We’ve all sat in a hospital room for hours, reading decimated magazines from 1998 about how Good Will Hunting got robbed for Best Picture at the 70th Oscars, wondering where we could be dwelling about this cultural atrocity elsewhere…
As it turns out, an increasing amount of sick people (fictional or otherwise) are opting out of the GP’s office for the more quieting surroundings of nature and wellness retreats.
On THIS LIFE, CBC Television’s new drama series, the series protagonist Natalie Lawson has tried it all. Alternative healing with a cellular reprogrammer, top-notch medical care at one of Montreal’s best hospitals and now, in the penultimate episode of the season, she travels to a wellness retreat with her daughters’ high school principal, Andrew Wallace. And they aren’t the first.
Throughout history, nature’s always been believed to be the key towards a better, healthier life.
One part of the Holy Bible reads like a raving Tripadvisor review for the Dead Seas and its therapeutic powers. Kings and Queens of The British Empire would go gaga over natural mineral baths, believing they could cure ailments or build up physical strength. And President Theodore Roosevelt went so far as to use nature as his personal playground by hunting and chasing game for sport.
Today, wellness and nature retreats account for 14% of global tourism revenue, according to a study presented at the Global Wellness Tourism Congress back in late 2013.
That’s a lot of yoga, mystical tea and yurt money.
But whether you’re going vegan in a wood cabin for your next vacation or just looking to reconnect with wilderness, THIS LIFE showcases some of the Montreal area’s most beautiful green spaces.
Janine and Gerald Lawson’s house is situated in a small town called St. Hilaire, nestled at the base of Mount Saint-Hilaire. The mountain is maintained by McGill University, which conducts much of its biodiversity research in the surrounding biosphere reserve. Aside from its rare mineral deposits, flora, and unique fauna, the mountain is known for its sheer magnitude of legends. It’s said that the mountain provides not one, but two passages into hell, at a section of the mountain locals call “les portes de fer” (the iron gates). Six dollars will give you full access to the mountain and its many accessible pathways.
Though THIS LIFE has never had the luxury of shooting up north in the Laurentian Mountains, it plays host to the fictional nature retreat Natalie travels to. The Laurentians is a 22 thousand square kilometre stretch of land north of Montreal. It is Quebec’s predominant outdoor playground and cottage country. Amongst its multitude of rolling hills lies Mount Tremblant, the area’s most astonishing hiking and skiing destination. Aside from the weekend stag party blitz in Tremblant village, this huge expanse of land is your one-way ticket to natural reconnection.
The Morgan Arboretum is a 245 hectare nature reserve, located on McGill University's Macdonald Campus in Ste-Anne-de-bellevue on the western side of the island of Montreal. It’s home to some killer tobogganing hills, ski paths and over 170 species of birds. It also happens to be the location of Natalie and Andrew’s retreat for episode nine of THIS LIFE.
Mount Royal is Montreal’s most iconic natural symbol and occasional guest star of THIS LIFE. If you visit on Sundays during the summer months, you’ll have the added honour of busting a groove to the tam-tams that rock the mountain’s east side by Park Avenue. If you’re stuck visiting during wintertime, you’re free to skate on Beaver Lake atop the mountain. A hike, picnic and tasty beverage of choice will do the trick any time of year.
For more of the unique nature that Montreal has to offer, check out new episodes of THIS LIFE, Mondays at 9pm on CBC Television.
I’m Max Morin, Story Coordinator and ultimate blog-blasting insider for THIS LIFE. Bring it back here for more behind-the-scenes info on the series!