Blue Mountain, Collingwood, Canada (Club Intrawest)

Collingwood is a resort destination that has transitioned radically over the last 15 years.  Finding its early roots in being singularly an Ontario ski resort, it has grown into a year round outdoor recreation destination of choice for many in eastern Canada.   Its bustling village was developed and is operated by Intrawest, a name you may recognize as the original developer of the renowned Whistler ski resort in British Columbia.   

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They really do have it all here as far as families are concerned, regardless of your outdoor passion.  Located on the southern tip of Georgian Bay, the location affords the village a wide variety of sports offerings including Ontario’s largest ski resort, a plethora of summer water sports and nearby beaches, mountain biking, golfing… and the list goes on.  However, I do think that it is the village itself that holisitcally ties together the visitor experience together in a way that is unique.  Those Intrawest folks are a wily bunch!


Blue Mountain appears to be modelled in look and feel after Whistler.  The architecture and exterior decor are unmistakably those of its much bigger west coast cousin. The village’s location at the base of Blue Mountain means that it has an outdoor lovers ambience as  ski boot cladded skiers stroll through in the winter and mud covered mountain bikers in the summer.  

The restaurants, pubs, cafes and clothing stores that dot the village are for the most part mid-to high end.  What is nice about the restaurants is their understanding that their target market is families.  They seem to understand that Mom and Dad want adult food, with a good wine list, in an atmosphere that is subdued but with enough going on to cover up the shrieks of children. There is the right level of compromise.  I give special mention to the Oliver & Bonacini restaurant at the Westin where the food is continental with a mix of pastas, curries, pizzas and interestingly prepared mains.  The staff are well trained in understanding family nuances and the food is usually outstanding.  

We often stay at Club Intrawest which is on the outskirts of the village and is excellent for families.  It’s a time share as its core purpose but they do still rent to the public, you simply need to call and ask about renting.  We rent a two bedroom ground floor unit in front of the pool and sand box.  It’s family vacation heaven!

As you can see from the pictures we usually visit Blue Mountain in the summer. There is a small waterpark here next to the luxurious Westin Trillium House that is open year round.  And not far from there, there is a novel roller-coaster, ski resort style if you will, that winds down the side of the mountain where you control the speed. Wind your way through the woods with your son or daughter in the little cart with you!  Blue Mountain also has kids camps on year round.  A tip for you, we have had good experiences with finding reliable babysitters through the camp whose number is available at Blue Mountain’s web site under “kids at blue”. 

In the end, my description of the restaurants captures the essence of what makes Blue Mountain so great - there is something here for everyone - all of the time.  And all of this is offered in a way that makes you feel you are still in the midst of all of the outdoor action. 

© Paul-Sarah 2013