5 Things to do in Tofino

With Tofino being one of the summer travel hotspots in British Columbia, there’s no doubt that a lot of people will be coming to the area in the next couple of months. Having said that, there are lots of great things to do in and around Tofino, so I wanted to highlight a few of my discoveries from my first trip there last week!

1) Go surfing at Long Beach – Long Beach is definitely one of the most coveted surf spots in all of Canada. The long strip of sandy beach draws people from all around the world and with reason. It’s a great spot to learn how to surf or catch some smooth waves with your longboard. It does tend to get a little crowded this time of year, but the beach is so vast that there’s always a quieter spot somewhere in the water. It’s also an ideal spot to enjoy a post-surf picnic, BBQ and even watch the sunset.

2) Grab a beer from Tofino Brewing Co. – You can’t go to Tofino and not want to stop by their one and only brewery in the area, the Tofino Brewing Co. Their brewery is located on Industrial Way, on the way into downtown. You can get a tasting flight for just $10 and they also serve the local Tofino Kombucha, if you’re more in the mood for a non-alcoholic beverage. The spot is quaint, decorated with lots of surfing photos, and artwork. It’s a fun and casual place to go post-surf!

3) Visit Ucluelet – Ucluelet is located just a short drive away from Tofino. This small town is a lot quieter than Tofino but offers just as many things to do. I highly recommend doing the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse hike, visiting Small Beach, grabbing a homemade snack from Zoë’s Bakery and going shopping at Gypsy Drifter, the cutest bohemian-inspired shop! You can also hop on a sea plane for a tour of the area, go SUPing or visit their aquarium.

4) Tofitian Café – Looking for a place to grab your morning java or a homemade snack? You’ll want to go to Tofitian. It’s a super popular spot with both locals and visitors because they serve up delicious scones, muffins and croissants as well as tasty matcha lattés, coffees and drinks. The café is located in a cute shopping area, where you can sit on picnic tables and enjoy the proximity to the woods.

5) Rainforest Trail – There are tons of hikes to do in the area, but one that must be added to your list is the Rainforest Trail. Located in the Pacific Rim National Park, this lush green trail will make you feel like you’re in a magical wonderland. Though it tends to get crowded in the summer, there’s always room to feel alone in the vast forest. There are tons of different loops that you can choose from, which will please everyone from a newbie to a seasoned hiker!

Go Camping with MEC’s Gear Rental Program

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Looking to start camping this summer or in need of some extra camping gear to make your travels more epic? If so, check out MEC‘s camping gear rental program.

Before moving to British Columbia, I had never really gone camping as an adult. There are many reasons why I had never done so but the major reason being that I did not own or know anyone that owned good camping gear. The few memories I have camping as a kid are that it was always uncomfortable, that our old tent would always get wet, that we didn’t have the proper cooking gear, etc. So camping was definitely not one of my favorite activities growing up!

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Now with mountains and the ocean in my new backyard, I’m making it a point to rediscover camping and give it another shot. Since I don’t own any camping stuff and am not ready to buy a ton of gear without knowing if this is something I will like doing, I was thrilled to find out that MEC has an easy to use camping gear rental program. Their gear is available to rent out in most stores located across the country including those in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Even as a long-time MEC member, I had no idea MEC rented some of their great gear out. They rent anything from camping gear to snowshoes and even SUPs!

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What’s awesome about this program is that not only is it incredibly inexpensive to rent gear, it’s also a great solution for those who like myself, don’t have a lot of storage space or aren’t ready to make that investment just yet.

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Thanks to the help of MEC, we put together a great pack for our first camping weekend in Tofino that included sleeping bags (they even have double sleeping bags for couples!), sleeping pads (that can be velcro’ed together to make a double pad) and a tent.

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The gear is of utmost quality and super easy to transport. The MEC tent is also fast to set up. Sadly, it did rain on one of the days we were camping but unlike my experiences as a kid, the tent did not flood and all of our gear stayed dry!

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Camping last weekend turned out to be so much more pleasant than I remembered. I know now that it’s all about the gear you bring (and also the company!). So whether you’re a seasoned camper or a total newbie like myself, camping is one of the coolest things you can do during the summer to spend time surrounded by nature. I highly recommend giving it a try, if you haven’t already!

For more info on MEC‘s camping gear rental program, go here.

This post was written in collaboration with MEC but all opinions are my own.

5 Things to do in Seattle

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1) Grab lunch at Wayward Vegan Café. This little Seattle hotspot serves up veganized versions of American diner food. Around since 2004, the Wayward Vegan Café has become a community favourite for its bottomless coffee, generous portions and comfort plates. They offer an extensive menu of all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner items as well as many gluten-free options. Waffles, sandwiches, salads and scrambles are just some of the many delicious dishes to choose from.

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2) Walk around in Capitol Hill. Located just east of downtown, Capitoll Hill is one of the liveliest areas of Seattle. Renown for its eclectic array of shops, restaurants and attractions, the colorful area has also become the city’s LGBTQ hub. Whether you’re looking for the trendiest urban offerings or quiet tree-lined parks and streets, the area has it all.

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3) Grab a mid-afternoon snack at Mighty-O Donuts. Looking for a sweet stop during your explorations? Stop by Mighty-O Donuts in Capitol Hill to satisfy your sweet craving! This ultra-popular shop has been around since 2000 and prides themselves in creating donuts and glazes from scratch using only certified organic ingredients. Plus all of their donuts are egg and dairy free!

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4) Visit Olympic Sculpture Park. This free outdoor park is open to the public all-year-round. Part of the Seattle Art Museum, the Olympic Sculpture Park was opened back in 2007 and features both permanent and visiting installations and spans 9=acres across a park and beach. It’s a great place to admire and get inspired by art as well as a great place to enjoy ocean views or even have a picnic!

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5) Have dinner Harvest Beat. If you were to ask me my top 3 vegan meals I’ve ever had, the one I had at Harvest Beat in Seattle, would definitely be in that list. The restaurant uses seasonal ingredients from local farmers to produce their daily menus. The 100% vegan 5-course prix-fixe dinner menu can be paired with wine or non-alcoholic beverages. The dinner is set in a very intimate and warm setting that allows conversation with the chef and for a truly wonderful evening!

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Summer Travel Essentials

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Today I share some of my favorite summer accessories for the active traveler out there. If you’re hitting the beach or plan on going on a surf trip, you may want to add these items to your suitcase!

1) Wander Wet Bag – This is the perfect accessory for your bathing suit this summer! Wander Wet Bags is a local company based out of Encinitas, California. Each wet bag is made 100% in the United States and all the materials used from the bag are also local. The creator of Wander, Eileen, has come up with a beautiful variety of prints and colours. It’s the ideal bag to throw in your bathing suit after a day at the beach, swimming or even surfing!

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2) Colorescience Sunscreen – Want a quick and easy solution for makeup and UV protection while you travel? Try out Colorescience‘s Daily UV Protector. This lightweight, non-greasy and water-resistant cream blurs imperfections and also protects the skin from environmental stressors. It’s an easy foundation to use under makeup or even wear alone.

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3) Bikini Village Bathing SuitBikini Village is back with fun new bathing suits this summer. They have really stepped up the ante with the collections that are available in stores and online. Whether you’re looking for a bikini, a one-piece suit, a tankini, boy shorts and more, they’ve got you covered. Bikini Village offers 50 + brands to choose from for classic, trendy or more sophisticated beach and summer looks.

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4) Reef Escape Sandals – Flip flops are a must in your suitcase this summer! Reef has released a series of cute printed luxury sandals that are easy to pair with a bathing suit or a cute summer outfit. The sandals are water friendly, free of PVC (which is better for the environment!) and also provide arch support for added stability and comfort while you explore.

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5) Rip Curl Hooded Towel – This towel is an absolute must for surfers and swimmers who are looking for a great way to keep warm and dry after going in the water. The Rip Curl Wettie Gift Hooded Towel is also an easy way to change at the beach, without having to find a change room or toilet. It’s lightweight and easy to roll up in your suitcase.

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AC Hotel in Downtown Portland

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Looking for a place to stay in the heart of Portland? Look no further than the AC Hotel, located right in downtown.

This brand new modern hotel offers travellers state of the art lodging in a stylish and contemporary setting. When you check into the AC Hotel, you immediately feel at home. Everyone on staff is friendly and very helpful making the arrival process smooth and stress-free.

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The hotel lobby is equipped with a brand new office space, which allows hotel guests to stay in touch with loved ones, print out itineraries, work, etc. In the lobby, patrons will also have access to the sophisticated AC Lounge, a beautiful area that can be used to sit and read a book, catch up on work or sip on a cocktail and enjoy tapas-style snacks from local suppliers.

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Adjacent to the lobby is the AC Kitchen, the location for the hotel’s European-inspired breakfast buffet. Each morning, the hotel serves up delicious and wholesome breakfast options for guests, which also include’s coffee from Portland’s own Water Avenue Coffee.

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Each guest room at the AC Hotel in Portland has been carefully designed having in mind the guests’ comfort. All the rooms are smoke-free and offer either downtown, mountain or waterfront views. Each room features platform beds, topnotch linens, an ultramodern bathroom, complimentary high-speed internet as well as USB ports and plugs bedside. There’s also space in the room to create a satellite office for those away on business.

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The hotel carefully selected art from local Portland artists for decoration throughout the building. The sleek and European-influenced design features natural colour pallets and elements.

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Some of the city’s top attractions are just a few short minutes away. It’s easy to walk to the waterfront or to the very trendy Pearl District from the hotel. You also have access to local transit, which is just a stone’s throw away.

All in all, the AC Hotel in downtown Portland is an urban gem that allows visitors to enjoy the buzz of the city while also retreating to a quiet and luxurious room after a busy day of exploration.

For more information on the AC Hotel in downtown Portland, go here.

Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

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After having spent a great week with the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid this winter, I was thrilled to have the possibility to try out the new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro for the very first time on my recent travels to Oregon.

The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most coveted trucks on the market, especially out in British Columbia, as this has become the go-to truck for outdoor enthusiasts in the area. With 4×2 and 4×4 models to choose from plus the option of choosing your own engine and transmission combinations, cab and bed sizes, there’s definitely a model for everyone!

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What I was immediately surprised by is the vehicle’s ability to handle the road as well as its interior comfort. Not only do you have an incredible view point from the driver’s seat but you also have access to a wide variety of accessories, that makes your drive the most pleasant. Things like the Cruise Control, Navigation, 7″ Display Screen, Bluetooth Capability, AM/FM CD with MP3/WMA Player, Audio Auxiliary Input Jack, USB Audio Input, 6 Speakers and Advanced Voice Recognition, allow you to relax while enjoying the road. They’ve also added a GoPro mount right at the top of the windshield, thus being the first to include that in the market.

The Toyota Tacoma‘s versatility is also a key feature. All 2017 Tacoma models include an independent front suspension of double-wishbone design with stabilizer bars and multi-leaf spring rear suspension. TRD SPORT models feature sport-tuned suspensions, while TRD OFF-ROAD models are equipped with Bilstein shock absorbers, so that whichever terrain you wish to venture out on, you can have full confidence that the truck will be able to handle it.

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The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro edition comes equipped with a 3.5 Litre, 6 Cylinder Engine, 6-Speed, Automatic transmission, Super Electronically Controlled Transmission (Super ECT) and Lock Up Torque Converter. For those more mechanically inclined, the truck also features Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), 4-Wheel Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select, Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Trailer Sway Control, One-Touch 4WD, Vehicle Stability Control, thus making it the ideal vehicle if you want to pull an RV or trailer for your expeditions.

Toyota is also renown for its top of the line safety features. The truck provides a total of 8 Airbags, Seatbelt Anchor Height Adjusters, Front Seatbelt Pre-Tensioners and Force Limiters, Assist Grip, Front Tow Hook, Active Front Headrests with Whiplash Protection just to name a few significant items.

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The truck’s roomy and cozy interior as well as its bold and stylish exterior, will make truck enthusiasts and new passengers enviable.

In summary, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro was the ideal companion for my adventures out in Oregon. Below is a short recap video of my adventures with the truck! For more info on the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, go here.

5 Things to do in Portland

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Thinking of visiting Portland, Oregon this spring? Whether you love the outdoors, craft beer, vegan food, running or art, Portland’s got something for you. Check out some of the things that make the city one the coolest and most diverse places to visit!

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1) Visit Powell’s Books. If you’re looking for inspiration to start reading again, then look no further. Powell’s Books is without a doubt the most beautiful and biggest bookstore I’ve ever been to in my entire life! It’s easy to get lost in all of the different rooms of books and end up spending several hours looking for the perfect read. They’ve also got a great coffee shop and tons of spots that you can just sit down at and get inspired.

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2) Go for a run. With Nike, originating in Portland and with there being so many great outdoor apparel brands coming out of the area, it’s no surprise that Portland is a great running town. There are a handful of beautiful trails located right downtown that cross the Willamette River and allow you to explore some of the city’s best neighborhoods. You know you’re in a running town when every runner that passes you by, throws you a peace sign or a wave. The running views in Portland are just dreamy.

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3) Hit the coast. It’s super easy to hit the coast from the city. With it only being a 90-minute drive, there are tons of really cute beach towns and beautiful scenery to explore. Little areas like Lincoln City offer not only super cute accommodations and coffee shops but also great scenic views, surf spots and more.

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4) Hike waterfalls. There are a handful of waterfalls that are located just a few minutes from downtown Portland. Some of them are located in the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, just east of the city, an area that protects more than 77 waterfalls. The most popular being Multnomah Falls, can be reached along with four others on Route 30, Historic Columbia River Highway. It’s a great place to go for a hike and get your nature fix.

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5) Visit Alberta Arts district. If you’re more of a city dweller, there are tons of cute and unique neighborhoods to visit while you’re in Portland ranging from the very popular Pearl District to also the Alberta Arts District, my personal favorite. The reason why this strip is so special is because of all the independent shops, coffee stores and restaurants that are located on Alberta St. The area is also adorned with beautiful murals and super colorful buildings, making it the perfect spot for a stroll!

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Don’t miss my fun Portland recap video coming later this week on my YouTube channel!

World Ski & Snowboard Festival with CLIF Bar

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The World Ski & Snowboard Festival is now in full swing at Whistler Blackcomb. For the next ten days, some of the best skiers and snowboarders from around the world will be in town for some epic shredding, concerts and special events.

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CLIF Bar invited a small group of media up to their Basecamp this past weekend for an adventure packed VIP weekend at the mountain.

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The basecamp was located just a few minutes from the slopes. It had everything a rider could need including a hot tub, sauna, steam room, fire place, movie screening room and deluxe rooms. The basecamp’s bright red kitchen was also very on-brand, a total coincidence they assured us.

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In addition to the small group of media, CLIF Bar had also invited some of their ambassadors to come join us. Our host for the weekend was CLIF Bar ambassador, pro-snowboarder, environmentalist and founder of the organization Beyond BoardingTamo Campos. Spending the weekend with him was so incredibly inspiring!

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We kicked off the weekend with a private dinner at Stonesedge Whistler, a local favourite that serves delicious dishes made from local and organic ingredients.  We spent the first night at the launch of the State of the ART, a beautiful exhibit of local artistic talent at the Whistler Conference Centre.

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The next morning started off with a fun build-a-bar workshop with CLIF’s registered dietician Tara Dellolacono Thies, who is also an ultra runner and amazing athlete. We got to create our own custom bars, which I can’t wait to receive! We also got to try out some of CLIF Bar‘s latest products, including my new favorite bar, the organic Nut Butter Filled organic peanut butter bar, yum!

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We then hit the slopes with local mountain guides. We got to spend the entire day riding outdoors before enjoying a VIP après-ski at GLC, on their heated outdoor patio while listening to Walk Off The Earth sing one hit song after another on WSSF’s main stage. Like if that wasn’t enough, we also got to enjoy a professional massage at the Basecamp before chowing down on some delicious healthy eats and watching some of Tamo’s films, which included a very powerful doc he recently released that I highly recommend checking out called A Last Stand for Lelu.

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On Sunday, we got up at the crack of dawn to enjoy an energizing yoga session led by one of the media guests, who also happens to be a yoga teacher. Then it was back to the Whistler Village to go up the mountain to then take the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola all the way to Christine’s restaurant on the top of Blackcomb. The panoramic views from the restaurant were absolutely mind-blowing, it cleared up just in time for our 3-course lunch. The food served at Christine’s is topnotch, the perfect setting for a five-star snack.

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One of the best parts of the entire weekend was attending MULTIPLICITY, a TEDTalk-like event, which featured some of the most inspiring personalities in the mountain world. The sold-out event left me so incredibly inspired by everyone’s stories. Some of the speakers included professional Freeride MTB Hall of Famer Brett Tippie, National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey and his son Haweye Huey and our Basecamp host Tamo Campos, just to name a few.

The weekend spent at the WSSF with CLIF Bar was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time. The entire CLIF Bar team was so incredibly kind and really made this adventure-packed weekend, one to remember.

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For more information on how to #FeedYourAdventure with CLIF Bar, go here.

48 Hours in Victoria

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In need of a little island vacation? Make Victoria, BC your next holiday destination!

Located just 30 minutes by seaplane from Vancouver, this wonderful city has so much to offer. From the little coffee shops, to cute boutiques, to the great nature landscapes and outdoor adventures, you can’t go wrong with an escapade in this buzzing town.

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Access to the island was made easy thanks to Harbour Air. It has always been my dream to fly in a seaplane, so I finally got to cross that off the bucket list last week. Harbour Air is North America’s largest seaplane airline and the first fully carbon neutral airline. It also showcases Canadian-made aircrafts and has over 35 daily departures between downtown Vancouver and Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Check-in and boarding is hassle-free plus they have a lovely lounge with complimentary tea, coffee and wifi that allows you to relax before your flight. The sights while flying are absolutely majestic and you get to downtown Victoria in just over 30 mins.

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Once in Victoria, there are many accommodations to choose from. On this particular trip, we had the opportunity to stay at a beautiful boutique hotel called Hotel Rialto, located right in the heart of downtown. Opened in 2009 and renovated again in 2012, this restored 1912 heritage building features 52 beautifully decorated guest rooms that include topnotch amenities. In addition to its central location, another plus is the Café Veneto, the bistro located in their lobby. It is the perfect location for your morning breakfast. They also have the Veneto Tapa Lounge, located adjacent to the lobby, which offers guests a complimentary cheese platter upon arrival and great dinning options.

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There are so many things occupy your time with while in Victoria. If you’re a nature lover, check out one of The Natural Connection‘s guided hikes. Led by Ryan LeBlanc, the company’s owner, you get to discover some of the most beautiful local hikes and point of views. He comes equipped with a gourmet lunch and supplies for your hike. He is a super knowledgeable guide, who invites you to use all five senses when exploring the area. It’s a great way to discover all of the stunning scenery just next to the city.

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If shopping is more up your alley, head on over to the colourful Johnson St. right in downtown to shop at some of the best local retailers, while sipping on a coffee or tea from Hey Happy. Another coffee hotspot that you’ll want to visit is Habit Coffee located on Pandora St. They offer delicious vegan treats and a wide-selection of drinks to choose from.

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Want to stay active while in Victoria, check out the newly opened SpinCo spin studio, also situated on Pandora St. in downtown. The city also has a handful of beautiful running trails located such as the waterfront trail on Dallas Rd or the circuit in Beacon Hill Park.

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Museums and art galleries are also a plenty in the area. The Royal BC Museum is a great way to spend a few hours going through all of the permanent and rotating exhibits. Their current exhibit called Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in British Columbia is a major eye-opener. They will also be showcasing a new exhibit featuring Terry Fox come April.

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While in Victoria, you can enjoy some of the best vegan and vegetarian food the country has to offer. My absolute favourite on this trip was Nourish Kitchen & Cafe, located in a beautifully restored colourful heritage house in the James Bay neighbourhood. They serve up fresh, seasonal produce and some of the most delicious vegan food I’ve ever had in my life. Note that though they aren’t fully vegan, they sure know how to make some tasty and healthy plant-based meals. You can even just stop by for a quick coffee or use their upstairs rooms The Study and The Parlour to work for the day.

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Other vegan and healthy stops in the city include Rebar – a funky vegetarian hotspot that serves up everything from fresh juices to vegetarian Reuben sandwiches and homemade berry crumble, Jusu – the best mylks, cold-pressed juices as well as vegan salads and bowls, Café Bliss – a cute breakfast and café perfect to satisfy an afternoon craving and Be Love – serves up raw, vegan and vegetarian-friendly creative dishes using organic, seasonal and fresh Vancouver Island products up to 95% of the time.

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Oh and there’s also Jam. It may not be the healthiest option but one cannot visit Victoria and not pay Jam a visit. It’s well worth the wait, their homemade scones and breakfasts are to die for!

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If all of the aforementioned info isn’t reason enough to visit Victoria, I made a little recap video for you to enjoy!

A big thank you to Tourism Victoria for their help with this wonderful trip!

Video shot with: Huawei Nova Plus.

Explore Whistler on a Snowmobile with TAG

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Headed to Whistler and looking for some winter thrills that do not include skiing or snowboarding? Make sure you check out The Adventure Group‘s snowmobile tour.

The Whistler-based adventure group organizes several excursions a day that allow you to explore Whistler’s beautiful backcountry on Cougar Mountain. Whether it’s your first time out or you’re a seasoned pro, TAG has a tour for you! Their expeditions last on average 2.5 hours and allow you to explore everything from great local trails to fresh powder or even wide-open areas with breathtaking views of the forest and mountains.

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Their snowmobiles are fully equipped with seat and hand warmers that will keep you toasty throughout. They also have helmets, goggles as well as gloves and hats for those who may have forgotten some of their gear.

TAG tour guides are super friendly and take the time to make sure everyone is comfortable before, during and after the ride. Plus, the company keeps the tours to a maximum of 5 guests per guide, allowing for a super pleasant experience.

They also provides a complimentary shuttle for guests from the Whistler Village, Fairmont Chateau and the Four Seasons Hotel. The company strives to make sure that their Whistler tours and activities are 100% carbon neutral.

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I had only been on a snowmobile once before but it was a huge thrill to ride out with TAG!

If zipping around on ski-doos isn’t your thing, TAG also offers a wide variety of additional tours ranging from snowshoeing to heli sightseeing and more. For more information, go here.