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To say we all need a break is putting it mildly. After a year of pandemic burnout, there’s a case to be made that our next vacation (when it’s feasible) should be as stress-free and uncomplicated as possible. These destinations in Canada promise peace, nature, a place to let out a yearlong sigh and an opportunity to safely return to travel when the time is right.
Disconnect in the Yukon
The rugged beauty of the Yukon is one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. Not for long, though, since the territory is now accepting fully vaccinated Canadian travellers. In fact, the Yukon leads the country in vaccinations, easing travel stress for those ready to go. Turn your phone off and disconnect at Mount Logan EcoLodge. Located in the Kluane National Park and Reserve, two hours from Whitehorse, it’s remote enough to truly escape and reset. Already on the property are three guest rooms, a yurt and a Gold Rush-era cabin. New this summer is a “Yukon-glam” wall tent with two loft-style levels, wood interior beams, a queen bed and a wood stove, plus two barrel cabins with panoramic mountain views. It’s a good spot to see aurora borealis shows (visible mid-August to mid-April) come nightfall.
Forest bathe at Trout Point Lodge
The decades-old Japanese tradition of Shinrin-Yoku (forest bathing), centred on decompressing under a canopy of trees, might be the best way to lift the weight of pandemic burnout. Trout Point Lodge in East Kemptville, N.S., offers a revamped three-day Wellness in Wilderness retreat with a private 2 1/2-hour-long forest bathing experience, as well as access to kayaks and paddleboards for use on the Tusket River, yoga classes, a therapeutic in-suite massage and time in the hot tub (complete with wine and a cheese platter) to soak off any stress. Don’t forget to take in the starry nights in one of North America’s dark sky zones.
Float and sauna in Tofino
Few places capture nature quite like Tofino. Harness that setting and unwind at Tofino Resort + Marina. The resort’s location allows you to breath in Pacific Ocean air, go hiking, surf and dine on local produce. A floating sauna, located a 20-minute boat ride from the resort and that can accommodate up to six people, is slated to open in October. Along with hammocks and a fire pit, the sauna features a floor-to-ceiling window showing off the Tofino Inlet.
Spa it off
Urbanites who may not have the chance or desire to explore nature aren’t excluded from the pandemic stress shake-off. City spa packages offer a stress-free oasis without a long journey. The Ritz-Carlton Toronto’s new wellness package includes breakfast for two and a $200 credit that can be used for massages (valid until Sept. 6). The Strøm Nordic spa gives Montrealers a chance to soak stress away without the flight to Scandinavia. As part of the Attractions Passport initiative to inspire Quebeckers to enjoy local tourism, you’ll also get 40 per cent off services.
Extend the Zen
We’ve been in pandemic mode for 15-plus months. It’s fair to say it will take more than a long weekend to shrug off the stress our minds and bodies have accumulated. Many resorts and hotels are offering extended stay packages, meaning you can hunker down to reset for weeks, or even months (great for those who work remotely, are wary of too much travel or too many touch points, or want to avoid multidestination trips). Solara Resort & Spa in Canmore, Alta., has condo-hotel suites that can be booked weekly and monthly. Full-sized kitchens and rooms feel like you splurged on a swanky condo in the mountains with resort amenities, minus the commitment. Let’s not forget just how beautiful Canmore is, too. Canmore and nearby Kananaskis might offer some of the best hiking, views, clear glacier lakes and fresh mountain air in the country. Whether you’re just taking in the views, or pushing yourself physically with a hike or mountain biking, you’ll have ample time to re-energize your mind and body.