Despite residing in the Toronto area for more than 20 years, I have never had the opportunity to visit the popular recreational area of Collingwood on the shores of Georgian Bay north-west of the city. After a recent stay at Blue Mountain, I now know just what I have been missing.
Located just outside the town of Collingwood, Blue Mountain is Ontario's largest mountain village resort with a fabulous location between the Niagara Escarpment and the shores of Lake Huron's Georgian Bay. Blue Mountain was founded as a ski resort in 1941 but over the last few years has evolved into a four season resort that is ideal for family getaways.
The resort is a mere 90 minute or so drive north of the Greater Toronto Area but a world removed from big city life. The resort appeals to families who are outdoor enthusiasts and want to participate in a range of adventures from the soft to the extreme as well as those that want to simply relax and enjoy the slower pace of life and commune with nature.
My 9 year-old daughter, Emma, and I headed to Collingwood as soon as her last day of school for the year wrapped up. It should have been a 2 hour drive from our home in Oakville but due to a number of navigational errors (I'm a pro at getting lost), we didn't arrive until early in the evening on Wednesday for a 2 night stay. We dropped our bags in our fabulous suite at Westin Trillium House and headed out to explore the Village before dark. Charmed by what we saw, we could not wait for the following morning and the official start of our Blue Mountain experience.
This post will provide an overview of the accommodations and activities available at Blue Mountain as well as Blue Mountain Village and subsequent posts will elaborate on each.
Guests at Blue Mountain have a variety of affordable accommodation options to select from year-round ranging from hotel rooms or suites to condominium rentals. All told the resort can accommodate more than 2,000 guests on a nightly basis.
We stayed at the Westin Trillium House which looks like a grand lakeside cottage from another era. Our spacious 2 bedroom suite included a full kitchen, 2 bathrooms, a gas fireplace and a balcony with a lovely view of the mountain. Emma was thrilled to have her very own bedroom and since her sister wasn't along on this trip she had first choice of rooms as well. Condo rentals and suites such as ours are perfect for visiting families who will appreciate the extra room to spread out in as well as the ability to reduce expenses by preparing some meals in their suite.
Our suite was awesome but more than anything else we loved being able to exit at the back of the resort onto the boardwalk alongside Mill Pond and take a leisurely stroll toward the Village while pausing to watch the frogs and listen to the birds. I never would have imagined that my daughter (who can be a bit of a princess) would have the slightest interest in frogs and tadpoles but we could not walk past that pond once without stopping to have a good look. Simple pleasures such as these are one of the benefits that families escaping the city will appreciate the most at Blue Mountain.
I have always thought of Blue Mountain as a winter destination, however, I discovered during our visit that a variety of activities both on and off-site are now available year-round. There is now such a lengthy list of things to do that a family can easily keep occupied for several days without fear of anyone announcing that they are bored.
We had a great time hiking nature trails, exploring caves and playing at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures and Emma couldn't get enough of Plunge! Aquatic Centre with its indoor/outdoor pool, slides and rope swing. The resort also has both high and low ropes courses for various skill levels and age groups, the exciting Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, Cascade Putting Course which is perfect for families, and an open-air gondola which provides a spectacular view over the resort area as well as an easy ride up the mountain. Mountain biking, golf, ziplining and Segway tours are just a few of the other activities available at Blue Mountain. There's even a playground near Mill Pond that will appeal to families with smaller children.
The Village is the place to head at Blue Mountain for dining, shopping, entertainment, or just hanging out. We had a delicious dinner at Firehall Pizza Co. the night we arrived followed by ice cream at Hatley Scoops and returned several times over the course of our 2 day stay to eat, browse the shops or pick up a latte at Starbucks.
The pedestrian village is perfect for families as older kids can be given a bit of freedom and younger kids can run off a little steam without parents having to watch for vehicles.
Weekends are festival time in Blue Mountain Village and we witnessed the stage being set for Salsa at Blue but sadly had to leave for home before the celebration got underway. Families may wish to check the Events Schedule ahead of time to plan for their visit.
The last few weeks of this school year had been particularly busy and our stay at Blue Mountain Resort was the perfect way to celebrate and to kick off our summer holidays in grand style. Before we had even left the resort, Emma was asking me when we could return - when that happens you know that you have found the perfect family getaway.
Thank you to Blue Mountain Resort for inviting us to experience all that they have to offer families.
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