Viamede Holiday Traditions

The Holidays are here, and with that comes fun (and maybe a bit quirky) family traditions! These special memories can be anything from hanging the outside Christmas lights, visiting a local Christmas Tree farm to cut down the perfect tree, or even baking gingerbread in matching pajamas belting out the classic carol, Grandma got ran over by a Reindeer. 

Much like your family, the Viamede family has their favourite traditions that we want to invite you to participate in. While you may not get the (dis)pleasure of hearing us sing carols, here are some of our Holiday traditions: 

Viamede Yetis 

These funny guys like to hide around the property. Bundle up warm and start the mission of finding them throughout the property in the winter months. Don’t be fooled – sometimes they make it easy on you, but we have a few mischievous Yetis that are pros at this game. Can you and your family find 3 out of the 7 Viamede Yetis to win the prize? Don’t worry – no matter the outcome, we’ll reward you with a delicious cup of hot chocolate to warm you up from the cold. 

Cooking Decorating 

Let’s be honest, Santa isn’t the only one that loves to have some milk and cookies during the Holidays. At Viamede we’ve got you covered with our 24/7 sugar cookie station, guaranteed to fulfill all those cookie cravings. Take advantage of the decorating supplies, be as creative as you want, we promise we won’t judge your cookie decorating skills… or how many cookies you eat! 

“The Stockings Were Hung By The Chimney With Care” 

Stockings are so symbolic of the Holiday Season. History has it that children would place 1 of their everyday socks on the fireplace mantel. (don’t worry you can leave your socks in the room, we have you covered!) Personalize a stocking with your name, buttons, and whatever else strikes your fancy. Than just like the good ol’ days, hang it on our fireplace mantel from all the way back in 1885. Be sure to check back Sunday morning. Do you think you made the nice list? 

Welcoming the Fall Season

The kids have headed back to school and soon the leaves will start to change colour. It’s hard to believe, but another summer has flown by and we’re entering into the Fall season! There are many things to love about Fall. The autumn colours are certainly one of them, as the resort transforms into a canvas of gold, red, and orange. We also enter into a season of harvest, cooler days, cozy nights, and travelers seeking a quiet place to unwind.

Summer Highlights

Turtle Wednesdays

Weekly workshops with the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre ( were a hit! We got to hear about how we can do our part to help turtle conservation efforts, learn about the type of turtles in Ontario, and get up close with turtles currently in the Centre’s care.

Lake Life

Stoney Lake really is a gem in the Kawarthas. Cooling off on hot summer days was made that much easier with swimming, jumping off the water trampoline, grabbing a kayak for a paddle, or tubing with Ben. We’re glad to see guests enjoy life on the lake, taking a break from city life and the hustle and bustle.

Delicious Dining

Chefs Kyle and Mandy (along with our culinary team) hit it out of the park with fresh, delicious dining at both The Boathouse and Mount Julian (shout out to our yummy breakfast buffet in 1885). From soaking up the sun with a beer at The Boathouse patio or indulging in a 7 course tasting dinner at Mount Julian, there were lots of happy, full bellies. As we come into the harvest season, we can’t wait to serve up more local farm-to-table food for you.

Fall Plans

Fall Recreation Programs

View the schedule here! This kicked in on September 3 and is in effect until October 6 (at which point we switch to our Winter schedule). While things take a bit of a slower pace, there are still plenty of activities going on such as fishing, kayaking, bonfires, and our daily farm tours.

Art Tour

Fall means it’s studio time here in the Kawarthas, and there are lots of unique painters, sculptors, photographers, and more to be discovered. We put together a list of some local art tours that may be of interest. You can use Viamede as your home base to go out and explore.


It may still seem a ways away, but Thanksgiving is on Monday, October 14. We put on a Thanksgiving buffet featuring our own farm-raised turkeys. For you, this means no cooking and no dishes! Read more here about Thanksgiving at Viamede.

Our Fall rates are in effect from Labour Day until Thanksgiving.


Hiking Trails in the Kawarthas

The Kawarthas region offers a wide variety of hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty. We’ve put together a list of just some of the local trails that are well worth a drive.

Stony Lake Trails


We have to include this one since part of the 10 kilometre trail network can be accessed from right here at Viamede Resort! Enjoy scenic views of the lake, limestone cliffs, outcrops of Canadian Shield, and abundant opportunities to view wildlife.

Bobcaygeon Wilderness Park


This 8 acre forested property offers over a kilometre of safe, accessible trails winding through mature forest cover.

Robert Johnston EcoForest Trails


There are four trails totaling around six kilometres, passing through a mix of forest of wetlands.

Jackson Creek Kiwanis Trail


This is a 4.2 kilometre multi-use recreational trail that extends from Jackson Park in the City of Peterborough to just west of Ackison Road in Selwyn Township.

Eels Creek to High Falls


This is a 5 kilometre hike with the trail head located a short drive from Viamede Resort. There are some marshy areas and creek crossings to traverse, but well worth the effort for scenic lookouts and to see High Falls.

Fleetwood Creek Natural Area


This conservation area west of Millbrook offers 3 trail loops totalling over 8 kilometres and includes an observation platform.

Civic Holiday Long Weekend Activities

Wondering what to do for the Civic Holiday long weekend? It’s one of the last long weekends of summer (sorry to bring that up!), so grab the family and use Viamede Resort as your home base for a Kawarthas weekend adventure. Here are a few ideas of things going on this upcoming weekend.

Bobcaygeon Midnight Madness

When: Saturday, August 3 | 7 to 11:59 PM
Where: Downtown Bobcaygeon

This annual street festival features sidewalk sales, live music and entertainment, inflatables, games, and more.

Simcoe Day Weekend

When: Friday, August 2 – Sunday, August 4, 2019 | 10 AM to 5 PM
Where: Downtown Fenelon Falls

There will be historical re-enactments, lumberjack demonstrations, music, arts, and more!

Stoney Lake Shed Market

When: Saturday, August 3, 2019 | 9 AM to 1 PM
Where: Carveth’s Marina, Selwyn

Browse second-hand treasures with proceeds shared between Five Counties and Quilts for Cancer.

Long Weekends at Viamede

We have to plug our own fun recreation schedule which includes pool volleyball, wine tastings, Kids’ Club (so parents can enjoy some time off!), and evening bonfires with s’mores.

Voyageur Canoe Tour

When: Monday, August 5, 2019 | 10:30 AM to 12 PM
Where: Peterborough Lift Lock (353 Hunter Street, Peterborough)

Hop aboard a voyageur canoe and traverse part of the Trent-Severn waterway, including passing through the Peterborough Lift Lock.


Why a Weekend Away is Good for Your Health

by Laura Belus, ND – Elevate Wellness Retreats

With the speed at which our society moves these days, a weekend away can be hard to come by, but could it be worth it in more ways than one? Getting out of your normal routine, unplugging, and reconnecting with your loved ones can have a profound impact on your health!

In our current culture, a weekend away may seem like an indulgence, but if you’re someone who has a stressful day-to-day life (who doesn’t?), it might be essential.

When you’re stressed, you release the hormone cortisol. Cortisol puts you into the “fight or flight” mode, which sounds primitive – because it is. Our bodies are triggered to release cortisol when the brain interprets “stress”. When evolution constructed this pathway, “stress” was something that put you in immediate danger – such as a bear chasing you. Today, “stress” can be anything from a big meeting, a traffic jam, or running late for work. These events aren’t as serious as a bear chasing you, but your body perceives it the same way and responds by releasing an array of hormones, including cortisol.

Cortisol suppresses digestion, immunity, and reproductive hormones (non-essentials during a stressful moment), and enhances cognitive function and muscular activity. This is why chronic stress can cause digestive problems, frequent infections, and hormonal irregularities. If you are under stress for a prolonged time, your cortisol levels can be consistently high, which can lead to elevated blood sugar, and fat accumulation around the midsection. It can also lead to exhaustion of your adrenal glands (which are responsible for making the cortisol), leading to a range of symptoms such as moodiness, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. Reducing your stress is critical to lowering your cortisol levels and maintaining optimal health. Here’s where a weekend away can help you deal with your daily stressors!

Not only is a weekend away relaxing, taking a break from daily stressors can have a profound positive impact on your cortisol levels, improving your mental and physical health. Getting out of your daily routine can provide you with a fresh perspective and give you clarity on any decisions you may be facing. A change of scenery, especially when that scenery is nature, is a great investment in self-care. It has even been found that spending time in nature by engaging in activities such as gardening can lower cortisol levels and reduce depression symptoms. When you take time to relax, you are actively improving your overall health by changing your stress hormone levels.

Going on vacation with loved ones is also a great opportunity to spend quality time together and allow yourself to refocus on what’s important. Going away with loved ones, such a romantic partner, can also help you and your partner learn how to support each other as you prioritize your health goals.

Regions of your brain actually undergo physical changes in response to chronic stress which are reversible if the stress lasts weeks, but it’s unclear whether these changes can be reversed if it lasts months or years. Taking a weekend off to destress is starting to sound crucial isn’t it? It’s a great balance to working hard Monday through Friday. You may even find that you return to work with more positive energy than when you left, feeling refreshed and ready to be productive. Go ahead and book a weekend getaway – it’s not an indulgence if it’s good for your health!

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that includes your partner, why not join Elevate Wellness Retreats this September 27-29, 2019 at Viamede Resort to learn how to boost the health of yourself and your relationship. Learn more by visiting


  1. Detweiler, M.B, Self, J. A., Lane, S., Spencer, L., Lutgens, B., Kim, D. Y., . . . Lehmann, L. P. (2015). Horticultural therapy: a pilot study on modulating cortisol levels and indices of substance craving, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and quality of life in veterans.
  2. McEwen, B. S. (2008). Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: understanding the protective and damaging effects of stress and stress mediators. European Journal of Pharmacology, 583(2-3): 174-185.

Canada Day Fireworks in the Kawarthas

Looking for a spot to take in a fireworks show on Canada Day (Monday, July 1, 2019)? Check out these family-friendly locations in the Kawarthas:


Event Website
Fireworks Location: Bobcaygeon Beach Park
Start Time: 10:00 p.m.

Not only will there be fireworks, but you can enjoy free admission to an all-day Canada Day party at the Bobcaygeon Community Center/Fair Grounds.


Event Website
Fireworks Location: Buckhorn Community Centre
Start Time: 10:00 p.m.

Family fun will be taking place from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. At 8:00 p.m., music, snacks, and crafts lead up to the fireworks show.


Event Website
Fireworks Location: Banks of the Trent River
Start Time: Dusk

All day activities are taking place in Campbellford, Warkworth, and Hastings.


Event Website
Fireworks Location: Isabel Morris Park
Start Time: Dusk

From 3:00 p.m. onwards, enjoy a petting zoo, face painting, children’s games and activities, live music, and more.


Event Website
Fireworks Location: Minden Fairgrounds
Start Time: Dusk

Activities throughout the day are taking place downtown, across the bridge, at the cultural centre, as well as the fairgrounds.


Event Website
Fireworks Location: Omemee Beach Park
Start Time: Dusk

The annual Omemee Lions Ducktona 750 duck derby & BBQ starts at 1:00 p.m. at the Omemee boat launch. Afterwards, there will be live music and a kids free BBQ until the fireworks begin.


Viamede’s Summer Bucket List

Summer is officially here (anyone else ready to say so long to that cold and rainy spring?)! School’s out, long weekends await, and cottaging season is on. We put together our top 5 picks to check off your summer bucket list – Viamede style.

Feed Farm Pigs

Guests can go to the Viamede Farm at any time to visit with our turkeys, ducks, chickens, and quail. If you come along for a farm tour in the afternoon (part of our recreation schedule), you can help feed our pigs! We’ll also tell you all about how our farm works, where eggs are collected, and let you cuddle with a silkie chicken (they are very silky).

Feed Pigs at Viamede Farm; located at Viamede Resort in the Kawarthas

Join a Wild Food Hunt

Come along with staff for a foraging expedition and learn more about how wild food can be used in your kitchen. With things like cattails, chives, wild berries, and greens, what we find might just be in tonight’s dinner menu. For the foodies, we also recommend a tasting at Mount Julian and one of our other activities like Pickling or Bread Making Class.

Cannonball into Stoney Lake

There’s nothing like a classic Canadian summer of enjoying life on the lake. While you can kick back and relax by the pool (no judgement here), we’ve included this on our bucket list because taking a big leap off the water trampoline and cannon-balling into the lake is too much fun.

Family friendly resort; Stoney Lake in the Kawarthas; Viamede Resort

Go Cycling

If you’ve brought your own wheels or want to borrow one of ours, there are some neat places to check out by bicycle! You can stick to the back roads and explore along Stoney Lake (Eels Creek, about a 9 km ride, has a great hiking trail). Head back up to Highway 28 (which has paved shoulders), and pedal to Burleigh Falls for a picnic by the lock.

Try Something New

Whether you’ve never fished, played disc golf, gone stand-up paddleboarding, or been tubing, we’ll help you say you did something totally new this summer.


What’s On This Victoria Day Weekend

The Victoria Day long weekend feels like the official kick-off to cottage season. Although it’s not yet summer, the countdown is on! If you’re hitting the road for the long weekend and headed to or through the Kawarthas, here are some activities and events for a perfect family getaway:

Bethany’s Victoria Day Weekend

Where: Bethany Park, Bethany (Google Maps)
When: Friday, May 17-Monday, May 20
Event Website

Enjoy activities such as fireworks, family BBQ, karaoke, the 29th Annual Show & Shine, petting zoo, parade, 33rd Annual Pie & Cake Contest, and much more.

Buckhorn Spring Craft Show

Where: Buckhorn Community Centre (Google Maps)
When: Saturday, May 18-Sunday, May 19 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Event Website

Find over 75 exhibitors and artisans with home made products like clothing, jewelry, home decor, and more. Drop into the Crafters Crafe for homemade soups, sandwiches, and more.

Rotary Victoria Day Fireworks & Family Night

Where: Del Crary Park, Peterborough (Google Maps)
When: Saturday, May 18 beginning at 5 p.m.
Event Website

Fireworks, local entertainment, and a children’s program. Live music begins at 5 p.m. and admission is free.

Viamede Victoria Day Getaway

Where: Viamede Resort (Google Maps)
When: Friday, May 17-Monday, May 20
Event Website

We’re switching over to our spring recreation schedule which includes activities like fishing, farm tours, and bonfires with s’mores. Resort amenities include an indoor pool, steam room, games room in 1885, nature trails, and much more. Guest rooms and pet-friendly cottages.

Whetung Spring Art Show

Where: Whetung Ojibwa Centre (Google Maps)
When: Saturday, May 18-Sunday, May 19 from 1-4 p.m.
Event Website

Beat the tourist season and check out what’s new and exciting at the Whetung Spring Art Show. Their most popular artists will be on hand to display their craft and ideas.

Ontario Turtle Conservation Conversation

by Wendy Baggs, Education Coordinator, OTCC

The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre (OTCC) is home of the “Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre”. Our mission is to protect and conserve Ontario’s at-risk native turtles and their wetland habitats. The OTCC is a multifaceted hospital that uses a multi-pronged approach to conservation, employing Hospital, Science and Education. The centre is supported by a province-wide network of local veterinarians, private clinics, and other wildlife centres who perform admissions and emergency care. The OTCC holds “Turtle Trauma Workshops” to help train veterinarians and rehabilitators throughout Ontario. The centre has a network of over 5oo Turtle Taxi Volunteers that transport injured turtles. Injured turtles arrive from all across Ontario!

Photo of large turtle; Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre; part of Viamede Resort's summer recreation programmingOntario Turtles At Risk

Seven of the eight species of Ontario’s turtles are now listed as ‘species at risk’. Habitat destruction is the primary cause for many of the species’ decline, followed by injuries and early death from automobiles, boats, fish hooks, dogs, and humans. Other species of wildlife are also injured and killed, however most animals have young from the previous year to mate and replenish their population. Less than 1% of turtle eggs and hatchlings survive to adulthood. Turtles can take from 8 to 25 years to reach maturity. It can take 1500 eggs and up to 60 years to replace one nesting female killed on the roadside. Therefore, every turtle saved is beneficial to the population.

Conservation Efforts

The OTCC treated 940 turtles that were admitted into the hospital in 2018, and incubated over 3700 eggs that came from injured females admitted.

We are currently taking care of over 800 turtles that have been staying with us for the winter. Our Education Program reached over 15,000 people. Currently, we are radio-tracking a group of our ” headstarted” juvenile Blanding’s turtles, alongside a group of wild juveniles, to ensure they are surviving and thriving. We are entering our 7th year in this study.

The OTCC strives to increase awareness of the challenges facing Ontario’s turtles and to inspire individuals to act!

The OTCC will be holding turtle workshops as part of Viamede Resort’s summer recreation programming. Come meet a turtle and learn more about conservation efforts! You can also follow OTCC on Facebook and Twitter.

March Break Activities in the Kawarthas

by Nicole Rogerson, Marketing Manager

March Break is right around the corner! We’ve got lots planned here at Viamede as part of our March Break experience, but if you’re looking to venture out into the local area there are plenty more sights and experiences to be had. Here are five things to do and see in the Kawarthas.


Free Thursday Nights at the Canadian Canoe Museum

Thursdays, 5-8 PM

The Canadian Canoe Museum opens its doors for free admission on Thursday evenings. This national heritage centre explores the canoe’s significance in Canada through interactive galleries and displays.


Dinosaur Exhibit 2019

March 10-13, 10 AM – 5 PM

The Indian River Reptile Zoo will be holding a dinosaur exhibit with over 24 animatronic dinosaurs that move and roar! There will be plenty of other activities and fun for the kids. You can save $5 on admission by bringing a drawing of your favourite dinosaur.

Brent and Sarah’s Comedy Magic Show

March 10, 2 PM

A show that combines magic, music, comedy, and gets the audience involved in clean entertainment.


Buckhorn Maplefest 2019

March 16-17, 9:30 AM – 4 PM

The McLean’s annual Maplefest provides fun for the whole family with wagon rides, pancakes drizzled in fresh maple syrup, and learning how syrup is made.


Peterborough Fibre Arts Festival & Sale

March 16, 10 AM – 4 PM

Check out a variety of vendors and handmade goods at the 9th annual Fibre Arts Festival & Sale. The entry fee is $5 and children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

What’s On this March Break

by Ben Samann, General Manager

One of our core principles here is that parents are happiest when the kids are tired out, and kids are happiest when they get to run free without parental supervision (staff supervision provided!).

Welcome to March Break at Viamede.

As always, we don’t really know what the weather will bring in March; we may be skating on the lake in a blizzard, or the first of the flowers may be coming up already. Either way, we’re ready with a week full of weather-proof programming for everyone. Daily supervised kids activities give parents some time off, and daily beer/wine/whiskey tastings help the adults unwind.

Take a look at our March Break activities:

2019 Viamede Resort March Break Schedule

And that’s just the stuff we’re helping you to do. Some guests like to make their own schedule and that’s okay too! We have nine (9) kilometres of hiking trails, and can even lend you one of our resort Goldens (Toby and Daisy) to bring along on your hike. Our indoor/outdoor pool is the perfect spot to relax or meet friends for an impromptu volleyball game.

Four images side by side that show a Foosball table overlooking Stoney Lake, two people sitting by a roaring fire with socks, a young boy tubing down a snow hill, and an indoor pool.

March Break is a special time at Viamede. It’s the last of winter, and the first of spring, and often an interesting mix of both. Snowmen and skating mix with sunny days and puddle jumping, and we’re ready for all of the above.

It’s a time for kids, and parents who want to be kids. We do what we can; our cooking classes are popular for everyone, and Bob the Gardener will be helping people get their gardens started. Kids can go home with their own plant and adults can learn how their hostas can do better.

We know that the key to happy parents is tired kids, so we always build in some time for kids to be kids: pool volleyball, cooking classes, gardening workshops, and even pizza and a movie night to give parents a quiet dinner to themselves.

Probably the most popular hangout, rain or shine, is 1885 – giant Scrabble, a large fireplace with cozy armchairs, and all-day snacks. The kids can play Foosball while the parents sip Scotch. Sit by the fire and play a board game, or challenge friends to a game of darts. Have another cappuccino and wait out the storm, or head out into the sunshine.

December Events in the Kawarthas

by Jill Persson, Marketing Manager

Whether you live nearby, or you’re just in the area for the weekend, we encourage you to get out in the community and revel in the season’s sounds, sights and experiences. There is so much happening in the Kawarthas this month, the only drawback is deciding which ones to attend!

Here is my round-up of happenings for December (there’s something for every age)!


Friday, December 7

In From The Cold Christmas Concert at Market Hall in Peterborough

8:00 – 10:30 pm

This incredible Celtic Christmas concert features instruments like the harp, concertina, guitar, fiddle, Irish bouzouki, tin whistle and bodhran and sung in gorgeous wraparound harmony. Proceeds support YES Shelter for Youth and Families.


Saturday, December 8

A Christmas Carol at Hutchison House Museum in Peterborough

2:00 – 4:00 pm

Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” is told by firelight in the museum’s historic Keeping Room. Dessert, coffee and tea will be served.


The Peterborough Symphony Orchestra: Home For The Holidays at Showplace in Peterborough

7:30 pm

This light-hearted holiday concert features seasonal favourites, a carol sing and the Kawartha Youth Orchestra!


Sunday, December 9

The Artisan Fair at Evinrude Centre in Peterborough

59 local artisans are selling a wide variety of handcrafted treasures. Free parking, wheelchair accessible, and guaranteed to cross some names of your Christmas list.


A Child’s Christmas in Wales / The Gift of the Magi at Hutchison House in Peterborough

2:00 – 4:00 pm

Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” and O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” are told by firelight in the museum’s historic Keeping Room. Dessert, coffee and tea will be served.


Friday, December 14

Sing-A-Long Sound of Music at Showplace in Peterborough

7:00 – 9:00 pm

This is your chance to sing along to the most successful movie musical of all time! The movie will be shown on the big screen, and song subtitles are shown – make sure to warm up your vocal chords!


Little Britain Santa Claus Parade

7 :00 pm


Saturday, December 15

Peterborough Humane Society’s Christmas Open House and Bottle Drive in Peterborough

10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Drop in for some Christmas Cheer on December 15th from 10-2 and say hello to the animals in the care of Peterborough Humane Society. Support the bottle drive by bringing alcoholic bottles, cans, and bags.


Cuddles for Cancer Fundraising Tea Party and Luncheon in Lakefield

11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Christmas Tea and Luncheon to support Cuddles for Cancer and the True Meaning of Christmas Campaign. High Tea, presentation as well as a live and silent auction.


Victorian Christmas for Kids at Hutchison House Museum in Peterborough

1:00 – 3:00 pm

Get into the holiday spirit with special treats, hearth demonstrations, crafts, fun and more! Finish your Christmas shopping by checking out the selection of books and seasonal items in the gift shop.


Focus Fair Indie Holiday Arts and Crafts Sale, Peterborough

11:00 am – 5:00 pm

This year’s show features a wide variety of local artists offering handmade paintings, mixed media art, crafts, jewellery, cards, seeds, treats and more. Support local artists, shop downtown & make this a handmade holiday!


Monday, December 17

Peterborough Singers “Handel’s Messiah” at Emmanuel United Church in Peterborough

7:30 – 10:00 pm

Handel’s great work Messiah captures the joy and wonder of the holiday season and has remained popular since its first performance in Dublin in April 1742. Experience the power of 100 voices and the majesty of the mighty Casavant organ in this time-honoured celebration.


Thursday, December 20

Jingle Boots – The Big Yellow Boot Holiday Show at Showplace in Peterborough

6:00 pm

Join the entire Big Yellow Boot family – Splash, Boots, Charlie, Chef Brock Lee and our very own Jumping Jack Granny as they celebrate the HOLIDAYS!Jingle Boots is Splash’N Boots most interactive show yet, so dress in your best yellow and blue holiday gear and get ready to dance and sing along with holiday classics and Splash’N Boots originals!


Viamede’s Hidden Gems

By: Alyssa Joynt

When there is so much going on, it’s easy to miss out on some incredible opportunities, and with a recreation schedule as busy as ours, that happens all the time here at Viamede.  To help you stay on top of everything, here’s a list of some of the best (but lesser known) activities here at Viamede.


Pajama Pingpong:  As much as we wish it was, going out in pajamas is not always socially acceptable.  But every Saturday night, we toss out the rules and enjoy comfy clothes, friendly competition, and new faces with Pajama Pingpong.

Historic Walk and Nature Hike:  Did you know that the Viamede chapel didn’t always stand amongst our gardens?  Or that Mount Julian was actually an inn itself once?  Do you know where you can find the old reservation book from decades past?  Transport yourself to days gone by and take a guided tour of Viamede as you learn about our historical roots.  If history isn’t your thing, let one of our staff members take you on a naturalist adventure to see the Viking Oak and other local flora and fauna.

Beach Games:  Sometimes, the best way to make new friends is with a little friendly competition, and what better way to do that than playing on the beach?  Participate in sand castle competitions, building expeditions, or games such as musical beach towels, Sharks and Minnows, and Beach Golf.  Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon.

Fireside Water Volleyball:  The newest addition to our recreation schedule, this is an activity that is fun for all ages.  On rainy or cold nights, gather in the indoor pool to play water volleyball beside the flickering fire.  Just don’t get distracted by the starry night sky!

Nature/Survival Activity:  Go foraging with our GM Ben, play games on the activity field, or go on an interactive hike through our beautiful grounds.  Just don’t forget your bug spray!  Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at two o’clock.

Chef’s Tour:  A quintessential part of any foodie’s vacation, the Chef’s Tour is the perfect opportunity to get an exclusive look at the kitchens while getting to know our chefs.  Learn more about our locavore philosophy and find out exactly where your food comes from.  Every Wednesday and Sunday at two o’clock.


As you can see, there is a lot of fun, learning, adventuring, and discovering to be had at Viamede.  Don’t miss out!

An Exercise in Reverence

by Ben Samann

Recently, on a beautiful rainy Sunday, I resolved an issue that has weighed on me for years.

I ran into an old friend of the resort, Cathy, who is currently in a seminary school. Cathy is lovely, passionate, and very respectful, so I asked her a favour: help me sort out the assortment of religious and antique items in our old chapel.150523-tk_viamede_selects_00401


For a bit of context, in 2001, the previous owner of Viamede relocated a little chapel to the property. It had been built in 1877 as St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Haultain, about 10 minutes up the road from us. When this was moved, it came with a huge assortment of religious items, from crosses and bibles to bits of fabric and wooden plates. I’m not a religious man, and so I had little understanding of which items hold meaning, and for what reason.

Cathy and I spent time looking at, through, and into box after box of items. Her respect of both religion and the world came through over and over, as she described the significance of items both as religious symbols and their meaning to the community. The kneeling bench, of a rather odd design, she suggested would be more valuable to us than to another church. “How many people knelt on this during the most important times of their lives?”

We found countless linens, candle holders, and plates, each with their own mysteries, and each with a clear connection to the region. Some were donated by the community, with names and dates, others with limited context except to show a general purpose. And as we unraveled a green linen, to signify new life, we discovered a mother mouse with 3 babies trying to escape the plastic tote it was stored in.

Some quick reactions (and mediocre pictures) later, she was running off into the bushes behind the chapel, carrying off one baby after another.

Cathy left with an assortment of crosses and other items. I left with a much better understanding of the respect the remaining items deserve. My task has grown monumentally – find a way to showcase and respect the human history intertwined with the countless items that remain.


Tips? No Thanks!

Here’s a tip for your trip: don’t tip.

On April 1st, Viamede is going tip-free. The reasons for this are many and various, from fairness across departments to a more consistent and transparent price for our guests.

When we get great service at the dentist, the mechanic’s shop, or from an accountant, we don’t tip. We tell our friends and use that business again and again in the future. We think the same should be true of hotels and restaurants – we want you to tell everyone how great of a time you had, and to come back.

You see, there is a whole team of people who contribute to your experience, but you may only meet your server. Consider the cook who made your meal, the dishwasher who made sure your wine glass was sparkling, and the runner who helped bring plates to your table. These wonderful people play a part in ensuring your meal is amazing, but tips are usually heavily influenced by the performance of the server. The earnings of the behind-the-scenes staff is somewhat reliant on a part of the dining experience that they don’t have much control over. And that’s not really fair.

Tipping also isn’t really fair to the guest – when a price tag says $10, it should cost $10. (Well, except taxes, but I’m not sure Viamede’s ready to stand up to the CRA. We love you, auditors!) Guests shouldn’t have to get out slide rules and actuarial tables to figure out our staff’s income.

So, we’re getting rid of all that. Any price you see, just add the tax and that’s your total. The sticker prices are going up a tiny bit to make up the difference, but since there’s no tip, it works out about the same as before. As part of this change, we are raising the wages of all staff by several dollars per hour.

No tipping means a fairer system to our servers, our other staff, and to our guests. Happy staff, happy guests, happy vacation!

First Steps of a New Culinary Journey

Chef Kevin McKenna has decided to venture out, launching a project of his own. We are proud of the great work we have accomplished together at Viamede Resort and wish him all the best.

In the interim we welcome Jay Nutt as Executive Chef. Jay is a long-standing friend of the resort and the recently retired chef and former owner of Nuttshell Next Door Café. Jay has cooked in hotels and resorts across Canada, focusing on local foods and building community partnerships. He is also a cookbook author and food columnist, writing with his wife Jenn.

Viamede Resort will stay the course with our focus on incredible forest-to-table cuisine and Jay’s demonstrated commitment to local foods will be showcased here.

In the coming months, Viamede will hire a new chef for the long term who will build on our renowned forest to table philosophy. We are looking forward to what 2017 will bring!


The Trees Are Tapped

tree tapping

The sap is running here at Viamede and that means spring is just around the corner.  Today our On-site Farmer Jarrod and Chef Kevin McKenna started our annual maple syrup production by heading out and tapping our trees.  From the early signs, it looks like we will have a fantastic season.

The syrup we produce here at Viamede is used throughout the year in Chef McKenna’s local forest inspired menus as well as with recreation programming for our guests.  This March Break we will be running activities for the coming two Saturdays where guests can learn all about the process and boil down last year’s syrup to roll out maple toffee on ice and sample.

This year we’ve doubled our production with a total of 28 trees tapped.  26 Sugar Maples and 2 White Birch, which produces a savoury mineral rich caramel flavoured syrup.  Next year we are looking forward to tapping some of our Black Walnuts and expanding our syrup selection.

The sap will flow for about 4-6 weeks, during which time we will collect each tree’s tap buckets on a regular basis and empty into 30 gallon food grade barrels which are stored until we are ready to begin the filtration and boiling down process.  A healthy tree can provide between 40 to 300L of sap and the syrup to sap ratio is 40:1 for Sugar Maple and 70:1 for Birch.

We look forward to sharing this very Canadian experience and teaching you more about the process, our respect for the land and how we do things here at Viamede.  Another reason we are boldly different!


Restaurants in the News

Recently, there has been considerable controversy about a restaurant in Toronto in hot water over mislabelling ingredients – fresh squeezed orange juice from a big brand bottle, organic granola from a box of Quaker Oats, and similar.

This is sad, and unfortunately, will have repercussions for restaurants that really do try to serve the best ingredients. Many guests will need to spend more time researching the restaurant and it’s philosophy, and in many cases, reputable chefs will need to spend more time proving where they buy their food. This is harmful to the industry, and comes as a shock to many.

What this means for Viamede, really, isn’t much. For years now, Chef Kevin McKenna has been working with guests to show them where our food comes from – tours of farmer’s markets, where he buys the vegetables right in front of guests, or contacts at his farms where our beef, duck, and other meats come from. In many cases, you can even come a few months early and meet your bacon – our farm provides us with heritage breed turkeys for thanksgiving, pigs for sausages and roasts, duck eggs, and quail, along with vegetables and herbs.

In the summer, we go even further – no ingredient could be more local than freshly foraged ingredients from our 150 acre property, and we’re happy to share the knowledge. Not only can we prove where it came from, but we can show you how to get your own.

So bring it, skeptical foodies. Come inspect our ingredients. Demand to meet the chef, the pigs, and the sommelier, and threaten us until we hand over the recipes. Twist our locally sourced rubber arms.


There’s a new girl in town! On November 2, the staff at Viamede Resort welcomed Daisy, Toby’s new sidekick and the resort’s newest furry guest experiences team member.

Daisy was Golden Rescue’s 2221st rescue dog. She is 7 years old, from the Toronto area and very outgoing. As a pedigreed Golden Retriever who loves wearing a fancy pink bandana, she’s a true uptown girl. Toby, our downtown boy, is not quite sure what to think about her!

Daisy is your typical active Golden Retriever, in that she can find opportunities for mischief around every corner. The day isn’t done before she’s had a chance to swipe an apple from an employee’s lunch, escaped from the office to inspect the pool construction, and chew-tested the durability of Ben’s new coffee table!

Our two fur babies are getting along quite well, although Toby wonders why Daisy is always so playful when he wants to nap. Don’t worry Toby, I’m sure she’ll learn the cottage country ropes soon enough.


Making Viamede even better!

WORKING TO IMPROVE YOUR EXPERIENCE! In an effort to offer you even more fun during your stay with us, we’re putting in an indoor pool and gym! This means we do have some construction noise during the day and a small area of the grounds next to the main building is not the prettiest backdrop for your vacation photos. The rest of the resort is fully operational and ready to entertain you.