Adjust Your Altitude: Hiking 101

While our Calgary community is lucky enough to have scenic mountain trails and some of the best hiking in Canada, Ontario has some beautiful hiking spots that are perfect for the beginner hiker. You don’t have to be an experienced outdoorsman to get out and enjoy nature! We’re sharing some of the best places in the Toronto area to go for a hike, some tips for the first-time hiker, as well as the gear you will need to make the most of your adventure.

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5 Beautiful Beginner Hikes in the GTA

Scarborough Bluffs Park
Before leaving the city entirely, why not stop by the beautiful Scarborough Bluffs Park right here in Toronto? The Bluffs offer stunning views of Lake Ontario and the beautiful bluffs. The trails are not difficult and are easily accessible, and sandy beaches await you once you’re done your hike.

Webster’s Falls Conservation Area
Who knew that some of Ontario’s most stunning waterfalls were located just outside of Hamilton? Take a walk down beautiful trails towards Webster’s Falls and Tew’s Falls – totally Instagram-worthy! After chasing waterfalls, hop on up to Dundas Peak for a beautiful panoramic view of Hamilton.

Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
While you probably won’t see any rattlesnakes, this conservation area in Milton allows you to seek some extra adventure. If you’ve been practicing your hiking and are feeling a bit more advanced, explore some of the hidden caves or partake in some rock climbing! While this hike is most beautiful in the fall, it isn’t the worst thing to look out upon miles and miles of green trees!

Elora Gorge
Elora is a bit off the beaten path for Torontonians, but it is totally worth it to make the trip this summer. This trail is perfect for all age groups – ideal for a family weekend or a beginner hike. While you’re there, stop by the Elora Quarry and take a dip in the blue-green water, or partake in some kayaking!

Bruce Trail
Did you know that the Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest foot path? This trail stretches for over 800km from the Niagara River all the way to Tobermory! You can enter at various points throughout Ontario, and walk for as long or short of a distance as you like. The closest entrance point to Toronto is just outside of Milton near Kelso Conservation Area, and the views are out of this world!

Hiking 101: Tips & Tricks

– Proper hiking gear is a must, especially for spring hikes. The weather is unpredictable, and you need to be prepared for whatever comes your way! Be sure to have these items in your wardrobe to make the most of your adventure:

  • Waterproof/windproof outer layer.
  • Base layers – moisture wicking fabrics to keep you warm (or cool!) and dry. This goes for socks too; bring extra, and go for a smart wool to keep your toes dry.
  • Hiking shoes – these don’t need to break the bank, but they are absolutely crucial for both seasoned and first-time hikers. Good shoes are the key to a fun and safe hike; keep your toes and ankles protected, especially on uneven terrain.
  • A lightweight, sturdy pack…especially when you need to shed some of those added layers!

– Convertible pieces can be your best friend…who doesn’t love pants that turn into shorts and back again? Adjust your outfit to suit the conditions at hand without leaving anything behind.

– As with any physical activity…HYDRATE! Be sure to bring enough water, no matter the length of your hike. Whether you prefer a colourful S’well that keeps your water cold for up to 24 hours or a hydration pack to keep your hands free, make sure you’re stocked up on H20.

– Similar to hydration, your body needs fuel to get through your trip. Give yourself an energy boost on the go with gels, chews or waffles available at our retail locations. They contain carbohydrates to keep you fueled, electrolytes that aid in hydration and amino acids that reduce mental fatigue!

– We mentioned the importance of a solid hiking shoe; be sure not to embark on your hike with brand new, stiff boots! Our friend Leigh from HikeBikeTravel.com wrote a post about breaking in your hiking boots on her blog – check it out!

SHOP HIKING GEAR

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Eco-Trend: Urban Farming

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Image via Woolrich

With spring in full force, we are feeling a renewed commitment to saving the environment. Many of our favourite brands have put forth collections that emphasize sustainability (way to go, Columbia and Patagonia!) and this season, we are looking forward to finding other ways to become more eco-friendly.

An eco-trend that is popping up across the city is urban farming – we can get on board with the idea of gardening in the city! Despite a lack of surface area, earth lovers within the city limits have found ways to grow their own produce in a small home or condo. Save some money on groceries, save your body from GMOs and pesticides, and save the planet – this summer, try planting vegetables in your own backyard. Here are a few of the tips we’ve picked up from researching how to make urban farming happen.

What is Your Set-Up?

In order to get into urban farming, you do need a certain level of sunlight. The ideal direction is a South-facing garden without any obstructions – that way your plants receive light for the majority of the day. Second best is a West-facing set-up, as the sun will shine on your garden during the afternoon. While an East-facing garden isn’t impossible, it isn’t ideal as sun-loving plants won’t grow as well.

Once you’ve figured out your sun situation, the next step is deciding on the style of garden you are able to have. If you are in a condo, a small container garden may be your best bet. Go with a hanging planter to live on your balcony, or get creative and Pinterest-y with some rustic containers to bring out that farmer-chic style. If you happen to have a backyard, you are likely lucky enough to have room for a real garden! Using nothing but plywood and some good soil, you can craft your own garden box to suit your size needs – even a 4×4 raised garden bed can house a wide variety of delicious vegetables!

For either location, a vertical garden can be a great choice. Either make your own (spring DIY?) or find a multi-potted vertical planter at your local store. It looks beautiful with the various leaves poking out, and allows you to grow more plants with less square footage.

Images via Young Urban Farmers
Images via Young Urban Farmers
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Pick the Right Crop

Just because your garden is small doesn’t mean that you’re stuck growing herbs (but don’t get us wrong – herbs are a great choice)! There are a variety of vegetables that will flourish in condo containers or small backyard gardens. Almost anything can be grown in a container as long as you are aware of spacing and don’t overcrowd your veggies. Bell peppers, hot peppers, peas, tomatoes, and lettuce are all easily grown in an urban setting. Add in some of your favourite herbs such as parsley or mint, and you’ll be ready for summer barbecues in no time!

Here’s a helpful tip to improve the taste of your tomatoes: plant them next to a basil plant! The basil will enhance the flavour of the tomato (and probably make you crave a homemade pizza).

Dress the Part

Just because you don’t live in the country doesn’t mean you can’t dress the part! If you plan on spending time outside tending to your garden, make sure that you are properly clothed for spring weather. A waterproof outer layer paired with convertible pieces will allow you to spend the day outdoors without feeling uncomfortably hot or cold. Columbia and Marmot’s convertible pants will take you from shorts to pants and back again with no effort at all, and a chic pair of overalls combines fashion and function, keeping your bottoms from sliding down while you are bending down closer to the earth.

Since you are dressing for an eco-friendly task, why not look to some of our eco-friendly brands? We have recently focused on the sustainable fashions put forth by Columbia and Patagonia, and are so proud to carry a wide variety of brands that are committed to saving our planet.

SHOP MEN’S

SHOP WOMEN’S

SHOP KIDS’

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ECO Style: Patagonia

This Spring, shop our selection of environmentally friendly products from Patagonia.  Patagonia is committed to building the best product while causing no unnecessary harm and using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Now more than ever, it is important to consider our environment when choosing our clothing and we are proud to offer a variety of Patagonia products that are bluesign approved, fair trade certified and made with traceable down.

S17_Photo rights expire August 1, 2017: Mark and Kate Rutherford in the father-daughter dish pit. Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Reasons to Love Patagonia
  1. Eco-friendly brand
  2. Producers of numerous award winning pieces
  3. Gives back to many charitable initiatives to protect our planet
Why We Believe in Patagonia

Bluesign Approved
In 2007, Patagonia became the first brand to officially join the network of bluesign system partners. Patagonia employs methods and materials in their manufacture that conserve resources and minimize impacts on people and the environment. The bluesign system is the solution for sustainable textile production. It eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for an environmentally friendly and safe production. Learn more about the bluesign system here.

Fair Trade Certified
Patagonia is out to change the industry. Fair Trade is a tool used by Patagonia to raise workers’ wages, improve their standard of living and move them closer to earning a living wage. A premium is paid for every Fair Trade Certified item that carries Patagonia. That extra money goes directly to the workers at that factory, and they decide how to spend it. The program also promotes worker health and safety and social and environmental compliance, and encourages dialog between workers and management.

Traceable Down Standard
Patagonia down products contain only Traceable Down. This means that the company traces the source of down from parent farm to apparel factory to help ensure that birds are not force-fed or live-plucked. The Traceable Down Standard provides the highest assurance of animal welfare in the apparel industry.

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ECO Style: Columbia’s Outdry Extreme Eco Jackets

This Spring, shop Columbia’s earth-smart raingear that does good for our planet and offers high quality protection against the elements. Now more than ever, it is important to consider our environment when choosing our clothing. Sporting Life is proud to carry the Outdry Extreme Eco Jackets for men and women, that are dedicated to protecting our forests.

Features and Facts

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  1. 100% recycled fabric made from 21 plastic bottles
  2. No PFCs sre intentionally used in this product. (May contain trace amounts)
  3. Made from dye-free fabric which saves over 13 gallons/51 liters of water when compared to a standard dyed jacket.
  4. Dry wicking fabric with advanced moisture management
  5. Outdry Extreme: No wet out with ultimate breathability.
  6. Fabricated with recycled trim. Labels, toggles, zipper pulls, thread and eyelets are all made from 100% recycled content.

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Columbia’s Outdry Extreme Eco Jackets are bluesign® approved.

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bluesign® product labeled textiles contain components that are resource saving and sustainably manufactured according to the bluesign® criteria. That includes not only fabrics but also accessories such as as zippers, buttons, buckles etc. Furthermore, the suppliers and manufacturers have been verified for their compliance with the bluesign® standards controlled by bluesign® experts.

Pair your Columbia Outdry Extreme Eco Jacket with this eco-friendly backpack from Fjällräven!

Since it’s debut in 1978, the classic Kanken backpack from Fjällräven has been a popular staple. Now with the environment in mind, the Re-Kanken backpack is made entirely from polyester that’s recycled from 11 plastic bottles and dyed with SpinDye technology that radically reduces the amount of water, energy and chemicals used. This timeless accessory now saves our precious natural resources and is an every day companion with the same genius design as the original ready to  be carried and travelled with and recycled again in the distant future.

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Explore the Outdoors With Our Favourite Family Day Activities

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Family Day is almost here! While everyone loves a long weekend, we particularly love that Canadians are given a day off in order to spend quality time with family. This long weekend is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with your fam and appreciate all of the amazing things that Canadian winter has to offer (hello, Winterlude!). Today we’re listing 3 activities you can do with your family this Family Day; whether you’ll be on the slopes, by the fire, or getting outside, we hope that you have a wonderful weekend with your loved ones!

On the Slopes

The ultimate Family Day pastime! We love the idea of spending the whole day on the slopes with your family – whether you’re just starting out or you’re a family of expert racers! Be sure to stay warm and cozy on the hill in order to make the most of your day. Layer up with technical baselayers, and find the perfect ski jacket to get you through the season. (PS – have you thought about taking advantage of our ski & stay pecial with Panorama Resort?)

 

By the Fire

After a long day on the slopes, what’s better than getting cozy in front of the fire? Bundle up in your favourite loungewear and spend some quality time with your loved ones, all while enjoying the crackling heat of a fireplace. We suggest leaving the devices in another room and enjoying each other’s company tech-free!

Get Outside

Is skiing not your thing? No worries. Our new favourite winter activity is snowshoeing! It is the ultimate workout (your legs may be unhappy for a day or two afterwards) and it allows you to experience the slopes without high speed equipment. It’s also a fun way to experience the outdoors as a family – anyone can snowshoe! The leisurely pace of snowshoeing lets you slow down and appreciate the beautiful Canadian winter around you.

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Panorama Resort Ski & Stay Special

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Located just 3.5 hours outside of Calgary, Panorama offers one of the easiest mountain resort vacations you’ll ever experience.

Live your Sporting Life on nearly 3,000 massive acres of terrain across 4,019 vertical feet of fall line perfection. Glide down endless, meandering, corduroy cruisers, or watch future Olympians rip down meticulously manicured race courses. Unleash the hotshot in you and tackle the freshly gladed, powdery paradise of Taynton Bowl. There’s the view of a thousand peaks with iconic Mount Nelson standing tall over the intimate, inviting village. There’s nothing to remind you that there’s a world out there. And in every direction, simply inspiring vistas to wonder at and enjoy.

The best part of this: when you’ve had your fill of fun on the slopes, just ski to your door and relax. Frosty glasses and tale-telling at The T-Bar & Grill. The oohs and aahs in Canada’s largest slopeside hot pools, right next to your ski-to-the-door lodging. Want some cross country skiing? Down the lane. Latte? Down the sidewalk. Pizza? Down the gondola. Everything is right there!

Want more? Check out the Top 10 Reasons to Visit Panorama.

We are excited to offer a Ski & Stay Special in partnership with Panorama Resort!

– Save 25% off condo lodging and 25% off lift tickets on a stay of 4 nights or more.
– Save 15% off condo lodging and 25% off lift tickets on a stay of 2 nights or more.

Click here to book your stay!

 

PACKAGE BENEFITS

– Ski in/Ski out accommodations
– Free exclusive use of the Panorama Springs Pools.
– A wide variety condominium units that all come with a living room and full kitchen.

DATES AVAILABLE

January 23 to February 16, 2017.
February 20 to April 16, 2017.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

Promotion subject to change, availability and cancellation without notice. Minimum 4 night stay required to get the 25% off saving or a minimum 2 night stay required to get the 15% off saving. Minimum lift ticket purchase of 2 adults for 2 days each. Package may be extended. Please do not forget to add your lift tickets during the online booking process.

See web for full details.

Panorama e-mail - 3

Panorama e-mail - 2

 

 

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Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts Under $50

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Get gifting for the entire family! From ski essentials to outdoor apparel, athleticwear to footwear, classic gifts to the newest and greatest, we’ve got you covered from top to bottom of your list this Holiday season.

Our buyers have rounded up the best gifts for every budget; today we are sharing some of our favourite picks under $50. This price point is perfect for those last minute gifts you need to check off your list. Check out the gift guide for layering necessities, the best stocking stuffers, and gear for the superfan in your life (whether they’re Darkside or Resistance).

Shop for him or for her, and find more great gifts for everyone else at Sporting Life.

for-her-2

1. Columbia Glacial™ Fleece III 1/2 Zip, $45
2. V Fraas Solid Cashmink Scarf, $19.99
3. Smartwool PhD Check Ski Sock, $32
4. GiftCraft Holiday Red Deer Pillow, $40
5. Hudson’s Bay Co. Double Wall Travel Mug, $24
6. Orage Cultus T-Shirt, $35
7. Rella Oversized Pom Beanie, $45
8. Smith Electra Snow Goggle, $49.99

1-4

1. Herschel Supply Chapter Dopp Kit, $34.99
2. Princeton Tec Helix Backcountry Lamp, $44.99
3. Hudson’s Bay Co. Ribbed Wool-Blend Scarf, $40
4. Patagonia Live Simply® Mornings T-Shirt, $39
5. Stance Force Sock, $29
6. Herschel Supply Abbott Beanie, $22
7. adidas Originals Jersey Logo Long Sleeve T-Shirt, $45
8. Smith Electra Snow Goggle, $49.99

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Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts Under $100

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Get gifting for the entire family! From ski essentials to outdoor apparel, athleticwear to footwear, classic gifts to the newest and greatest, we’ve got you covered from top to bottom of your list this Holiday season.

Our buyers have rounded up the best gifts for every budget; today we are sharing some of our favourite picks under $100. This price point is perfect for a high quality and thoughtful yet budget-conscious present for anyone on your list. Find fun (and unisex!) pyjamas, cozy winter accessories and the best clothes to complete your friends or family’s wardrobes in our “under $100” guide!

Shop for him or for her, and find more great gifts for everyone else at Sporting Life.

1-3

1. Original Penguin P55 Lambswool V-Neck Sweater, $98
2. Canada Goose Merino Wool Watch Cap, $55
3. Dakine Boot Pack Backpack, $69.99
4. Klean Kanteen 40oz Stainless Steel Growler Bottle, $60.99
5. Woolrich Trout Run Plaid Flannel Shirt, $70
6. BOSS Orange Taye T-Shirt, $85
7. Lacoste Ribbed Scarf, $95
8. Herschel Supply Raynor Leather Passport Holder, $54.99

for-her-1

1. Nike Roshe One Shoe, $99.99
2. Hatley Plaid Trailing Behind Union Suit, $56
3. Woolrich Motif Mohair Sweater, $95
4. S’well Smokey Eye 25oz Bottle, $57.99
5. Glerups Wool Boot, $99.99
6. Herschel Supply Market Xl Tote Bag, $74.99
7. Kombi La Canadienne Mitten, $60
8. The North Face Half Dome Full-Zip Hoodie, $74.99

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Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts Under $250

gift-guide-under-250

Get gifting for the entire family! From ski essentials to outdoor apparel, athleticwear to footwear, classic gifts to the newest and greatest, we’ve got you covered from top to bottom of your list this Holiday season.

Our buyers have rounded up the best gifts for every budget; today we are sharing some of our favourite picks under $250. Find the perfect “wow” gift with brand name clothes, high quality winter accessories, or unique statement pieces (we’re looking at you, Herschel Velvet Backpack…)

Shop for him or for her, and find more great gifts for everyone else at Sporting Life!

for-her

1. Sanctuary Plaid Boyfriend Shirt, $139
2. Mackage Pom Pom Toque, $165
3. UGG Dakota Moccasin, $135
4. Patagonia Better Sweater® Fleece Jacket, $169
5. Woolrich Sherpa Rough Rider Blanket, $155
6. UGG Bronte Glove, $175
7. Barbour Tartan Betty Vest, $195
8. Herschel Supply Dawson Velvet Backpack, $129.99

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1. Old Time Hockey Toronto Maple Leafs Vintage Sweater, $130
2. Tubbs Xpedition 25 Snowshoe, $249.99
3. Canada Goose Pendleton Down-Filled Wool Scarf, $225
4. BOSS Signature Leather Watch, $239.99
5. Barbour Harvard Fairisle Sweater, $245
6. The North Face Nuptse Vest, $199.99
7. Kamik William Boot, $189.99
8. Kombi Patroller Down Mitten, $150

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#MySportingLife Back to School Contest

BTS Blog

When it comes to back to school season, we love to talk about the “perfect outfit” for your first day back. Whether you’re off to your first day of Junior Kindergarten or your senior year of University, your outfit should be stylish, comfortable, and true to you.

We want to see YOUR idea of the perfect back to school outfit from Sporting Life!

Share a photo of your first day of school style using the hashtag #MySportingLife for your chance to win a $1000 Sporting Life gift card!

HOW TO ENTER:
– Between August 29 – September 18, 2016, post your photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MySportingLife
– Follow and tag our account on the social platform used:
Facebook – @sportinglife
Twitter – @sportinglifecan
Instagram – @sportinglifecan
– One entry per account.
– Make sure your Twitter/Instagram account is public so that we can see the photo!

To give you some inspiration, our Buyers are sharing some of their favourite back to school looks from when they were kids. Want to gain an extra entry into the contest? Leave us a comment below telling us which buyer’s picture is your favourite! Don’t forget to include your social media username so that we can find you.

ANDREA
Andrea, Outerwear

HANNAH
Hannah, Menswear

JILL
Jill, Allocations

NAT
Natalie, Menswear

ROBYN
Robyn, All Softgoods

SHAWNA
Shawna, Branding

TAYLOR
Taylor, Menswear

VANESSA

Vanessa, Childrenswear

JENN
Jenn, Ladieswear

TERMS & CONDITIONS
– You must be following Sporting Life to be eligible.

– This contest is open to Canadian residents.
– Winners will be contacted via the social platform they used to enter.
– If our team does not hear from you within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected in your place.
– This contest ends at midnight on Sunday September 18th.
– This is not a sponsored giveaway in any way.

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