Points of Interest: The Ritual Edition —

These are the celebrations of ritual we’re checking out in October.

Monarch butterflies migrating together during the fall
   Photo: Biosphoto/Alamy Stock Photo


Meet monarchs at the end of their migration in central Mexico Of all the creatures that fly south for the winter, the monarchs might be the most epic. When the air starts to cool in the fall, these brightly hued butterflies desert their feeding grounds in the northern United States and southern Canada and head for the oyamel fir trees of Michoacán and the State of Mexico. Hitching rides with favourable air currents, the orange–and–black nomads, which weigh less than a gram, travel nearly 5,000 km. Up to two months after departing, millions (the numbers rise and fall, but last year’s migratory population was up 144 percent) arrive in the 560 sq km Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve where, clustered together on tree trunks or flitting about in swarms, they’re a sight to see – until the journey begins again in the spring.

September 25, 2019
A french fortune reading “Les jours ensoleillés viendront bientôt” sits amongst a pile of fortune cookies


A beloved treat has a surprising origin story Fortune cookies aren’t authentically Chinese: They trace back to Japan, home to lookalike tsujiura senbei (fortune crackers). But that hasn’t stopped the crispy biscuit from becoming a post–Chinese–takeout ritual in North America. To buy the freshest batch, head to Wing Noodles, the oldest business in Montreal’s Chinatown. Founded in 1897, the landmark factory was the first to make bilingual cookies in the 1960s, and it’s been shaping fortunes ever since.

A black and white photo of a woman wearing a kerchief and standing in front of an old building
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #17, 1978, silver gelatin print.   Photo: courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York


Cindy Sherman is ready for her close–up Photographer Cindy Sherman is the focal point of a critically acclaimed retrospective landing at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Her conceptual portraits reflect a ritual of self–presentation – complete with makeup, costumes and prosthetics – as she transformed into fictional characters. Organized in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, London, the exhibit Cindy Sherman charts her evolution through more than 170 works. October 26, 2019 to March 8, 2020

The cover of the book “The Art of Making Memories” by Meik Wiking
   Photo: courtesy of William Morrow


Happiness expert Meik Wiking on how to live your best life If you need a reason to plot your next great escape, pick up the new book The Art of Making Memories ($22, Penguin Random House). Author Meik Wiking, CEO of Copenhagen’s Happiness Research Institute, recounts a global study: When people were asked for the first happy memory that came to mind, novel or extraordinary experiences – such as visiting a new country – made up 23 percent of the stories. Packed with data, Wiking’s book is a guide to creating life’s best moments.

Two male Kenyans in track suits training on a dirt road in Iten
   Photo: Tony Karumba / AFP / Getty Images


Follow in the footsteps of the fastest people on Earth For elite marathoners from around the world, hitting their stride in Iten, Kenya, is a pre–race tradition. The small town is home to an atypically high number of champions and recently received the IAAF’s World Athletics Heritage award as a landmark destination. Given Iten’s high altitude – 2,400 metres above sea level – a training stint there induces physiological changes for a doping–free edge. Camps like the High Altitude Training Centre are open to recreational runners, too – and yes, you just might rub shoulders with Olympians.


Add Canadian botanicals to your travel spa routine Winter is coming – but if you hail from the North, you know how to handle it. That’s why Canadian–grown botanicals (such as blueberry, evening primrose and rosemary) are at the heart of Céla, the Toronto–based luxury skincare line. The Crème de la Crème and the Essential Balm protect against harsh elements, while making for delightful pampering.

The futuristic architecture of a Swedish spa hotel is a floating circular structure with an inner circle that serves as an open-air cold bath
   Photo: Arctic Bath


Nordic spa therapy with a view Going for a dip has never looked like this. At Arctic Bath, a soon–to–open spa hotel built upon the Lule River in Harads, Sweden, the futuristic architecture takes inspiration from a jam of logs. The circular structure is floating, when not frozen into place in the winter, and includes six cabins encircling an open–air cold bath. (Another six cabins are nearby, onshore.) Take the plunge while soaking up the views: the midnight sun in the summer, and aurora borealis in the winter.