I had just spent my second night at the Radisson Hotel Winnipeg Downtown and was beginning to feel spoiled by the decadence of it all. The spectacular view…

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The Business Class executive suite…

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The warm welcome!

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I was beginning to feel like a bit of a celebrity. Humbled as always by the generosity and hospitality of Manitobans, I knew this lifestyle was coming to an end. It was now early mid-August and my monthlong journey throughout Manitoba would soon be up.

I had less than a week left and was seriously starting to feel the effects of the constant on-the-go journey. I had no real sleeping pattern, as every morning required a different wake up time. My days often consisted of waking up, finding breakfast, making sure the camera and iPhone batteries were fully charged, packing my bags, checking out of the hotel, packing my growing bags into my tiny car, filling the car with gas, and figuring out the best route to get to my next destination on time, and so on. This is not a complaint, but the reality of travelling for a month around an unfamiliar province by yourself, for the most part at least, does take its minor tolls. I was extremely grateful for the experiences I was having, but some days you just want to relax and take things easy. This day was one of those days. And it’s as if Travel Manitoba knew I’d be feeling this way, because they planned my day absolutely perfectly.

Hot Yin Yoga at Yoga Public

This morning I was scheduled for a Hot Yin Yoga session at Yoga Public, a yoga studio in downtown Winnipeg, just around the corner from the Radisson. And you’d naturally think I’d feel at home with yoga because I’m from Vancouver, but the reality is that I hadn’t done yoga before. Well, not quite. I’ve did one yin yoga class three years ago, but otherwise I’m a complete newbie to yoga. The idea of jumping right into hot yoga? Yikes!

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Of course, I didn’t need to worry.  When I walked in for my scheduled yoga class, I explained to my instructor Natasha that I was completely new to yoga. She was extremely accommodating and structured the class accordingly. She explained everything out loud, so I didn’t have to guess what was going on, I merely followed Natasha’s soothing voice.

Hot Yin Yoga is probably the best class for a hot yoga newbie like myself. Unlike most hot yoga studios, the hot yoga studio at Yoga Public is one of a handful of North American studios that provides far-infrared heat. The room is heated to 38.4 degrees C, but the far-infrared heats the body and not the air, so the air is completely breathable while you’re doing yoga. As a result, it feels completely relaxing, like you’re at a beach in the summer sun. And since a lot of yin yoga involves passive postures, you really do at times feel like that’s exactly what you’re doing. I approve!

Unburger

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For lunch, I asked my Twitter followers where I should go for Winnipeg’s best burger. Although I received a lot of great suggestions, the one recurring name I kept seeing was Unburger. So off I went to Osborne Village to enjoy one of their famed healthy gourmet burgers. Well, one curry mango chicken burger later, and I’m a fan. The burger was served with an apple fennel slaw, artisan lettuce, and chili mayo. I ordered edimame rather than fries, but then the staff came by, knowing that my Twitter followers had sent me there, and insisted I had to try their “Shareables”, so they came by with a sampler of potato and yam fries with both a sweet chipotle aoili and a new pesto aoili. “Don’t feel you have to finish them all”, they said as they dropped them off at my table. How sweet is that? Unburger? You rock!

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Calder House Bed & Breakfast

To complete my day of relaxation, I was going to be staying at the Calder House Bed & Breakfast. Located in Steinbach, the bed and breakfast is not just a place you rest your head for the night, but it’s a healing house to nurture your body and soul; to enjoy delicious meals in good company, or to relax at the hands of an extraordinary Reiki master. Or both!

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As I walked through the doors of Calder House, I was greeted by my hosts, Carole Tétreault and her partner, Grant Milliner. While bed and breakfast hosts are often warm and inviting people, I did not expect to have that instant familiarity with the both of them. He all hit it off immediately, and getting to know them over my stay was an absolute delight.

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Since Grant had to do some work in his office (he does accounting for clients), I joined Carole in the kitchen while she was making pizza, as I was going to be experiencing their Soirée au Pizza package during my stay. Part of the experience at Calder House is that you can have dinner made for you, so you can relax and enjoy their property. It’s such a brilliant idea, especially since their house and property’s so gorgeous. I was already put at ease, and felt like I’d come home.

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Outside the kitchen, birds were feeding from the feeder in the grove of oak trees. I could have sat and watched them for hours.

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While the pizza was baking, I took a walk with Carole outside to enjoy the sights and and smells of their garden. I also got to meet her two dogs, and their tomcat, Stu. Stu is short for “Stupide”, not because Stu is stupid, but because he was found in a ditch, which was deemed a stupid situation for a poor cat to be in. Missing my own cats, I instantly fell for Stu.

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Back inside, I unpacked my belongings in my room, a beautiful bedroom overlooking the front of the house. I loved the little touches – the photography hanging on the walls, the little rabbit on the bed, and the plants in the windows. The room was warm and comforting.

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At dinnertime, I sat with with Carole and Grant in the kitchen. They cracked open a bottle of red wine which we shared, and we dug into most delicious homemade pizza and garden salad. It was just so… nice. Again, I felt like I was with family and long lost friends, sharing a home cooked meal. It was exactly what I needed.

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After dinner, I went upstairs and got to see Grant’s music studio.

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An accomplished musician, Grant used to play in many bands over the decades, including an early 80s band pictured below. You may or may not recognize the woman in the picture, but she’s now a well-known Canadian singer songwriter.

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And another I’m a complete music nerd and could geek out with Grant about music all day, what really caught my attention were his toys.

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These were Grant’s Dinky Toys, now recognized as vintage toy cars. My dad also had these growing up and saved them so that when I was young, I used to play with them. I even recognized a few that I had played with, and it brought back a flood of nostalgic memories.

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Afterward I went into the spa treatment room.  Carole specializes in a variety of treatments, from the aforementioned Reiki, to hot stone massage.

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Carole gave me all her options for a spa treatment, and I decided to go with the one that sounded most fascinating to me: Raindrop Therapy. In this spa treatment, Carole uses seven single essential oils (thyme, basil, peppermint, oregano, wintergreen, cypress and marjoram) as well as as two blended oils, and applies them to your feet, spine, and back muscles using a gentle feathering stroking technique.

The purpose of this treatment is to stimulate every organ, muscle and bone in the body at a cellular level through the oils, to boost the immune system, and help release toxins. It also helps expand your vertebrae. To prove it, Carole measured me before I had the treatment, and then afterward, and my height grew approximately a centimetre!

The entire experience was absolutely blissful, I practically fell asleep. Not to mention, I smelled absolutely wonderful after all those essential oils were applied, I could smell smell it in my skin for two days. Needless to say, I slept soundly that night.

When I woke up the next morning, I could hear movement downstairs, and the comforting smell of bacon, coffee, and breakfast wafted up the stairwell. It reminded me of Christmas morning, my dad cooking breakfast for the family as the rest of us slept in. Again, this felt like home away from home. Sitting down for breakfast, I chatted with visiting guests, and we enjoyed a wonderful wild rice crepe stuffed with mushrooms, served with bacon and fresh fruit.

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When it was time for me to leave, I felt like I was saying goodbye to extended family. Sad to be going home, but knowing I’d be returning one day in the future.

A huge thank you to Carole and Grant for your generosity and hospitality. You truly made me feel at home. Thank you to Natasha at Yoga Public for the yoga, and to the staff at the Radisson Hotel Winnipeg Downtown for an extraordinary two night’s stay. 

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