Tag Archives: Cece Scott

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Cover Story : Jamie Kennedy – There is Life After Restaurants

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Cover Story : Jamie Kennedy – There is Life After Restaurants

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Touted as one of Canada’s first celebrity chefs, Jamie Kennedy is also a member of the Order of Canada, and a recipient of the 2010 Governor General’s Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table.

Kennedy’s appetite for gastronomy was sparked some 50 years ago at the age of 10 when his father moved his family to Connecticut. In his senior year, Kennedy was the the president of the cooking club.

Photo, Jo Dickins

Following his high school graduation, and the family’s return to Canada, Kennedy was at a crossroads. He hadn’t applied for post-secondary education, so decided to work in order to fund his desire to travel. Cooking was something that he was genuinely interested in, so it might be said that it wasn’t a coincidence that he wandered into the legendary Windsor Arms Hotel at exactly the right time on that specific day. “I was fortunate to have arrived at the hotel between the lunch and dinner service,” says Kennedy. “Had I arrived closer to noon or the dinner service, it would have been a different reception. There was time to look at a young candidate. Ultimately I accepted a job offer as apprentice cook, which determined my life for the next three years.”

Photos courtesy Jamie Kennedy

Once Kennedy earned his certificate as a cook through his apprenticeship and in-school training at George Brown College, he pursued his dream and travelled throughout Asia and Europe. After returning to Toronto, Kennedy started working at Scaramouche in 1980 with partner chef, Michael Stadtländer. “It was an incredible experience for one so young,” says Kennedy. “It was the foundation for my career in Toronto.”

Kennedy’s entrepreneurial trajectory began in earnest after he left Scaramouche in 1982. He opened a series of eating establishments that Torontonians from every walk of life enjoyed for decades.

One of Kennedy’s greatest fans, Toronto criminal lawyer Clayton Ruby, once stated that Kennedy was the heart of Canada’s food movement – a nod to Kennedy’s dedication to the sourcing of local and sustainable ingredients. It was Ruby who successfully nominated Kennedy for the Order of Canada in 2010. “It has been my life’s work to create regional dishes and encourage others to do the same thing in their areas,” says Kennedy.

Serving at the Summer Dinner Series in PEC – Photo, Jo Dickins

Known for his culinary innovation, Kennedy’s creativity flourished. He opened a series of restaurants, which included Jamie Kennedy Menus Gastronomiques, as owner and chef. He did two stints as a partner and chef at Palmerston Restaurant, and was the Chef de Cuisine at the Founder’s Club. At J.K. ROM he was the owner and executive chef, and the owner and president of Jamie Kennedy Kitchens. He was also the owner and executive chef of Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar, Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner, as well as the owner and executive chef at Gilead Cafe & Wine Bar.

During this period Kennedy was also authoring several cookbooks, which included Jamie Kennedy’s Seasons, Whitecap Books, 2000; Great Soup Empty Bowls, Whitecap Books, 2002; J. K. The Jamie Kennedy Cookbook, HarperCollins, 2014. Kennedy also dedicated his time to many causes within the industry, including co-founding Slow Food Toronto, 2003. In 2011, Kennedy received the Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Gold Award from the Ontario Hostelry Institute.

I approach each day with an attitude of – what am I going to achieve today? -Jamie Kennedy

Kennedy’s culinary stardom rose to such a height that at one time he had three active restaurants, a booming catering business and 100 people on the payroll – all of which were pulling him in a myriad of directions. “It didn’t really work for me,” says Kennedy. “It was a tough go. I made a couple of classic entrepreneurial mistakes and it threw me into a tailspin.”

Photography by Jo Dickins

In 2014, Kennedy handed over control of Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner. “It took a lot out of me, but I was determined to keep going,” says Kennedy. “And I did. The solution for me was to get back to a business model that I was comfortable with.”

Jamie Kennedy’s Summer Dinner Series Photography by Jo Dickins

For Kennedy, it wasn’t that he lost his passion for his craft, it was more about the financial challenges that he was facing. After a quiet year of recovery, Kennedy was back with a more reasonable framework that included a small restaurant and a catering sideline. “I really strove to find a comfortable work model – one, in which, I didn’t feel overwhelmed or drained by – rather, that I could flourish in.”

After 40 years in business and a lifestyle that had come to define him, Kennedy closed the Gilead Cafe & Wine Bar on March 31st, 2015 and transitioned to his 115-acre rural property in Prince Edward County. “After Gilead closed, I moved all of my pots and pans to the farm,” says Kennedy. “Having this property has helped me to decompress and relax. My farm projects keep me busy and happy, and give me more balance.”

Photography by Jo Dickins

That balanced lifestyle includes more hobbies. Kennedy planted an acre of vines to familiarize himself with the process of growing grapes and making wine. “Taking the grapes and transforming them into wine through fermentation is a magical process. I have a whole other appreciation for wine now because I know what it took to grow the grapes. It is something that occupies my time and gives me physical work. I get right in there and cultivate the vines. I would encourage others to find something that turns them on.”

Retirement is not attached to an arbitrary age for Kennedy. He recognizes the struggles and limitations that other people have, and appreciates that he’s in good health. “I don’t regret not being young, but I do understand the expression – youth is wasted on the young – more than I did when I was young,” says Kennedy. “At this age, what we yearn for the most is that level of energy and flexibility that youth had.”

When the work week is over, Kennedy enjoys returning to the city of Toronto with his Aussie Shepherd/Border Collie, and taking in cultural events that have nothing to do with cooking. “I want to stay working as long as possible,” says Kennedy. “It’s good for your mind and your sense of self and well-being. And, because there is a physicality to cooking, like any craftsman, the longer you do it, the better you become. I have a more confident approach and calmness about my cooking now, as opposed to 20 years ago.”

Kennedy admits that his biggest challenge was finding a balance between his work and his private life. These days he spends more time with his children who range from 21 to 33. One daughter lives in Los Angeles, and the other three are within reasonable proximity.

As an avid supporter of environmental issues and involved in a wide variety of community work, Kennedy was a pioneer in the nationwide farm-to-table movement. Once again, he will be hosting his five-course Summer Dinner Series at Hillier Farm, which is held in a rustic barn setting and features a feast of local organic delights. “I look around and I see a future here,” says Kennedy. “I feel incredibly lucky to have stewardship of this place.”


Niçoise-Style Salad with Local Smoked Whitefish

Photography by Jo Dickins

Giving classic French dishes a new regional Canadian flavour is something that has interested me for many years. Salade niçoise is a beautiful creation, full of sunny reminders of the south of France, where it originated in the sun-drenched city of Nice. Although the dish itself is arguably already perfect and I have great respect for tradition, in the interest of creating a local version that reflects our terroir, I have used the original to inspire this version. It uses one of my favourite ingredients, local smoked whitefish. It is especially delicious using fresh eggs, tomatoes, herbs and greens from my farm.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head of butter lettuce
  • 100 grams fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 4 new potatoes
  • 4 small field tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 30 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into thin rounds
  • 20 niçoise-style onions
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • 350 – 400 grams of smoked whitefish, skin removed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 60 ml fine olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  • Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces. Cook the beans in a pot of boiling water until tender. Remove the beans, refresh under cold water, drain and reserve. Add salt to the water and cook the potatoes until just tender; drain and cut into slices.
  • Cut the tomatoes into quarters and season with salt and pepper. Stir together the shallots and white wine vinegar.
  • Divide the lettuce among four plates. Arrange the prepared vegetables, onion slices, olives and eggs in a pleasing pattern on the plates. Top with the smoked whitefish. Sprinkle each plate with the shallot vinegar mixture and basil. Drizzle the olive oil over each plate. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

 

 

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Destination Ontario – The Heart Of Georgian Bay

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Destination Ontario – The Heart Of Georgian Bay

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Photography, courtesy of North Simcoe Tourism

Midland and Penetanguishene

Midland and Penetanguishene in Simcoe County are the gateway to 30,000 Islands. Simcoe Country also includes the townships of Tay (Port McNicoll) and Tiny (Balm Beach), which offer a charm bracelet of historical sites, wildlife centres, provincial parks, live theatre venues, cycling, boating and the shimmering blue waters of Georgian Bay.

Awenda Provincial Park

Ontario’s History

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was home to the French Jesuit missionaries who ministered to the Huron Wendant people from 1639 to 1648. This site was the first to be settled by Europeans in Ontario, and offers a glimpse into Canadian pioneer life. After a visit to the Interpretative Museum, you can enjoy a meal at Restaurant Sainte-Marie.

Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, is one of two of Canada’s national shrines to Canadian martyrs, (the other is in Quebec). In its 91st year (2017), the shrine, which welcomes pilgrims of all faiths and cultures, honours eight saints who lived, worked and died in the area.

Discovery Harbour in Penetanguishene is a military and navy outpost established as a base for the British in the War of 1812. Along with the opportunity to board replicas of the H.M.S Tecumseth and the H.M.S. Bee naval ships, there are themed guided tours about the War of 1812, facilitated by authentically costumed staff.

Nature lovers’ havens

The Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, located on 3,000 acres of wetlands and forest, is a trumpeter swan sanctuary. A hot-spot connection for nature lovers, visitors can take advantage of the observation tower to decide on the best route for their hiking, biking or cross country skiing adventure. In September, the marsh’s Get Outdoors Festival is a great way to celebrate all things indigenous that this nature reserve has to offer.

Awenda Provincial Park is a spectacular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering camping, biking, canoeing and swimming. Sunbathers flock to the sandy Georgian Bay shores and beaches during the summer months. Consisting of 63 small islands, Georgian Bay Islands National Park also has camping and cabin rental availability.

With more than 230 kilometres of trails, cyclists of all abilities can enjoy the beautiful paths that run along the bay’s coastine. The routes are jampacked with historical highlights, as well as cycle-friendly support businesses, such as eateries, cosy accommodations and bike shops.

This water corridor is celebrated for its sparkling azure qualities, and is the Gateway to the 30,000 Islands – an outsized boaters’ paradise. There are multiple anchorages for boaters, and a good selection of places to gas-up and stock up on supplies. One of the many jewels in the chain, Beckwith Island is an Ojibwa reserve that allows boaters to spend the day on the beach or tour the dunes. Overnight camping is available with prior permission.

Martyrs’ Shrine

H.M.S. Tecumseth at Discovery Harbour

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

King’s Wharf Theatre

Cultural cravings

You can get your live performance fix at two of the area’s arts venues, King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene and the Midland Cultural Centre.

King’s Wharf Theatre, an intimate 385-seat venue, is situated at the end of a long, water-kissed boardwalk. This year’s playbill includes the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope musical, the Million Dollar Quartet, and the ever-popular Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Intermission at any of these performances can be enjoyed by sipping a cold libation or savouring a sweet treat while taking in the sights of Discovery Harbour’s replica ships, as well as the spendour of Georgian Bay.

The Midland Cultural Centre celebrates the arts with classical, folk, country and bluegrass concerts, in addition to live theatre and literary events by well-known authors.

Stroll the streets

Shopping in the area is an eclectic, small-town experience offering up everything from fashion to furniture. A stroll along Midland’s downtown King Street affords views of the bay as you make your way from store to store. A well-worth-thewalk excursion should include the outdoor gallery of murals (North America’s longest historic outdoor mural), painted along the sides of buildings in the downtown/ waterfront area. Inspired by the murals of Chemanius, B. C., the outdoor gallery of 35 murals depicts the poignant pioneer history of the area.

The Queen of Tarts

Celebrating all things butter tarts, Midland is home to Ontario’s Best Butter Tarts Festival. In 2016, the festival attracted 50,000 visitors and sold more than 127,000 tarts. This year’s festival takes place on June 10th. Arriving early is the key to grabbing a dozen – or maybe three.

 

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Cover Story: Rosemary Dunsmore

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Cover Story: Rosemary Dunsmore

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Rosemary Dunsmore, award-winning actress of stage, film and the small screen, was frazzled and stressed out when I met up with her. After living in her funky Rose Cottage that overlooks a beautiful, forested ravine for the past 27 years, Dunsmore was on the move – literally and figuratively. Initially, when she made the decision to sell her home, a range of emotions, which involved her self-worth and self-esteem, all seemed to be tied up in the very thing that she was separating from.

Photo, Chris Frampton

“Selling the house was a hasty decision,” says Dunsmore. “I made the decision and then was quite frightened. My identity was wrapped up in this house – it was my personal sense of cool. I brought up my son, Rob, now 23, in this house. And I have been through two marriages here as well.”

Once Dunsmore recognized that her angst was separation anxiety, she was able to embrace the act of cleansing and decluttering – a ritual that she likens to ageing, as well as to the anticipation of the next chapter. “Every time I get rid of a load, I feel lighter – not so bound to my stuff. I remembered that old adage, do you possess your possessions or do they possess you?”

Character Development

Dunsmore, who has been acting since the age of 21, describes herself as a Pollyanna, and admits to being a fan of Pippi Lonstocking. She identifies most with characters who change during the course of the story, and whose moral compasses are challenged. At a young age, Dunsmore auditioned for the Stratford Festival’s then-artistic director, Christopher Newton, who said to her, ‘You are the sort of actress who won’t start working until you are 28.”

Having fun with her son, Rob, on a trip to Galapagos in 2008. Photography, courtesy of Rosemary Dunsmore

Dunsmore says that Newton’s prediction was bang on. She was never the wounded deer who needed to be helped. She inherently wanted more depth and complexity to the roles that she performed. “Acting is an inside/out job,” says Dunsmore. “In developing a character, I concern myself with what they see. And with a bigger push to tell women’s stories, roles for women are getting incrementally better. There are certainly more women writing stories and more women directors.”

For many actors, especially women, finding decent parts are harder to come by. In fact, there was a period of about six years when Dunsmore, who is now 64, felt sidelined – that her acting career was over. The 40s and 50s didn’t rattle her so much, but turning 60 did. “It was a wakeup call – 60 sounded so old,” says Dunsmore. “I couldn’t relate to it. But, it also focused me – made me think about doing things in the now. It became liberating. My whole paradigm of thinking shifted. There was a bit of a slump after turning 60, but since then my life has been fantastic.”

With her father, Bob, in Montserrat (where he has a house) in 2012. Bob is now 97. Photography, courtesy of Rosemary Dunsmore

The Role of Aging

Acting roles have been moving along an innovative clip for Dunsmore over the past few years. She currently plays a recurring role in the Canadian science fiction television series, Orphan Black. For the very first time, Dunsmore took on a singing role in the Stratford Festival’s 2016 adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s musical, A Little Night Music. “I had to go on stage every night holding my fear in my hand,” says Dunsmore. “I was terrified. For the first five months I just learned bad habits, but, from there on in, I learned how to sing. I was thrilled with the opportunity and also the fact that I was able to do it – not just at some small theatre, but at the Stratford Festival.”

Dunsmore loves working in films and television, but her favourite discipline is live theatre. She admits that she’s noticed a change in the process of learning her lines now that she’s in her sixth decade. “I learn them quickly and they are gone just as quickly,” says Dunsmore. “They don’t seem to stick.”

The physicality around acting has not been a problem in the least for Dunsmore, who insists on performing her own energetic stunts. “In the Stratford show I did this past summer (2016), The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, I was jumping around a lot with one of my students from theatre school. A lot of the young people [actors] came up to me and asked if I had a particular exercise regime.” says Dunsmore with a delighted laugh. “They kind of marvelled at me. I was not what they thought an actor of my age should be acting like. I was enlivened by that. It felt fantastic. Here I am 45 years later and I can still do all this stuff. Bring it on.”

“The older I get, the more full of wonder I am.”
– Rosemary Dunsmore

Moving Forward

On a personal level, Dunsmore found that the maternal letting go of her son into adulthood a difficult rite of passage. During this transition, Dunsmore had some great acting roles, including one where she played a distraught mother of a distressed young man. “These are great parts, because they are born of enormous love – the love of a mother for a son,” says Dunsmore. “They [the roles] are full of the bewilderment and helplessness around your child approaching young adulthood, and, as a parent, not having any power anymore.”

Along with her yearly getaway to the family home in Montserrat, Dunsmore enjoys cooking and dinner parties. Meditation, yoga, walking and a consistent exercise routine are all wellness practices that she is committed to. Meditation, in particular, provides Dunsmore with the spiritual opportunity to create, and to, ultimately, observe the gap between her thoughts and her feelings. “I am not as concerned about consequences. I feel lighter,” says Dunsmore. “I try to turn everything into an opportunity, rather than stressing about why things are happening as they are. It’s a grand adventure, and I have been extremely fortunate to be able to pursue curiosity. As the great 6th Century B.C. philosopher, Lao Tzu, says, “You have to give up who you are in order to find out who you can be.”’

In 2017, Dunsmore is performing in the Stratford Festival’s adaptation of Bakkhai, as well as playing Mme Pernelle in the dark comedy, Tartuffe. She is the recipient of a bevy of prestigious acting awards, including an Actra (2009) for Best Actress in The Baby Formula; a Dora nominee for Single, Straight Ahead, Blind Dancers, as well as Tom At The Farm; Best Performer at the Edinburgh Fringe, London Daily Telegraph; Private Lives to Fallen Angels; The Glass Menagerie; and The Beauty Queen of Leenane; a Masque Award for her interpretation feminine performance in WIT; and a MECCA award for Best Actress in Glorious! (Montreal). In her television roles she’s received an Earl Grey Award for Best Performance in a Leading Role, as well as four Gemini nominations, and has appeared in many television series including Anne of Green Gables – the Sequel; Mom P.I.; and Murdoch Mysteries.

“I look at things as opportunities,” says Dunsmore. “If I don’t like a situation, I look to see how I can change it. I find a person gets what they expect. It is very easy to fall into the victim role, particularly as an actor, which, in turn, makes you powerless.”

Since this interview, Dunsmore has bought a house in Stratford, Ontario. She hadn’t been in a rush to purchase, but five days after she connected with a real estate agent, she was made aware of a rare Ontario cottage on a nice property. “I drove up the next morning and bought it on the spot,” says Dunsmore. “I’m really excited – time for a change.”

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Destination Ontario – London Calling!

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Destination Ontario – London Calling!

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Britain and Canada unite with shared namesakes

Incorporated in 1855, London is the largest municipality in southwestern Ontario and the 11th largest in Canada. Situated halfway between Toronto and Detroit, in the Windsor- Quebec City corridor, this trendy metropolis is positioned at the juncture of the Forks of the Thames. Home to many wonderful parks, including Victoria Park, Harris Park, and Fanshawe Conservation Area (Fanshawe Pioneer Village), London is also a regional hub for healthcare, education and the prestigious Western University.

Get your London on

If eclectic activities are high on your list, London is the place to be. Voted the sixth happiest city in Canada, (Jetpac City Guides, 2015), the city is also ranked the fourth best, large city to live in (MoneySense, 2016).

More than 160 years old, London is packed full of cultural experiences and fun things to do. In fact, the see-it, do-it, interactive music festivals, fairs, theatre, museums, and outdoor experiences – places London among the top summer destinations in North America.

It’s all about the beat

Summer in London is an extravaganza of music festivals, many of them centrally located in Victoria Park. TD Sunfest (July 6 to 9) is one of Canada’s largest music festivals, and embraces a cross cultural spectrum of music, dance and visual arts.

The popular Home County Music and Art Festival (July 14 to 16), with roots dating back to the 70s, features Canadian musicians and juried artisans showcasing original pottery, glass, jewelry, fine art, textiles and photography. A diversity of cuisine is served up by 30 featured food vendors.

The London Blues Fest (August 25 to 27) brings it home with megawatt talent. Last year’s performers included Sass Jordan and Downchild Blues Band.

Historical Legacies

The Banting House National Historic Site of Canada was home to Frederick Banting, the facilitator for the discovery of insulin (1920). Banting’s discovery continues to help millions of diabetics worldwide to live better, and more active, lives.

Afternoon tea at Eldon House

Eldon House, London’s oldest residence, is a prime example of Georgian and Regency architecture. Savour one of their special tea events while enjoying their gardens, considered some of London’s most beautiful.

Things to do and see

Outdoor enthusiasts should check out Boler Mountain, home of the London Ski Club and Boler Bike Centre. Skiing, tubing, biking and zip lining are all great seasonal options.

Museum London houses southwestern Ontario’s leading collection and presentation of visual arts. The permanent installation includes works by the Group of Seven, Paul Peel and Jack Chambers.

Zip lining at Boler Mountain

The Grand Theatre, opened in 1901, was built by Toronto entrepreneur Ambrose Small, whose ghost reputedly still haunts the theatre. The Grand’s illustrious list of performers include W C Fields, Sarah Bernhardt, Sidney Poitier and Leonard Nimoy.

London, known as the Forest City, has a reputation for loving trees, so it is only natural that they host the Tree Trunk Tour. Carvers create wooden sculptures carved from chain saws, chisels and power rotary tools, which are then varnished and displayed on public streets.

Grand Theatre

FAMOUS LONDONERS

If name dropping is your thing, author Emma Donoghue, whose novel, Room, won a 2015 Academy Award for its screen adaptation, lives here; as well as Scotiabank Giller nominee Joan Barfoot (Luck), and Man Brooker prize winner, Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries). For those old enough to remember, Guy Lombardo of big band fame, was also born here. And, for the youngin’s, The Biebs (yes Justin Bieber) was born in London.

Photos, courtesy londontourism.ca

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Destination Ontario: Collingwood

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Destination Ontario: Collingwood

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

A whole lot of shakin’ going on

Collingwood, named one of the 35 most beautiful destinations in Canada (Expedia.ca 2016), is known for its bon vivant spirit, spectacular scenery, fine dining, great shopping and hospitality, in addition to a wide range of naturecentric, four seasons’ activities.

Mill pond dock in summer at Blue Mountain Village

Things to see and do

Collingwood is part of the South Georgian Bay Triangle, and is situated on Nottawasaga Bay – within the shores of Georgian Bay. The area encompasses some touristy hotspots, including Blue Mountain Village and Wasaga Beach – the longest freshwater beach in the world. With sweeping views of the Niagara Escarpment, the Wasaga area is known for great hiking, cycling, swimming and SUP (stand-up paddle boarding). Golf enthusiasts tee off at well-known courses, including Blue Mountain Golf & Country Club, Atoka at Cranberry, and OsterBrook Golf & Country Club.

Elvis Festival – Photo By : Isis Photography

One of the most popular events, is The Collingwood Elvis Festival (the largest Elvis celebration in the world). Now in its 23rd year, the festival (endorsed by both Priscilla Presley and Graceland) draws upwards of 30,000 attendees who sing and groove with more than 100 Elvis impersonators. This year, the festival runs from Friday, July 28th to Sunday, July 30th. The weekend has become such a favourite with Torontonians that they can now hitch a ride to the festival on the Rock & Roll Express from six different Toronto locations.

Blue Mountain, Ontario’s largest mountain village resort, was envisioned as a skiing paradise by Jozo Weider in 1941. Today, skiers can access 42 trails over 364 skiable acres. In the summer, the mountain becomes a bike park with a flowing singletrack and technical downhill descents.

The Scenic Caves, originally home to the Deer Tribe of the Petun First Nations people, are a staple of the Triangle. The caves, some 70 feet deep, were at one time a spiritual Native oasis. Ekarenniondi is a sacred rock at the caves, and was believed to have marked the pathway to the Village of the Souls. Located in one of Canada’s sixteen designated UNESCO biospheres, Scenic Caves Nature Adventures offers a host of other eco adventures, including tree-top canopy walks, 1,000-foot escarpment zip lining, a 420-foot suspension bridge, and 10,000-square-kilometre panoramic views.

Scandinave Spa offers a variety of relaxing treatments. Photo By JoAnn McHardy

Feed your soul

The Triangle offers up some excellent fine dining, both in, and out of, town. Wasaga’s Catch 22 features fresh fish caught in the nearby Georgian Bay waters. The renowned Oliver & Bonancini Cafe Grill, with fire-side tables for cozy après ski and pondside terrace seating for après golf, is located at Blue Mountain Village. Magnone’s Italian Kitchen captures the heart and soul of Italy, and the trendy Copper Blues Bar & Grill has has a more relaxed menu. Fallicious is a great time to visit the village, when many retailers and restaurants offer incentive shopping and dining specials.

Copper Blues Bar & Grill

The Scandinave Spa at Blue is nestled on 25 acres amongst birch, maple and pine trees. Soak in the therapeutic baths and saunas, and enjoy outdoor fires, hammocks and relaxing areas to wile away the day, while taking in the panoramic views of the escarpment.

Walk it off

The Georgian Trail, with magnificent views of the bay and Blue Mountain, runs along the shores of Georgian Bay, through Collingwood, Thornbury and Meaford. With 35 kilometres of trails, its the perfect destination for cross-country skiers, hikers, bikers and walking enthusiasts.

Scenic Caves Nature Adventures – Photo By Image Ontario

Highlights of the four distinctive heritage walking tours revolve around the architectural stylings mastered by local Collingwood architects. The Collingwood Museum features 150 years of marine heritage. A vibrant downtown core serves up unique shops, boutiques and fine dining establishments – all within walking distance in the town of Collingwood.

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Cover Story – Christine Bentley

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Cover Story – Christine Bentley

By Cece Scott

www.cecescott.com

“I love working, I love being involved. I am not ever going to stop. I will always be doing something, and I will always be doing it at 100 per cent.”

Photo By Mark O’Neill

Christine Bentley is a renowned Canadian journalist who was a reporter and news anchor for 35 years on CTV. Bentley, 64, started at CTV in 1977 without an ounce of journalism training. “It was absolutely meant to be,” says Bentley, “Originally I wanted to go to drama school, which at the time my parents considered one level above being a stripper. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with an Honours BA. I even wrote my LSATS.”

The time was right 

As life sometimes goes, serendipity and a healthy amount of destiny interceded. A friend of Bentley’s set up an interview for her at a small television station in Barrie. “I was given an audition, and when I came out I was told that I could start Monday at 9.a.m.”, says Bentley. “I was told that I spoke eloquently and looked great on camera.”

Photo By Denise Grant

It certainly didn’t hurt that Bentley spoke four languages, including French, German, Spanish and English, as a result of her vagabond childhood spent travelling the world with her diplomat father. “When I started in television, it was the right time for women. We were a rarity and, to some degree, window dressing. Audiences were tired of seeing old white men. They wanted the people who they invited into their homes to be like them, part of their family. Women used to tell me that their husbands bragged that they went to bed with me when I anchored the 11 o’clock news.”

In 1984, Bentley became one of the first female anchors to get pregnant at CFTO News in Toronto, and she wanted to set a precedent for those women who would follow. “There was the belief in the industry that viewers couldn’t handle you being away for several months – the connection was that strong. There was a fear of breaking that connection, what it would do to the ratings,” says Bentley. “So I only took four weeks off.”

Survive and thrive

By the time Bentley left CTV in 2012, at the age of 60, she had reported on a broad spectrum of news beats, including city hall, municipal politics, mayoral elections and provincial politics at Queens Park. After a stint as the network’s weekend anchor, Bentley then spent many years as a co-host on Night Beat News before assuming CTV’s News at 6 with co-host Ken Shaw. And then, suddenly, without warning, Bentley was gone.

“There were a lot of things to adjust to throughout 2012 and a part of 2013,” says Bentley. “My father died, which was a huge psychological adjustment. For a few months our whole family was in shock. That summer I went to England to visit my sister who was undergoing treatment for a serious illness. Shortly after returning home I was let go by CTV. And to round things out, I slipped on some black ice at the beginning of 2013 and shattered my shoulder in nine pieces.”

It was a difficult period of time for Bentley, both physically and mentally – a time when she felt very close to the edge.“I knew I needed to make a choice and I did,” she says. “The choice was to survive and thrive. And that’s exactly what I did.”

A new lease on life 

Bentley reunited with a few of her former colleagues, including Kate Wheeler and Sharon Caddy, and over a few bottles of Prosecco, the plan was hatched. “If we were not suitable for TV anymore, maybe we could try radio,” says Bentley.

The plan was to create a talk show that would empower, and inspire, women. In addition to profiling Canadians (especially women) from all walks of life, the creators also wanted the show to be a platform for people who champion worthy causes. ‘What She Said!’ was born. Skewed to women over the age of 35, the show also has a strong male listenership, appealing to those who are interested in hearing about what is going on with the women in their lives.

The show, co-hosted with Kate Wheeler, profiles a variety of content that includes news, lifestyle, entertainment and technology. What She Said! can be heard in Toronto on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the Jewel Radio Network – 88.5.

Empty nest syndrome 

Her difficult challenges aside, Bentley still maintains that one of the hardest transitions in her life, so far, was becoming an empty nester. Bentley’s twin 31-yearold boys, Jordan, a Grammy award-winner known as DJ Swivel, and Matt, a vice president in real estate development, both left home for their respective universities around the same time. “It was a crippling time for me. I love to be needed,” says Bentley.

As far as her sons were concerned they didn’t have a choice but to go away to university, because Bentley told them that if they didn’t attend post-secondary away from home, she wouldn’t pay their way. Bentley feels that university is about so much more than what is being taught in the classroom, and she wanted Jordan and Matt to have, and to savour, those life-altering experiences.

Now that the heavy lifting of child rearing, parent care and career actualization are behind her, Bentley decided it was time to try new things. “I actually believe that I am built for busy, and for stress, to some degree. The more I have on my plate the better I feel, the more I get done and the happier I am. My relationships with friends and family keep me centered, as does having a routine.”

Commitment to community 

Bentley participates in a diverse continuum of charity and community work. She has been involved with Habitat for Humanity for close to eight years and is an ambassador for Habitat Women Build, which she says is a sisterhood of commandership. “Women are hugely collaborative. As we work on the build, on one side of us there could be a woman who is a millionaire, and on the other side, it could be the woman that the house is being built for. Nobody cares. It is important to share our resources, to share what we have, both in our own neighbourhoods as well as in the big picture. At the end of the day it can’t just be about me; we all need to get along with one another to survive. I am always most grateful.”

Other charities include being on the board of After Breast Cancer, an ambassador-at-large for the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, and she’s a supporter of the Canadian Cancer Society.

Ambassador for Habitat Women Build

Speaking at seniors’ residences is very gratifying for Bentley. Her talks centre around living in the moment, getting out of old habits and not being afraid to try something new. She points out that it’s all about the art of ageing well. “I love beautiful stories like the 92-yearold who graduated, just because. Or the 82-year-old who got into serious weight lifting, just because,” says Bentley. “Instead of finding reasons why you shouldn’t do something, ask instead, why not? Life is all about mindset.”

An eyebrow raising even for the Bold is Beautiful Project.

Throughout her career, Bentley has received numerous rewards for broadcasting, as well as her charitable work, including Consumers’ Choice Awards, Canada ‘Woman of the Year’ (2009); the Rotary Club of Canada’s Paul Harris Fellowship Award for Community Service (2009); Olympic Torchbearer GTA Toronto (2010); Women of Baycrest Award (2011); Famous People Players of Toronto Daring to Dream Award (2012). Bentley also received a star on the Scarborough Walk of Fame in 2013. “Of all the awards that I have received, the greatest ones are those that recognize my work in the community and my philanthropy,” says Bentley.

Receiving a star on the Scarborough Walk of Fame.

In her limited downtime, Bentley loves to read and stays fit with power walking and aqua fit classes. Her one guilty pleasure is pure escapism, which includes watching all the Housewives series on TV. “I never intend to become old. Apart from having no wrinkles and being a bit slimmer, I don’t hugely miss my youth. I will most certainly age, but I don’t ever want to become the stereotypical old person that I saw in my head when I was 18. My idea of hell would be to have no one around and nothing to do,” says Bentley. “Even if I end up getting a gig serving soup at the halfway house, I will be productive, have purpose. I am blessed, and there is very little I can’t do.”

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