Jeff Bartlett


Food can certainly please your palate but it can also evoke a sense of place. Think, freshly caught seafood on the West and East coasts, or eating a just-picked strawberry from a local farmer’s market in the Okanagan or in Alberta’s heartland. Cities like Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary are home to some of the top restaurants and chefs in North America where you can watch, or learn the secrets in private cooking classes.

At approximately 7:25 AM, the sun crested the eastern horizon and brilliant beams of white light shot through the leaning lodge poles on the massive teepee (the largest teepee in the world, they say!). It was a classic prairie sunrise and, given the temperature hovered around zero, I welcomed the warmth. But, to be completely honest, I wasn't actually cold. When you cycle along the amazing biking trails in Medicine Hat you tend to work up a pretty good sweat!

In front of me, on a polished long table in a refurbished industrial building on the outskirts of Medicine Hat, sits a piece of wood cut in the shape of the province of Alberta.

Our zen hits its zenith when we sip the 2013 Perpetua Chardonnay following a hearty spoonful of the Ocean Wise seafood chowder.

"This," said Jessie the guide "is your holy crap strap. If you go over, pull it!" That all-important strap was stitched to the front of the spray-skirt, which would shortly be attached to my kayak – a kayak soon to be launched into heavy seas just off the shores of Vancouver Island.