Oh, Canada. How I’ve ragged on you over the years as slightly uninteresting (Quebec, excepted), and not just bordering the US, but bordering on boring. So in June when the hooligans of Vancouver took to the streets chagrined by a hockey loss of all things, I wasn’t dismayed. I was intrigued. A little bit of spunk on the Pacific West Coast, evidently. Spunk that was in full bloom when I visited recently and got my “grind” on.
No, not the popular gay sex hook-up app Grindr. “Grind” is the name that the sporty citizens of this Pacific coast metropolis give to the climb up Grouse Mountain that overlooks the city. If I told you it’s what you have to do in order to make it up “nature’s stairmaster,” you’d probably get a pretty good picture of having to climb straight up for hours. Funny thing, I didn’t get that image at all. I was too busy being charmed by the pearly smile and chiseled good looks of my host Paul of Fairmont Hotel’s Pacific Rim.
Halfway up Grouse Mountain, I reminded myself why never to trust men with comic book hero looks. Paul had barely broken a sweat, but his toned muscles were on display for all to see. Meanwhile, I was panting and dispirited at the sign that I’d only made it halfway. But the carrot that kept me going was another sweet nothing that Paul whispered to me—the reward of a Van Active Body massage, a treatment Paul explained was part of Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spa new program known as “Stay Active Rx.” My special treatment would aid in my own grind recovery with a metabolism-stimulating massage focusing on muscles and joints.
After 2+ hours conquering “nature’s stairmaster” I was convinced recovery would be a bitch. But the therapist got to work using Kerstin Florian Organic Aromatherapy Ginger Body Oil with essential oils like coriander and eucalyptus, to address fatigue, poor circulation and inflammation.
In short order, I was ready to get my grind on again that night at restaurant L’Abbatoir. Make sure this trendy Gastown neighborhood haunt is on your itinerary because the West Coast fresh farm-to-table flavors delight even the pickiest foodies. Paired with hard-to-find British Columbia wines, and it was almost enough to make me forget the Grind. Almost.
Note: JP overcame his Canadian concerns courtesy of Fairmont Hotels & Willowstream Spa.
Jon Paul Buchmeyer