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Experiential Gifts: Great Things to See and Do in Ontario in 2017

Sometimes the best things in life are lived and learned rather than owned or used.  That’s exactly why we’ve compiled a list of educational, fun, and relaxing experiences for you and your loved ones to give, get or try this year. 

Get Schooled

Give the gift of knowledge: sign you and yours up for a general interest course to help you flex your creative muscles and learn something new.

There are a wealth of cooking classes across the province, including Duck School by King Cole Ducks — where professional chefs help you get more acquainted with one of the province’s favourite proteins– or the Savour Stratford Pairings courses, like this one of cheese & beer!


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Group cooking classes are fun, hands-on gifts for both beginner and experienced cooks. Schools like the Feast On? certified From the Farm Cooking School have private group options and use local ingredients, while Waterloo’s Relish Cooking Studio offers a variety of themed classes (like this 3-day Cooking Camp for Teens). Chances are, the techniques and recipes learnt will last a lot longer than your food will! Learning to cook is a gift that really does keep on giving. 

If you’re in Toronto, you have a wealth of options with the TDSB’s Learn4Life programs — learn to make your own stain-glass windows, reupholster a chair, brush up on your painting skills, or learn a new language!

Join a Tour, Give a Tour


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You’ve seen them, you’ve heard about them; perhaps 2017 is the year you finally sign up for food tour! The Culinary Adventure Co. have their own gift cards, and Guelph’s Taste Detours showcase the best bites the city has to offer.  Food tours are a great way to meet new people who share your interests and learn something new!

We also love, love, love Tasty Tours neighbourhood tours. They’ve recently revamp’d their Kensington Market Toronto tour and it’s pretty darn great. Bonus: Get 40% off e-gift certificates this holiday season. Got a foodie, chocolate addict or city adventurer on your presents list? Be their favourite person this festive season with one click!

For more ideas and tours near you, you can always check out our Culinary Calendar, or submit your own event.

Get Active


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This winter, escape to Arrowhead Provincial Park and strap on your skates. This Muskoka provincial park is home a gorgeous 1.3km treelined skating trail loop, and there are plenty of great accommodations nearby. Go mid-week to enjoy the trail at off-peak hours, then head an hour north to Northern Edge Algonquin for a two-night’s stay in a cozy cabin.

It may be Winter, but it’s never too early to plan your first Ottawa Valley whitewater adventure at the Madawaska Kanu Centre. This canoe and kayaking hot spot is a Destination Canada designated “Signature Canadian Experience,” and their hearty kitchen is Feast On? certified, to boot! Once you’ve dried off, head to Whitewater Brewing Co.‘s new Lakeside brew pub in Cobden for a fresh, local pint. Practice your skiing techniques or learn from scratch at Highlands Nordic ski club just South of Collingwood.  Head to Creemore Kitchen for a locally sourced dinner and drinks, or warm up at one of the many stops along the Apple Pie Trail


Looking for massages, therapeutic baths, yoga retreats, or the closest king-sized bed to your favourite winery?  There are a lot of fabulous resorts to choose from in Ontario.


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Scandinave Spa at Blue Mountain is any luxury bathers dream — take in beautiful winter landscapes from the comfort of their outdoor therapeutic baths.

Situated in the heart of Niagara wine country, a few nights stay at the White Oaks Resort & Spa or Vinelands Estates is the perfect gift for your favourite wine connoisseur. Some of our favourite wineries are just a short drive away (Henry of Pelham, Ravine Vineyard Estate, and Peller Estates to name a few), and what good is a vacation without a little fun? Terroir tastings by day and massages by night, yes please!