Who doesn’t love a picture with a cute little pig?! Our farm animals love visitors and they are adorably photogenic. Head down to the farm at any time to snap a pic or you can also join a farm tour to get up close and personal as well.


It’s such a quintessential Canadian summer photo: sitting by a lake in a Muskoka chair with a drink in hand, watching the sun set over the trees. You can picture it right? That’s why the docks in front of the main building area make for a great photo spot. You might even catch a loon passing through.

Photo Tip

Take advantage of golden hour! This is the period of time just after sunrise or right before sunset. The daylight is softer and warmer, which provides beautiful lighting (whereas when the sun is at its peak midday, shadows have a harsher contrast and squinting is unavoidable). For more dedicated photographers, there is even a website that calculates when golden hour will occur on a given day.

Viking Oak

Viking Oak on the Stoney Lake Trails, Kawarthas; Viamede ResortHit the Stoney Lake Trails and discover the Viking Oak. We’ve been told this tree is 450 years old, but we’ve also been told it’s rude to ask about age. This is a beautiful spot tucked away on the trail and a really neat place to snap a picture. This is also another spot which looks so different in all seasons, whether it’s bursting with green leaves, surrounded by fall foliage, or covered in snow.

Photo Tip

Get someone to pose next to the oak; on its own in a photo, it’s hard to tell just how massive it is! Having a person (or more!) in the photo helps give it perspective.

Viamede Chapel

Where else do you go on vacation to a resort and find an 1800s chapel? This is a really neat building to check out and there are a couple different perspectives to try shooting. You could get a shot sitting on the steps outside the door among the gardens or try having someone silhouetted in the open doorway with the wood paneled interior and old pews on display. It’s a unique and unexpected location which is why it makes my list.

1800s chapel at Viamede Resort; Ontario resort in the Kawarthas

Honorary Mentions: Wedding Point (hello floral-lined gazebos), The Boathouse patio (#foodie), kayaking on Stoney Lake

We enjoy seeing your photos online! Tag us directly or use the hashtag #viamederesort so we can show it some love.

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!

Mount Julian: From 1874 to 2018

by Alyssa Joynt

This is the first in a series of blog posts about Mount Julian restaurant at Viamede Resort. We’ll be talking about the food, the history, the ambiance, and more! Check back regularly for the latest!

In 1874, Mount Julian stood alone, serving as both an inn and restaurant.  It has always been a destination for great food and incredible experiences, with lakers boating over for meals and people riding from Lakefield, almost 30 km away, just for dinner and a one night stay.

Mount Julian used to be a stand-alone location, with the restaurant on the main floor and a handful of rooms on the upper floor.  When Viamede Resort opened in 1885, Mount Julian served as the leisure side of the property, while Viamede hosted the labour crowd with miners and loggers filling the rooms.  In 1999, Don Bennet took over the resort and joined the two businesses, making Viamede the resort and turning Mount Julian into an Italian style resto, called MJ Bistro.

When Ben Samann took over Viamede in 2011, he knew he wanted to turn MJ Bistro into something special.  A dinner at Bluehill at Stone Barn served as the inspiration for the locally-sourced menu, and when the groundskeeper at the time suggested that Viamede start it’s own farm, Ben was all over the idea.  Food that went straight from farm to table?  Food foraged from the forest?  It was a menu that wrote itself, and the stories behind the food match the storied history of the building itself.

In a recent interview with Ben, he explained that eating at Mount Julian should be a very natural, comfortable experience.  As he said, “we’re not serving asparagus soup in a shoe”.  The food is not overly surprising, deliberately weird, or alienating in any way.  This isn’t a fine dining experience governed by overly strict rules – it’s a place where you can sit down in shorts and a T-shirt and enjoy historic ambience and local food.  Ingredients sourced from as close as the land the building sits on and as far afield as the Lakefield farmer’s market, it’s a meal that feels like you’re coming home.

Welcome to Mount Julian.  This summer, we are opening our doors to a new, online experience on this blog.  From the way the food is foraged to the hand-selected wine pairings, we invite you to join us as we rediscover the stories behind Mount Julian.

Mount Julian Restaurant Welcomes Spring

by Alyssa Joynt

If you’ve ever visited Viamede, you will have spotted a white building with a green roof on your way in.  Perched overlooking the lake, The Inn at Mount Julian was built in 1847 to welcome overnight travellers and loggers.  Although it has been updated with modern day amenities such as electricity and indoor plumbing, the building has remained much the same, and as you step inside you know that you are in for an exciting experience.

As Viamede re-opened and welcomed the return of spring, I returned for my second season of work and my first shift at the timeless Mount Julian restaurant. The culinary experience at Mount Julian is all about the story.  Each ingredient that goes into the 5, 7, or 9 course tasting menu, as well as the a la carte options, adds not only to the dish but also to the story that your meal has to share.  I loved learning all about the stories that food can tell, and so I thought I would take you inside the walls of Mount Julian and give you a sample of an evening at the restaurant.

Recently, to celebrate the return of greenery to Viamede, Chef Alexander prepared a decidedly spring-themed meal that started off with an amuse-bouche nick-named the “spring bouquet”.  Featuring all of the first things to pop out of the ground in spring time, pea shoots and cat tail were wrapped in wild leek that was foraged on Viamede property, and the bundle was topped with a drop of maple syrup, which made its entrance last month.

Right before the soup course was served, guests were treated to multi-grain baguette and house-made butter that was prepared with honey and sumac.  Sumac is the bushy red plant that can be spotted all over, and the red buds, lending a distinctive citrus flavour, were what went in to making the delicious butter.  Sumac also grows white flowers, but thankfully Chef avoided those – white buds are poisonous!

Once the bread disappeared, guests were treated to a blast of spring in the form of soup.  Containing spinach and wild leek that was foraged on the property, the soup’s bright green colouring was reminiscent of the bright green that has returned to the Kawarthas after a long-lasting winter, and continued the spring theme of the meal.

Seared Manitoulin Island Rainbow Trout swam onto the scene for the next course.  Viamede is situated in a wild-rice region, and so the trout was perched atop wild rice and cranberries, and was topped with a savoury cranberry jam (ten points if you caught my fish pun. Ten points if you noticed the second one.).

The salad was served next and perpetuated the spring theme through its light lettuce, multi-coloured carrots, radishes, and red wine and shallot dressing.  It was followed by the main course, which was beef wrapped in Viamede bacon.  Viamede has a farm on-site, and our happy, adventurous, attention-loving pigs enjoy a happy and well-fed lifestyle before they make their way onto our plates in a sustainable and locavore-approved farming practise.  The beef was accompanied by caramelized mashed potatoes and topped with mushrooms and horseradish sprouts that were sprouted in Viamede’s own herb garden.

To finish off the night, dessert was a flourless torte-brownie hybrid with sour cream and a maraschino cherry made at Viamede.  The cherries come from Niagara, and they are drenched in maraschino liquer on-site.  The work that goes into their creation comes out in their delicious and fresh flavour.

For each course, every ingredient was carefully picked to be local, fresh, and delicious.  Each piece added something to the story of spring, and ultimately to the story of Mount Julian.  If it took a page of writing to describe just one five-course meal in the most concise detail, imagine the culinary adventures and the exciting stories that await you on your next visit to Mount Julian.

I hope to see you soon!

Welcome to Viamede: The First Week on the Job

Welcome to Viamede:  The First Week on the Job

By Alyssa Joynt


My very first interaction with Viamede was a few years ago, when my parents decided to treat us to a nice meal at Viamede’s 1885 restaurant after a summer of BBQs.  I was maybe 12 at the time, and I started fantasizing about Viamede weddings.  As I got older (and slightly more realistic), I started thinking about working at Viamede.  I had an interview in January, and, well, you know the rest.

My first day was a whirlwind.  I worked breakfast, Front Desk, and housekeeping, all in the short span of 6 hours…and it was great.  I left work looking forward to the next day, and that hasn’t really changed.

The great thing about working at Viamede is that it doesn’t always feel like work.  The staff are all lovely, and there is a real sense of friendship amongst the Viamede team.  I’ve only been here a week, but I know people and people know me, and it’s easy to share a laugh.  The light-hearted conversation makes the day fly by.

The same can be said for the guests.  Everyone who stays at Viamede is happy and patient, which is especially great when you’re new and have no idea what you’re doing.

The best part about Viamede, though, is the environment.  It’s beautiful and comfortable resort feel is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and I get to enjoy it every day.  On top of that, I am working in cottage country.   I get to wake up and watch the mist drift off the smooth glassy surface of the lake as I eat my breakfast, and I get to enjoy the beautiful views of rural Ontario as I work.  I am literally forced to stay on the lake all summer.

Some people dread going to work in the mornings.  I am glad to say that I am not one of those people.  My first week at Viamede has been busy and eventful, but it’s also been a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store.