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Rock n' Roll, Fine Dining, and Grizzly Bears -- All In One Weekend

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Three of Vacay.ca's dedicated explorers packed in as much as they could to enjoy the final days of summer and usher in autumn in Canada. Using the divide-and-conquer strategy, we spread out to cover and capture some unique and wonderful Canadian experiences. Here's a recap of outings made by our team on Saturday, September 21.

Managing Editor Adrian Brijbassi was at Sonora Resort in British Columbia

Grizzly bears less than 20 feet away. Eagles skimming across the water. Sea lions behaving playfully, delivering early Christmas presents to the delighted photographers observing them. And more than 125 dolphins leaping through the water with a massive rainbow in the background. B.C. is known for its drugs and some of us who experienced these amazing sights on one insanely glorious Saturday wondered if we had fallen under the delusion of something particularly potent.

In truth, this incredible first day of autumn occurred on a wilderness tour with Sonora Resort, a splendid property that would be a place to see even without all of the fantastic nature-viewing opportunities within an hour's boat ride of its docks. You expect an African safari or tour of the Galapagos Islands to feature such a showcase of natural beauty, but not a compact region of Canada known most for its sports fishing.

Even the tour's guide and frequent visitors to Sonora Resort noted that such an amazing array of sights had never been seen all in one day, amid such spectacular sunshine.

The Relais & Chateaux property is also home to an outstanding kitchen headed by chef Terry Pichor. The cuisine is exceptional and the presentations magnificent, with an emphasis on west-coast plates paired with British Columbia's sensational selection of wines.

This was one day that will forever stand out in my mind and the 10 others I shared it with.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTOS OF GRIZZLIES, DOLPHINS AND MORE

Visuals Editor Julia Pelish was in Toronto to attend Lee's Palace

Lee's is in the city's Annex neighbourhood and is a popular destination for music fans. Saturday night's concert featured Canadian artists Jenn Grant and Jim Bryson.

Grant took the stage at 11:30 p.m., along with her band that included Bryson and her husband, Dan Ledwell. She introduced some of her new songs plus played crowd favourites. Her pitch-perfect, crystal-clear voice was a joy to hear. Devoted fans who packed the venue sang along appreciatively to the Prince Edward Island singer's tunes about personal experiences.

Bryson, the opening act, is a soulful entertainer who delivered a superb performance while cracking up the audience with his witty insights and in-law stories that segued seamlessly into his songs.

Grant will be heading out with Ron Sexsmith on his fall tour this week and you can get information on shows and tickets here.

Vacay.ca will feature Grant in a Rock n' Roll Road Trips video soon, where she discusses how travel influences her life and her songs. She also lets you in on the secret to best enjoying some of PEI's famed moonshine.

Deputy Editor Rod Charles attended Savour Stratford in Southern Ontario

There was mouth-watering food and fun activities at the Savour Stratford Culinary Festival. Several celebrities showed up including Peter Mansbridge of the CBC, and theatre stars Cynthia Dale and Geraint Wyn Davies. Outstanding chefs and restaurants represented at the event included Vikram Vij, whose Vancouver restaurant Vij's ranks third on the 2013 Top 50 Restaurants in Canada list.

Several prizes were awarded at the event, including:

Best meat dish: Stratford's Mercer Hall chefs Tim Larsen and Sean Collins, who paired with Fred and Ingrid de Martines of Perth Pork Products to create A Taste of Wild Boar.
Best vegetarian dish: Canadian Grub to Go, where chef Robert Rose paired with Oak Grove Cheese to create Ontario grains arancini.
Best dessert: Your Local Market Co-op chefs Tyson Everitt and Katelyn Vere paired with local dairy products presented a Harvest moon cookie, a fall twist on the Bengali dessert rasgulla.
Most creative dish: Aboriginal Culinary Concepts chef Richard Francis paired with Sheldon Berries presented a Blueberry-cured salmon with pickled blueberries on bannock toast.
Best alcohol beverage: Revel Caffè, where Anne Campion paired with coffee roasters Las Chicas Del Café to create Café con piquete.
Best beverage: Tea Leaves Tea Bar, where tea sommelier Karen Hartwick paired with local forager Peter Blush of Puck's Plenty to brew a Digestive fire tonic.
GE Café People's Choice: Molly Blooms Irish Pub chef Chris Huggins paired with Brendon Lyoness of Caveman Crops to create a fresh peach salsa with roasted jalapeno chevre.

Canada is overflowing with beauty, culture, stunning nature, and of course some of the best food a hungry traveller could ever desire. As fall arrives, Team Vacay.ca is out harvesting more stories of this amazing country to deliver to you.

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