Top 5 Western Canada Landscape Photographers On Instagram

With one click, we are photographically transported to all corners of the world — exploring beautiful places from the vantage point of these talented photographers, imagining ourselves alongside them, dipping our toes in streams and climbing up mountain ranges at sunset.

We’ve picked our top five Western Canada landscape photographers on Instagram. It’s photos like these that inspire us to drop everything to get outside and experience our beautiful countryside.

Sun-kissed mountains, foggy summits and goose bump inducing heights greet you on Stevin Tuchiwsky’s Instagram page. His style of photography gives us a first-person view, allowing us to be part of his latest excursion.

Patience is the name of the game for Mark Jinks and has it ever paid off! Mark has captured our sky in all its moods. From dancing aurora borealises to brooding storm clouds over prairie fields. Mark’s photos are a treat for the eye.

Grab a warm cup of tea and settle in — Rebecca Simrose’s photos will keep you enraptured for hours. Her moody, otherworldly photos have endless details to discover. Star trails over the mountains and lush green forests look fantastical through Rebecca’s lens.

Whether it’s teetering on the edge of a snowy mountain ledge or chancing upon a secluded cabin at the base of the Rockies, to glorious reflections in the turquoise waters of mountain lakes, Matthew Massa takes us on his adventures in Canada and beyond. Seeing the western Canadian landscape through his eyes opens ours to the beauty that we call home.

Peaceful. That’s the best way to describe Dan Lum’s photos. Dan is a great storyteller, capturing the essence of the landscape around him in clean, simply beautiful images.

Golden Adventures

Brigid takes us along on her outdoor adventure to Kicking Horse Resort at Golden, BC. Summer offers endless opportunities on the mountain.

Guest post by Brigid Scott


Want a fun challenge that will take your breath away and make you feel like you're a badass? Head to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and sign up for the Via Ferrata and Mountain Biking packages! 

Heading up the gondola to the summit of Kicking Horse Mountain was a great start to our July long weekend. We met our guide Richard at the summit and he hooked us up with all the gear we would need to safely ascend the route. After learning the ropes on the practice wall, we hiked the short trail to the base of the ascension route and clipped our carabiners in. The carabiner follows you along as a constant safety contact with the wall of the mountain. At each junction, you just slide it through the metal plate in order to continue on through to the next section. We crossed a single plank suspension bridge, then headed around and up the cliffs of the mountain, taking a short break on a large rock shelf before carrying on to some spicier sections of vertical and onto a wire bridge. Approaching the single length of cable, I had to take a breath; it looked a bit intimidating! But after another deep breath, slid my safety carabiner onto the section, grabbed onto the wire on top and stepped out onto the single cable and started moving across. Whew! (check out my Instagram Channel for a sweet video of the wire crossing).


A few more vertical sections that tested my upper body strength and then we popped out on top of the summit ridge! Whoo hoo! One last walk of the ridge and we were able to unclip and enjoy the summit. The weather improved for our time up top and we actually got some welcome sunshine. After enjoying the spoils, we headed down the trail and back to the climbing centre to drop our equipment off. The climbing took about 2 hours. We were pooped from the excitement, so we headed down and checked into our suite on the hill with Kicking Horse Lodging.  We finished off our evening with a lovely soak in the hot tub and returned to our room to relax with some wine in front of the fire place.


The next day, after a yummy breakfast and coffees at Double Black (across from the main gondola), we checked into the Performance Rental Centre for our downhill mountain biking lessons and rentals. Sander was an awesome teacher and he hooked us up with all the safety gear we needed to negotiate the mountain safely.  We both got shiny red bikes and headed to the mid-mountain gondola to load the bikes and ride it up. Even though the clouds were low and it was trying to rain/hail on us, we were so stoked. I was also very nervous, but Sander took us on a green trail to help me get a feel of the mountain.


He taught us about FLOW: fingers (only use one on the brake), level pedals, outside of the turns, weight balanced according to gravity and he gave us pointers for improvement. Our second run down we headed onto a blue run, which I was nervous about, but ended up being my favourite due to all the fun roly-polies (probably not the technical term). Since our lunch reservation was approaching, we paused our biking fun and headed up the main gondola to Eagle's Eye Restaurant, "Canada's Most Elevated Dining Experience". 


A lovely host seated us, and our cheerful waitress took our orders. Lunch was delicious and the cheesecake that we splurged on was divine. After a nice hot coffee, we headed back down for another run, this time on our own! It was super fun to rip down the trails and I couldn't believe how much of a work out it was! Elated but exhausted, we headed back to our sweet suite at the Palliser Lodge for another soak in the hot tub and relaxing around the fireplace. Looking out through the balcony windows and watching the rain was super peaceful after a busy, but awesome two days.

The Rocky Mountain Scrambler

Guest blogger

Brigid Scott lives in Jasper, Alberta with her husband Mark.  They both love being teachers and take advantage of their proximity to the mountains to the fullest.

Brigid says taking photos of her beautiful surroundings has become a passion and she has taken advantage of all the beauty that surrounds her by getting out as often as possible to document the magnificence of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

autumn savings - 25%

Enjoy the best of Golden when you stay a minimum of 2-nights.

Book until December 1, 2018 for stays from October 1 - December 20, 2018

Full payment required at time of booking. Non-Refundable. Non-Cancellable. Minimum 2-night stay. Maximum 5-night stay. Subject to availability. 

Blackout dates Glacier Mountaineer Lodge: Oct 1 – Nov 30.
Other blackout dates may apply.

Make a Splash on Vancouver Island

West Coast visitors have so many options when it comes to exploring Vancouver Island's beautiful lakes, rivers and the ocean.  From finding treasured sand dollars on the beach to epic kiteboarding, there is a little something for visitors of all ages.

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For those who have dreamed of witnessing a killer whale breaching out of the water, sea lions sunning on the rocks or pods of orcas swimming the Pacific Ocean shoreline, Nanaimo is the place to come. Nanaimo waters are home to transient orca, humpback whales, sea lions, harbour seals, porpoises, eagles, and more. Tours are available seven days a week.



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Parksville Beach is known as Canada's riviera, with light sandy beaches stretching out for kilometres at low tide. The pockets of salt water left behind are perfect for finding seashells of every kind, fossils, sea glass and many other treasures. When the tide comes in, consider renting a kayak or paddle board to explore all Parksville Beach has to offer. 

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From beginner to experienced, we've found every surfer's paradise. Ucluelet, located near Tofino, is 25 km of pristine, sandy beached shoreline and offers some of the West Coast's best surfing. Here surfing is not only a summer activity - the ocean stays at around 10°c all year around. This is another great family activity, with lessons being offered for all ages. 

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Bring your kayak or rent some gear and be ready to explore! Take a relaxing day on the calm waters of Comox Lake or venture out to Courtenay River or even the ocean. Canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddle boards are some of the locals' favourite ways to enjoy this beautiful valley.  

Nitinat Lake


For the more adventurous, kiteboarding is something you are going to want to check out. Nitinat Lake is surrounded by ruggedly lush forest and home to one of the most consistent thermal-generated winds in BC, attracting kiteboarders and windsurfers from around the world. The windy season runs from May to September.

The Beach Club Resort is the perfect home base for Vancouver Island Adventures. Located in Parksville, the resort is a short drive to all our top five water destinations. 
Head out for the day and come back to relax in a luxury suite with a view of the ocean. 

6 Hidden Gems in the Rockies

We’ve picked six of our favourite off-the-beaten-path adventures in the Rockies.


Takakkaw Falls (meaning "magnificent" in Cree) is a breathtaking waterfall located in Yoho National Park. The falls are fed by the Daly Glacier, which is part of the Waputik Icefield. Tumbling 830 feet in one stretch and 1,260 feet in total, these falls are among the highest in Canada.  Take in the falls from a view far away or adventure to the base before setting out to explore Yoho's beautiful hiking trails. 

Takakkaw Falls is 1 hr and 11 min from Kicking Horse Lodging, the perfect basecamp for outdoor adventure in the Canadian Rockies.

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As indicated by its name, this vivid, turquoise beauty is a gem you do not want to miss. Emerald Lake is the largest of Yoho National Park's 61 lakes, attracting tourists and photographers from all around the world. The pristine views are perfect for picnics on the lakeshore or a paddle through its tranquil waters by canoe. Take a hike out to the natural bridge to admire the Kicking Horse River as it carves a path through ancient rock.

Emerald Lake is 52 min from Kicking Horse Lodging, which is uniquely situated between six of Canada's most stunning national parks .

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This gem is a great option for a quick day trip for both new and experienced cavers. Located on Moose Mountain near Bragg Creek, AB, the Canyon Creek Ice Cave hike is a relatively easy 7 km, or an even quicker bike ride, ending with a slight scramble up to the entrance to the giant mouth of the cave. Make sure to pack some extra layers to keep warm while exploring as well as good safety gear and a headlamp. Eat your lunch on the sun warmed ledge of the cave while enjoying the spectacular views Canyon Creek Valley.

Canyon Creek Valley is 1 hr and 10 min from the Grande Rockies Resort — the perfect family getaway resort in the mountains. 

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Touted as having the best fly fishing in North America, Elk River is a outdoorsman's dream. This short river is nestled in the Eastern portion of the Alberta foothills and drains into the Brazeau Dam. The avid fisherman can expect mostly catch and release fishing for Trout, Mountain Whitefish and Northern Pike.  Wade out into the wide, trailing river while enjoying the surrounding wildlife. For those wanting to enjoy this ideal fishing spot for a few days, Elk River Campsite is a great spot to set up for the night. 

Here is an unsung treasure of southern Alberta Prairies.  Flanked by the Canadian Rocky Mountains and bordering Montana's Glacier National Park, Waterton National Park has an adventure for every visitor. Whether getting out on the lake, exploring Bison Paddock overlook, going on a Maskinonge adventure or driving the Chief Mountain Highway, it is a day well spent. Be sure to bring your cameras to capture the beautiful wildlife and views along the way. 

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Mist Mountain Trail is a 9.8 kilometre out and back trail. Although an easy scramble, the elevation gain of nearly 1300 Meters makes this a difficult hike. But those with the drive to keep going will be rewarded near the summit with two small, natural hot springs. Rest your tired legs in the pools, filled with water running down ridges of steep, craggily rocks and foliage from inside towering cliffs above. Bring your pup along and be sure to pack bear spray as this is the heart of grizzly paradise. 

Mist Mountain is 1 hr and 12 min away from Solara Resort and Spa. Rest easy in luxurious accommodations following a good hike and one of the many treatment options from our spa, One Wellness.

Great Vancouver Island Drives

Summer is coming, which means it’s time for a great road trip! Beautiful scenery and wide open roads stretch out ahead, with many great stops along the way to your destination. We’ve picked three of our favourite day trips in and around Vancouver Island.

Seattle, WA to Tofino, BC

(Complete trip - 9 hrs 30 min, 491 km)

  Courtesy of Tourism Victoria

Courtesy of Tourism Victoria

1. Seattle to Victoria  (first half - 4 hrs 50 min, 174 km)

While many people choose to drive the scenic route from Seattle to Port Angeles, in order to board the ferry along with your vehicle, there are a few other modes of transportation worth noting. 
Directly from Seattle, Clipper is a passenger only, high speed ferry, taking about two and a half hours. For a little extra money, a float plane is a unique way to travel around Western Washington and the British Columbia coast, or take a commercial flight for the 86 miles from Seattle to Victoria. If you choose one of these options, be sure to rent a car in Victoria upon arrival.

  Courtesy of Butchart Gardens

Courtesy of Butchart Gardens

Once in Victoria, be sure to check out the beautiful Butchart Gardens, Royal BC Museum or take a free tour of the Parliament Buildings. Grab a bite to eat along with some delicious coffee at the Marina Dockside Eatery. 

As you leave Victoria, make sure to stop at the viewpoint close to the summit to see breathtaking views over Brentwood Bay.

  Courtesy of The Beach Club Resort

Courtesy of The Beach Club Resort

2. Victoria to Tofino (second half - 4 hrs 40 min, 317 km)

Fresh from your sightseeing in Victoria, we recommend driving the two hours to Parksville. Get out and stretch your legs on the famous Parksville Beach and dine oceanside at The Pacific Prime Restaurant

On your drive, make sure to explore the iconic and rare ancient Douglas fir ecosystem, Cathedral Grove. The biggest trees are about 800 years old and measure 250 feet high and 29 feet wide.

Breathtaking beaches will greet you as you drive down the Pacific Rim from Ucluelet to your final destination of Tofino. 

  Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Relax in Hot Springs Cove, and explore one of the many shops and galleries in the village core on Campbell Street and Main Street. Tofino is an outdoor enthusiast paradise with its trails, hiking, beaches, wildlife viewing, storm watching, surfing and more. 

Parksville, BC to Port Alberni, BC

(43 Min, 50.2 KM)

  Courtesy of The Beach Club Resort

Courtesy of The Beach Club Resort

Parksville is home to the beautiful, expansive Parksville Beach. At low tide, the shore reaches almost one kilometre from the water — a beach combing enthusiasts delight! The area is located in a rare, UNESCO protected Biosphere Reserve. Another gem, Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park is a 12-minute drive from the beach. 

  Courtesy of Coombs Country Market

Courtesy of Coombs Country Market

A must see on your drive is the Coombs Country Market. It's not just for the great food that people visit the market, but also the goats on the Norwegian-style grass-covered roof. They are one of Coombs' most famous tourist attractions.

If you don't mind adding 26 minutes onto your trip, Stamp Falls is a neat place to stop and see the salmon swimming up stream. 

Once in Port Alberni, there are lots of activities for all ages. The Alberni Pacific "Steam" Railway takes you through the city and surrounding forests, returning you to the historical steam powered sawmill. Reserve a ride on The Lady Rose Marine services to see the wildlife and scenery. There are many wineries to try as well as the local favourite Bare Bones Fish and Chips restaurant. 

Along with excellent mountain and hiking trails, Port Alberni has outstanding salmon fishing. 

Horseshoe Bay, BC to Parksville, BC

(2 hrs 57 min, 101.7 km)

  Courtesy of Horseshoe Bay Village

Courtesy of Horseshoe Bay Village

Horseshoe Bay is Vancouver's jumping off point to Vancouver Island with several daily ferry departures. B.C.’s world-class ferry system delivers passengers and their vehicles across to Nanaimo

Nanaimo caters to different types of travellers. From the free spirited, the cultural explorer to the authentic experiencer. 

  Courtesy of Tourism Nanaimo

Courtesy of Tourism Nanaimo

Snorkel with the harbour seals, charter a fishing and crab guide. Nanaimo has many lakes and harbours to explore, accesible by Kayak, canoe or paddle boards. 

Cedar Yellow Point Artisan Trail Loop will inspire the artists among you. Cruise through the countryside to farmers markets, artisan studios, pubs and cafes. Before leaving Nanaimo, try out the delicious craft beer at White Sails Brewing.

Drive 30 minutes north to Parksville. Take a sunset walk on the boardwalk and spend the night at The Beach Club Resort in one of their luxurious beach front suites. 

With so many hidden treasure destinations on Vancouver Island, we could fill every day with a new adventure. 

Our Top 5 Resort Meeting Trends in 2018


Non-traditional Meeting Venues

“More meeting planners are using non-traditional meeting venues and opting out of the conference hotel.”  

Our properties at Kicking Horse Lodging do not offer meeting space but groups are now opting to meet “on-mountain” or in local restaurants to combine work with some incentive R&R.



Security and Privacy

Meeting planners are now more than ever conscious that hotels meet all necessary technological guidelines to prevent identity theft.”

Sabre’s recent data breach is causing headaches for hotels using their software such as Four Seasons, Trump Hotels, Kimpton Hotels and Red Lion Hotels.
Last year, Bellstar incorporated new technology and strict PCI compliance at all its properties to prevent hacking and to secure guest identities and credit card information both onsite and within the booking process.



Virtual Meetings and Training

Despite the increased use of video and virtual meeting technology, off site meetings continue to offer a more focused and productive environment.”

Feedback from meeting planners at The Beach Club Resort in 2017 showed that meetings at this property offer a more focused learning experience than nearly any virtual meeting.



Anti-anxiety Trends

From corporate layoffs to worldwide events the ever connected world
means more stress.”

Organizations' human resources teams are looking at budgeting more events to relieve employee stress.  At Solara Resort and Spa in Canmore there is a continued interest for bookings that combine spafacilities, yoga and other wellness activities to provide a fresh distraction to the stressors of everyday life.



Virtual Travel Companions

“Bellstar and many other hotel brands are looking at introducing this technology into guest rooms for 2018.”

As Amazon’s Echo increases in popularity, more guests will want to begin travelling with their own cloud based personal assistants and will be using them in-room to explore things to do locally, play music, answer questions and just provide companionship while on the road. 

Or speak with a Bellstar Meeting Professional:


Stacey Mitchell


Vancouver Island & Kicking Horse

Kim Bryceland



Parksville, British Columbia

Solara Resort & Spa

Canmore, Alberta

grande rockies resort

Canmore, Alberta 

kicking horse lodging

Golden, British Columbia

Top 16 Things To Do in Canmore in Winter

The majesty of the Rocky Mountains pulls at our hearts all year around, but winter holds a special magic. We've made a list of our favourite things to do around Canmore, Alberta, and, in our gorgeous backyard playground.

1. Dog Sled Tours

Dog sledding is a Canadian experience that can’t be missed. Glide down pristine mountain trails in hand-made oak sleds, led by highly trained guides. Snowy Owl Dog Sledding Tours offer an unforgettable experience.

2. Art Tour

If it's too cold to explore outside, Canmore has public murals, galleries and festivals showcasing some of Alberta's best talent. From the public murals to the markets and festivals held year-round.

3. Tavern Trivia at Tavern 1883

Tavern 1883 will test your general knowledge with trivia and chances to win prizes and gift cards. This fun Wednesday night includes happy hour, a late night menu, as well as learning some interesting trivia.

4. Snowshoeing

Head out on the trails of fresh snow and explore our beautiful mountain valley landscapes and trails. View Tourism Canmore's trail guide.

5. Fat Biking in Kananaskis Country

Get your bike out and enjoy the trails in Canmore. Alberta Parks Highline Trail, Meander Trail and Montane Traverse Trail offer a wide variety for riding. Map out your adventure today. 

6. Grotto Canyon Ice Walk

Follow your Kananaskis Outfitters guide through a frosty canyon decorated with frozen waterfalls and ancient pictographs. This 4.2km trail with 100m of elevation gain is suitable for anyone over 8 years of age. The walk takes 2 to 2.5 hours.

7. Rocky Mountain Soap Company Workshop Tour

Tour the Canmore Rocky Mountain Soap Company workshop and see how they make their 100% natural products. You will also receive a $20 gift card with an adult ticket, or a $5 gift card with a child ticket

Friday, January 12, 2018
11:00 AM – 12:15 PM MST

8. Canmore Winter Carnival

Enjoy ice carving competitions, kids’ ice carving, skating parties, street hockey, log sawing competitions and more.  

February 1 - February 11, 2018

9. Wildlife Distillery Tour

Get a close look at Wildlife Distillery. Learn the company history, process of craft spirit production, and sample delicious in-house made spirits.

10. Wall Climbing at Elevation Place

Too chilly to venture out? Try out your rock climbing skills inside. Elevation Place offers a large pool, climbing gym, fitness gym, and numerous daily drop-in core classes.

11. Family ice skating on the Canmore pond

Take the kids out to enjoy some skating, two blocks off of Main Street. Heated gazebos make it easy to change into your skates and warm up.

12. Ice Climbing

Canmore and the Canadian Rockies offer some of the best ice climbing in the world. Yamnuska Mountain Adventures offers a wide range of ice climbing instruction and guiding for people of all skill levels.

13. Live Music at Communitea

Select evenings of live music and good company. Communitea serves healthy, fresh food made from as many local and organic ingredients possible. Specializing in gluten free and vegetarian/vegan options.

14. Mountain Meracato

Warm up with delicious gourmet coffee or a house-made soup, grilled panini, salumi and cheese platters, and beer and wine, served seven days a week.

15. Murrieta's

Murrieta's is great for a special night out or casual dining. An elegant dining experience with small-town hospitality.  


16. Shopping

The Canmore area is known for its local, authentic, mountain-town feel. Shop in our one-of-a-kind of shops and boutiques. From outdoor clothes, original art to specialty chocolates — we have it all. 

Header photo by Brooke Wilson

New Year's Eve in Canmore 2018

New Year's Eve on the Pond

Celebrate New Year’s Eve Canmore style … outdoors! Great family event including ice skating, warming up around a bonfire with hot chocolate and hot dogs while you enjoy the fireworks.

New Year's Eve dinner at Blake

Enjoy an evening of food and Champagne, party with a DJ while you ring in the new year.

The Critters New Years Party

The Canmore Legion is hosting The Critters for a night of live music, gourmet bites, champagne and party favours.










Gaucho Brazilian BBQ

Book your table for New Years Eve at Gaucho. They will be serving all the usual favorites, plus some more mouth watering additions to the menu.

Rose & Crown New Years Party

Electric Squirrels will be performing popular covers and door fee includes party favours and a sandwich buffet at midnight. Tickets can be bought at the Rose & Crown or by phone.

Tel: 403 678 5168

12 Days of Christmas Fun From the Rockies to Vancouver Island


Cave tours

(Near Canmore, Alberta)
Join a guided tour of the wild, undeveloped cave under Grotto Mountain.


Christmas Craft Fair

(Golden, British Columbia)
Enjoy some Christmas inspiration and pick up unique gifts made by local artisans.


Whale watching

(Near Parksville, British Columbia)
Catch a glimpse of some incredible Orcas and Humpbacks in Cowichan Bay.


Milner Christmas Magic

(Near Parksville, British Columbia)
A family festival of lights and music in the garden, including visits from Santa Claus.


Christmas in Canmore

(Canmore, Alberta)
Stroll the picturesque downtown and discover discover unique shops, boutiques and galleries.


Gondola ride

(Golden, British Columbia)
Explore the breathtaking views of Kicking Horse Mountain from 7,700 ft high.


Wild Life Distillery Tour

(Near Canmore, Alberta)
Get a close up look at the production facility and sample some delicious house-made spirits.


Dog Sledding tours

(Near Canmore, Alberta)
Glide down beautiful mountain trails, pulled by a team of enthusiastic dogs.


Johnston Canyon Icewalk

(Near Canmore, Alberta)
See the awe-inducing glittery frozen Upper Falls towering 30 feet high.


Skate the pond

(Canmore, Alberta)
Get your skates out and enjoy the views while you glide on the ice.


Heli & Cat Ski

(Near Golden, British Columbia)
Take an adventure in Golden’s vast and pristine glacier terrain.


Wine and Cheese Tours

(Near Parksville, British Columbia)
Wagon rides and private wine & cheese tasting await you on your private tour.



Bellstar E-Gift Cards are the gift of a vacation at any Bellstar Resort.

E-Cards are delivered by email — so they can't be sent right away (or scheduled for Christmas!)

Available in any amount.

Vancouver Island — Canada's Unknown Wine Destination

The soothing mountain and ocean views from your private balcony at The Beach Club Resort in Parksville are exactly what you need to start the perfect romantic getaway in Vancouver Island and discover Canada’s unknown wine destination.

Choose from our expert tips to plan for your memorable trip to the Pacific Coast and find out why Vancouver Island was number one island in Continental US & Canada in the 2015 World’s Best Awards by Travel + Leisure magazine. 

Enjoy Outdoor Activities by the Sea at Your Doorstep

The sun-kissed Parksville Beach Boardwalk and the lulling waves of the Pacific Ocean are the perfect backdrop for an energizing morning run or a long evening walk at The Beach Club Resort. 

The hotel is located in the heart of Parksville which means you have easy access to a variety of outdoor activities for two. Call ahead and rent a kayak for two at Adventuress to explore the West Coast waters. Or discover the stunning views of water falls while hiking the trails at Little Qualicum Falls, 15 minutes away from Parksville. 

Explore Top-Rated Wineries Less than One Hour Away

You won't need to go too far from The Beach Club Resort to explore some of the top-rated Vancouver Island wineries, making them the perfect destination for a day trip.

The Millstone Estate Winery, a small, family-owned maker of handcrafted wines, is just a half-an-hour drive from the hotel. Visit for some of the finest wines aged in oak, the breathtaking views of the Millstone River Valley, and the organic eggs produced by free range chickens roaming around the vineyard, rated by locals as some of the best they've tried. 


For award-winning wines, the Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery is the right place to visit. Committed to innovating and producing outstanding wines, the estate has won, so far, over 78 international and national awards, including two double gold medals for their white wine 2014 Beaudacious and their red wine 2015 Foch Cab. Take a bottle home with you or become a Beaufort Case Club member for exclusive events.

Discover the Best Parksville Restaurants for Wine Lovers

Wickaninnish Inn is not the only Wine Spectator award-winning restaurant in Vancouver Island. At The Beach Club Resort, savor the finest of the West Coast cuisine mastered by Executive Chef Rick Davidson at the Pacific Prime Restaurant & Lounge, paired with local and international wines, handpicked by the resident sommelier. The epic ocean and mountain views from the beachfront patio complement the ideal dining experience.

Realm Food Co., a restaurant focusing on sustainability and locally-sourced ingredients within walking distance from the hotel, and Bistro694, combining international recipes with local ingredients in Qualicum Beach, are also part of the list of top-recommended restaurants in the area.

Complete Your Itinerary with these Must-Visit Spots

Coombs Old Country Market started off as a stall on the side of the road selling fruit to travellers on their way to the West Coast in 1973, run by an immigrant couple from Norway. It's not just for the great food that people visit the market. The goats on the Norwegian-style grass-covered roof are one of Coombs' most famous tourist attractions. Enjoy lunch on the terrace as the goats mind their own business on the green roof above you.


At Canada's unknown wine destination, no trip is complete without sampling some local cheese. At Morningstar Farm, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks has been crafting the best artisanal cheeses for over 15 years. Take a self-guided tour or book a guided one in advance to learn all about this local family-owned company. 

Canmore with the Family


An Incredible Vacation The Whole Family Will Love

You can't beat Canmore for a family vacation. Whether young or young at heart, there's something to pique all interests. 10 Hikes has put together some great suggestions for how to make the most of your time — from activities to where to stay, and where to dine. And, if hiking is your thing, be sure to check out their directory of the best hikes in Canmore and Banff.

A Rocky Mountain High — 150 Years and Counting

 Swiss guides in Banff

Swiss guides in Banff

Stretching almost 5,000 kilometres through two countries, the Rocky Mountains dominate the skyline from peak to valley. This impressive mountain chain, incorporating at least 100 separate ranges, is known to all as 'The Rockies'. Extending from the jagged peaks of British Columbia down the continent to southern New Mexico, this enormous natural monument can be seen from space.

Visitors today are just as impressed by the awe-inspiring vistas of these diverse ranges as were the first humans who scaled their snow-peaked heights and fished and canoed their glacial lakes and rivers.

As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday we look back on the first tourists to visit this spot and realize that the area's natural beauty and magnificence hasn't changed since time long ago.

The Rockies developed a reputation as a tourist haven with the first trans-Canada mass transportation system.

 Canada's first transcontinental train

Canada's first transcontinental train

Less than 20 years after Confederation a train arrived at Port Moody, British Columbia, the first one, in fact, to travel on the new tracks through the Rockies linking east and west. The journey had taken 139 hours, as passengers travelled from Montreal in the east all the way to the Pacific coast.

What must those early passengers have thought as they left the cityscape behind and entered the great wilderness of Alberta? As they left the vastness of the prairies, they would have been greeted by the towering expansive mountains. Perhaps from the window they may have spied in the distance some of the wide range of native wildlife that share the natural resources, including elk, bighorn sheep, deer, bears, coyotes, wolves, moose, lynx, and mountain lions.

 Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

These premier visitors would set the trend for future journeys as the Canadian Rockies quickly became a world-class tourist destination for travellers who love to hike, explore, climb, fish, hunt, camp, and appreciate this beautiful and vast land.

Many of these first visitors were from Switzerland, mountaineers lured by the promise of fresh powder and unchartered slopes. The Rockies were a challenge for even the most experienced climbers and featured such diverse terrain that the Canadian Pacific Railways used the slogan “50 Switzerlands in one” in their advertising efforts.

These Swiss guides brought with them expertise, specialist equipment and a love for the sport. They became their own tourist draw and brought legitimacy to the Rockies as a mountain adventure destination, Banff being designated by the Canadian government as the country's first national park in 1885. 

Their exploration of the area won them fame and honours, with many peaks still bearing the name of the Swiss guide who scaled them. An entire mountaineering industry was built on the work of these early European adventurers.

 Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon

As well as climbing there were other activities that brought visitors to the Rockies and continue to do so today.

Natural points of interest, if well cared for (which invariably means leaving them alone) can last for millennia. Those magical sights that captivated tourists long ago still feature high on the must-see itinerary of a modern visitor. Whether it’s taking in the turquoise waters of Lake Louise, walking through the natural tunnel at Johnston Canyon, or watching the tumbling waters at Athabasca Falls in Jasper Park, or Bridal Veil Falls in Banff, the Rockies continue to leave visitors spellbound.

 Banff Upper Hot Springs

Banff Upper Hot Springs

After a hard day of physical exertion travellers over a hundred years ago took a dip in the therapeutic warming waters of the Banff Upper Hot Springs. At 5,200 feet elevation it is the highest hot springs in Canada, and with 100% natural spring water,  it still draws visitors from near and far each year. The gift shop sells “heritage bathing suits” so that you can fully immerse yourself in the experience of a traveller of the late nineteenth century.

On the mountains not much has changed in 150 years, the Rockies still represent all the rugged beauty of nature at its best. People come here to be amazed, to remember how beautiful a sunset can be, to dip their toes in an icy lake and to climb the sharp sides of a giant cliff face. They come to escape the sprawl and artificial clutches of modern busy city life. They come to experience silence and to feel grateful for things that haven't changed in centuries.

Now, as we celebrate Canada 150 the appeal of the Rockies has never been stronger. Listen carefully and you’ll hear the call, it’s time to go explore.

Canmore's New Rocky Mountain Romance Packages


Bellstar is excited to offer in 2017 at its Canmore properties a new romantic room package. In partnership with the Canmore-based Rocky Mountain Soap Company, guests can now upgrade any room for $75 and receive the Rocky Mountain Romance Package. This package includes:

  • A Rocky Mountain Soap amenity pack including aromatherapy and bath salts
  • Late checkout
  • The best view of the Canadian Rockies (based on availability)
  • Bottle of red wine

The package is available exclusively at both Solara Resort & Spa and Grande Rockies Resort

Escape In The Rockies


Imagine you're locked in a room where a multi-millionaire diner owner has set up a series of puzzles for you and your colleagues to solve so only the truly-deserving can hold the key to taking over his business.

This is one interview you have never experienced before!

But this is not an actual interview. This is just one of the themed adventures now available when you book your next event at either Solara Resort & Spa or Grande Rockies Resort in Canmore, Alberta.
Bellstar Hotels & Resorts has partnered exclusively with Eureka Banff, the only escape room in the Canadian Rockies.

Escape rooms offer a unique and affordable way for corporate groups to learn how to work together, communicate effectively, delegate tasks and learn to think outside of the box. This great new team-building activity is available for groups up to 8 people and all guests of Bellstar Hotels & Resorts receive a 10% off discount.

Contact Stacey Mitchell, Bellstar Regional Sales Manager for more details.

Stacey Mitchell