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Make Yourself At Home: Canadian B&Bs with Extra Character

By , September 5th, 2018

They say there’s no place like home but my messy abode doesn’t surprise me with cookies, nor is the decanter ever filled with a sweet nightcap. There’s no offer of turn-down service, nor a bountiful breakfast, and the view over the neighbouring parking lot is lacklustre.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of charming B&Bs and inns across the country. Some hosts even put the best grandmas to shame. Whether you’re a seasoned B&B devotee or a reluctant novice, these top-ranked Canadian B&Bs will make you reconsider just how sweet that return home (to a pile of laundry) really is.

 

BC & The North

Stonehouse B&B [stars number="4"]

Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

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Some people are reserved about staying at a bed and breakfast for fear that their desired privacy will suffer. If you’re a B&B beginner, Stonehouse B&B on Salt Spring Island is a wonderful introduction to the best aspects of a B&B stay. Convivial hosts Hilary and John are joined by a small group of support staff who ensure every detail of your stay is impeccable.

The amenities at the property are unparalleled: a geothermal whirlpool is directed towards a view of the mountains and the Salish Sea and there’s room for 10, so there’s no need to get awkwardly cozy with strangers. The eco-friendly geothermal system also provides the majority of energy for the ceramic and stone steam room. The house feels private even while fully occupied with each guest able to find their own serene space.

The lovingly prepared breakfasts evolve with the seasons and what’s available from the gardens. It begins gently with an appetizing bowl of fresh fruit, best enjoyed out on the deck and its incredible views. It’s followed by a hearty sweet or savoury made-to-order main, taken at a long communal table, where a wayward comment from another guest about a beloved novel might inspire you to browse the curated library. An eclectic art collection can be enjoyed unrushed. You’ll depart feeling utterly wholesome.

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Fairholme Manor [stars number="5"]

Victoria

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In one of Victoria’s most desirable neighbourhoods with arresting views over the sea and the mountains, Ross and Sylvie of the Fairholme Manor B&B welcome guests to their whimsically-restored Italianate mansion. Warm, accommodating and unobtrusive, they are wonderful hosts and you’ll be sad to leave no matter how long you extend your stay.

Guest rooms are bathed in light streaming in through generous windows that overlook the well-kept garden grounds. The breezy decor is a stylish mix of plush contemporary comforts, potted plants and covetable heritage accents including a grand sleigh bed and a wood burning fireplace in the Fairholme Grand Suite.

The highly anticipated breakfast begins with coffee, tea and a buffet of granola, yogurts, berries and home-baked goods. The main courses are the showstoppers and items like eggs benny, frittatas and lemon ricotta pancakes show off Sylvie’s prowess as a chef. In fact, she has published two cookbooks, so upon departure, you can bring a bit of the Fairholme breakfast back home.

[button text="Check availability >>" href="https://www.trivago.ca/victoria-44247/hotel/fairholme-manor-bed---breakfast-inn-1831537"]

Prairies

Waterfront Harbour B&B

Cold Lake, Alberta

A good host understands the power of unexpected cookies still warm from the oven. The Waterfront Harbour B&B keepers Isabelle and Shannon rank among the finest and surely their solid cookie provision record plays a role in their popularity. Their sweet house is on the lakeshore of Cold Lake, a short walk from the beach and the marina.

It’s worth staying two nights for the breakfast alone; they cook up generous, nourishing breakfasts with local ingredients whenever possible and lots of homebaked pastries, scones and muffins. The gourmet entree changes every day but silken eggs and fluffy pancakes appear with a changing array of additions.

A tip for a drizzly afternoon: grab a cup of coffee and a jam scone and head up to the third-floor window seat. It has a lovely view over the lake and is a nice corner to take a moment to relax.

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Ontario

The Old Rectory [stars number="3"]

Stratford, Ontario

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Kim and Kevin often find themselves greeting familiar faces, welcoming an endless stream of return guests to The Old Rectory B&B.  As long-time Stratford residents, they are as happy to help arrange theatre tickets as they are to chat about their favourite spots in town.

Their stately Arts & Crafts house and its accompanying Irish cottage coach house date back to 1902. The main house has a lovely sunroom as well as lush grounds with multiple seating areas for privacy from other guests, a fire pit and a koi pond.

Kevin takes care of planning and cooking the multi-course breakfast. Plenty of local fresh fruit is served with homemade yogurt and a variety of lovely bread to be spread with Kevin’s delectable homemade jams and jellies.
The entrees are a sumptuous affair; the likes of dainty cheese souffle, perfectly poached eggs florentine and fluffy omelettes are joined with seasonal garnishes. For dessert, there’s usually a whole array of goodies but the ground cherry spiced upside-down cake and spiced sticky buns deserve special mention.

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Osler House [stars number="4"]

Dundas, Ontario

Charming and caring, host Gary possesses the refined hospitality of the Victorian aristocracy befitting of his Osler House B&B. The house dates back to 1848 and is in the lovely nineteenth century Dundas village part of Hamilton. It has been faithfully restored to welcome antique-loving guests into three bedrooms, each with their own private bathroom.

You’ll feast your eyes on period treasures like original hardwood floors, luxurious carpets and vintage lighting finishes. It’s not without its modern creature comforts, however; comfy beds, soaker tubs and free WiFi make this stay fit for royalty– in fact, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands was once Gary’s guest.

Gary serves a healthy gourmet breakfast in the dining room or sunroom. Elegant silverware and fine china arrive topped with fresh fruit, an ever-changing array of main dishes and fresh baked scones and breads.

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Quebec

La Marquise de Bassano

Quebec City, Quebec

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One of my favourite parts of a B&B stay is hearing the history behind the property. Storyteller Francis of La Marquise de Bassano knows every knot, nook and cranny of his storied house located within the fortified walls of Vieux-Québec. Francis goes out of his way to spoil his guests and is even quick to laugh even at the wickedest of dad jokes. Guests are always welcome to sit and chat in the living room next to the wood fire or bang a ditty or two on the grand piano after a glass of wine.

Book lovers should request the Library room: outfitted with a four-poster bed, clawfoot tub and surrounded by floor to ceiling shelves stuffed with books of every theme and genre. It’s a bibliophile’s dream.

Breakfast is a lavish affair with enough eggs, ham, cheese and fruit to feed a small army. I can’t imagine a more welcome alarm clock than waking up to the smell of Francis pulling out some hot, homemade croissants out of the oven– and it’s hard to resist not having a baker’s dozen.

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Le Gite Du Hu-Art [stars number="4"]

Quebec City, Quebec

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Sat beside the peaceful Lake Saint-Charles, a 30-minute drive to downtown Quebec City, Le Gite du Hu-Art is a laid-back clapboard villa B&B. It was built by owners Pierre and Linda, who are exemplary of the traditional Quebecois hospitality.

Guests are encouraged to use the complimentary paddleboards and canoes to follow the call of the loon hidden in the morning fog or explore nearby Talbot Bay and the North Marsh. Pierre has an encyclopedic knowledge of other wonderful outdoor activities in the area and can help customize an itinerary to suit your wishes.

Artistic talent clearly runs in the family, from the charming paintings of daughters Marie-Fauve, Jade and Anna-Rose which decorate the walls, to the artfully arranged breakfast plates of Linda. Breakfast is taken in the terrace or sunroom, weather depending and is cooked fresh to order. Crepes and waffles often make an appearance, generously paired with decadent sauces and fresh fruits, as well as more savoury items like gourmet croissant sandwiches.

[button text="Check availability >>" href="https://www.trivago.ca/quebec-city-44253/hotel/le-gite-du-hu-art-2005857"] [related-article id="50649"]

 

Atlantic Canada

George House Heritage B&B [stars number="5"]

Dildo, Newfoundland

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The locale might have a funny name, but the George House Heritage B&B is no laughing matter. Host with the most Todd spoils guests rotten with his home cooked goodies and eagerness to go above and beyond to please his visitors. George House is perched high on the hill above town and has an expansive view over the magical sunsets and the pods of whales who often visit the bay. The Adirondack chairs on the lawn beckon you to plonk down with a glass of sherry from Todd and let the magnificent vista sink in.

The house is ornate, with silk wall coverings in the bedrooms and a traditional dining room dressed to the nines with opulent wall details. Its grandeur is matched by the epicurean breakfast. Heavenly muffins are a staple on the menu and a rotation of luxuries like smoked salmon and masterfully poached eggs appear regularly.

As nearby amenities are minimal, Todd will happily pack you some snacks for exploring. A thoughtful, Todd-packed care package of coffee and cookies eases the sorrow of departure as you journey home.

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Storied Walls at Fitzroy Hall B&B

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

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Sitting pretty in the middle of Charlottetown’s most cultural quarter, the Victorian era Fitzroy Hall was built during the island’s famous Confederation era. Sweet and attentive owners Helen and Reg are proud Islanders and happy to welcome guests into their colourful historic home for a very classic B&B experience.

The Fitzroy is full of quirky period relics including squeaky wood floors, fanciful antiques and fireplaces. Guests are free to enjoy the formal parlours and their respective marble fireplaces as well as sit in the manicured garden. Comfort is of the utmost importance and each of the eight bedrooms has a private bathroom and memory foam mattress.

Breakfasts take place at a large communal table shared with other guests from around the world. Helen serves lavish portions of English style breakfast and shares historical anecdotes about the house. The recipes she uses have been passed down for generations and second helpings are encouraged!

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Atlantic Sojourn Bed and Breakfast [stars number="4"]

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

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Mother and daughter Linda and Michelle of the Atlantic Sojourn B&B have got hosting down to a T. Upon arrival, Linda provides a bit of history about their Edwardian former Sea Captain’s house before settling you into your spotless room. Fluffy towels, cozy quilts and the genuine warmth of their smiles are among the details which land this dynamic duo among the highest ranked B&Bs.

Michelle is responsible for the fresh baked cookies whose tantalizing smell lures guests from near and very far down for a chat to the verandah. Her recipe must be in high demand because the crispy yet chewy decadent cookies are the work of practiced perfection.

Michelle’s talents as a chef are also showcased during breakfast, taken in the formal dining room. The first course is seasonal fruit, yogurt and cereals followed by a sweet or savoury main. Eggs are beautifully cooked and come exclusively from the free-range heritage hens of the local Sweetwood Farm.

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Featured image courtesy Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
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