Bell Canadian Open A Great Event
by Scott A. Sumner
Each September since starting our golf publication Northwestern Ontario Golfing News I have attended the Bell Canadian Open. That's 10 years now. As an avid golfer it has always a high lite of my year and 2005 was especially interesting as it was held in Vancouver at the spectacular Shaughnessy Country Club.
This year my trip would be longer because I was invited to play for Canada against our US counterparts in the Writers Cup held annually at Whistler, BC. This event gave me the opportunity to play some great courses in BC and do some other interesting events like riding ATVs, jet boating, helicopter trips and finding out about the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. You can read about some of these activities in this issue of Thunder Bay Business and our upcoming snowmobile and golf publications.
My trip began with a plane ride from Thunder Bay to Toronto, with a stop at the fabulous Maple Leaf Lounge at Pearson and then on to Vancouver in executive class, no less. The special service you receive in executive class, not to mention the spacious seating for a 6 foot 3 inch guy, makes the 5 hour flight very enjoyable. I just sat back, listened to some favourite tunes on my I Pod mini and enjoyed the ride. At the airport we were picked up by our gracious host Shawna Merrill of Fairmont Chateau Whistler and wisked away in their Cadillac Escalade for the two hour drive up the famous Sea to Sky highway. The scenery here is spectacular and you know why it is ranked the number one drive in Canada by many.
Once in Whistler it was up to the 8th floor Fairmont Gold floor of the 550 room Chateau Whistler. This is a fantastic place to stay while in Whistler. It is easy to see why Fairmont has such a high reputation as a luxury operator in North America. Our rooms were excellent complete with fireplace, and marble floored bathroom with jacuzzi tub as well as a glass enclosed shower. The Gold floor has its own concierge and serves breakfast and food all day to its Fairmont Gold guests. I found the cookies a real treat here! We were ready for four days of golf and other fun on the golfwhistler courses.
After a great four days of golf it was off to the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver which would be my base of operation to attend the Bell Canadian Open located down Marine Drive at Shaughnessy. This hotel is right on the spectacular Vancouver oceanfront with lots of activities ongoing. An addition to the Vancouver Convention Centre is happening with pile driving into the water taking place. In addition there are float planes taking off constantly as well as huge cruise ships coming in to dock. In the distant backdrop is Stanley Park and West Vancouver. I had a great view from my 22nd floor room. This is a the place to stay while in Vancouver.
My Budget rental car turned out to be an upgrade to a Lincoln Town car so my luxury trip continued. The Bell Canadian Open was in a spectacular setting this year with the famed Shaughnessy club as the venue situated adjacent to the ocean. Your drive to the course was by some of the most expensive housing in Canada on Marine Drive. The houses here are all $2 to 7 million I was told. The long entrance way into the course with large trees framing the road made for quite a hike. The set up did allow for some great vantage points to see the players. I was able to get up close to the players on the driving range, putting and chipping areas. A highlite here was seeing Mike Weir give Lori Kane a putting lesson and getting both of their autographs. I had played golf with Loris father Jack at Dundarave in PEI about 2 years ago.
Getting out on the course was a real treat and I especially liked the 10th, 11th and 12th holes which run adjacent to the ocean. During the Canadian Open the skys were perfect and the temperature about 20 Celsius. Seeing Mark Calcavecchia win was great and this seasoned pro presented himself to the media after his win in a very humble, thoughtful way. Lots of humour and insight into the game of golf we enjoy.
A return trip to Thunder Bay on Executive class with a stop at the Maple Leaf Lounge in Toronto made for the conclusion of a superb trip. This is the way to travel. We sure have a beautiful country, Canada!