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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    Forget about Disneyland. If you want to truly immerse your family into a magical world, book a trip to India. It might not seem like your typical family vacation spot, but India's colorful landscape and vibrant culture will leave an everlasting impression.

    Every day will feel like a new chapter of a story book, full of adventure and majestic backdrops. From camel rides in the desert, to kayaking and kite festivals to mountain train journeys, beach escapades, hilltop retreats and tiger safaris, your family will leave the country wanting more.

    To help you enjoy your once-in-a lifetime family trip to India, we used our verified reviews and asked local families for their favourite spots across the country that you and the kids will absolutely love.

    Hampi
    The climb to the top of Monkey Temple is a pretty sweaty one (and best avoided in the sweltering midday sun) but the view is enough to render any grumpy child mid-tantrum speechless plus the hike will keep your child busy! Gazing out on this surreal panorama could turn into an endless activity, were it not for the other exciting places you'll want to visit once you spot them on the horizon. The landscape looks a little like another planet; hills of ochre boulders rise up among lush green vegetation that contrasts with the bright blue sky. The village of Hampi is home to a fascinating collection of ancient sacred temples, now well-preserved ruins that can be explored over a time period of a couple of days. Get the entire family to move around by bike and stop off to have a swim at the local waterfall, before walking up any of the area's dusty hills to catch a truly sublime sunset.
    2016-09-22-1474568663-82452-Indian_Family_Destinations_Hampi.jpg
    Photo Cred - Booking.com


    Vagamon
    Offering some of India's most spectacular scenery, Vagamon is ideal for a nature-filled family trip of pure escapism. For those unfamiliar with its misty green meadows, it's a tiny hill station in Kerala at an altitude of 1100m above sea level. Remarkably untouched by tourism and commercialization, some of the roads are a little rough but that's more than made up for by the sense of adventure and its natural beauty. Verdant green hues define the landscape of pine forests and waterfalls, all perfect for trekking and rock climbing. That being said, it's also a dreamy place to enjoy a slower-paced holiday of sunsets and tranquility. So if you find it hard to please every member of the family, the diversity of Vagamon could just do the trick.
    2016-09-22-1474568771-2395344-Indian_Family_Destinations_Vagamon.jpg
    Photo Cred - Booking.com


    Mararikulam
    It's hardly surprising that Mararikulam ranked so highly as a family travel destination. It's a beach village with a paradisiacal, near-empty beach called Marari. A peaceful tropical enclave, it's a place to completely unwind and really immerse yourself in local life. Whether that's by indulging in Ayurvedic treatments from local specialists, tucking into phenomenal Keralan cuisine or swimming and lazing under a coconut palm, the whole family will find it hard to tear themselves away once the holiday is over.
    2016-09-22-1474568827-4269460-Indian_Family_Destinations_Mararikulam.jpg
    Photo Cred - Booking.com


    Mahabalipuram
    Another historical Indian town, Mahabalipuram is a treasure trove of fascinating ancient sites. Of the many archaeological wonders worth visiting, Pancha Rathas is a monument complex featuring monolithic rock-cut temples with mesmerizingly complex carvings. The Cave Temples are sculptures carved into the rocks and Descent of the Ganges is a vast open-air rock relief. Krishna's Butter Ball is a 250-ton boulder that balances in a gravity-defying position on a slope, proving a curious tourist attraction. Mahabalipuram is also a coastal town and its beach is well-known for surfing, though it's also possible to swim and sunbathe if some of the family don't fancy a surf.
    2016-09-22-1474568888-1013828-Indian_Family_Destinations_Mahabalipuram.jpg
    Photo Cred - Booking.com


    Thanjavur
    For a cultural family holiday, Thanjavur will certainly deliver. The town is famous as a centre of South Indian religion, art and architecture and its long history feels incredibly vivid. Every day thousands worship at its grand Brihadishwara Temple, an imposing structure dedicated to Shiva and covered in intricate carvings. There are numerous shrines and historically significant sites to visit, plus the family-friendly, charming Siva Ganga Garden. With a mini train, temple in the middle of a pond and children playing everywhere, it's a great place to take a break from sight-seeing.
    2016-09-22-1474568978-5354393-Indian_Family_Destinations_Thanjavur.jpg
    Photo Cred - Booking.com


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    The word 'travel' is too often associated with unproductive time off from what you 'should' be doing. But UniversityHub has another perspective for you. We sat down with Katie Idle from the Study and Go Abroad Fair to highlight 5 ways that travel can boost someone's résumé. The fair is kicking off this weekend in Vancouver and Edmonton, and travelling to four other cities across Canada. Pre-register for free online.

    1. Study Abroad

    There's no need to put your education on hold to go travel -- you can do both! Why not consider taking a whole degree abroad? Some undergraduate programs, such as in the UK, Australia and South Africa, are only three years as opposed to the traditional four-year degree program in Canada -- and Master's programs/ MBAs are often one year only! One year of earlier graduation means one year more of earning full-time employment salary.

    Or, if you're not ready for a whole degree program abroad, consider taking a semester or international exchange. "Speak to your university to find out about credit transfers and grades - don't worry, they can help you with all of that. You just need to choose where you want to study, pack your bags, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime," says Idle.

    "The Study and Go Abroad Fair is a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with universities from around the world. Be brave - check out universities from the non-English speaking countries as well."

    2. Gain Work Experience

    Canadian businesses are more international than ever. Applying to a job out of university or college with international work experience on your résumé will separate you from the crowd. You'll learn a ton about how an industry works in a different part of the world, get to work with teams from a different culture, and get to enjoy non-work time in a place you'd normally vacation to.

    Companies operate seamlessly across borders, and people need to do the same, which is why working or studying abroad is so important. Students who work abroad come home with new perspectives on the world, and an invaluable understanding of how it works.

    "Check out International Experience Canada. Did you know that if you are 18-35, you can get a work permit for 32 different countries!" notes Idle.

    3. Accomplish Something Unique

    If you think travel is all about eating banana pancakes and lying by the beach, then you're very mistaken. Travel is all about stretching yourself in ways you wouldn't each day. What's an adventure you've always had on your bucket list? Maybe it's summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro or sailing across the Caspian Sea -- whatever it is, it will be sure to add some 'oomph' to the 'additional interests' section of your résumé.

    Idle tells us to "Check out Australian Working Holidays to experience the true Australian 'outback'. You never really know what you are capable of, until you get out of your comfort zone."

    4. Volunteer Abroad

    Voluntourism is the new hot topic in travel. There's no better way to supplement your own holiday with giving back to others who need it most. This might be volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand or a school in Peru -- whatever you choose, it will definitely be a life changing experience.

    "A couple of years ago, Adrianna, from a small town in Alberta, won the Study and Go Abroad Grand Prize Draw - a volunteer trip to Africa. She came back saying that it was a life-changing experience for her, and as a result she totally changed her career plans. There's something about taking a set period of time and devoting it almost entirely to other people -- you get so much back from an experience like that, it lasts a lifetime." tells Idle.

    "Visit Uniterra at the fair to find out about short and long-term volunteering opportunities."

    5. Learn a Language

    Learning a language is one of the smartest moves you can do to become an employable young professional. But it's incredibly difficult to truly grasp a language -- particularly in a short period of time -- when you aren't fully immersed. What if when you hopped on the bus, turned on the TV, tried to read a restaurant menu, or ordered a train ticket, you had to read, listen, think and speak in a different language. You'll be forced to learn it merely to make everyday life easier for you!

    "Language is the biggest thing that separates cultures" says Idle "so when you learn a language, you can experience a culture and connect with people like you never would have otherwise. It's a truly special thing. Check out Languages Abroad and EF Language Centres at the fairs. Both teach many different languages in some really interesting destinations."

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    If you're looking for that next amazing panoramic photo to post on Instagram, look no further.

    Toronto’s Scarborough Bluffs has a killer view of the skyline from a vantage point unlike any other in the city.

    In this feature from “Like a Tourist,” host Dan Rodeo helps local Torontonian, Amanda Edwards, face her fear of heights and the payoff is breathtaking.

    “It was scary as hell, but now I can say I did it,” says Edwards.

    Find More Of Canada's Hidden Gems With "Like A Tourist":

    Try Not To Fall In Love With Halifax After Watching This

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    It's Time You Got Acquainted With Ottawa's Fun Side

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    As of November 10, 2016, dual citizens who hold Canadian citizenship, as well as some other foreign citizenship, will need to present their Canadian Passport at the time of entry into Canada, if they are travelling by air. However, this change was not well publicized and many dual citizens are now scrambling to obtain Canadian Passports before the deadline.

    This new Canadian passport requirement arises from the Electronic Travel Authorization ("eTA") program, which was established in 2015. Although the eTA program was supposed to become effective on August 1, 2015, the Canadian Government previously announced a "leniency period," which delayed its implementation. This leniency period was due to expire on October 1, 2016, but has now been extended until November 9, 2016.

    The eTA program is an air-travel screening process for citizens of visa-exempt countries, who may travel to Canada without first obtaining a Canadian Temporary Resident Visa. The program is similar in many ways to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization ("ESTA") program, which is used by the United States Government. Foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States under that country's Visa Waiver Program must first obtain authorization under ESTA. However, unlike ESTA, the eTA requirement only applies to foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air.

    The reason why dual citizens will no longer be able to travel to Canada by air after November 9, 2016, using their non-Canadian passport, is that an eTA will be required in such cases. However, the eTA system was set up to screen foreigners entering Canada on a temporary basis; it cannot be used by Canadian citizens. Since Canadian citizens cannot obtain an eTA, they cannot rely on the visa-exemption normally available to citizens of their other country of nationality.

    Although this new requirement could inconvenience many dual citizens, there are some significant exceptions:

    • Dual U.S.-Canadian citizens will be exempt from Canadian Passport requirement. This is because U.S. citizens are also exempt from the eTA requirement. Since a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen may enter Canada using his or her United States Passport without the need for an eTA, this is still permitted.

    • As mentioned above, the Canadian Passport requirement will only apply to dual citizens who are travelling to Canada by air, since the eTA program does not apply to travel by land or by sea. So a Canadian-UK dual citizen could still fly to Buffalo, New York, and then drive across the land border into Canada using their UK Passport.


    If neither of the above exceptions applies, a Canadian dual national will require valid proof of Canadian citizenship if they wish to travel to Canada (by air) on or after November 10, 2016. Acceptable proof of Canadian citizenship would include:

    • A valid Canadian Passport;

    • A valid Canadian Temporary Passport; or

    • A valid Canadian Emergency Travel Document.


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    Take cover in style - well, 1960's Cold-War style.

    The Diefenbunker, nicknamed after Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, was the secret hideaway built during the Cold War.

    The war never came but the fear of nuclear bombs landing on Canadian soil was very real. So Diefenbaker had the shelter built during the late '50s to house key politicians and military officials as a precaution.

    The bunker was also part of Canadian Forces Station Carp before it became decommissioned, housing as many as 150 personal at a time. It's now Canada's Cold War Museum in Ottawa - a monument to a bygone era.

    But that won't stop "Like A Tourist" host Dan Rodo from giving you an inside-look at the Prime Minister's headquarters at this historic Ottawa landmark in the video above.

    Interested in what else Canada's capital has in store for you? Check this out.

    Find More Of Canada's Hidden Gems With "Like A Tourist":

    Try Not To Fall In Love With Halifax After Watching This

    Surfing In Montreal? Oui, S'il Vous Plaît!

    It's Time You Got Acquainted With Ottawa's Fun Side

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    As a busy entrepreneur growing two businesses, I travel for work on a weekly basis. After hours on planes, speaking on stage, or doing media interviews, it's tough for me to wind down at the end of the day. However, I know how important it is that I get enough sleep when I'm staying in a hotel far away from home.

    According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a third of adults don't get enough sleep (at least seven hours each night), and this is linked to a host of diseases and other problems. Here are five tips I use to help power down and sleep better.

    1. Avoid screen time blues

    If you want to settle into a restful sleep, avoid staring at screens before bed (up to an hour). This may not be realistic in all situations, so if you absolutely have to work on a device, try a program like f.lux that can colour-shift your screen to minimize the amount of blue light emitted, the same approach used by Apple's Night Shift and Amazon's Blue Shade technology.

    Reducing the amount of blue light can help you get to sleep more easily by making the colours warmer and less like the light of the sun (which, you know, is a pretty big cue that you should be awake!).

    2016-09-21-1474481390-8398459-AMHIEComputer2.jpeg

    2. Brain dump & blank out

    A lot of us have trouble sleeping because we can't stop thinking about what we have to do in the future (what I would give for a switch to just turn my brain off at the end of the day!). For taking the stress out of travel, try booking with an app. You can make reservations on-the-go and it's easy to manage your stays with all of your travel details saved in the app.

    Another thing that can help is to write down all the things you have on your mind so that you can be confident they're listed and ready to be addressed in the morning (which means you don't have to think about them anymore that night). Just make sure you don't do this immediately before lying down to sleep, as you'll probably wind your brain up more than winding it down. If you need a good note-taking and task master app, try Any.do.

    3. Work out your worries

    Another thing you don't want to do immediately before going to sleep, but is hugely helpful if you can fit it in earlier in the day, is to grab a quick work out. Jog on a treadmill, do a few laps in the pool, or lift some weights. In fact, it's been shown that exercising (again, not too close to bedtime) can really help you get to sleep at night. If you've left it too late then maybe squeeze in some hotel room yoga before bed so that you can relax a bit without getting your heart rate racing.

    2016-09-21-1474481417-8089307-AMHIEgym3pool.jpeg

    4. Set the mood

    While not everyone likes to sleep in total silence, eliminating distracting noises can help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. Depending on your environment, try noise-cancelling headphones or download a white noise app to drift off into dreamland. Also, you definitely want to shut off any alerts that might pop up in the middle of the night, so put your smartphone in Do Not Disturb mode when you hit the sack.

    Finally, a high-quality pillow can make all the difference when it comes time to unwind. When travelling, I love that Holiday Inn Express hotels offer a pillow menu giving you the choice of firm or soft pillows, to ensure a restful and comfortable sleep.

    2016-09-21-1474481349-1034533-AMHIESleepPoses.jpg

    5. Turn the clock around

    This may be difficult for some of you, but my brother swears by it. When you go to bed, set your alarm and then keep that clock face out of view. How many times do you wake up in the middle of the night and check the clock? And then the next thing you probably do is either figure out how long you've been in bed or how much longer it is until you have to get up. Call me crazy, but I don't think doing math in the middle of the night is helping you rest. If you're really worried about missing your wake-up, then set the alarm on both your clock and your phone. In addition, I always call the front desk at my hotel to request a wake-up call.

    As a busy mom, I know that I need to come back from a business trip refreshed and ready to enjoy my personal time with my family. Getting to sleep faster and better while travelling is a worthy goal for all of us in our sleep-challenged society. In other words, power down properly so you're ready to power up when you need it most.

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    Whether you're joining an organized trip or setting out with nothing but a backpack and a guidebook, your first solo trip can be daunting. Yet, you'll soon find it's one of the most rewarding ways to travel. If you're teetering on the edge of going solo, or already planning where to visit, we have ten suggestions to kick-start your wanderlust. If you want even more ideas, make sure to check out our upcoming film fest on October 6th where you can meet travellers that have taken the plunge and explored the world solo.

    USA
    2016-09-23-1474655946-5145151-USA.jpg
    Los Angelas, United States| Photo Cred - unsplash.com

    Monumental landscapes, awesome road trips and sun-kissed shores -- yes, the USA really does have it all. It's also one of the easiest and safest destinations for a first solo trip. Meeting fellow travellers along the way is a breeze, and plentiful tours, trains and car hire make it a cinch to get around. This is a land for adventure, so be sure to venture beyond the well-worn tourist trail. Think about getting off grid on a camping expedition to the Alaskan wilderness, or discovering the best barbecue on a foodie pilgrimage to the deep south.

    Laos
    2016-09-23-1474656159-5055299-Laos.jpg
    Luang Prabang, Laos| Photo Cred - unsplash.com

    Landlocked Laos might not see the visitor numbers of neighbouring Thailand or Vietnam -- but that's all the more reason to visit. There's lots to draw the solo traveller here, from the friendly and welcoming people to the affordable hotels and transport. You could easily spend a few weeks in Laos alone, or incorporate the country into a wider trip around Southeast Asia. If you're nervous about going it alone, mix short organised trips with spells of solo travel.

    Guatemala
    2016-09-23-1474656738-1813606-Guatemala.jpg
    Guatemala | Photo Cred - unsplash.com

    Ever heard of a chicken bus? Travel solo in Guatemala and you'll soon become familiar with this workhorse of the Guatemalan roads. Daubed in gaudy paint, with all manner of passengers and livestock on board, they're sure to become a key part of your trip. The buses connect Guatemala's well-trodden tourist trail -- running from the ruins of Tikal to the enchanting colonial capital Antigua -- and you'll never be short of opportunities to meet other travellers along the way. Venture further afield and you'll find much of this country remains under-explored -- which side of Guatemala you see is up to you.

    Australia
    2016-09-23-1474657044-1756237-Australia.jpg
    Sydney, Australia| Phot Cred - unsplash.com

    If there's one place known for welcoming backpackers, it's Australia. Generous one-year working holiday visas for Canadians and Brits make it easy to discover the country's allure, offering solo travellers the opportunity to put down temporary roots and build local connections. Whether you're drawn by the hip young cities, the mile-upon-mile of heavenly beaches or the rugged and little-visited interior, Australia offers a solo trip you'll never forget.

    Italy
    2016-09-23-1474656843-2383340-italy.jpg
    Pisa, Italy| Photo Cred - unsplash.com

    Hear us out. We know Italy might not jump to mind as a solo travel destination, but if you're considering a longer trip around Europe, it's one of the best places to start. This is a country made to be explored alone. You'll find hostels filled with travellers from Europe and beyond, and the country's rich history means you'll never be short of a fascinating monument or museum to explore. As for embracing Italian culture, the great tradition of the passeggiata (gelato in hand, of course) is a great way to begin.

    Peru
    2016-09-23-1474656944-3149007-Peru.jpg
    Machu Picchu, Peru| Photo Cred - unsplash.com

    If outdoor adventure is top of your list -- and you're not quite ready to travel totally alone -- head for Peru. Hiking to Machu Picchu is, of course, the country's best-known attraction, but there are plenty more organised treks and activities on offer. You could spend a week on a white-water rafting trip, hit the coast for a surf camp or even take to two wheels for an epic guided cycling trip across the country.

    Thailand
    2016-09-23-1474657146-9613388-thailand.jpg
    Thailand| Photo Cred - unsplash.com

    Few countries are so well known for their backpacking scene, whether beaches or big cities are top of your list. With convenient air connections and island hopping routes aplenty, Thailand is perfectly set up for a first-time solo trip. Try to avoid falling into the trap of "finding yourself" at a full moon party. Instead, immerse yourself into Thailand's fascinating culture and history. Temples, markets and mountain treks are just the start of the country's many attractions.

    India
    2016-09-23-1474657278-3222496-India.jpg
    Taj Mahal, India| Photo Cred - unsplash.com

    Colourful and chaotic in equal measure, India has been beguiling solo travellers for centuries. You'll be hard pressed to find somewhere more welcoming and with such a breadth of attractions, from temples and tigers to beaches and Bollywood. Whether you choose to kick back on a beach in Goa, tour the "golden triangle" or head up to a hill station, you'll find it hard to remain unmoved by the Subcontinent.

    China
    2016-09-23-1474657375-3153650-China.jpg
    Hong Kong, China| Photo Cred - unsplash.com

    Looking for a solo travel challenge? With an alphabet completely different than our own, and a huge difference in language, China can be a tough yet incredibly rewarding place to explore alone. Once you've got used to navigating (always have your destination written down), you can get to grips with fascinating nation. Allow at least a few weeks to take it all in, from hypermodern Shanghai to the remote Silk Road cities.

    New Zealand
    2016-09-23-1474657624-3601974-NewZeland.jpg
    New Zealand| Photo Cred - unsplash.com

    If you're craving some thrills on your solo trip, there's one place to go. New Zealand delivers adrenaline kicks like nowhere else on Earth. Bungee jumping and skydiving are the obvious place to begin, but there's plenty more besides. Jet-boating, caving and canyon swings are just a few of the madcap activities you can try against the country's stunning natural backdrop.

    By travelcuts and Eleanor Aldridge from Rough Guides

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    Winnipeg — or "Winterpeg," as it's lovingly known during half of the year — sometimes gets a bad rap once the temperatures are below freezing. But when the city isn't contending with bone-chilling cold fronts and brutal snowfall, it's a playground ripe with nature and wildlife waiting to be explored.

    And that's where "Like A Tourist" host Dan Rodo comes into play. He's teamed up with local Winnipegger Grant Calder with the goal of uncovering the city's unique hidden gems that'll make Calder forget about the four years he spent in Toronto.

    For more on where to find the spots teeming with nature, check out the full episode below.

    Where To Go: FortWhyte Alive

    1961 McCreary Road, Winnipeg, Man.

    If you want to get a sense of what Winnipegers are like, go find yourself a bison. Like the official animal of Manitoba, locals are generally chill, but mess around with them and well, you can probably imagine what happens next. You'll find plenty of wild bison at FortWhyte Alive. The environmental centre features 640 acres of land, lakes and wetlands ripe for kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. The area's also ideal for anyone looking to hike alongside Winnipeg's wildlife.

    fortwhyte alive like a tourist

    What To Do: Canoeing At Oak Hammock Marsh

    1 Snow Goose Bay On Highway 220, Winnipeg, Man.

    Keep the outdoor exploration going with a journey to Oak Hammock Marsh. The conservation area offers a not-too-far escape with a 40-minute drive north from the downtown core. Bring or rent a canoe and trade in city noise for birds and local wildlife hidden among the tallgrasses and bullrushes.

    what to do in winnipeg like a tourist

    What To Eat: Bridge Drive-In

    766 Jubilee Ave, Winnipeg, Man.

    Spending an entire day under the sun will leave just about anyone in need of a cold treat. So make your way to the Bridge Drive-In (or if you're a local, the BDI) for some of the creamiest soft serve in the city. Standout items include the "Sleeping Beauty," a hollowed out pineapple filled with two types of sundaes, topped with bananas and pineapple slices and then smothered in whipped cream — definitely a step above your typical banana split.

    bridge drive in like a tourist

    Like A Tourist Takes On Winnipeg



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    It's difficult to peel your eyes away from the beauty of Niagara Falls, but the world-renowned attraction has become far more than a natural wonder. Niagara Falls, the Canadian city, is home to everything from action packed tours to year-round water parks, renowned eateries and out-of-this-world casinos.

    A trip to the falls is more than visiting the incomparable natural wonder, it's about experiencing the nonstop action that happens around the legendary attraction. These five awesome things to do are ones you don't want to miss on your visit to Niagara Falls.

    The Maid of the Mist Tour

    You've probably seen the Maid of the Mist when browsing through brochures and photos of the falls. That's because it's one of the most iconic and action-packed Niagara Falls tours available. You can't be afraid of the water if you hop aboard this tour, because you're bound to get soaked in the coal-powered steam boat that takes you as close to the thundering rapids as possible. Although, you won't have to wear your bathing suit, because you'll be outfitted with a rain poncho.

    Journey Behind the Falls

    2016-09-26-1474905929-2675864-8673038419_90eed52e2b_z.jpg
    Photo credit: Lima Pix

    Every tourist at Niagara Falls sees the pounding Horseshoe Falls from the front, but Journey Behind the Falls takes you where the water finally comes crashing down at 65 kilometres per hour. Visit the Table Rock Welcome Center at the Canadian Horseshoe Falls to take an elevator 45 metres down into tunnels that lead to the Great Falls Portal and Cataract Portal. You'll find yourself behind a massive sheet of water, which amounts to 2,800 cubic meters of water per second during the summer months.

    Spend a Day at Clifton Hill

    Clifton Hill is Niagara Falls' most famous downtown street. It's know for the nonstop action that suits everyone from toddlers to party-goers and thrill seekers. The street is home to the 175-foot-tall Niagara Skywheel, Movieland Wax Museum of the Stars, 70,000-square-foot Great Canadian Midway arcade, Niagara Brewing Company, Club Mardi Gras Niagara, and countless other attractions, eateries, and places to let loose. Clifton Hill keeps the excitement of Niagara Falls going well past dark.

    Place Your Bets

    2016-09-26-1474906085-7329779-6922564755_a3a3a696a2_z.jpg
    Photo credit: Theodore C

    Visit Canada's largest gaming resort without taking your eyes off the falls. The Fallsview Casino Resort is a lavish, world-class casino with a 1,500 seat theatre, 130 table games, 3,000 slot machines, and elegant hotel, and more than 20 dining options. Whether you're catching some live entertainment, trying your luck in the poker room, or dining on steaks and seafood, you'll find it hard to leave this over-the-top resort.

    Stay and Play in the Water

    Families love Niagara Falls, and that's because there's absolutely no chance of getting bored. The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark is one of many places that guarantees nonstop fun, whether you stay at the park's on-site resort or just come to play. This elaborate indoor water park offers 1.2 hectares of thrilling water slides, pools, hot springs, play areas, and adults-only jacuzzis. The resort grounds span 8 hectares of prime real estate minutes from Horseshoe Falls, providing a prime location for kids and adults to experience the ultimate Niagara Falls vacation.

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    As a kid growing up in South Africa a trip into the wilderness was life-changing. Family vacations were spent on Safari and seeing animals in their natural environments touch my heart and soul deeply. From an early age I understood the importance of nature and conservation.
    Nothing beats seeing an animal in the wild. Experiencing the beauty and majesty of wildlife firsthand makes your heart skip a beat.

    Humans are naturally drawn to watching animals, it's one of the reasons why we have zoos, aquariums and sanctuaries exist, unfortunately that curiosity is leading ot widespread abuse of many animals around the world thanks to wildlife tourism.

    Wildlife tourism is worth up to $250 billion (USD) annually and its estimated that about 550,000 wild animals are kept in wildlife attractions around the world and 110 million people visit cruel wildlife attraction as tourists each year, unaware of the cruelty that goes on behind the scenes.

    World Tourism Day is the perfect time to recognize the impact of tourism on social, cultural, political and economic issues as well as the issues it raises in terms of the conservation and animal welfare impacts.

    If you are travelling and want to make a difference in the lives of animals, here are 5 things to keep in mind:

    1) Don't ride wild animals, take selfies or watch animals do stupid things
    Elephant riding is popular in Thailand and the activity is spreading across Africa. In order for an elephant to accept a rider it endures a cruel training program called the "crush" using pain, fear and isolation. The trauma cased from this process can stay with the elephants their entire lives. Lion and tiger cubs used for selfies with tourists are taken from their mothers at an early age and typically kept in isolation. Many animals like monkeys are forced to do unnatural things through painful training methods and when not performing are usually kept in small barren cages.

    2) Don't buy souvenirs made from animals -- especially endangered animals like sea turtle shell
    Even if the trinkets didn't come from endangered species, there was likely still cruelty involved but at risk species like sea turtles are especial vulnerable to poaching and commercial exploitation. For sea turtles, every part of their bodies are desirable from their eggs and meat to their shells.

    3) See animals in the wild
    Safaris and whale-watching trips can be amazing experiences and can be run humanely and sustainably. Look for companies that have animal protection policies and reviews. Make sure they keep an appropriate distance from wildlife.

    4) Speak up for animals with complaints and compliments
    If you see animal cruelty, voice your concern right away. If possible also report the cruelty to local authorities and your hotel management. Try to note down the date, time, circumstances and names and don't forget to leave feedback for other potential tourists on trip review websites. Also, if you see an animal, like a horse or donkey that is being well looked after, compliment the owner and let them know that is why you're giving them your business

    5) Support sanctuaries that rescue wild animals
    When looking for a sanctuary to visit, keep an eye out for a place with:

    • professional accreditation

    • access to veterinary care

    • natural habitats and social groupings for the animals

    • restrictions on having direct contact with the animals; allowing the animals every opportunity to behave naturally

    • restrictions on public viewing; allowing animals privacy when they want it

    • no breeding programs

    • a not-for-profit business model

    • a good visitor education program about animal welfare and conservation


    Wild animals belong in the wild and we are all responsible for doing our part to protect them. For more tips and suggestions look to groups including World Animal Protection who are a great resource for travellers. World Animal Protection has been working with travel companies all over the globe to improve animal welfare policies and more than 100 travel companies have signed on to their Elephant Friendly Travel pledge.

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    2016-09-26-1474905111-1668742-1425086049_849c9522cf_z.jpg
    Photo credit: Thomas sauzedde

    Tadoussac isn't one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada, but it's one of the coolest. This tiny village on the St. Lawrence River, known primarily for its whale watching, has far more to offer than its abundance of gigantic sea creatures. The town's funky yet historic atmosphere is just one of these five reasons why you're missing out if you've never been.

    You Can Walk Just About Everywhere

    Nothing quite kicks you into relaxation mode like parking your vehicle and knowing you won't have to touch it for several days. The bohemian village of less than 1,000 residents is easy to explore from end to end on foot. Whether you stay at the iconic Hotel Tadoussac, which has become a symbol of the town, or one of many budget-friendly options just steps away (like Les Suites De L'anse or Hotel Sous La Croix), you'll enjoy easy access to shops, eateries, the sand, historic sites, and tours without ever having to locate your car keys.

    You Can Discover Centuries of History

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    Photo credit: Luc Baron

    Tadoussac was an important village long before it became known for whale watching. The village was founded in 1600, and its location at the confluence of the Riviere Saguenay and St. Lawrence River made it the first and only seaport along the St. Lawrence for 30 years. Tadoussac was the center of fur trade between the First Nations peoples and the French by the late 17th century. However, it wasn't until 1855 that the Tadoussac village we know today was established near the site of the original settlement.

    Visitors can still explore the Petite Chapelle de Tadoussac, constructed between 1747 and 1750, the trading post of Pierre Chauvin, and the iconic Hotel Tadoussac, constructed to replace the town's first Victorian hotel built in 1864.

    You Can Hop in a Zodiac and Head Out to Sea

    There's no denying that Tadoussac's location for whale watching is one of the best in the world. The Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park is one of Canada's few National Marine Conservation Areas. The protected environment's rich food supply attracts hoards of whales that can often be seen from the shoreline.

    From May to November, the village is bustling with Zodiac tours taking camera-toting visitors to sea for hours of admiring blue whales, humpbacks, belugas, and minkes up close. Travelers who want a slightly smoother ride -- Zodiac's can be uncomfortable for those with back problems -- can hop aboard a number of other whale watching excursions, ranging from large, comfortable cruise ships to sea planes and helicopters.

    You Can Rediscover Your Inner Hippy

    2016-09-26-1474905314-5706860-5058571691_08a606411d_z.jpg
    Photo credit: Corentin Cavalli

    There's something about Tadoussac's small size, unique location, and laid-back atmosphere that makes it feel distinctly bohemian. Quirky patios, restaurants disguised as historic homes, and even the Le Casse-Croûte du Connaisseur food truck, serving up poutine and ice cream, make every dining experience a unique one. Combine the village's funky but delicious eateries with souvenir shops and locally owned boutiques, and you'll find yourself wanting to spend entire days in the village center.

    Whales Aren't the Only Wonder

    Often overshadowed by the area's whale watching tours, visits to the Parc National Du Fjord-Du-Saguenay (Saguenay Fjord National Park) can be just as awe-inspiring. The fjord offers countless outdoor activities to visitors in summer and winter, including boat tours, a Via Ferrata climbing route, fishing, guided hikes, sea kayaking, mountain biking, backcountry expeditions, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing. The picture perfect cliffs, tree-covered hills, and glassy waters of the fjord make for an unforgettable experience in any time of year.

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    2016-09-26-1474892036-9555271-15558009181_15c88cdba3_b.jpg
    Photo credit: Roderick Eime

    Travel isn't just for retirees and 20-year-old backpackers. Seeing new places and experiencing new cultures is beneficial for people of all ages, including your little ones. While traveling with kids may seem overwhelming at first, the benefits far outweigh the added luggage and frequent bathroom breaks. These four reasons to travel with your kids this fall will inspire you to choose a destination, pack your bags, and forget about the stresses of work and school for a while.

    Travel Will Bring Your Family Closer

    It's easy to be distracted by busy fall schedules and even busier social lives. Taking some time get away from all of those distractions as a family will bring you closer together. You'll probably never forget reeling in that giant tuna off the coast of Mexico or conquering Disney's Space Mountain as a team. Spending undivided time together on vacation will strengthen your relationships now and in the future.

    In fact, a study by the Global Coalition on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that the most impactful and enjoyable trips are those spent with friends and family.

    Your Kids Will Still Be Learning

    2016-09-26-1474892125-6638872-8571563711_0f2d3fe6ca_z.jpg
    Photo credit: Denali National Parks and Preserve

    Taking your kids away from school to travel doesn't mean you're harming their education. Traveling exposes your kids to new cultures, environments, foods, and people. In addition to acquiring a new view of the world, your kids will be able to experience the things they only hear or read about in school.

    A study conducted by the University of Georgia determined that students who studied abroad performed better academically when they returned to campus. Your kids, no matter how old, will likely return from your fall getaway with a renewed sense of wonder.

    Travel Will Break Your Routine and Reduce Stress

    Parents often assume kids don't have any stress, because their stress is incomparable to that of an adult. However, the stresses of school, homework, household duties, and extracurricular activities can be destructive when occurring day after day without relief. Taking a fall getaway, whether it's for three weeks or a weekend, can reduce the chronic stress that causes health problems and other difficulties in the lives of children and adults.

    Your Kids Will Learn How to Solve Real-Life Problems

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    Photo credit: M M

    Travel isn't always the nonstop fun we imagine when browsing images of our destination online, but that's part of what makes traveling so beneficial for kids. Flight delays, inclement weather, hassles with car rentals, and other vacation mishaps are all teachable moments. Your little ones will see how you adapt and problem solve in difficult real-life situations, and it will encourage them to do the same. Travel promotes confidence, independence, and self reliance, so don't be surprised if your little world traveler is more resolute when you return.

    Fall Travel Is Affordable

    It's difficult to use the excuse that traveling is to expensive during the fall season. Fall is considered the "shoulder season" in most vacation destinations throughout North America, Europe, and beyond. Smaller crowds of tourists mean more affordable flights, cheaper accommodations, and discounts on restaurant meals and tours. So before you let busy school, work, and sports schedules overrun your fall calendar, plan an autumn getaway that will help your entire family recharge their batteries mentally and physically.

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    haida gwaii
    The Balance Rock, a rock that was left balancing after the last glacial retreat, stands on the island of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. (Photo: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    As Will and Kate journey through western Canada this week, they will spend plenty of time within aboriginal communities that are increasingly attractive as tourist draws. The ability British Columbia's First Nations have shown in growing a range of diverse tourism products is extraordinary. Aboriginal tourism brings in more than $50 million a year to the provincial economy, double the amount from the start of this decade. The province even has a dedicated agency, Aboriginal Tourism B.C., to market those distinct First Nations experiences to the world.

    As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have encountered, aboriginal tours of B.C. include wildlife-viewing opportunities, the chance to witness pristine nature, connections with influential artists, visiting a resort in wine country and taking a paddle in a canoe around protected waters.

    Here are just a few of the province's wealth of attractions that give visitors an immersive look into First Nations life as well as a chance to enjoy exciting activities.

    1. Great Bear Rainforest

    Will and Kate's royal visit includes a flyover of this massive wilderness area that covers 32,000 square kilometres -- larger than the size of Wales. Chances are they won't see many bears from up high, but visitors are sure to spot grizzly bears and perhaps even sight the rare white Kermode, aka the Spirit Bear. At Spirit Bear Lodge, which is owned and operated by the Kitasoo/Xai'xais people, experienced aboriginal guides tour guests into the rainforest and around the surrounding area. The lodge is in the village of Klemtu and is open from early June to mid-October each year. Along with the Spirit Bear, whose unique colour is the result of a recessive gene, you may also spot eagles, orcas, salmon and many more species in this fascinating habitat.

    2. Haida Gwaii

    Nicknamed the Galapagos of the North, Haida Gwaii is a wonderland of big trees, amazing fishing, and rare wildlife. In the villages of Masset and Skidegate, you can learn how totem poles are made as well as find out more about the Haida, once regarded as among the greatest warriors of the west coast and whose artwork is now coveted around the world. Haida Gwaii, whose name means "Land of the People," is an archipelago consisting of more than 150 islands. The westernmost point of Canada includes some of the best fishing lodges in North America, attracting large numbers of sportfishers each year. Canoeists and kayakers also revel in the opportunities to paddle around these beautiful islands that remain largely desolate.

    Discover More: "Lose Yourself in Haida Gwaii"

    3. Wya Point Resort

    Amid 600 acres of old-growth forest on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Wya Point Resort provides a luxury experience that is breathtaking and indulgent. Owned and operated by the First Nations community in Ucluelet -- Tofino's neighbour to the south -- Wya Point provides one- and two-bedroom lodgings in timber-framed buildings, as well as spacious yurts -- those "glamping" accommodations that feature comfortable beds beneath warm tents and modern conveniences never more than a few feet away. The resort is on the Pacific Ocean, close to the famed West Coast Trail that leads hikers through the Pacific Rim National Park, and a short drive to the centre of Ucluelet, where visitors can depart on whale watching or kayaking excursions as well as enjoy sensational dining.

    Discover More: "Uncover the Charms of Ucluelet"

    4. Spirit Ridge Resort

    Overlooking Osoyoos Lake in the southern Okanagan Valley, Spirit Ridge at Nk'Mip Resort is home to the Nk'Mip Cellars (pronounced in-ka-meep), North America's first aboriginal-owned and -operated winery. The property includes a museum that recounts the history of the Osoyoos Indian Band, whose members helped to create Spirit Ridge. Guests can enjoy a tour of the 18,000-square-foot winery, feast at the on-premises fine-dining restaurant, or visit the towns of Oliver and Osoyoos, where some of Canada's best wines are produced.

    Discover More: "Wining and Dining in Osoyoos"

    5. Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

    In Whistler, the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre is a first-of-its-kind Canadian facility dedicated to the history and culture of a local aboriginal group. It is a light-filled building that provides a focused look at two important First Nations groups in British Columbia. Along with artifacts dating back centuries, the cultural centre features a theatre where films are shown and performances take place. One of the most eye-catching display is the huge canoe in the centre of the building. The 40-foot Xxays canoe, made in the style of traditional hunting vessels, is still in use, having recently voyaged from Whistler north to Bella Bella.

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    One thing you don't often get to do when you're spending time in an airport: get some fresh air. We're accustomed to having the option to shop, eat and drink, or wander aimlessly while awaiting a flight, but having the chance to spend some time outside isn't usually on the list of things to do at the airport.

    However, that isn't always the case. More and more airports around the world are offering travellers the chance to soak up some sunshine before a flight. If that sounds like something that would make your trip more enjoyable, check out Cheapflights.ca's picks for the top 10 airport outdoor spaces, where you can catch some rays while waiting to catch your flight.

    JetBlue T5 Rooftop at JFK, New York, New York
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    Image: JetBlue T5 Rooftop at JFK, courtesy Paul Rivera

    JetBlue opened its multi-use outdoor space in New York at JFK in 2015. The rooftop lounge is post-security and open to all customers, not just members of VIP programs. Coming in at just over 1,200 square metres, the dog-friendly outdoor lounge has a wooden deck, food carts, aluminum furniture, an area for canine travellers dubbed "Wooftop", grassy areas for relaxing, planters, a kids' play area and free Wi-Fi. With all that you might not even care about delays or long layovers.

    Amsterdam Schiphol's Airport Park, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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    Image: @oeby via Instagram

    Travellers at Amsterdam Schiphol can get a breath of fresh air at the airport's indoor/outdoor park, located in the departures hall, upstairs near Lounge 1. The relaxing space features a park-themed indoor lounge with an adjoining open air terrace where travellers can do some plane-spotting while getting some fresh air and sunshine. Indoors you'll find beanbag chairs, lounge chairs, stationary bikes that will charge your phone while you pedal and Park Café, the only café beyond passport control that has an outdoor terrace.

    Larry Berg Flight Path Park at Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver
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    Image: Flight Path Park, courtesy Vancouver International Airport

    More near the airport than actually part of it, you'll have to enjoy this outdoor space either before you get into the airport or once you leave. Either way, Flight Path Park at Vancouver International is a great spot to catch some sun while plane-spotting. The Vancouver park is located directly in line with the end of the south runway making it a particularly ideal area for watching planes soar overhead. The park also has picnic tables, paper airplane benches, walking trails and a bike tune-up station.

    Terrace at Sydney International Airport, Sydney, Australia
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    Image: Newtown grafitti, The city from T1 via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Chances are, if you're flying out of Sydney International, the journey ahead of you will be a long one. Take some time to relax outdoors before your flight out of Terminal 1 at The Terrace Bar, Bistro & Café, located before customs. Order a drink from the outdoor bar, which sits adjacent to the airport's observation deck, and then enjoy it in the beer garden while you prepare for your next adventure.

    Pool lounge and observation deck at Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore
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    Image: Byrion Smith, Changi Airport Outdoor Pool via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Waiting for a flight can be stressful, but less so if you're lounging poolside with cocktail in hand, which is something you can easily do at Changi Airport. The rooftop pool here is spacious, clean and inviting, and there's also a jacuzzi, poolside bar and shower facilities. The airport oasis is located at Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel at Terminal 1 and is free for guests of the hotel. Otherwise, anyone can pay the fee of $17 Singapore dollars (roughly $16), which gets you admission, a towel, a locker and a bottle of water.

    Star Alliance Lounge at LAX, Los Angeles, California
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    Image: Star Alliance Lounge at LAX, courtesy Star Alliance

    The Star Alliance Lounge at LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal has a lot going for it in the way of style and amenities. The lounge, for passengers flying business class or who have Star Alliance gold status, can be found on level six after security and it's only accessible by travellers departing from Tom Bradley International. But, if you're lucky enough to get inside, you'll be rewarded with an expansive outdoor terrace that offers views over the airfield and the Los Angeles Hollywood Hills. Sip a complimentary cocktail in the sun, or, in the evening, enjoy the terrace's fireplace.

    Sky Deck at Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong
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    Image: Herry Lawford, Hong Kong via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Get outside at Hong Kong International via the Sky Deck,a large outdoor deck where anyone interested in aviation, or who just wants some fresh air at the airport, can watch planes landing and taking off. Located in Terminal 2 on level six, the Sky Deck is part of the airport's Aviation Discovery Centre (ADC), a small but informative aviation museum with a series of exhibits that focus on aviation development in Hong Kong.

    Delta's Sky Deck at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia
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    Image: redlegsfan21, N957AT via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    The international terminal (Terminal F) at Hartsfield-Jackson is home to Delta's Sky Club, which happens to have a large outdoor terrace complete with comfy couches and great views of the runways. There's Wi-Fi if you need to get some work done between flights plus complimentary food and drinks. Passengers looking for a little outside time can access the space in a few ways: with a Sky Club membership, a premium ticket for an international flight that day, or by purchasing a pass for $50 USD.

    Delta's Sky Deck at JFK, New York, New York
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    Image: Mark Nakasone, DSC_6128.jpg via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Get yourself to Terminal 4 at JFK to experience another of Delta's Sky Club lounges that boasts a sleekly designed outdoor space. JFK was actually the first to get a Sky Deck in 2013, followed by Hartsfield. This one is on the roof of Terminal 4's Concourse B (after security) and comes equipped with lots of tables and areas to relax outside, as well as outlets to charge your devices. As with the Sky Club in Atlanta, you can get in with a Sky Club membership, if you're travelling internationally in Delta's Business Elite cabin, or you can pick up a day pass which can be purchased for $50 USD.

    Virgin Atlantic's Virgin Heathrow Clubhouse, London, UK
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    Image: Vagueonthehow, Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Roof Terrace via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Members of Virgin's Flying Club Gold program or those who have a ticket for Upper Class can enjoy the airline's Clubhouse at London's Heathrow Airport, located in Terminal 3 airside through the duty-free shops. In addition to a bar, restaurant, games room, kids' play area, library and entertainment area with TVs, there's also a secluded roof garden for travellers looking to get some air. Grab a drink in the lounge and head up to the garden, find a seat and relax.

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    Summer may be over but so long as the warm weather's still here, you have an excuse to eat ice cream.

    And if you're craving soft serve, "Like A Tourist" host Dan Rodo knows where to find the good stuff.

    Enter the Bridge Drive-In in Winnipeg. Located near the city's Elm Park Bridge across the Red River, the Drive-In (or BDI, as the locals call it) has been slinging soft serve for nearly 60 years, making it something of an institution in the city.

    More than five decades has given the joint time to churn out a few speciality items like "the Coconilla," "the So-Much-S’more" and "Sleeping Beauty" — two types of sundaes buried beneath a mound of fruits, nuts and whipped cream and served in a hollowed-out pineapple.

    bridge drive in soft serve like a tourist
    Is it called the "Sleeping Beauty" for its looks or because you'll be in a food coma after eating it? Your guess is as good as ours.

    To see what else the BDI has in store, check out the video above. And for more must-see spots in Winnipeg, head here.

    Find More Of Canada's Hidden Gems With "Like A Tourist":

    Try Not To Fall In Love With Halifax After Watching This

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    Hear ye, hear ye, skunks of the world. A hero walks among you.

    On Monday, Mike MacMillan was driving from his home in Uptergrove, Ont. to meet the mayor of Barrie, Ont.

    But that wouldn't be the only big meeting of his day.

    skunk video
    Mike MacMillan saved this skunk from its Coke can hell. (Photo: Jukin/AOL)

    MacMillan would end up doing what described as "the bravest thing in my life."

    He would liberate a skunk from a Coke can — and film himself doing it. (Watch the rescue.)

    The poor animal had gotten its head stuck inside the aluminum prison and was running around on the road.

    MacMillan told The Huffington Post Canada that he thinks the can was used to catch fat drippings from a grill, which led the skunk to think there was food inside.

    "I was about to drive off when he almost got hit by another car," said MacMillan, who works as a manager for a concrete and fuel company.

    "I couldn't live with myself thinking of this guy dying a slow death with a can on his head."

    skunk video
    Mike MacMillan said the can was on the skunk "really good." (Photo: Jukin/AOL)

    "I assumed that I was going to get sprayed and I thought 'Oh well, this is what I'm going to have to do today.'"

    He filmed the rescue mission so that, if his fate was to be sprayed by a skunk, he had some evidence to show his wife and kids.

    "Skunk, please don't spray me," MacMillan says in the video. "Please don't spray me. I'm not going to hurt you."


    "Skunk, please don't spray me."


    The can was "on there really good," but after around 30 seconds of pulling, the skunk was free and runs away.

    MacMillan's video has been shared more than 11,000 times on Facebook and viewed millions times on YouTube. Several international media outlets including The Washington Post and The Independent have picked up his story.

    He says he's received messages from all over the world, thanking him for saving the skunk.

    The animal itself didn't thank its saviour— the gall on this thing — but at least it didn't engulf him with a horrific smell.

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    Travelling sometimes calls for climbing aboard a plane, which can be a problem if you're afraid of flying.

    But sometimes conquering your fears means jumping right into the front seat. No, we're not talking about flying first class (but the extra leg room doesn't hurt). We're talking about fastening your seatbelt and hopping into the cockpit.

    Neuroscientists and psychologists agree: one way to conquer your fears is to repeatedly force yourself to face them. The repeated exposure lowers your mental response to your phobia until it either disappears or becomes manageable.

    But if that doesn't work, at least you'll have one heck of a view. Just ask "Like A Tourist" host Dan Rodo, as he and local Winnipeger Grant Calder team up with Harv’s Air Flight Training to uncover a view of the city unlike any other.

    That's where the two learned some of the key points to controlling a plane, and why the horizon is a pilot's best friend. For more on the lessons learned during their flight, check out the video above.

    And for more on Winnipeg's cool hidden gems, head here.

    Find More Of Canada's Hidden Gems With "Like A Tourist":

    Try Not To Fall In Love With Halifax After Watching This

    Surfing In Montreal? Oui, S'il Vous Plaît!

    It's Time You Got Acquainted With Ottawa's Fun Side

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    I was a club kid of the late-'90s in London, when house music had merged into the mainstream and was no longer solely entertaining audiences of the "underground" variety.

    Back then, I never made it to the music Mecca that is Ibiza. And I've always regretted it.

    Twenty years later, to prove that a 40-something could still work the local scene, I hightailed it to what may very well be considered the clubbing capital of the world.

    Turns out, there's a helluva lot more to this Balearic Island in Spain than electronica and glow sticks.

    Getting there

    If you're coming from Canada, you're going to have to fly somewhere else first -- because there aren't any direct flights to Ibiza. You'll need to do the airline math for your given timeline, but it might be more wallet-friendly to get a return flight to, say, London or Madrid and book your Ibiza flights within Europe separately. There are a host of airlines that can get you to Ibiza - such as Small Planet, Kiss, Air Europa and Envelop! - but Ryanair and EasyJet will most likely be the cheapest.

    When to go

    Ibiza is truly a seasonal island. While it welcomes millions of visitors each year, there are fewer than a dozen hotels open from mid-October through the end of April. The biggest months are July and August; but June and September, and even into the first couple weeks of October, still offer outstanding weather - and you'll find hotels are much cheaper and the crowds thinned out.

    Where to stay

    When I was in my 20s, I would have wanted to be in the middle of the party. But for those in their 30s, 40s and beyond, I recommend staying in Santa Eulalia (locally, signs may read "Santa Eulària des Riu"); it's more upscale and close enough to Ibiza Town, which is the prime entertainment district and easily reachable by taxi for around 30 Euros, but far enough away that you won't hear the party when it's time for some shuteye or relaxation.

    It's also home to incredible beach resorts set along the Mediterranean Sea, like the IBEROSTAR Santa Eulalia (Urb Sargamassa, Calle Mestral, 42/+34 971 33 06 07) - a gorgeous four-star with direct access to the secluded Playa de S´Argamassa. There's nightly entertainment here and in nearby resorts if you still need some nightlife, but consider whiling away your days sunning on a beach covered in fine sand or perched on a sunbed overlooking the sea. By next summer, there'll also be a rooftop pool. (Need I mention the sangria that's on tap in the main restaurant?)

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    Where to eat

    In Ibiza Town, you don't want to miss out on the opportunity to eat inside the "walled city," Dalt Vila. Set amidst ancient cobblestone, the restaurants within Dalt Vila help immerse you in history dating back to the 1500s. You'll dine alongside Gothic Catalan buildings set on a 12th-century foundation -- outdoors in many cases, so you can enjoy the warm Mediterranean breeze and perhaps a street performer or two.

    La Torreta (Plaça de Vila, 10, Eivissa/+34 971-30-04-11) is the perfect example of fine, al fresco dining typical within the walled city; but you'll definitely need reservations. Start with the croquetas and have the sea bass or roasted suckling pig. Order a bottle of Rioja - the Sierra Cantabria Selección 2014 was the best I had in Spain.

    SeaSoul in Santa Eulalia (S'Argamassa/+34 971-33-86-22) is everything you hope for in a seaside restaurant: contemporary décor with a nod to the nautical, a water-view that'll melt your heart and food so well-balanced - seemingly casual but executed with perfection - that one meal there just isn't enough.

    The calamari and its delectable citrus-infused aioli are a must, followed by either the baseball-sized homemade burger, seafood linguine or deconstructed quinoa salad - depending on your mood. The white sangria here is everything.

    2016-09-28-1475088223-4199830-QuinoasaladatSeaSoulIbizaphotocreditAndreaTraynor.jpg


    It's worth trying to find El Bigotes (Camino Cala Boix a Cala Mastella, 138T/+34 650-79-76-33), either with a local or by taxi - as long as you have a reservation. About 15 minutes away from Santa Eulalia, this tiny restaurant sits, literally, on the water and oozes charm. There are two seatings daily, at 12 noon and 2 p.m., each serving two courses.

    Arrive, sit, eat. Don't bother trying to order. I was there for the 2 p.m. sitting and enjoyed an Ibizan fish stew and "bullit," a soup-y paella-like dish made with rice and fish. Cash only.
    2016-09-28-1475088289-8465486-ElBigotesIbizaphotocreditAndreaTraynor.jpg


    What to do

    Watersports. Any number of them are available in Ibiza! If the wind is calm, try standup paddle-boarding (called "paddlesurf" locally). There's also the usual suspects like SeaDoos and banana boats. Certified divers will find the Mediterranean on the cooler side, around 25 degrees Celsius, so bring or rent a wetsuit.

    Find a beach. Any beach. There are many.
    2016-09-28-1475089151-7983013-IbizaphotocreditAndreaTraynor.jpg


    See the real Ibiza. Take a guided tour of Ibiza Town that includes an historic walk through the Dalt Vila, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Contact the local tourism authority to see if you can organize a jeep tour of the island should time permit so you can see the olive and almond groves.

    At 413 metres tall, Es Vedrà is considered the third-most magnetic place on earth next to the North Pole and Bermuda Triangle. Shrouded in legend, it's where compasses go haywire and it forms the basis for hushed stories of alien encounters and myths that call it home to the sea-nymphs who tried to lure Odysseus from his ship in Homer's Odyssey. It's also gorgeous.

    The island is totally uninhabited, and don't bother trying to get onto it without risking huge fines.
    2016-09-28-1475088367-8868362-EsVedraIbizaphotocreditAndreaTraynor.jpg


    Visit the Hippy Market in Punta Arabi (Es Canar) if you're in Ibiza on a Wednesday. It's the largest and oldest on the island and it's a treasure trove of local and imported trinkets, clothing, art and other collectibles. Some booths are cash only while others take credit cards, so come prepared.
    2016-09-28-1475088424-1255106-HippyMarketIbizaphotocreditAndreaTraynor.jpg


    Look, you're in Ibiza. Please go clubbing. If you're not into the club scene, hit a smaller place like Pacha to have an experience that won't be completely overwhelming. I went to Amnesia (Carretera Ibiza a San Antonio, Km 5/+34 971-19-80-41), which was fantastic - and you may even hear the likes of Paris Hilton DJing here. Know that tickets are always pricier at the door for any club, but you can save a few Euros by picking up tickets ahead of time through a reputable promoter.

    I successfully used That Ibiza Guy, who was helpful in selecting the right club and even hand-delivered my ticket. Entry prices will range from 15 to 100 Euros depending on the night, the DJ and of course the club itself. Expect to pay upwards of 8 to 10 Euros for bottled water, 10 to 14 Euros for a beer and more than 16 Euros per cocktail. It ain't cheap, but you may only do this once in your lifetime, right?

    What to wear

    In Santa Eulalia, beach wear is de rigueur. A fabulous bathingsuit with an equally fabulous kaftan is perfect for daytime poolside lounging and noshing. Topless sunbathing is also an option. Nights are more chic depending on where you go, but use common sense -- if you're headed to a "beach party," there's probably no need to dress up.

    Ibiza Town's many restaurants in the walled city call for nicer garb, while a casual drink will be more, well, casual. Although it doesn't cool off at night like it does in mainland Spain, you might want to bring a cotton or linen scarf if you're planning to be outside after dark for several hours. Keep in mind, too, that the streets are old and uneven; flats are best, low wedges if you absolutely must, but definitely no heels.

    For clubbing, anything goes. Feel like wearing moonboots with a tutu and bikini top? Go for it. A Grecian goddess-style robe paired with gold leaf glitter around your eyes? You'll fit right in. Glow-in-the-dark makeup and clothes that radiate amidst black lights? Yep. Straight-up jean shorts with a white T? That works, too. The key is comfortable shoes. (And, hey...maybe a glow stick or two.)

    Photo credits: Andrea Traynor

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  • 09/29/16--10:48: How To Travel Like A Royal
  • In case you hadn't heard, this week Canada is playing host to the youngest brood of British royals, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, 3-year-old Prince George and 16-month-old Princess Charlotte.

    For Will and Kate's second royal tour in Canada, which began on Sept. 24 and will run through Oct. 1, the focus of their itinerary will be on the western half of the country. For their last visit in the summer of 2011 -- a more romantic Canadian trip for the newlywed couple, long before babies Georgie and Charlotte came along -- the royal couple's official itinerary kept them mostly in Eastern Canada. For this visit, the royal family will visit British Columbia and the Yukon territory, rounding out the provinces and territories they missed last time around.

    One of the perks of being a royal -- in addition to the celebrity status, fancy clothes and general global adoration - is that Will and Kate, and increasingly George and Charlotte, get to travel all around the world meeting with their international constituency and foreign friends.

    In 2014, the royals made their first official visits to both the United States and New Zealand, which caused searches for travel to New Zealand by Brits to more than double on the family's first day of their tour. It's no surprise, then, that in the first days of the royal quartet's visit to Canada, flight searches to The Great White North made by our cousins in the United Kingdom increased by more than 40 per cent on Cheapflights. And here we thought Brexit would have things working the other way around.

    Whether you're a lucky royal or a humble Canuck like the rest of us, you can take a cue from the family's well-planned itinerary when it comes to your own travels. From making a point to experience local fare, to hitting both major cities and spots further off the beaten path, Will and Kate (or probably their well-equipped administrative staff) know how to plan a trip right.

    Here are nine ways you can take the royal approach next time you're heading on holiday.

    2016-09-28-1475087542-5990408-RoyalKiss.jpg
    the Royal Kiss by Whitney via Flickr CB BY 2.0

    See a new side of an old favourite
    It's no surprise The Duke and Duchess wanted to make a return trip to Canada, as they enjoyed themselves so much the first time. But like any seasoned travellers, Will and Kate decided to take a new look at a country they've already been to.

    If you love a country enough to want to make a return trip, but your traveller's remorse is chiding you for double dipping in the same city when there's a whole big world to explore, strike a balance of the new and familiar by visiting a new city or region of a country you've already been to. Within countries as large as Canada, the United States and Australia, geographical differences in scenery, culture and way of life make return visitors feel like they're in uncharted territory. And within smaller countries with rich and long-lived histories and cultures, even a short geographical distance can create a vastly different architecture, local cuisine and art scene. The royals knew what they were doing when they planned their visit, which includes many of Canada's top trending destinations, so do a bit of research to find some up-and-coming areas to hit before you go.

    Let the locals be your guide
    Okay, so maybe you won't be greeted with open arms by thousands of flag-waving fans as you disembark from your flight, as the royal family was. But you should still make use of the fact that no one knows a place like the people who grew up there, and often no one is more proud and ready to show it off to interested visitors. Not sure how to get to that museum you're trying to find? Ask a local. Can't figure out how much money all those weird sized coins in your pocket add up to? Ask a local. Want a great place to sample local fare? Ask a local and see the side of a city that most tourists might miss out on with their noses stuck deep in guide books and eyes glued to smartphone screens.

    Visit a mix big cities and off-the-beaten-track spots
    They might have started out in Victoria and Vancouver, but the Duke and Duchess are also getting out into areas of Canada that are often overlooked by tourists, including Whitehorse and Carcross in the Yukon.

    While big cities might have the colourful nightlife, renowned museums and impressive architecture, the less populous and less touristy areas of a country offer visitors a unique view of daily life in a foreign place, without the air of inauthenticity that can sometimes accompany popular tourist experiences in larger cities. Rent a car or take a train or bus out to the countryside to gain a more well-rounded experience, and balance out the fast pace of city life with a more low-key, relaxed vibe.

    Find nature
    2016-09-28-1475087577-8426477-3.jpg
    Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge at Olympic Gala to Mark Countdown of Olympics by Jennifer Su via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Sure, a big part of the anticipation of the royal visit is to see what Kate Middleton is going to wear at the couple's many events (did you guys see that emerald green Dolce & Gabbana dress she wore in Kelowna?), but it's not all red carpets and five star dinners for the royals. Kate and Will also have time set aside to get out into Canada's abundant and wild outdoors. Their itinerary includes a visit to the Great Bear Rainforest and a canoe trip in Haida Gwaii. Hiking, walking and other excursions into the great outdoors will add to your trip and bring some exercise back into your possibly indulgent "it's vacation, treat yo' self" lifestyle, all at a relatively low cost.

    Research a local cause
    It's a lucky thing to get to travel, and often it leaves us with a sense of gratitude. So what better time to give back and give thanks than while travelling? Kate and Will agree. That's why they set aside time in their trip to visit the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia, which provides settlement, education and employment services to over 25,000 immigrants and refugees annually. The royal couple will also be closing out their trip with a visit to The Cridge Centre for the Family and the Kelty Mental Health Resources Centre, both in Victoria.

    Voluntourism has been an increasingly popular way for travellers to not only travel on the cheap but to also connect with a community in a way that tourists often miss out on. Visit websites like www.wwoof.net, which offers volunteer work exchange opportunities on organic farms around the world, and other local tourism and volunteering websites to find out how you can contribute to a foreign community while you travel.

    Experience a new culture
    2016-09-28-1475087609-4695428-4.jpg
    prince_william_kate_middleton by nothingtoomuch via Flickr CC BY 2.0.

    Local cultures often exist in their most authentic state in the less trodden paths a country has to offer. Will and Kate know that, which is why they're taking advantage of their time in the Yukon to visit with members of the First Nation, participating in celebrations honouring aboriginal students and artists, experiencing highlights of the Yukon's cultural diversity through music and dance, and gaining appreciation for native art and rituals like totem poles and elder blessings. In many countries, native culture offers an unexplored opportunity to experience a way of life completely unique to that country, so do yourself a favour and seek out these opportunities to experience a culture within a culture.

    Leave room for adventure
    2016-09-28-1475087657-3272375-5.jpg
    Royal-wedding-Prince-William-to-marry-Kate_middleton-2 by Charles LeBlanc via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.

    It's hard to picture the well-groomed royals taking part in a mountain biking demonstration, getting their fingers wet on a canoe trip or coming in hot on a seaplane landing, but that's what you do on vacation, you leave a little room for the kinds of things you don't find yourself doing at home. Take a walk on the wild side while you travel. Maybe that means bungee jumping in South Africa, or sandboarding down a volcano in Nicaragua or paragliding over the Great Barrier Reef. You jumped on a plane to chase some new experiences, so why not crank it up a notch and jump out of the plane instead?

    Seek out festivals of all kinds
    While in Whitehorse, Will and Kate will stop by the Youth Art Festival to see highlights of the Yukon's best young talent on display. Whether they showcase art, music, food, wine or something else, festivals are a great way for visitors to mix and mingle with proud locals while experiencing the very best of their destination. While there are great and well-known international festivals - think Carnival in Rio de Janeiro or Mardi Gras in New Orleans - local or regional festivals can add some of that off-the-beaten-path charm missing in the larger celebrations. Seek out local municipal calendars of events to get a clue as to what will be going on in your destination, no matter its size.

    Take some time to yourself
    2016-09-28-1475087712-9563808-1.jpg
    Duke, Duchess, and Prince of Cambridge by Global Panorama via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.

    Whether you're travelling with family, a group of friends or solo, take time to yourself (or with your partner away from the big group) and add some calm to a potentially overwhelming social situation. It can be exhausting trying to figure out where to go, what to do and where to eat if you're travelling in a pack. Even more so if you're travelling with kids. Take a cue from Will and Kate - who will be parting from George and Charlotte for a short time as they venture North into the Yukon - and take some time for yourself. It's no fun returning from a trip exhausted, wishing you had another vacation to actually relax. Even if it's just a meal, a walk or a short excursion away, it can recharge your mental batteries and leave you better prepared for the next adventure.

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    BRUSSELS, Belgium. Brussels and beer will always be associated. Case in point: these wonderful Coors Light ads featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, aka the Muscles from Brussels. In the Belgian capital, high and low, value and overpriced, famously traditional and cheap knockoff, can be found in the same street.

    Brussels can be a wonderful foodie centre. You just have to venture a little bit further than just the old town.

    With that in mind, here's a quick guide to eating and drinking your way through foodie Brussels, the express way.

    2016-09-30-1475229969-2710485-DSC_5740444.jpg

    Bia Mara

    I've chosen Bia Mara because it's in the old part of town. It's not Belgian food or otherwise traditional, but the options in the old town of Brussels are rather deplorable and fall into the "tourist trap" category. Not Bia Mara. It's simple: craft beer and a proper fish & chips. It's great to know that this place exists when you're walking around and seeing the sights!

    Bia Mara Brussels
    Rue du Marché aux Poulets 41
    1000 Brussels

    Bistro Margaux

    Visiting the classics in Brussels is generally done in the old part of town, and clearly this is what needs to be done after having lunch at Bia Mara. Once the classics have been seen -- Manneken Pis, the Grand'Place, etc. -- it's time to head out of town.

    Bistro Margaux is a restaurant just outside of the city -- situated in Bodeghem-Sint-Martins, precisely -- which holds a Michelin star. Chef Thomas Locus makes tiny plates with a serious attention to detail. Tasting menu, white tablecloth, wine pairings and service fit for a king are to be expected. My personal favourite of the whole tasting menu was a modernist twist on the classic Belgian dish, "anguille au vert", which is eel with green sauce. Superb!

    Bistro Margaux
    Dorpsplein 3
    1700 Bodeghem-Sint-Martins
    Belgium

    Delirium Village

    Because beer is to Belgium what wine is to France, a trip to the Belgian capital cannot be complete without the most important beer bar in the world (my opinion, and I'll gladly share it!) In fact, the Delirium Village occupies a whole back alley of the Old Brussels and it's a serious party destination. Check it out!

    Delirium Café
    Impasse de la Fidélité 4
    1000 Brussels

    Hotels: Pick Your Borough

    Of course, Brussels isn't just eating and drinking, it's also the capital of Europe, with its Parliament and different EU offices and buildings. For a hotel that's right in the middle of the European quarter, head to Thon EU. You'll mix with the official crowd and civil servants.

    On the other hand, if you prefer staying in a more residential neighbourhood, the boutique hotel Le Châtelain offers a luxurious bed, beautiful backyard terrace and posh shopping on the adjacent Avenue Louise. Both great options!

    Hôtel Thon EU, Rue de la Loi 75, 1040 Brussels
    Le Châtelain Boutique Hôtel, Rue du Châtelain 17, 1000 Brussels

    Need more?

    Yes, I'm talking about food again. It's what I love!

    Belgium and Brussels have their own, very specific, and delicious local specialities. One is the moules-frites, or mussels and fries. Another one is the Carbonnade flamande -- think beef Burgundy but braised in beer instead of wine. Of course, the fries and chocolate are ubiquitous. And what about the waffles? You can find all of my favourite addresses right here!

    Brussels isn't a city like any other. It's a mandatory stop on the European trail. And it's definitely bigger than its city centre! Walk a bit, try different things... And drink beer with moderation!

    In this series, Cédric Lizotte visits some of Europe's best restaurants. On his blog, Continents & Condiments, he shares his inside knowledge about the best places to sample the delights of some of the best chefs on the planet. Follow his gastronomical journey on social media with the hashtag #CedricInEurope.


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