Many visitors to The Lobster Trap Restaurant find their dinner waiting for them just inside the door. A tank of live lobsters sits by the front desk, ready for selection by head chef Sathiya, who steams or broils them for grandiose dinners served with garlic bread. His fondness for the crustaceans is evident not only in the venue's name, but in a brief glance at the menu. There, you'll find lobster bisque, lobster rolls, lobster thermidor, and Caribbean lobster tail all arranged amid other seafood delicacies. Whole lobsters are priced according to their weight, and while most measure between one and four pounds, 13-pounders are available by request for birthday parties.
Lobster-less dishes, on the other hand, range from tender New York strip steaks to oysters on the half shell. The oysters—exclusively purchased from Rodney's Oyster House—are shucked onsite. Other dishes traverse continental boundaries, such as the Alaskan king crab legs and the New Zealand rack of lamb. The dining room's décor isn't married to a particular ocean, though. Its walls boast hanging nets and mounted ship steering wheels, an homage to all of the seas and cranky ship captains that supply its meals.
Grapefully Yours employs just as many wine experts as any wine store, but its shelves are completely devoid of the elegantly labeled bottles one might expect to find. Instead, they house an array of buckets, jugs, and wine ingredients: all the accoutrement needed to make your own wine. The store's staff specializes in helping people pick exactly the kind of wine they love, and then teaching them to ferment up to 23 liters of the beverage. They create kits for wines from all over the globe, from a riesling to a pinot grigio. After a customer selects their preferred varietal or blend, the staff walks them through the entire winemaking process, step by step and day by day. Once the wine is completed, they provide bottles for their guests to fill up, label as they please, and take home to store in their wine cellar or backyard wine hole.
At The Wine Place, would-be vintners can mix and bottle their own reds or whites using varietals from around the world. Visitors can choose a vino-to-be from a selection of wine kits derived from grapes grown in such locales as South Africa, South America, California, Italy, and the mythical land of Shangri-La. Once guests have decided on a variety for their batch—including cabernet sauvignon, syrah, pinot gris, and more—friendly, knowledgeable staff members help pour nascent libations into a large jug, mix in crucial ingredients, and stir.
Markham Heritage Wines began its evolution in 1965 as Wine-Art, a company that supplied the materials for customers to ferment wine in their own homes. In 1987, it rolled out its first four-week wine kit, a compact collection of everything needed to produce wine within a single month. Eventually, technology changed and so did the business owners, so they sold Wine-Art and founded Markham Heritage Wines as an all-purpose supplier and educational venue for aspiring bottlers who just can’t bring themselves to forgo buying a rocket car in favour of buying a vineyard.
On Markham Heritage Wines’ premises, wine experts guide neophytes through the process of mixing wines from simple grape juices, flavouring them with oak chips and other additives, and bottling the newly created vintages. Each batch of wine needs to be looked after for four to six weeks, during which time the experts rack, stabilize, clear, and filter the liquid before singing it to sleep each night. Clients then return to bottle their wine using automated equipment, label the bottles, and apply decorative shrink tops.
When Colio Estate Winery opened in 1980, they were the first winery in the area to seek a license since prohibition was lifted. This is surprising, since these vineyards lie on the same latitude as famed wine regions in northern California and Tuscany, Italy, which indicates that the regions could have similar growing climates. The area also boasts lush, fertile soil and a growing season longer than most of Canada, making it a favorable place to ripen grapes.
Today, Colio Estate Winery produces more than 400,000 cases of wine per year, including big red wines and refreshing whites. Knowing collaboration is key in the winemaking process, winemaker Lawrence Buhler and vineyard manager Kevin Donohue work in tandem to produce high quality wines in varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Guests at the winery can learn about their process on tours, wander the vineyard, or recline in the outdoor pavilion to enjoy glasses of wine in the open air.