Niagara-On-The-Lake in the BMW M550

Vrrrrrrroooooommmmmm

Vrrrrrrroooooommmmmm

Now i'm not going to lie to you, this is not the first M series BMW i've driven. When I was a kid I used to work for the BMW dealer in my hometown. I worked in the detailing department and was responsible for getting new BMW deliveries cleaned and ready to go after they've come off the truck. That meant cleaning off the brake dust, vacuuming the interior and making sure there wasn't a single smudge on the glass. One of the favourite memories was driving a BMW M3 from one dealership to another, it was about 35 kilometres and I loved every minute of it. Fast forward about 10 years and I get to drive one of my favourite automobiles again.

There's just something about a BMW, i've always thought it's the perfect balance between a sporty, kind of stiff feel and a smooth luxurious feel. Some cars feel like the steering is just too assisted, like you're not really connected to the car, that's not what a BMW feels like. A BMW makes you feel like you're part of the driving experience and I like that, I like to have to do a little work. The BMW M550 is a beautiful piece of machinery, it's got all the latest bells and whistles like gesture control (you wave your finger in the air to turn the music up or down), heated a cooled seats and massage capabilities. BMW has also said this is the fastest 5 series of all time boasting a 4.4 litre V8 engine capable of 456 horses at 6000 RPM, needless to say it's fast.....real fast. 

I felt like I could park this beauty anywhere, might as well park right out front.

I felt like I could park this beauty anywhere, might as well park right out front.

We got to take this beautiful car to a beautiful area of Ontario, Niagara-On-The-Lake to visit a few wineries and eat a delicious meal. We spent the night at the Prince of Wales hotel right on the downtown strip. We quickly dropped off our luggage and jump on a bus to do a tour of the wineries. Of the three we visited my favourite was definitely Konzelmann Estates. They have a signature peach wine that was perfect for the 30 plus degree weather that day. 

The grapes weren't ready yet. 

The grapes weren't ready yet. 

Wine tasting at Konzelmann Estates.

Wine tasting at Konzelmann Estates.

We had dinner in the hotel that night, I started with a Smoked Trout Salad and had the New Zealand Lamb for dinner. The meal and wine pairings were absolutely exquisite. Dara unfortunately wasn't feeling great so we had an early night, I was fine with this because it meant we'd be up earlier and I'd get back in the car sooner. The next morning we slowly made our way back to Toronto taking our time looking for some cool places to shoot this beast. All in all it definitely wasn't enough time with the M550, BMW if you'r reading this I'd love a one year lease :D. Till next time!

Brett 

Travel Diary: The British Virgin Islands

The beach at Great Harbour.

The beach at Great Harbour.

A couple of weeks ago I finally got to go on a vacation that was over a year in the making. It all started when my mom decided she wanted to take me, my two brothers, our significant others and my niece and nephew on a trip of a lifetime. We discussed different options, like a trip to Europe, but decided that warm weather was the way to go. My parents decided to charter a 51 ft power catamaran from the Moorings, a luxury yacht charter company, to explore the British Virgin Islands for 10 days. 

We had three flights to take in order to finally land int Tortola. Toronto to Miami, Miami to San Juan and San Juan to Tortola. Our final flight was on a tiny 9 seat Cessna that gave us a beautiful view of our surroundings. 

The Journey to Norman Island.

The Journey to Norman Island.

After about an 8 hour journey we landed in paradise. A quick drive from the airport brought us to our home for the next 10 days. After throwing everything on board we were off in under an hour and headed to Norman Island. The most interesting part about Norman island was the ship anchored offshore that had a bar and small kitchen onboard. It was THE place to spend your afternoon sipping on Painkillers and taking in the crystal clear water. 

Our next island was Jost Van Dyke, we stayed in one of the largest bays on the island called Great Harbour and saw our first turtle here! We also had a boat moored next to us that had disconnected one of the mast lines to use as a giant swing, it was awesome! We spent one night in Jost before heading back to the main island of Tortola but this time visiting Cane Garden Bay. Cane Garden Bay was stunning, the beach was beautiful and the sunsets were absolutely spectacular. 

The view above Cane Garden Bay.

The view above Cane Garden Bay.

The next morning we made our way towards Marina Cay with a quick stop snorkelling at Monkey Point. Out of all the snorkelling spots we checked out this had to be one of the best. We saw schools containing hundreds and hundreds of Blue Tang (Dory!). This was the first night we spent at a marina. We chose the Scrub Island Marina and it was an excellent place to hang by the swim up bar and soak up the sun. That evening we took a water Taxi over to Marina Cay to visit one of the most famous Pusser's Rum locations, the one with the telephone booth! Our ride back was an interesting one, in an effort to get back to the marina as soon as possible we paid a man to take us back across the channel in his tiny little dinghy. There was barely enough room for the 4 of us and I actually had to stand up in order to balance out the weight in the boat. The boat sat so low that when the waves hit the side of the dinghy they actually came right over the edge. Needless to say it was worth the ride to Marina Cay.

Pusser's Rum dock at Marina Cay.

Pusser's Rum dock at Marina Cay.

Anegada, an island on the outskirts of the BVI's, was our next destination. We spent two amazing nights there and got to see some of the most beautiful beaches i've ever visited. The sand was soft and white and the water was incredibly clear. We couldn't have asked for better weather.

 

After Anegada it was off to the Bitterend. The Bitterend Yacht Club felt like being in a movie. The hammocks, the water, the ambience was spectacular. We sadly didn't stay the night at the Bitterend due to the fact that the prices were a little steep so instead we made our way over to Levereck Bay to moor up for the night. 

Hanging around the Bitter End Yacht Club

Hanging around the Bitter End Yacht Club

How cool are the Muskoka Chairs!?

How cool are the Muskoka Chairs!?

Spanish Town was our final stop. Spanish town is the largest city on the BVI's second largest island, Virgin Gorda. It's home to the most famous attraction in all the islands and that is the Bath's a cluster of massive boulders that litter the beach on the Southeastern side of the Island. They were brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions hundreds of years ago. The Baths was my favourite spot on the entire trip. The rocks were absolutely spectacular and the water was so clear and warm, just an absolutely beautiful spot. 

We spent the last day at Cooper Island and did some more snorkelling. This time we took the dinghy out to the point and tied up. After swimming around the reef for a good 10 minutes I spotted a beautiful shell maybe 20 feet down. I asked my sister-in-law Karen to go grab it for my mom because I had damaged my eardrum earlier that week snorkelling. She asked to borrow my GoPro to try and pull the shell away from the coral reef so I handed it to her and she dove down towards the shell. She reached toward the coral with the GoPro extension arm and out of the darkness came a tentacle pulling the shell back toward it's lair. Karen let out an underwater scream and came swimming back to the surface "did you see that!?" she yelled. There was a tiny little octopus that had collected all the most beautiful shells to keep as it's most prized possessions. It was such a cool experience to see the interaction with such an intelligent Cephalopod.

Our last night at the Moorings Marina.

Our last night at the Moorings Marina.

We spent the final night in the Moorings marina because we had to be up early to catch our flight. It was a whirlwind 10 days and they went by faster than I ever could have wanted. The trip that took a year to plan has come and gone and now I can't wait to see where we get to go next. 

The view from the van on the way back to the airport.

The view from the van on the way back to the airport.

Beautiful British Columbia with Lincoln Canada

The 2017 Lincoln Continental

The 2017 Lincoln Continental

Just over a year ago, Dara and I decided we really needed to see the rest of Canada. In 2015 we drove east to Nova Scotia and this year we finally got to see the west coast, British Columbia. Now I've done a lot of travelling but like most Canadians I've always really considered "travelling" leaving the country. There is so much to experience within our own borders and I truly encourage all Canadians to explore Canada before you venture abroad, and if you're not Canadian then come visit! 

Vancouver Island, BC

We were lucky enough to partner with Lincoln Canada to test drive the brand new 2017 Lincoln Continental on the other side of the country. Lincoln flew us out to Vancouver where we met our ride for the week outside the Fairmont at YVR. After we were handed the keys we drove directly to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in order to board a ferry bound for Victoria. Like most of our trip, it rained the entire day, after settling into our Air BnB we had a nice dinner and called it a day.

The next morning we got up bright and early to explore the west coast of Vancouver Island. We had been told the night before to change routes and forego Nanaimo and instead check out Mystic Beach. I was sold pretty quickly because the name alone sounds pretty cool and from the pictures we saw online it looked like an oasis. Unfortunately as soon as we past Sooke we had zero cell phone service and never managed to find Mystic Beach. Instead we found China Beach which was still pretty fantastic. 

China Beach on the Juan De Fuca Trail.

China Beach on the Juan De Fuca Trail.

We explored the West coast of Vancouver Island for most of the day and stop for lunch in Sooke on the way back to Victoria.

Vancouver -> Whistler, BC 

The next day we woke up early... to more rain. We packed the car and headed back towards the ferry terminal on route to Vancouver. We spent the day exploring Gastown in the rain and enjoyed a few beers at a great bar called the Lamplighter. I had bought us some tickets to see the Vancouver Canucks and we were really looking forward to the game after a soaking wet day. We arrived 1:30 into the first period and the Vancouver Canucks were already down 2-0, it was a terrible game. All in all the first half of the trip had been a very wet experience. It had literally and figuratively put a damper on the whole vacation. 

The next morning we packed up the Continental again and headed off to Whistler. Once again it rained the whole way up and was incredibly foggy. We did however stop at Shannon Falls which was absolutely spectacular. We knew the drive was supposed to be beautiful but we really couldn't see much with all the fog. 

The winding roads through the mountains made for a very entertaining drive and really allowed me to see what the Continental was capable of. It felt smooth but sporty rounding each bend in the road and the Revel sound system and SiriusXM radio gave us the beats we needed to really enjoy ourselves. 

The massage seats in the Continental are phenomenal.

The massage seats in the Continental are phenomenal.

The drive from Vancouver to Whistler is about an hour and forty five minutes with Squamish being about halfway between the two. Do you know what made the drive that much better? Massage seats, the Continental has seats that massage both your butt and lower back which makes a long drive feel like a short one. After a little over 3 hours (we stopped a lot) we arrived at the Four Seasons Whistler, an absolutely spectacular resort. We were pleasantly surprised by the room and the beautiful view of the mountains. 

Whistler, BC 

Four Seasons Whistler

Four Seasons Whistler

After a walk around the village we went back to the room to get ready for our snowmobile adventure that evening. We were taking a snowmobile up Blackcomb mountain to have dinner in a fondue hut at the top of the hill. The Snowmobile tour was amazing, we were up above the clouds ripping around on an incredibly powerful machine. After stuffing our faces with cheese fondue we went back out into the cold and back down the mountain twice as fast as we came up. 

Dara and I riding up the mountain.

Dara and I riding up the mountain.

Crystal Hut, where we had Fondue dinner.

Crystal Hut, where we had Fondue dinner.

Now after all the rain and crappy weather I was seriously worried when I went to bed that night. The next day was a day I had looked forward to since I was a teenager. I had always wanted to ride Whistler, and I was worried that the rain was going to ruin this once in a lifetime experience. Thankfully I woke up the next morning to clear skies and what I was told was one of the nicest days they had all year. I was greeted at the bottom of Blackcomb by my guide for the day, Darren Chalmers, who was a former member of the Canadian Olympic Snowboarding Team. Darren spent the morning giving me a tour of Whistler Blackcomb. He was incredibly knowledgable and I have no idea how I would have made it around the slopes without him. The experience was everything I could have asked for and more. 

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Darren Chalmers and I

Darren Chalmers and I

Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb

Lunch at Christine's

Lunch at Christine's

Whistler -> Vancouver, BC

We were treated to a clear day on Friday as we made our way back to Vancouver. It was quite amazing to see the difference in landscape when the mountains weren't being shrouded in fog. We stopped numerous times on the way back to Vancity to take in the spectacular views and to try and figure out a plan to move here. 

One of my favourite stops was Porteau Cove Provincial park. This stop along the Sea to Sky highway gives you excellent views of the mountains as well as Howe Sound. It's a must see during your next trip to British Columbia. 

Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Porteau Cove Provincial Park

After a spectacular drive back down to Vancouver, in one of the most comfortable but also sporty vehicles I've ever driven, we arrived at the Pan Pacific Vancouver. We dropped the Continental off at the valet and checked-in only to find out we had been upgraded to a junior suite (if you watch my Instagram stories you would have seen this amazing room). We had a panoramic view of Vancouver that was absolutely spectacular. 

The view from our balcony at the Pan Pacific Vancouver. 

The view from our balcony at the Pan Pacific Vancouver. 

This was one of the most spectacular trips i've ever been on and a trip that I have always wanted to accomplish. I couldn't have asked for a more luxurious and beautiful vehicle to drive around an equally beautiful province. The Continental makes every drive, whether it be your commute to work or your drive to Whistler, that much more enjoyable. 

Brett

Couldn't wipe that stupid grin off my face all trip.

Couldn't wipe that stupid grin off my face all trip.

Best of Project Show Vegas 2017

Last week I made my first ever trip out to Las Vegas to attend Project Show. Myself along with 15 other bloggers were brought out to Project show to work and collaborate with the many brands that attended the show. I met some very talented individuals and was lucky enough to introduce myself to some very creative brands. These were a few of my favourite brands from Project Show 2017. 

Check out the video I shot with my new GoPro HERO5 Black from Best Buy Canada. Check out Best Buy Canada's IG Profile for more great camera gear. 

Norman Russell 

Before attending the show I hadn't heard of Norman Russell, but that's exactly what Project Show is about. You get to meet the designers and creatives that build these brands, like Kortney Hastin , who is the creator of Norman Russell. Kortney believes in quality over quantity and that's why they don't churn out massive quantities of product. Instead each pair of jeans is hand numbered and every piece is carefully crafted using high-end unique fabrics. Check out Kortney's booth below.

F/W 2017 from Norman Russell

F/W 2017 from Norman Russell

I love this camo bomber from the collection.

I love this camo bomber from the collection.

Billy Reid

Another of my favourites from Project was Billy Reid, the heavy weight fabrics and classic designs make Billy a go to. Every piece is very well thought out and is sure to make a statement this F/W 2017. Check it out below.

Billy Reid F/W 2017 

Billy Reid F/W 2017 

How nice are those boots!?

How nice are those boots!?

So many wants.

So many wants.

Michael Bastian 

One of my favourite designers in the game, Michael Bastian, needs no introduction. Ever since his inclusion in the Best New Menswear Designers in America for GQ in 2007 I have loved his work. There is no detail that goes overlooked, the fabrics and fit are perfect and if you're a suit lover like me you won't be disappointed. Check out F/W 2017 below.

So much yes!

So much yes!

The suede bomber jacket was a definite favourite. 

The suede bomber jacket was a definite favourite. 

Suiting is always on point.

Suiting is always on point.

Mackage

Being from Toronto Outerwear is very important. We spend around 4 months of the year below 0, (celsius...obviously) which means you better have a warm jacket. Mackage knows a thing or two about warm and stylish jackets but my pick from F/W 2017 is their awesome Moto Jacket pictured below. I truly believe every guy needs a staple moto jacket that can take them anywhere they go.

F/W 2017 at Mackage

F/W 2017 at Mackage

Moto Jacket Goodness.

Moto Jacket Goodness.

Hudson Jeans

Most of you know me for my suits and ties, but in reality I don't wear a suit and tie ALL the time. Most weekends and even during the week you'll see me out in my streetwear. That's why I love the guys over at Hudson Jeans, unfortunately by the time I got over to snap some photos of their booth they had started to pack up so I guess you'll have to check out their swag over on their IG page.

A half empty Hudson Jeans Booth.

A half empty Hudson Jeans Booth.

Raleigh Denim Workshop 

Raleigh Denim was another brand I had never heard of going into Project. My buddy Drew from Everyday Drew introduced me to their awesome selvedge denim and unlined jackets. These guys are sure to be a staple in my closet in 2017. 

F/W 2017 by Raleigh Denim Workshop

F/W 2017 by Raleigh Denim Workshop

Up close and personal with Raleigh Denim.

Up close and personal with Raleigh Denim.

Hope you guys enjoyed this recap of my experience at Project Show in Vegas. I'm going to be putting together a video walkthrough as well so stay tuned!.

Brett

2016 Calgary Stampede

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The Stampede has always been on my bucket list. I've heard from countless friends that it's something that has to be on your bucket list. The Calgary Stampede claims to be "The Greatest Show on Earth". Did it live up to all the hype? Check out my photos and story below.

The view from the apartment. 

The view from the apartment. 

So this trip had been planned for months, the plan was to stay with a buddy of mine from University. Two weeks before we were supposed to leave for YYZ I get a message that he had accepted the opportunity to continue his education back in London, Ontario. That meant that I would now be staying with his roommate (who i've never met) for the weekend. Needless to say i was a little hesitant but our host was extremely gracious. We arrived, on Thursday morning to rain in Calgary (and rain the entire trip). Jordan's place was directly across from the Stampede grounds, putting us as close to the action as possible.

The midway at night. 

The midway at night. 

The first night was spent taking in some live music by Mother Mother and checking out the fairgrounds, nothing too crazy.

 

Bareback riding. 

Bareback riding. 

On Friday we went to the Rodeo which was by far my favourite event of the Stampede. We got to see bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, tie down roping, saddle bronc and bareback riding. The bareback riding and bull riding were by far the most impressive. The power and strength that the horses and bulls exhibit are awe-inspiring and the ability to hold on to these animals is absolutely crazy. I thoroughly enjoyed the Rodeo and would highly recommend it to anyone attending the Stampede, it's a must see. That night we headed over to Nashville North which is one of the tents on the Stampede grounds. They have live bands and an overall great country feel.

Fireworks every night. 

Fireworks every night. 

We finished the night by watching the fireworks from the apartment balcony.

Chuck wagons. 

Chuck wagons. 

The next day was pretty low key but we spent the evening attending the Chuck wagon show which was another great time. If you're going to the Stampede make sure you get tickets to the Rodeo and the Chuck Wagons as these two events are the cornerstones of the festival. 

What better way to travel than by Jeep

What better way to travel than by Jeep

On my last day in Calgary I convinced our host to take us out to Canmore, Alberta. There is no better feeling that driving into the Rocky Mountains. The size and beauty of this mountain range is incomparable and I absolutely love being there. I just wish I could have spent more time, we were only out there for a couple of hours and I really should have spent a couple of days. 

Canmore, Alberta

Canmore, Alberta

All in all I would highly suggest you check out the Calgary Stampede for yourself. The people of Calgary are lovely and would love to have you. The scenery is absolutely stunning and the event itself is something you've probably never seen before. I hope I get back soon,

Brett

Montreal with National Bank for #Altcourt

Entering the #Altcourt party (© Karel Chladek)

Entering the #Altcourt party (© Karel Chladek)

There are a lot of great cities in Canada but one has always stood out to me, Montreal. Maybe it’s the French, maybe it’s the old town but I always feel like i’ve travelled across the pond to Europe when I make my way to Montreal.

Montreal

Montreal

This time I was lucky enough to be sent to one of my favourite cities by National Bank of Canada to attend the #Altcourt party for Rogers Cup. I love tennis and attend the Rogers Cup in Toronto almost every year, so I was quite excited for this jam.

Poutine and Steamies

Poutine and Steamies

After landing and getting into the Marriott Hotel I quickly grabbed a bite at a classic Quebec institution, La Belle Province. Famous for “Steamies” (steamed hotdogs, with coleslaw on-top) and poutine. After that it was a quick change at the hotel and then off to Uniprix Stadium for the event.

My outfit for the night. 

My outfit for the night. 

All of the lights at #Altcourt

All of the lights at #Altcourt

Sunset at the main court. 

Sunset at the main court. 

We arrived just as the sun was setting and got to watch some excellent dancers at the Uni Prix  Stadium. With light installations, a ball pit, 10 person table tennis and a massive game of Pong the "Alternate Court" event was something i've never experienced before. The fabulous bartenders whipped up some very unique drinks as well.  It was a great way to kick off the start of an excellent Canadian Tennis Tournament. I’ll be cheering for Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard! Check out the Rogers Cup in Montreal from July 22-31st 2016. 

 

 

Check out the awesome video below:

Waldorf Astoria Golf Experience in NYC

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The Park Avenue entrance of the Waldorf Astoria with my black card. 

The Park Avenue entrance of the Waldorf Astoria with my black card. 

On Monday June 20th I was lucky enough to be sent to NYC to stay in one of the nicest hotels in the city, The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria. The hotel was completed way back in 1931 and was home to Herbert Hoover and Frank Sinatra for many years, it's a very impressive piece of NYC history. Waldorf Astoria and Golf Digest Magazine have created a once in a life time Golf Experience putting you up at one of their iconic properties and allowing you to participate in a round of golf at a private Top 50 Golf Digest course with your own caddie! The participating hotels are: Waldorf Astoria Chicago, Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh, Waldorf Astoria New York and Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Only four foursomes will be able to attend each location, making this a very special opportunity.

It's not easy to swing in a Hardy Aimes suit. 

It's not easy to swing in a Hardy Aimes suit. 

To celebrate the launch of this once-in-a-lifetime experience Waldorf Astoria threw a party at the only "Golf Club" in Manhattan, Golf and Body. With simulators set up and putting challenges put together it was an excellent way to get the ball rolling (I kill myself). I want to thank the Waldorf Astoria team for having me, I had an excellent time and believe that the Waldorf Astoria Golf Experience is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can find more info regarding the Waldorf Astoria Golf Experience on their Social channels: 

The amazing views from outside the Waldorf Astoria NYC.

The amazing views from outside the Waldorf Astoria NYC.

The hallways of the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria. 

The hallways of the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria.