Thursday, March 29, 2007
Where does the time go? Just trying to squeeze in a few words about the last few days before I head home for dinner. I'm stressed! I just spent three days in Toronto at a Leading Spas of Canada conference. I've been in this spa business for the last 15 years, and have always been a believer in networking, and self improvement through sharing of ideas and a little bit of peer pressure. I honestly believe that collectively we can create better spas, and get the word out to more people about our spas by working together in a cooperative model. This group, however, has had it's share of challenges. Trying to get everyone from across this great, but very diverse country of ours together, on the same page, in the same place, singing from the same song book is challenging to say the least. Long story - ask me some day if you really want to know all the gory details. Where was I - being in Toronto is always a nice break. We stayed at the King Eddy; not a bad hotel, but showing a little wear around the edges. In her heyday, she was such a "grand dame". There were people there from just about every region of Canada, but Ontario and Quebec, who have the most spas, and are the closest to the conference, were not very well represented. Go figure. We made some wonderful new friends though, and came up with lots of great ideas as to how we can make the Canadian spa experience even better and more appealing and accessible to more Canadians and tourists from abroad. The Canadian Tourism Commission recently moved their offices from Ottawa to Vancouver, and it seems as though the move has injected new life into this organization. We had the pleasure of meeting with Giselle, Frank and Jens, all from the CTC, all very energized and full of new ideas for promoting Canada to the world. Check out Jens' blog, for some great travel tips, and check out the CTC web site. It will make you proud to be Canadian, and hopefully inspire you to plan some of your vacation time right here in your own back yard. We also had the pleasure of a visit from Susie Ellis, owner of SpaFinder. Susie has the onerous job of checking out spas all around the world. We first met her in New York a year ago, when Ste. Anne's was awarded the 2006 SpaFinder Reader's Choice Award for Canada's favourite spa. This past weekend, we got to show Susie a few great Ontario Spas, and she gave us the thumbs up. Check out Susie's blog for great tips for spa lovers. For me, the highlight of the conference was a talk given by Gary Guller - the one armed mountain climber. What an incredible story about acceptance and inspiration. If you're feeling a little down on your luck or feeling sorry for yourself, check out this guy's story. Got home late on Tuesday night, and appreciated a good sleep in my own bed. Since then have really been enjoying the great weather - spring is so lovely. Last night I walked home, just so that I could walk to work this morning. The air is so fresh, the birds are singing (even heard a woodpecker), rabbits are running, fish jumping, ducks doing what ducks do, dogs sniffing and peeing, squirrels running from the dogs, scolding them all the while, so many beating hearts to share this great countryside with. Then there are the humans; lots of litter on the side of the road, a nice fresh bag of KFC trash, cigarette packs and butts, beer bottles, Tim Horton cups, and horse manure. "Wait a minute", you say, "horse manure isn't trash", "it's biodegradable". Not if it's on your windshield! Larry, one of our massage therapists was heading home from work on Tuesday night. He came upon three people riding horses down the middle of the road. Thinking he should give them some warning of his approach, he lightly tapped his horn. Well, one of the horses reared, and Larry was greeted with some choice words and hand signals. I guess one of the riders was composed enough to make a note of Larry's vehicle, and the next night, Larry found 2 inches of horse manure smeared on his windshield, along with a note "Maybe this will help you, sh** for brains". Perhaps Larry made an error in judgement by using his horn to warn the equestrians, but really, does the punishment fit the crime? I don't think so. I shudder to think of the possible consequences of such an exchange in some of our urban centres. Humans! Despite this little bit of excitement, life here in Grafton really is fresh, wonderful, and peaceful, especially at this beautiful time of the year.