Equipped with an in-depth knowledge of alcohol and service regulations, the experienced instructors at Fine Art Bartending School lead their students toward mixology mastery or job placement in the bartending industry during intensive eight-day courses. While many schools focus solely on the craft, Fine Art's instructors also hone customer service skills, teaching students tip-enhancing approaches and how to graciously deflect customer's attempts at Bryan Adams sing-alongs. Students can opt for a training course on the widely used Squirrel point-of-sale (POS) system, held on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., for $65 plus HST. They also hold individual classes targeted at everyday drinkers, divulging industry-style instructions for blending specific drinks, performing difficult mixes, or pouring the perfect beer.
Competitors in the nine-team Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, the Peninsula Panthers foster excellence in fledgling hockey players as they compete against some of Canada's finest young talent. With three Brent Patterson Memorial Trophies in their arsenal—including back-to-back championships in 2010 and 2011—the Panthers have emerged as one of the league's premiere programs and a hotbed for future stars to move on to the next level. A handful of NHL players have matriculated through the Panthers system, including current Dallas Stars fixtures Jamie and Jordie Benn.
If there’s a whale breaching on the protected waters of the San Juan Islands, there’s a good chance a passenger on Mystic Sea Charters’ 100-foot vessel will see the splashy spectacle. The company’s five- to six-hour tours have an impressive track record when it comes to spotting the gargantuan mammals, introducing tour-goers to different species of whale up to 99% of the time. Onboard the ship, a naturalist divulges facts about ocean life as passengers watch for whales from the heated cabin or from the deck, which has 4-foot railings so guests can hold on if whales start singing and dancing to the hit song “Rock the Boat.” The company promises that voyagers will see at least one gray, orca, humpback, or minke whale, depending on the season. If not, they’ll receive a follow-up whale-watching tour for free.
Praised by CityVoters as the best course in western Washington, Avalon Golf Links lays out three nines that offer eye-pleasing glimpses of the Skagit Valley below. Though each nine conceals its own unique set of obstacles, every 1 of the 27 holes place golfers amid a picturesque sweep of Northwestern flora, challenging them to bend shots around towering evergreens and send drives screaming against the backdrop of the Olympic and Cascade ranges. The North Nine bookends the toughest stretch on the course in holes four through seven, a rigorous test requiring approaches as steady as the hand of a neurosurgeon playing Operation. Though short in comparison, the West Nine is notable for its tight fairways and frequent East-to-West orientation, yielding panoramic views of the Cascade Mountains. The South Nine punishes poor approaches with challenging greens, where balls frequently run away from their owners when struck too firmly or distracted by a particularly attractive goose egg.
After testing mind and body over 18 holes, Avalon's Sweet Bite Cafe stands at the ready to refuel tuckered-out golfers with breakfast served starting at 7:30 a.m. on weekends and sandwiches served starting at 11 a.m.
Course at a Glance:
Stunning views of the Saanich Inlet are a fitting backdrop for meals at Seagrille Seafood & Sushi, located at Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa. As diners drink in the scenery, servers whisk dishes and carefully selected wines to the white-draped tables that stud the contemporary dining room and outdoor heated patio. The ocean’s vast presence is felt in the kitchen, as well, where chefs work with locally harvested seafood, produce grown on Vancouver Island, and local cuts of bison and lamb. Seasonally rotating entrées might include beer-braised bison short ribs with maple-infused demi or wild halibut plated with mussels, clams, baby scallops, and Spanish chorizo. At the sushi and sake bar, Japanese chefs skilfully prepare barbecue eel sushi rolls and ahi blue fin tuna sashimi. As the sun sets over the Malahat mountains, diners can soak in the fireplaces' warmth as they choose from an extensive list of wines by the glass, including local BC wines, order a locally brewed craft beer, or sip on martinis.