This is what the members of the Germain family remember the most of their year visiting our beautiful country.
Clarah, Guest Service Manager at Alt Hotel St. John's
For my part, I moved to my new province [Newfoundland and Labrador], which was a big turning point for me. I have had many visitors coming to see me and I am happy and proud to say that they have all fallen in love with the province, its cliffs and, above all, its people.
But my best memory of the year would be my trip to the small town of Bonavista. Not only is it beautiful, it is also a creative hub in the province. Many of my favourite local products come from here: the Newfoundland Salt Company sea salt, BonaBooch kombucha (both of which we are now selling at the hotel!) and East Coast Glow products.
I also loved the Bonavista Social Club, which in addition to being a very good restaurant located by the sea, it has a very nice social mission. Everything is local, traceable and responsible! Owner Chef Katie Mayers and her family grow a garden, raise animals, make honey, etc. Even the coffee that is served is grown by Katie's uncle in South America!
Hugo, Director of Development
Establishing our brands across the country lead us to travel often and to adapt our training routines according to local customs. In Vancouver, bike enthusiasts are very familiar with the famous Triple Crown, which consists of three mythical climbs on the North Vancouver side. The bravest cyclists will face the three climbs (Cypress, Grouse and Seymour) during the same day, an adventure of more than 100 km and nearly 2000m of elevation gain.
While I was in Vancouver, and because I did not have the time to do the three climbs, I opted, by a beautiful Sunday of May, to rent a bike in the city centre from Vancouver and face the most important of the three bumps: the Seymour.
It was under a big blue sky that I left, crossing Stanley Park and the Lions' Gate Bridge while heading towards this rise of 12 km and a little above 1000 m of vertical ascent. The descent will offer you a splendid view of Vancouver Harbor, and, a little later, the beautiful city of Vancouver. In total, it is a hike of about 70 km and a little over 3 hours on the bike. When done, congratulate yourself with a good beer in Vancouver Harbor and enjoy it while listening to seaplanes take off!
I've visited a lot of places this year and it's hard to pick my favourites, but I instantly think of two: Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.
I had the chance to do some of the Cabot Trail on a motorcycle as well as play on some of the most beautiful golf courses in Canada, including the beautiful Cabot Links in Cape Breton. I remember getting close to an eagle, a real one, who was on the field while I was playing. What an experience!
Another highlight was when I visited the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron (the only one in Canada!) at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. This machine accelerates the movement of electrons at the speed of light, creating an intense light beam used in various cases of research. It was very interesting, I was lucky to be able to see that.
I will conclude by mentioning that Saskatoon is a great discovery for me. It is a city where the culinary scene is exceptional and whose atmosphere is quite special. It is not a big city, but it gives off something very special!
Marie Pier, Regional Director and Director of Hotel Design
I fell in love with the Alt Hotel Calgary East Village, which we opened at the end of 2018 and that I visited earlier this year. The neighborhood in which it is located, the East Village, is so inspiring!
I particularly liked the view of the hotel at night. When you are on the other side of the river and look at our black building on a dark night background, all we see are the large windows of the rooms, all illuminated. And in the morning, the show is even more beautiful when in your room, when the sun rises on the Bow River. The room is bathed in the early morning light and it is as if the sun wishes you a good day.
Otherwise, I also ate at Darren Maclean's Shokunin restaurant. It is an intimate restaurant where modern Japanese dishes and sake are served. To see Darren serving us behind his counter is pretty impressive!
The Îles-de-la-Madeleine are truly unique as a landscape. I went last summer, and the summer before, and I’m completely in love. I was particularly lucky because the weather was exceptional when I was there. I always want to go back for the beaches, the colours, the people, the food. When I go there, I really enjoy sea kayaking, which is simply beautiful, as well as cycling. There are also many artists there.
A particularity that I was able to observe this year is how much entrepreneurship is alive in the islands, but most importantly, women's entrepreneurship. It struck me! Many women have their own businesses and they occupy a large place in the local economy.