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McLean Mill Historic Park in Port Alberni


Monday, June 18th, 2018 — 8:27am PDT
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Through programming, tours, and simply being in a stunning natural location in the heart of the forest, McLean Mill Historic Park in Port Alberni has everything you need for a fun family outing. I spent a whole day at the grounds with ZenSeekers, getting a guided tour and having so much fun taking photos. You can read my full article on the ZenSeekers site but here are some quick, useful takeaways that will inspire you to visit.

McLeanMill Historic Park

4 Things to Check Out at McLean Mill Historic Park

McLean Mill Historic Park
5633 Smith Rd, Port Alberni
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1. The Forest Walk
This National Historic Site is also a beautiful park, with winding paths under a leafy green canopy, and lines of market lights that give it such a calm and dreamy atmosphere.

McLeanMill Historic Park

2. The Sawmill & Camp Life
This is where you’ll find all the history! Take a tour or guide yourself through the dozens of historic buildings, from McLean family lodgings to the bunk house, cook house, and blacksmith shop. The old sawmill has some really fun parts to explore too.

McLeanMill Historic Park

3. The Cafe, gift shop, picnic area, and games!
At the entrance to the park you’ll see the Steam Pot Cafe building, which serves up a scoop of local history inside along with dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Grab a burger or poutine, and hang out on the picnic tables. You might also find a giant Jenga or board game to sit down and play with the family.

McLeanMill Historic Park

4. Beyond the sawmill
Past the cafe, the forest walk, and even the sawmill, there is the log pond, creek, and logging demo area that also has walking trails. There is also a bunch of colourful old equipment, draped in vines that are perfect for photo ops.

McLeanMill Historic Park

It’s a quick 10 minute drive (20 minute cycle) from town, or you can take the historic steam railway. There are also special events all throughout the year, including a treasure hunt on Father’s Day, Jeepers Creepers on Halloween, and Heritage Christmas.

McLeanMill Historic Park

Find out more by reading my full post on ZenSeekers »

If You Go

Disclosure: Sponsored Post
Published in partnership with ZenSeekers

Queer Arts Festival & Sweet Bubbling Nights: Win Passes


Monday, June 18th, 2018 — 1:17pm PDT
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On May 15, Vancouver City Council approved the signing of a proclamation to declare 2018 “The Year of the Queer” in Vancouver, in recognition of decades of LGBTQ contributions to the artistic, cultural, and social landscape of Vancouver. To celebrate, and to kickstart your summer with some really fun events, I have a fun prize package to give away featuring the following:

Queer Arts Festival

When: June 16 to June 28, 2018
Where: Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, except where noted.
Tickets: Available online now

The Queer Arts Festival (“QAF”) marks its landmark 10th anniversary this year with a multi-disciplinary summer celebration called DECADEnce, running June 16 to 28, 2018 at Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre also commemorates Pride in Art’s 20th year as an artist-led organization, and features a boundary-pushing, dialogue-igniting array of creators that amplify artistic risk-taking and incite creative collaboration and experimentation.

Queer Arts Festival Events

The 2018 Queer Arts Festival will mark the monumental milestone with a varied and provocative array of visual art, performance, and special programming:

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Unwind and Reconnect in Parksville Qualicum Beach


Monday, June 18th, 2018 — 12:56pm PDT
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Tigh-Na-Mara is a legendary Parksville getaway, and by legendary I mean if I speak the words “Tigh-Na-Mara” or “Grotto Spa” in casual conversation around Vancouver the common response is: “Ooooh, so amazing!” This seaside getaway, with spa bungalows, forest cabins, and oceanfront villas offers year-round dining, spa experiences, endless sandy beach walks, and those epic east coast Vancouver Island sunrises.

Happy Birthday, Grotto Spa

This year, Tigh-Na-Mara is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Grotto Spa, which isn’t just your regular spa! Sure, you can pop in for a mani, pedi, facial, or massage treatment but the key is to made a full day out of your visit. Live in your robe. Hang out under the waterfall in the mineral pool, then head upstairs for a treatment or for endless tapas in the Treetop Tapas & Grill.

Grotto Spa Mineral Pool

I’ll never forget the first time John and I had a couples’ massage at the Grotto Spa about 10 years ago. We both came out of the room trying to walk, but instead we looked like a newborn fawn learning how to work its legs. One of the therapists said: “Spa drunk, it’s a thing.” We made our way to the lounge, sipped some cucumber water, melted into the fluffy blankets, and totally blissed out. John still relishes his first “Spa Drunk” moment – that involved no alcohol whatsoever. Side note: If you do want alcohol, the wine and cocktail selection at the Treetop Bistro will hit the spot.

Tight-Na-Mara Tapas

We could spend all day at the spa (and we have) and several days hanging around our room or cabin, stoking the fireplace or watching the waves roll in (and we have). But, if you’re looking to explore more of the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, and keep your totally chilled out island vibe, you can also try the Reconnect Package that includes a Forest Bathing Tour.

Forest Bathing in Qualicum Beach

Gary and Ronda Murdock lead Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours and they offer a Forest Bathing Tour in the Qualicum Beach Heritage Forest. First things first: There are no bathtubs involved. The term comes from immersing yourself, and your senses, in the atmosphere of the forest.

There’s something about being in the forest that makes you relax, and for me I sometimes get giddily happy when I come across an old growth Douglas Fir – who feels like an old friend. This particular forest is in a Coastal Douglas Fir Moist Maritime Zone (as opposed to a Coastal Temperate Rainforest like Vancouver). It gets less rain on the east coast of Vancouver Island but it’s the same region in which you can find Cathedral Grove.

Qualicum Heritage Forest - Forest Bathing Tour

Ronda will lead you through the forest trails silently, and in stages. You’ll concentrate on experiencing the forest through your senses. Sight, sound, touch. Pausing in intervals to reflect on the sensations you feel.

A study out of Japan found that people who were exposed to forest settings had greatly improved cortisol (stress) levels, pulse rates, blood pressure, and parasympathetic nerve activity levels versus those who were exposed to urban settings. Science has confirmed the evidence on the positive effects of contact with nature on our physical, emotional and mental well-being.

It’s walking therapy for the body and soul! Combine it with your Tigh-Na-Mara visit and you’ll melt away the city’s stresses.

Tigh-Na-Mara Views

Reconnect Package

The two packages offered are:

Reconnect #1) Enjoy 2 or more nights’ accommodation in a Spa Bungalow Studio, Reconnect welcome amenity, 2 hour Forest Bathing Tour and mineral pool access at the Grotto Spa..

Reconnect #2) Enjoy 2 or more nights’ accommodation in a Spa Bungalow Studio, Reconnect welcome amenity, 2 hour Forest Bathing Tour + 1 hour informative Beach Walk and mineral pool access at the Grotto Spa.

48 hours notice recommended to guarantee ideal tour dates and times. Minimum two people needed to book this package.

For more information, get in touch with Tigh-Na-Mara on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Book by calling 1-800-663-7373 or visit the website.

It’s been our go-to anniversary getaway spot for several years, and we were so happy to be back this year during the signature Parksville Uncorked festival.

Parksville Uncorked 2018

Read more: Parenting Paradise in Parksville, 5 Ways to Enjoy a Vancouver Island Getaway in Parksville, Girls Getaway to Tigh-Na-Mara.

Disclosure: Review
This is not a sponsored post. John and I did experience the Reconnect Package during a recent visit, courtesy of Tigh-Na-Mara.

Vancouver Stealth Lacrosse Purchased by Canucks Sports & Entertainment


Monday, June 18th, 2018 — 11:34am PDT
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The National Lacrosse League announced today the approval of the sale of the Vancouver Stealth to Canucks Sports & Entertainment. Vancouver’s new NLL team will commence play at Rogers Arena beginning in the 2018-2019 season.

NLL - National Lacrosse League

Vancouver Stealth former owner, Denise Watkins, and Jason Winslade from Langley Events Centre have released these statements:

“I am pleased to announce that today, the National Lacrosse League’s Board of Governors approved the purchase of the Vancouver Stealth by Canucks Sports & Entertainment. The team will play in Vancouver at Rogers Arena during the National Lacrosse League’s 2018/19 season starting in December this year.

“The Stealth relocated from Washington state to Langley in 2013, the same year we played the NLL’s championship game against the Rochester Knighthawks at the Langley Events Centre. I knew we found our home after that game,” Watkins said in announcing the sale. “The LEC management, staff, sponsors and fans across British Columbia welcomed us to the building that night. While we lost the championship game, soon after we won a home that will forever be in my heart.

The former owners describe the sale as a “heartbreaking decision” but they believe fans will be pleased with the direction the Canucks organization takes the team.

“Langley Events Centre is proud to have worked cooperatively with the National Lacrosse League and the Stealth organization to bring the league back to Metro Vancouver in 2014. For the past five seasons the facility and it’s staff have been home to the league and the BC lacrosse community and we look forward to working with the NLL and Canucks Sports & Entertainment to continue to support the franchise, the league, and the growth of the sport in our province,” Winslade said.

Over the coming months, the Vancouver lacrosse franchise will undergo a transformation, including a new name, brand and logo. A special event will be held in the coming months to unveil more details.

The NLL 18-game regular season begins in December 2018 and runs through April 2019. Games are primarily scheduled on Friday and Saturday nights. The NLL playoffs begin in May and conclude in June with the NLL Finals.

Fans interested in priority access to tickets for the upcoming 2018-2019 season at Rogers Arena are invited to call 604-899-GOAL or sign up on this page for more updates and information.

Port Moody Community Fair


Monday, June 18th, 2018 — 10:36am PDT
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Port Moody residents are invited to enjoy free and fun activities at their first-ever Port Moody Community Fair on June 23rd.

Port Moody Community Fair

Where: Civic Centre (100 Newport Drive)
When: Saturday, June 23, 2018 from 11:00am to 3:00pm

Port Moody Community Fair

The Port Moody Community Fair will include free and fun activities for all ages, as well as opportunities to connect with the people, services, and organizations that make Port Moody such an amazing place to live. New and long-time residents alike will find a wealth of information about City and community services, parks and recreation, arts and culture, and public safety. The Community Fair is also a chance to discover volunteer opportunities, clubs, community associations, and more.

There will be free activities and entertainment for families, including an inflatable slide, mini train rides, toddler bounce area, video arcade truck, Science World demos, the Fun GymBus (a kids’ gym on wheels), a face painter, and a photo booth. Fire juggler Mike Battie and entertainer Ruffle Redbird will be on site too.

Visit more than 30 booths hosted by community organizations and a City of Port Moody Pop-Up City Hall. Follow the event on Facebook for more information.

Enjoy more of Port Moody this summer by taking the new, free Port Moody Shoreline Shuttle.

Amazon Names Top 20 Canadian Cities that Love to Read


Monday, June 18th, 2018 — 9:25am PDT
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Today, a new city was crowned the monarch on Amazon Canada’s list of Canadian Cities that Love to Read as Kingston, Ontario received the top spot in the sixth annual list. In second place, and appearing for the first time ever on the list, is another Ontario city, Waterloo. The list looks at print and Kindle e-book sales from Amazon.ca on a per capita basis in Canadian cities with more than 100,000 residents from May 2017 to May 2018.

Top Canadian Cities That Love to Read

Top 20 Canadian Cities that Love to Read

*New in 2018

1. Kingston, Ontario
2. Waterloo, Ontario*
3. Vancouver, BC
4. Kelowna, BC
5. Langley, BC
6. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
7. Calgary, Alberta
8. Oakville, Ontario
9. Regina, Saskatchewan
10. Edmonton, Alberta
11. Red Deer, Alberta*
12. Guelph, Ontario
13. Burlington, Ontario
14. London, Ontario
15. Delta, BC*
16. Oshawa, Ontario
17. Kitchener, Ontario
18. Barrie, Ontario
19. Winnipeg, Manitoba
20. Thornhill, Ontario

Top Canadian Cities That Love to Read

Taking a closer look at the data Amazon Canada revealed the top two cities are home to some of Ontario’s leading post-secondary institutions. Kingston led the way in the fiction literature, textbooks, history, medical and law categories, while Waterloo residents purchased the most science and math, computers and technology, and technical professional books

For the second year in a row, Vancouver and Cambridge took the cake as the top cities that purchased the most cookbooks. Vancouverites lead in categories pertaining to health and fitness, social sciences, self-help, travel and arts and photography.

When it comes to romance novels, no one is quite as passionate as Kingston, Oshawa and Barrie, remaining in the top three spots for a second year.

Even though Vancouver has dropped to number three in the overall rankings, they have taken the top spot as the city that purchases the most physical books, proving that they are loyal to hardcovers and paperbacks.

To start preparing your own summer reading list, visit Amazon Books and Amazon Kindle Books.

Win the new Kindle Oasis!

I have a new Kindle Oasis to give away courtesy of Amazon! Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Click below to post an entry on Twitter
Click to enter via TwitterClick To Tweet

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Sunday, June 24, 2018.