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Camping vs. Glamping in Ontario

Camping is the thing to do if you love nature, but learning to do it well takes practice. As a child and teenager, I camped almost every weekend. I remember looking into the campfire as a child and imagining a whole world inside the embers, and spending the days hiking and listening to the birds chirp happily. On the other hand, it does require supplies, and a certain hardiness to really enjoy the experience.

If you don’t enjoy building campfires or sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag, but still yearn for the great outdoors a new alternative has become popular in Ontario. Glamping is the new fad, and it is glamorous indeed. I found several glamping locations in Ontario that offer an experience for those looking to create natural memories in comfort. This type of luxury camping is a form of five-star camping, similar to vacationing at an outdoor hotel in the woods. Glamping includes yurts, eco-tents, eco-cabins, and teepees. Another perk of the glamping experience is the seclusion it offers. Many of the greatest luxury spots in the province are in private locations and allow people to really experience a “get-away”.

By Samuel Etienne
Glamping in the woods, By Samuel Etienne.

If you are looking for the most deluxe glamping experience in Ontario, Outpost Co. is the ticket. The glamping site is located at Obabika Lake and is $2500 per person for four days and three nights in a deluxe tent area. The campsite is on a hidden lake 90 minutes from Billy Bishop Toronto Islands airport and a chartered plane to the location is included in the price. A private chef is also a part of the deal, and the king size beds have Egyptian cotton sheets. This is definitely glamping in style. The campsite has hiking trails and is in a secluded and natural area.

If you are looking for a safari styled camping option, the Elegant Safari Tents in Carolinian Canada is a beautiful and exotic option. The tents are covered with jute carpets and have oak beds that are 100 years old. The campsite is located on a river, and wooden floating decks are built directly in front of the tent. Fluffy towels, bathrobes and soaps are also provided. This glamping experience is located in the Grand River and is $132 per night. Canoeing is available on the lake and the area is replete with remote hiking trails.

Yurt_by_night_-_geograph.org.uk_-_437714
A yurt in the woods.

A yurt is a round, semi-permanent housing structure that comes from Central Asia. Yurts are easy to install and take down and can be adapted easily to different climates. Yurts are popular in the glamping world and are set up in advance for the customers.   A pet-friendly yurt is offered near Algonquin Park and has one unit available. The yurt is in Mattawa in northern Ontario and can accommodate up to five guests. Included are linens, the unit is heated and there is a yoga platform outside of the yurt. It is $193 per night.

A yurt is a new way to camp in a tent-like apparatus but it has more flexibility in warm and cold weather. A yurt can be adapted to have open screens all the way around the unit for ultimate cooling and can also be protected from the wind on all sides, creating the ultimate outdoor tent.

Flowerpot Island, Georgian Bay.
Flowerpot Island, Georgian Bay.

If you prefer camping to glamping, there are several spots to rent cheaply and enjoy an authentic nature experience. All you need is a tent, a campfire and the stars to have a good time. Though a comfy bed would be a nice addition to camping, it can be enjoyable to rough it in the bush for a few days. Parks Canada offers several campsites in Ontario that can be booked online and recognize a variety of types of camping in the province. Camping in Ontario also provides private campsites across the province and makes it easy to book a spot too.

Camping in Georgian Bay and Prince Edward County near the beach is recommended because of the beauty of the lakes and beaches. Algonquin Park is a sight to be seen as well because of the immense forest and calm waters for canoeing. Escaping the city and being able to connect with nature in a visceral way is grounding in the warm summer months and camping provides that opportunity. It also helps to breathe fresh air and exercise in a natural environment for a weekend get-away.

Whether it is glamping or camping, getting out into nature for a vacation is the best way to spend your weekends. Instead of keeping the kids indoors, get your family outside to breathe the fresh air. Tell stories over the campfire, and go on a hike. Experience the silence of being away from the city and the sounds of nature in the early morning. Both options have their merits and experiencing nature at its fullest will be unforgettable no matter how it is done.

Five affordable Mother’s Day events in Toronto

Are you wondering what to do with your mom on Mother’s Day? Want to spoil her rotten, but sadly don’t quite have the funds to do it?  Look no further! Here are some options that mom will love and won’t break the bank.

Mother’s day is coming up this weekend on May 8 and it is a great opportunity to show your mom how much you care. Sadly, many of the options available cost anywhere from $50 to $150! A $75 lunch can seem steep and a bit of a money grabber, don’t you think? I know I’d prefer attending an event with my mom that is enjoyable and reasonably priced.

A mother’s day chocolate tour is a delicious option. The event runs from 1:30 to 4 p.m and costs $40 for adults. One of the chocolate tours happening in the city is at SOMA Chocolatemaker (443 King St. W.). The tour includes treating mom to a sampling of chocolates and a guided tour on the history of chocolate making. Yum! There are also chocolate tours in Kensington Market and Trinity Bellwoods.

For more nature-loving moms, Scenic Caves Nature Adventures (260/280 Scenic Caves Rd. Blue Mountains) is offering free park admission with a paid child admission ($20.57), which includes cave exploration, the suspension bridge, and mini-golf. Moms and family members also receive $30 off the exo-adventure tour if they want to explore for the day. Having a picnic at a park or embarking on a hike is also a way to get outdoors and celebrate moms who love the outdoors.

The Mother’s Day Brunch Cruise is a fancier option for mothers and kids, but it is reasonably priced. It is $48.95 for adults and $24.95 for kids. Included is a boat cruise on Lake Ontario beginning at Queen’s Quay Terminal (207 Queen’s Quay W.) The cruise also offers a buffet brunch and cocktails for two hours along the harbourfront beginning at 11:30 a.m.

If you are looking for something a little more risqué to do with mom (assuming you are of legal age), try a burlesque show featuring the Glam Gals of GCB at The Libertine (1307 Dundas St. W.) with Chai French toast, scones, and cocktails. The cost of the event is $15, not including food or drinks, and begins at 12:30 p.m on Mother’s Day. Mothers will also receive a rose upon entry, which is an elegant touch to a bold and sexy Mother’s Day event.

If you are looking for a more traditional activity, there are several brunches in Toronto for mother’s day and many of them are over-priced. I found a few reasonably priced brunches that look appealing, including the Bluegrass brunch at The Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Ave.) for $18 per adult and $7 per child, which begins at 10 a.m. Mildred’s Temple Kitchen (85 Hanna Ave.) provides a classic brunch on a prix-fixe menu, including pancakes, poached eggs, mimosas and Caesars for $27.50, beginning at 11a.m. The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St. W.) also has a great mother’s day brunch starting at 9 a.m for $36 for adults and includes their famous blueberry scones, and banana pancakes at a prix-fixe.

Whether you are looking for a tasty tour, an outdoor adventure, a day on the lake, a burlesque show or a traditional brunch, Toronto has everything to offer for a great Mother’s Day. So get out there and celebrate your mom and enjoy yourself this coming weekend.

Where are you taking your mom on Sunday? Let us know in the comments below.