Children live in a constant state of play. Adults, not so much. Endless pressures to stay on top of our responsibilities seem to stack our decks toward serious and stressful living. Could it be we take ourselves far too seriously?
It is just as important to think about playfulness and it is to play. Play is an action whereas playfulness is a behaviour. Play is the act of throwing horseshoes in your backyard while playfulness is an inclination to smile or laugh while doing so. If that is the case, there is always an opportunity to inject a playfulness into anything we do—even work—thereby reducing some of the stress and seriousness. Play keeps us sane. This may be one of the vital gifts we are learning to appreciate under our current circumstances.
No one disputes the physical benefits of recreational activities. If we walk, hike, cycle or ski, chances are we schedule fewer visits to the doctor, maintain lower body fat percentages and have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. As we are learning, mental wellness is vitally critical to overall health. Recreational activities help us to manage stress, build self-esteem, improve focus and sleep better. Recreation also sparks our creativity, builds family unity and it’s good for the economy. In other words, we feel good.
More than 100 Resorts of Ontario property owners are well aware of these benefits and offer myriad year-round opportunities to “feel good.” Here are just a few examples of what’s in store for you.
FEEL GOOD IN THE GRAND OUTDOORS
Bayview Wildwood Resort on Sparrow Lake in Muskoka is an ideal year-round destination. In spring and summer, outdoor activities include golf, fishing, swimming, paddling, tennis, cycling, shuffleboard as well as a kids’ camp and inflatable water park. Come autumn, scenic hiking and cycling trails turn into a photographer’s paradise when the Canadian Shield wilderness explodes into colour. Winter days are filled with horse-drawn wagon rides, skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice-fishing, visits to an indoor pool and hot tub and an array of activities in the games room.
Blue Water Acres Resort sits on the shores of Lake of Bays in Muskoka, an area known for pristine lakes, spectacular beauty, clean air and abundance of wildlife. Relax on a beautiful, safe, sandy beach. Catch the big one; lake or rainbow trout, small mouth bass and white fish abound here. Motorboats can be rented at a nearby marina while canoes, paddleboats and kayaks are on-site at no cost. Come autumn, legendary fall colours attract visitors to experience the annual spectacle and enjoy nature together. On-property winter activities include skating, tubing, ice-fishing and snowshoeing.
In Barrie, the four-season Horseshoe Resort is much more than a ski destination with 29 alpine ski and snowboard runs and 30 kilometres of groomed double track set Nordic trails. For your summer enjoyment, there’s fat biking, golf, a man-made lake, a wakeboard cable park, indoor and outdoor pools, treetop trekking, Yamaha adventures, hiking and biking trails and the Amba Spa—something for everyone!
Golf is the name of the game at the Rocky Crest Golf Resort, where duffers can challenge the links at three Muskoka golf courses: The Lake Joseph Club, the on-site Rocky Crest Golf Club and the Mark O’Meara Course at Grandview. Non-golfers have plenty to do as well. Embark on a pontoon boat cruise. Non-motorized boat rentals include kayaks, canoes, pedal boats and SUP. Bike or hike through a cathedral-like grove of hemlocks to enjoy the majestic forest on the property. An inflatable waterpark, a heated saltwater pool, a billiards table, basketball, tennis, a beach and a Kids Camp summer program round out the on-site facilities.
An award-winning children’s program at the Severn Lodge in Muskoka keeps little ones entertained, leaving Mom and Dad time enjoy activities without worry. Whether you boat, fish, water ski, mountain bike, play tennis or just relax on the beach, the resort offers a long playlist of pastimes. There’s a heated swimming pool, tennis, shuffleboard, badminton, horseshoes, basketball, volleyball, 100 acres of wooded hiking trails, mountain bikes, game tables, a games room, paddle and pedal boats, jet ski rentals, motor boat rentals for fishing excursions, water skiing and banana boating, boat cruises and evening entertainment. At the end of an active day, a visit to the Whirlpool Spa may be in order.
Adrenalin junkies flock to Blue Mountain Resort where on-site adventures include the Apex Bag jump, a Canopy Climb Net Adventure, a Chutes and Lumber Ball Run, a climbing wall, mountain biking, jet-skiing, rock climbing, the Timber Challenge High Ropes, the Wind Rider Triple Zips, the Mill Pond Activity Centre, Plunge! The Aquatic Centre and more. More off-site action, ranging from ATV adventures and hummer tours to gondola and scenic caves nature adventures, can be arranged by the resort. Golf the Monterra course or schedule a match at the Monterra tennis courts. The resort is well-known for its ski terrain in winter and as a year-round spa and culinary getaway.
The all-inclusive, family-friendly Fern Resort has invited guests to the shores of Lake Couchiching for 125 years to have fun your way. Facilities include a large pool deck and terrace bar, beach volleyball, basketball, floor hockey, paddling, a sail boat, high and low ropes, rock climbing, golf, tennis, pickle ball, a batting cage, archery, axe-throwing, paintball, mini putt, horseshoes, bocce ball, yoga, arts and crafts, indoor pool, fitness centre, a children’s play village, afternoon and evening entertainment and more. Or you can just hang around in a hammock and soak up the beautiful scenery.
In Huntsville, Deerhurst Resort promotes waterfront fun as well as other activities. Between May and October, embark on a Yamaha Riding Adventure, a Tree-top Trekking Adventure, an Algonquin Adventure tour, a Muskoka Brewery Tour, a Muskoka Day Trip, a Paintball experience or a Captain Action Fishing Charter—all arranged by the resort. Trails throughout the property are perfect for hiking and biking. There’s even a petting farm and pony rides nearby.
Calabogie Peaks Resort, Eastern Ontario’s largest mountain resort, overlooks Lake Calabogie, the go-to place for boating, swimming, beach volleyball or relaxing. Anglers regale in the abundance of fish found in the lake and the Madawaska River. Others enjoy a game of tennis. The resort is also the trail head for a network of hiking and snowshoeing trails that expand beyond the resort and across thousands of acres of Crown Land. Nearby, the stunning Ironwoods nine-hole golf course at the base of Dickson Mountain beckons golfers to play and enjoy breathtaking views. At the end of an active day, evening campfires are a much-cherished tradition here. Don’t forget the marshmallows!
At Pine Vista Resort on Stoney Lake in the Kawarthas, relax on a beautiful golden sand beach or head over to the sports pad where activities include tennis, pickle ball, basketball and ball hockey. Slip into the outdoor heated pool on a hot summer day. Relax in one of two hot tubs: an indoor, adults-only hot tub overlooks a natural pond surrounded by trees while the outdoor tub offers a spectacular view of Stoney Lake under the stars. Chill out in the Games Room featuring pool, ping pong, foosball and air hockey or watch TV or enjoy a book from the lending library. Work out in the Fitness Room furnished with state-of-the-art equipment. Spa Massage Therapy provides hands-on healing to even the most challenging aches and pains. Walk, run, bike or slowly meander along more than eight kilometres of nature trails. Don’t forget the camera!
In Grand Bend on Lake Huron, estheticians and massage therapists at Lakeside Spa at Oakwood Resort work their magic on you following a round of golf on a course featuring 18 holes of mature fairways and beautiful greens. There are also golf clinics, practice putting greens, a driving range, private golf lessons and a kids’ golf camp. Not one for massages? Work out the kinks in the fitness room or relax in the indoor heated saltwater pool, hot tub or sauna.
Lake Herridge Lodge in Temagami specializes in hunting and offers fall bear, moose and small-game hunting as well as spring bear hunt packages. Thrills of the hunt are encouraged here along endless bush trails and logging roads on Crown Land. There’s even a walk-in cooler for game storage. Remote lake fishing is another specialty. Rent a 14-foot boat and unwind in the rugged northern beauty as you navigate your way through a series of remote back lakes inaccessible by road. Trails around Lake Herridge offer exploration and discovery opportunities year-round for ATV, motorcycle and snowmobile enthusiasts.
Let 2020 be the year we all learn to embrace a healthy lifestyle by injecting a sense of playfulness into our lives.