I’m not really an outdoorsy person. I mean I like the outdoors. I can get outside and admire the landscape and all. Maybe sketch and take photos (lots of photos). I just don’t know how to ride a bike and such. So, when Jen Maier here at Urbanmoms announced that we were going to Blue Mountain for our team retreat, I pictured relaxing at the Scandinave Spa, eating delicious meals at Oliver & Bonacini and okay, maybe a meeting or two.
She stopped me in my tracks one day and said…”Okay team give me your top 2 choices of activities you would like to do on our retreat and here’s the list.”
I scrolled down … segway tour, biking, high ropes challenge, low ropes, RidgeRunner….
“Um…Jen, I gotta admit. I’m not an outdoorsy kind of girl,” I said quite embarrassingly. “Realistically, I wouldn’t do any of these things…so um, but I’m resourceful and I’m sure I’ll find something to do.”
Jen knew it wasn’t me. But little did I know, while we were meeting over the trip itinerary, Jen had contacted the people at Blue Mountain Resort and had mentioned that she had a
DIVA someone that’s more into arts & culture on the team. And within mere minutes they came back with a list of alternative activities!
Cayla and I were given a guided tour with the lovely and knowledgeable Kristin Ellis of the Blue Mountain Village Association, along the Apple Pie Trail hitting some unique spots within the Collingwood area. We visited Chef Philip Tarlo at the Collingwood Cooking Academy and ventured to several delicious restos, cafes and did a bit of shopping. You can read about them on Cayla’s blog here: The Blue Mountain Apple Pie Trail.
I also knew there were many artists that call the Blue Mountain area their home and I can see why! There are so many beautiful spots to admire and get inspired! But just off the main street in Collingwood is an incredible artist space. Located in a converted 19th century building is the TREMONT ARTIST STUDIOS.
What was once known as the Tremont Hotel, this space was once destined for demolition. Today it’s a working studio space for artists. On any given day you will find artists working on different media creating sculptures, paintings, and jewellery. This is a serious haven for some of Canada’s most sought after works.
I had a wonderful visit with artist Patricia Russell and she spoke about how locals and the government helped financially and made this a heritage building and created this artist space. They are all professional artists and take turns to display their works in the corridors of the building. They also bring in featured artists to showcase their work in the building often.
“This space has actually become the centre of the artist community,” says local artist Patricia Russell.
Each artist rents their studio space and there’s currently a waitlist. “We take care of each other so we can open the doors to the public and we don’t alway necessarily have to be here all the time, which makes it more flexible.”
I was drawn to Patricia’s work. Her art is clean, simple with lots of space and sometimes she’ll add a little quirky detail. I can chat for hours with Patricia. “I want people to enjoy my artwork, it’s not a lot of noise.” So, we had a great discussion about this. “If it looks effortless it’s a success. We, ourselves, know how hard artists work.”
This is a worthwhile visit while you’re up in the Blue Mountain area and needless to say, I fell in love with all the arts & culture that is offered up at this four seasons destination.
BTW… the Blue Mountain area hosts many world-class performing and visual arts festivals throughout the year including Latin Fest, Jazz Fest, artwalks and is home to one of the largest gatherings in North America for Elvis fans! You can find out what’s happening at www.bluemountainvillage.ca
Here are just some of the artists that were featured in the studios while I was was there in July.