How to learn beekeeping, hipster etiquette and other life skills you didn’t know you needed

Lifelong learning doesn’t need a classroom. Here are four hip, fun, and sometimes weird workshops and classes tailored to grown-ups.


What: Viamede Academy School of (Un)Necessary Arts for Ladies and Gentlemen of the 21st Century Where: Woodview No, this isn’t the title of an upcoming Wes Anderson film. Viamede Resort in the Kawarthas offers a series of etiquette school-type classes seemingly tailored for the aspiring modern-day hipster, with a seriously quirky sensibility. Courses include Skills of War (“How to properly address your foe before perfecting your noble archery”), Measures for Desperate Times (“We’ll start with the classic art of calling your fellow man a fool”) and The Lost Art of Grooming (“break out some straight razors and pin curls”). Weekend-long courses—which start at $325 a night—include a shuttle to and from Union Station, a Friday cocktail reception two night’s stay at the resort and daily breakfast.


What: Arts and handicrafts at the Haliburton School of Art + Design Where: Haliburton The Haliburton School, which is part of the Muskoka-set Fleming College, is a highly reputable art and design institution, but taking a course there doesn’t have to mean decamping to cottage country for a couple months. The college offers weekend-long courses for aspiring makers throughout the year. Fall and winter options for 2016 include workshops in folded metal ornaments (just in time for Christmas), hammered jewellery-making, and painted floor cloths (if you don’t know how they’re different than carpets, perhaps consider signing up). Course fees start at $180, with materials fees that range depending on the workshop.


What: Beekeeping with Alveole Where: Wherever you are Don’t let the still-warm temps fool you: growing season is over. But it’s never too soon to start thinking about next year’s crop and how to best help it along. Alveole is a Montreal-based beekeeping organization that helps amateur apiarists host honeybee colonies at their homes, and even if you don’t have a garden that needs pollinating, it’s a worthy educational endeavour (and an environmental one, too: honeybee populations are sharply declining). Beginners courses in beekeeping start up in January, but you can register now. Or, if you’re already committed to hosting a hive at your home, beginner’s bundles (which include a hive rental, seven teaching visits, and a guaranteed five kilogram honey harvest) are now available for reservation, with delivery and tutorials also beginning early next year. Prices vary.



What: Casual permaculture at Fronterra Farm Camp Where: Consecon Fronterra, which is located in hip Prince Edward County, is at first glance a very stylish glamping retreat. Proprietors Jens and Inge Burgen have set up 10 luxurious, semi-permanent tents made of sleek, polished wood and sturdy white canvas, with hardwood floors, ensuite bathrooms, king sized beds, upholstered seating and a dining table. In addition to the luxe sleeping quarters, the Burgens have set up a 15,000-square-foot permaculture garden that, Jens says, “is not necessarily meant to produce food, it’s meant to show people how they can produce some food for themselves back in a suburban home or city flat.” So while Fronterra guests can pick a tomato or cuke for little extra charge from the gardens, they’re set up for more educational purposes. Jens and Inge are happy to take guests on tours of the gardens, and the retreat has a staff permaculturist who can offer a more scientific run-down of what grows where, and why. Fronterra hasn’t formalized these educational experiences—campers can basically be asked to have a garden tour whenever they like, Jens says—but plans to make gardening workshops, plus cooking and canning demos and fishing excursions, official options for its 2017 season. (They’re still taking bookings until November, though, so if you’re into the idea of an informal intro to permaculture, you have until Halloween.


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