For countless years, well-known spirits brand, Bombay Sapphire, has taken even the pickiest gin lovers on a delightful taste and sensory journey.
Recently, they set their sights on creating a diverse range of premium gins, the newest addition to which is Bombay Bramble — an eye-catching, crimson-coloured gin created with 100% natural fruit flavours.
Rather than using artificial flavours, colours and added sugar after distillation, Bombay Bramble is instead made with freshly harvested blackberries and raspberries for a rich fruit infusion and a bold new gin.
A versatile, ruby-hued gin with fruity summer flavours obviously sounds delicious, but does it live up to the hype? I decided to try Bombay Bramble for myself and share my thoughts.
First up, it's good to know that a 750 ml bottle of Bombay Bramble is widely available around Montreal. You can get it at the SAQ for $29.95, and it has an alcohol level of 43%.
I decided to try it by itself over ice first so that I could taste all of its subtle flavours. After my first sip, I noticed how dry Bombay Bramble is compared to the overly sweet (in my opinion) flavoured gins I'm used to. So on that front, I was pleasantly surprised.
As for its aroma, Bombay Bramble smells quite strongly of blackberries and raspberries, with subtle notes of juniper berry, coriander and a hint of lemon zest. The natural botanicals are expertly captured, giving this well-balanced gin a fresh, crisp taste.
Staycations are where it's at 2021, and Quebec — with its rolling hills, beautiful lakes and endless drives — is a wonderful place to go exploring near to home. As Canada's largest province, it's chock-full of memories just waiting to be made.
Quebec offers an abundance of both history and nature, from its townships brimming with European charm to its vast provincial parks. You can fly, train or bus to many of Quebec's must-see destinations, but the best way to explore this far-reaching province is by car.
If you're craving the open road, take a cue from 95.9 Virgin Radio host Vinny, who knows a thing or two about road trips. As one of the hosts of Montreal's favourite radio station (and a born-and-bred Montrealer), he reaches road trippers and commuters every weekday morning.
Vinny knows that when it comes to exploring Quebec, you don't have to travel far to uncover lush scenery, wildlife and get some R&R. In fact, his favourite spots are all less than three hour's drive from Montreal.
Just imagine hitting the open road with the windows down and the radio pumping, cruising your way around picturesque villages, quaint architecture, lazy rivers and towering fjords.
Once you've checked out your favourite stops from Vinny's list of must-sees, all you need is a car, snacks for the road and 95.9 Virgin Radio on full blast.
Time From Montreal: 2 hours
Why You Need To Go: With so much to do and see, Mont-Tremblant is one of Quebec's most popular destinations no matter the season or the reason. From a panoramic gondola ride with a bird's eye view of the Laurentians to bike riding through one of the mountain's many trails, this spot is ideal for explorers and adventurers alike.
After a day spent wandering through nature in all its glory, you can wind down with a shopping spree in Mont-Tremblant's famed pedestrian village. Follow it up with an Instagram-worthy dining experience at one of the dozens of restaurants for a vacay done right.
Why You Need To Go: Less than two hour's drive from Montreal (during which you can jam out to tunes on 95.9 Virgin Radio), Saint-Sauveur is another popular Quebec destination that makes for a great day trip. With a massive outdoor pool and water park, restaurants like Gibby's and spas like Vinny's fave, the Polar Bear's Club Spa, Saint-Sauveur is a must-visit for Montrealers.
Spend the day soaking and steaming in the spa's thermal waters, view the Laurentians from horseback or shop to your heart's content. No matter how you choose to spend your time, there's no shortage of fun to be had at Saint-Sauveur.
Why You Need To Go: According to Vinny, Estérel Resort is "an oasis." With a four-season spa that boasts lake and mountainside views, it's easy to see why. Estérel Resort is all about escaping the daily grind, so what better way could there be to make use of a vacation day? Estérel's all-inclusive packages make it a one-stop-shop for all things R&R.
If you're in the mood for a solid sweat sesh, you can venture through the Laurentians via paddleboard, canoe, kayak, pontoon boat or bike. Foodies will especially love the range of fine dining, including the renowned Bistro à Champlain restaurant.
Why You Need To Go: With more than 225 species that call it home, Zoo de Granby is the largest zoo in the province and offers a great day out for the whole family. Due to continued health and safety guidelines, reservations are required for the summer 2021 season, so be sure to save your spot to get in on all the action.
Slender-tailed meerkats, white rhinos, Japanese macaques and snow leopards are just some of the many animals you'll get to spy here. Learn all there is to know about Granby's conservation efforts while you're at it, too.
Why You Need To Go: Just off the island, La Ferme Quinn is a go-to destination for farm-fresh fruits and veggies, including apples, cucumbers, kale and almost every type of berry you can think of. With fall just around the corner, now's the time to plan your apple-picking adventure to stock up for all those pies you're sure to make.
If baking isn't quite your thing, don't stress. According to Vinny, La Ferme Quinn has the "best apple pie ever." You can also load up on muffins and a ton of other baked goodies that may or may not make it through the car ride home.
Why You Need To Go: Combining rustic charm with jaw-dropping architecture, Le Château Montebello might just take your breath away in the best way as it's situated within nature itself. Fun fact: Le Château Montebello is the world's largest log cabin, and it was rated one of the top 10 resort hotels in Canada by Travel & Leisure.
To make your staycay complete, there's an outdoor pool and cabanas, a sports chalet boasting everything from tennis to mini-golf, a nautical pavilion for those who like to kayak, canoe or paddleboard, hiking trails and even 90-minute guided ATV rides.
Why You Need To Go: You don't need to travel far to uncover the beauty of Quebec. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Centre de la Nature is a massive urban park that spans 50 hectares.
Whether you're in search of a chill picnic, wanting to uncover nature via the Centre's five kilometres of pedestrian paths, or looking to entertain the family at Piscine Saint-Vincent or the on-site petting zoo, Centre de la Nature has it all. There's even a tropical greenhouse that boasts a stunning array of plants and animals, so be sure to have your camera at the ready.
Why You Need To Go: Charm and character combine with history to make Quebec City a must-see (and see again) spot. Walkable and sure to satiate your wanderlust, Quebec City is a great spot to spend your vacation days. Crank up the radio while you're en route and listen to 95.9 Virgin Radio hosts talk all things pop culture and more before you pull up in one of the province's most iconic destinations.
Once you're there, soak up a bit of history at Château Frontenac then traverse the Plains of Abraham, the site of the famous Battle of Quebec. You can also peep a stellar view of the St. Lawrence River from Dufferin Terrace, zipline above Montmorency Falls, shop and eat to your heart's content — however you choose to spend your time, Quebec City has plenty to offer.
Why You Need To Go: Touted as a "super cool experience" by Vinny himself, Parc Omega is a safari park with a 12-kilometre route that winds throughout. You're likely to see wolves, deer, bears, bison, birds and more at this year-round attraction.
For the brave-of-heart, you can also spend a night or two in a cabin, chalet, lodge or pod that's surrounded by a pack of wolves. Each accommodation has a glass facade to allow uninterrupted views of nature and wolves alike.
Why You Need To Go: Since it's always five o'clock somewhere, what better way to spend a day than at a winery? Located just minutes from Montreal, La Bullerie is the first Quebec vineyard that specializes in sparkling wines. With the likes of white, red and, of course, rosé, you can sip and santé while you take in the picturesque views of wine country.
If you fancy a picnic while you're there, La Bullerie offers one of their very own that includes choice cheese, fruit and a local dessert. It's the ultimate daytime date location.
This Montreal Vet Adopts All Of Her Pets & Here's Why She Says You Should Too
Anyone who has pets will know that they're more than just a four-legged roommate — they're loyal companions.
Furry friends are there to comfort you, help you cope with life's ups and downs, make you laugh and ensure you're never without company. Dr. Rebecca De Arburn Parent knows this to be true. Her two adopted pets, Barbie and Fugueuse, help make her house a home.
As a veterinarian and specialized animal surgeon, Dr. De Arburn Parent often sees animals left behind by owners who can't afford to take care of them. She also sees the impact that's made when those animals are finally adopted into a loving home, and how the animal can add joy and love to their new forever homes.
With over 100,000 cats and dogs taken into Canada's animal shelters each year, the credo "adopt, don't shop" isn't just fitting, but necessary.
Knowing that so many pets are in need, Royale (the household paper brand with beloved fluffy white kittens on its packaging) has brought back the Royale Home for Every Pet Project for a second year to help animals find a forever home.
Since launching in 2020, the Royale Home for Every Pet Project has invested over $225,000 in partner animal shelters. This year, they released a collection of five adoption stories, including Barbie and Fugueuse's, to help shine a light on the benefits of pet adoption.
If you'd like to support the cause, you can start on your next grocery run! From now until October 13, Royale will provide you with a $5 coupon and make a $5 donation to its 100+ partner animal shelters across Canada on all purchases of $20 of Royale products. Plus, for a limited time, you can spot Barbie and Fugueuse on Royale packaging in place of their iconic white kittens.
In this interview with Narcity, Dr. De Arburn Parent talks about her own experience with animal adoption, the importance of animal shelters and why it's crucial to raise awareness of animal adoption in Montreal.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
"I'm Dr. Rebecca De Arburn Parent. I'm a veterinarian but I'm also a specialized surgeon, more specifically. I also do volunteer work for several organizations, including Humane Society International and the Aristopattes."
Tell us a bit about Fugueuse and Barbie.
"I'll start with Fugueuse. I don't know exactly how old she is. I found her on the street about three years ago during the winter. She was already an adult at the time, so it's still difficult to estimate her exact age. She's likely between 3 and 4 years old but could be as old as 10 years old.
"She's a domestic cat, but she has something special: she has a very small tail. Usually, cats that have short tails like that are a breed called Manx. I don't know if she has any genes from that breed.
"Barbie is a 2-year-old dog. We got her when she was a baby. My boyfriend and I, [he] is also a veterinarian, adopted her at work. Barbie was abandoned because she had a broken paw and her owners couldn't afford to operate on her paw or take care of her. When my partner saw her, he fell in love with her."
Did you have any pets before you brought Fugueuse and Barbie into the house?
"Yes. I had three dogs at the time. My old Labrador, Chrome, passed away a few weeks ago. So now I have two dogs and three cats. Everyone gets along well. We are really lucky as that's not always the case with so many pets.
"For example, for Fugueuse, she's a female and all of our cats are also female. Oftentimes, having three female cats together doesn't work very well, just character-wise. But our three cats are quite independent and they manage to all hang out in the house together. They get along really, really well.
"The two dogs — Barbie and a 13-year-old pug named Dorothe — are inseparable. They are really great friends and always do the same things. With Barbie, it was super easy to train her because we had two old dogs at home who set an example. We didn't need to show her much, she just followed the others.
"Our cats and dogs interact more than the cats do with each other. Barbie and Croquette (another one of my adopted cats) have a lot of play interactions. It's really fun."
How has your life changed since you adopted them?
"Having smaller dogs has positively changed our activity level as a family. When we had Chrome, the old Labrador, he was about 16 years old. You couldn't take him for long walks but now that we just have Barbie and Dorothe, we started hiking again with them, and that's fun. For Dorothe, who is old but is still very fit, having one active dog around is very stimulating for her."
There can sometimes be a negative connotation surrounding pet adoption. Is there anything you would like to clarify regarding animal adoption?
"I think the answer to that question is really to debunk the myth that adopting a shelter animal is adopting a problem animal, that's not true. If you want to adopt a healthy animal, you only need to specify it to the shelter you're dealing with and they'll match you with an animal that fits with your lifestyle.
"Pet adoption brings such joy and happiness to a home, so I would encourage everyone to visit your local SPCA to find an animal that's a match for you and your family."
What impact can Montrealers have in the community if they consider adopting pets instead of buying them?
"It's a major impact, for sure. Animal adoption is said to save two lives: the life of the animal being adopted, and the life of the animal that will take its place in the shelter. Shelters are generally overwhelmed; they have maximum capacities, they are voluntary activities, and we can't save all the animals in them.
"[...] It's a big impact. I also think that by limiting adoption on, for example, animal shopping sites, we also have a direct impact on this industry."
How can everyday Montrealers help pets who need a home if they are unable to adopt?
"There are several ways. If they can't adopt because they don't want the long-term commitment but are able to have a pet in the house intermittently, they can become a foster family...The vast majority of shelters provide everything you need. It's a great way to get involved and also to test to see if you're ready to have a pet in the house.
"Following the shelters on social media and sharing their mission helps a lot. And obviously, donating and supporting the cause monetarily; that's what helps the most.
"But there are other ways to get involved too. There are always plenty of shelters looking for people to either take care of their social networks or help out with claw-cutting campaigns, things like that. You can volunteer in a shelter without necessarily having an animal at home. It can be a nice way to help out."
If you're in the market to adopt a pet, visit your local animal shelter or SPCA. If you're unable to adopt a pet, you can still help by volunteering, donating or simply spreading the word.
You can also support the cause by purchasing $20 of Royale products. Until October 13, Royale will provide you with a $5 coupon and make a $5 donation to its partner animal shelters across Canada.
Want to learn more about pet adoption? The Royale Home for Every Pet Project has featured the stories of five adopted pets, including Barbie and Fugueuse, that you can watch online. Remember to keep an eye out for Barbie, Fugueuse and other adopted animals on Royale packaging in place of the brand's iconic white kittens for a limited time.
To learn more about Royale and the Home For Every Pet Project, visit their website or follow Royale on Instagram and Facebook.
Knowing how to manage your money can be tough. Personal finance isn't something that's typically taught in schools, and if you don't have a financially savvy person in your life, you might be left to figure it out on your own.
To help you learn more about money management and how to get more value from the things you do every day, Narcity got in touch with Erica Nielsen, Senior Vice President of Everyday Banking and Client Growth at RBC.
They spoke about tips to help you manage your money, and the launch of RBC Vantage — which gives you access to a comprehensive suite of benefits, interactive tools, rewards and savings available simply by having an RBC bank account.
"Saving money is not impossible and reaching your goals is easier if you start by making a plan," said Nielsen. "Having an incentive in mind can also make it easier to avoid spending your savings on an immediate temptation."
As a first step, a good tip is to take stock of where you are financially and put your goals down on paper. Having both short-term goals (like paying off credit card debt or heading off on a weekend getaway) and long-term goals (such as buying a house) will help inspire you to leave that money alone.
Look for a rewards program that makes it easy to earn points for the things you are already doing every day.
With RBC Vantage, for example, eligible clients can now earn RBC Rewards when using debit. Not only will this give you more ways to earn rewards, it's a big benefit if you don't have a rewards credit card. You can also get access to so many more rewards and savings from great Canadian brands like Petro-Canada and Rexall.
"Whether you're saving up for a big purchase or looking for ways to pay for everyday expenses and purchases, rewards points can play an important role," said Nielsen.
Make Sure You Have The Right Banking Products For Your Needs
It may be hard to know which bank account is right for you. A good place to start is by looking for an account that offers features that leave more money in your wallet – from ways to save on monthly fees and unlimited transactions to savings on ATM fees.
To help you in your search, RBC has launched new interactive tools to make it easy to find the account that best meets your needs and discover even more benefits.
And if you are a student, make sure to check out the new RBC Advantage Banking. The monthly fee on this account is free for full-time students during your studies.
AI-driven tools, like NOMI, make it easier to break down some of the barriers some people might face when managing money, such as not having enough time and not paying close attention to your financial situation. From budgeting to saving, NOMI can help you manage your finances with confidence. (More to come on this!)
You can also use a helpful digital platform like MyAdvisor to create a personalized plan and connect with an advisor in your community, online, by phone or in person.
"Budgeting is a fundamental tool that helps you manage your money and stay in good financial shape," said Nielsen. "It puts you in control of your day-to-day spending and financial future by making you more aware of where your money is going."
Despite this, less than half (49%) of Canadians keep a budget, according to the 2019 Canadian Financial Capability Survey. If you're considering getting on top of your budgeting but feel overwhelmed at the idea, rest assured that you don't have to start from scratch.
Consider a digital tool like NOMI Budgets which does the heavy lifting for you. It takes the math out of money management by recommending personalized budgets for you based on your spending habits, and it can help you stay on track with notifications and reminders.
Setting up automatic transfers from your chequing to your savings account can help you keep up with your savings goals, especially if you tend to spend your income as soon as it lands in your account.
There are also convenient tools out there to help you never miss an opportunity to save. Through RBC's NOMI Find & Save, for example, clients may save money they didn't even know they had. This feature "uses predictive technology" to find extra dollars it thinks you won't miss and automatically moves them into a savings account.
After months of work, the new District Gourmand — a chic, modern space in the West Island— is finally ready for you to explore at
CF Fairview Pointe Claire.
Nine new restaurants are now open at the District Gourmand: A&W, Rock'N Deli, Souvlaki Bar, Manchu Wok, Thaï Express, Koryo, Bento Sushi, Poulet Rouge and Real Fruit Bubble Tea.
More restaurants will be opening in September, including Boustan, Place Tevere and Torino Grill, as well as four dine-in restaurants — three of which have outside entrances and terrasses opening later this year.
Located in the West Island's largest shopping centre, the District Gourmand is sure to become the go-to destination for those looking for a delicious way to refuel after a busy day of shopping.
Tommy Café + Apéro, a coffee shop-restaurant and neighbourhood bar with stunning modern design and Victorian architecture, is also a part of the new District Gourmand. The café is open seven days a week and boasts a variety of coffees, pastries, snacks and drinks perfect for on-the-go shoppers or those who want a quick break.
If seafood is more your thing, then you might love Lucille's Oyster Dive, where you can sink your teeth into a lobster roll, fish and chips or some oysters. It's an ideal spot for fish-loving foodies.
With two more restaurants to be announced in the coming weeks, District Gourmand will offer a variety of cuisines to delight even the pickiest of eaters.
To help manage food waste,
CF Fairview Pointe Claire has partnered with Solucycle, a Quebec company that converts food waste into biogas, which is then turned into renewable natural gas. The goal of the partnership is to make Montrealers' dining experience as environmentally friendly as possible.
The District Gourmand is part of the shopping centre's massive modernization plan, which will also see the opening of the first Simons store in the West Island in spring 2022. You'll find it where the old Sears store used to be: at the west end of the building on both the second and third floors.
Frequent shoppers will also notice this fall that Fairview's former second-floor food court will be renovated to house Dollarama and Linen Chest. The mall's usual stores like Aritzia, Apple, Lululemon, H&M, Sports Experts, Zara and Hudson's Bay will still be easily accessible.
The next time you're out shopping at
CF Fairview Pointe Claire, don't forget to stop by the District Gourmand to check out the completely revamped space and refuel at the new restaurants and cafés.
To learn more about the District Gourmand, check out CF Fairview Pointe Claire's website or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.
This article was originally published in French on Narcity Quebec.