Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel

Embed this content in your HTML


Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels

Channel Catalog

Channel Description:

Canada Travel news and opinion

older | 1 | .... | 136 | 137 | (Page 138) | 139 | 140 | newer

    0 0

    Recently, one of the most talked about events in air travel was the video of a passenger being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight due to overbooking. In the 25 years I have been in the industry I have never seen anything quite like this.

    Although overbooking is a common occurrence among most airlines this case took things to the extreme. The violent removal of the unwilling traveller was recorded by fellow passengers for the world to see. This event has shone a light on overbooking and caused travellers to question what their rights are once they pay for their air ticket.

    airline travel

    Most airlines expect a certain number of no-shows on each flight and routinely overbook flights to maximize capacity. This practice has been taking place since I started in the industry and for monetary reasons I doubt that it is ever going to change.

    What many people don't realize is that airlines have the right to "involuntarily bump" passengers when they need to as long as they compensate the passenger. This is stated in each airlines "tariff" or terms and conditions which is essentially your contract with the airline. Airlines can bump passengers at any point in the travel process -- at check-in, at the gate or once passengers have actually boarded the aircraft like in the United Airlines incident.

    In the U.S. and EU there are Passenger Bills of Rights that clearly state a set minimum amount of monetary compensation that airlines must give to "involuntarily bumped" passengers. In Canada, the amount is left up to the individual airlines. However, the Canadian government is planning to introduce legislation specifically dedicated to airline bumping and it is expected that minimum compensation amounts will be included in that Passenger Bill of Rights. This recent event with United Airlines could help fast track this legislation which would definitely benefit Canadian travellers in the future.

    This entire situation with United Airlines could have been avoided if staff members handled this prior to anyone boarding the aircraft.

    The passengers who are most likely to get bumped are those who have bought the cheapest fares, booked tickets on points or who are last to check in. Essentially there are various reasons you could be selected. To lower your chances of being bumped I recommend that you get a specific seat assignment when you book your flight and that you check-in as early as possible.

    This entire situation with United Airlines could have been avoided if staff members handled this prior to anyone boarding the aircraft. Typically when this is dealt with beforehand the airline will ask for volunteers well before boarding and increase the compensation amount if no one comes forward. Frankly, offering an $800 voucher to already seated passengers was too little, too late.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    Also on HuffPost:

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Whether you're tired of taking typical resort vacations or you're looking for something a little different when it comes to how you travel, ecotourism might be just the thing to shake up your vacation routine. Not only will you be experiencing a destination in a whole new way, you'll have the opportunity to positively impact the environment and its plants and animals.

    There are so many options when it comes to volunteering abroad or closer to home, but the travel experts at have done the legwork and sussed out our picks for 10 destinations where you can make a difference.

    Help research global warming in Canada's Mackenzie Mountains
    Image: tuchodi, Mountain camping via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    If you love getting out into nature, you're going to love this chance to work with scientists to discover clues about global warming in the Mackenzie Mountains, a majestic mountain range that runs along the border between Canada's Northwest Territories and the Yukon. The researchers here are working to preserve the area's sensitive environment and learn more about the effects of global warming. You'll help them look for and monitor signs of climate change, take soil and permafrost samples, monitor the health of the tree line and record information on native plant species. When you're not in the field, you'll have a chance to relax at the lodge and attend talks on climate change and the natural history of species in the area.

    Monitor climate change in Joshua Tree National Park in California, U.S.
    Image: Ken Lund, Cap Rock Hike, Joshua Tree National Park via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    Spend some time in one of North America's most popular national parks while at the same time helping scientists monitor climate change and do what they can to preserve the Mojave Desert. As you hike through stunning Joshua Tree National Park in California, you'll be tasked with monitoring desert vegetation and collecting data on various plants; trapping, recording and safely releasing reptiles and amphibians and exploring the area for larger birds and animals alongside scientists. This is a great volunteer opportunity for anyone who loves hiking in the great outdoors and has a passion for environmental conservation.

    Care for wildlife in Hawaii
    Image: Paul Bica, Waipio Valley, Big Island, via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    This volunteer opportunity is your chance to have an unforgettable beach vacation on the Big Island of Hawaii while also helping to care for native and exotic wildlife at a local wildlife centre. During your stay, you'll be caring for resident exotic and non-releasable wildlife, working with injured wildlife and returning them to the wild if possible and educating visitors and locals about Hawaii's island ecology and animal behaviour. When you're not working, you'll have the chance to enjoy the island's many beautiful beaches.

    Work at an animal rescue centre in Costa Rica
    Image: Marissa Strniste, Up-Close Sloth via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Volunteer at a private ecological reserve in northern Costa Rica in San Carlos province to help out an animal rescue centre and support wildlife conservation efforts in the area. The rescue centre gives endangered, injured and abandoned animals a home and, whenever possible, releases animals back into the wild. Volunteers have a chance to work with the animals by feeding them and cleaning their living quarters (if you need convincing, you can meet some of the animals here). Volunteers will also help to maintain trails on the reserve, work in the greenhouse and participate in community outreach projects in the area.

    Protect bottlenose dolphins in Croatia
    Photo credit: Talia Cohen

    The small village of Zambratija, Croatia, will be your base as you volunteer with bottlenose dolphin conservation on the Adriatic Sea where the bottlenose dolphin population has declined by approximately 50 percent in the last five decades. Your volunteer efforts will include dolphin observation and tracking as well as entering and analyzing data from field work. You'll learn how to distinguish between dolphin species and have the chance to attend morning talks about NGO efforts to protect marine mammals and ecology. During your stay, there will also be at least one organized group trip to a nearby national park.

    Conserve great white sharks in South Africa
    Image: Travelbag Ltd, Great White Shark in South Africa via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Travel to South Africa to the Great White Shark capital of the world to work alongside marine biologists in their conservation efforts. This volunteer opportunity takes you to the beautiful area of Gansbaai, just two hours outside of Cape Town, where you'll be doing a number of interesting things to help out, including educating cage divers about sharks and ongoing conservation methods, tracking sharks, collecting data about various marine species in the area, working with local children in education and beach clean-up and even getting up close and personal with a few Great Whites while cage diving.

    For more top picks of travel adventures where you can also give back to the environment, go here.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Eastern white cedars (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

    Canada is rich in forest habitats, with many unique forests in each province. More than half of our country is covered in forests, and Canada is home to almost 10 per cent of the world's forests. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is dedicated to preserving forests coast-to-coast, from the boreal forest in Newfoundland to the majestic coastal forests of Vancouver Island. We've chosen ten of our forest properties that are publicly accessible for you to explore.

    1. British Columbia's coastal Douglas-fir forests

    Mt. Tzouhalem, British Columbia (Photo by Mike Szaszik)

    Chase Woods Nature Preserve is a 100-acre (40-hectare) property located on Mt. Tzouhalem in British Columbia's Cowichan Valley. Dominated by trees clinging to dramatic cliffs rising above Cowichan Bay, Chase Woods is well-loved and travelled by locals and hikers. This old-growth forest includes centuries-old Douglas-fir and arbutus, and pockets of rare Garry oak meadow. Bats and peregrine falcon nest in the cliffs and caves on this special preserve.

    2. Alberta's majestic Crowsnest Pass

    Crowsnest Pass, Alberta (Photo by NCC)

    The remote Crowsnest Pass in Alberta is storied for mining, being an important railway connection through the Rockies, and the disastrous Frank Slide, where the town of Frank was lost in a massive rockslide in 1903. The Crowsnest Pass is also home to an ecologically diverse Interior Douglas-fir forest, where wide-ranging carnivores, elk and deer can call home. Included in this forest is NCC's Lusicich Estate property, where visitors who are willing to venture off the beaten path will be rewarded with a close-up experience of the Phillipps Pass, which transverses through the area and along the Crowsnest Lake, and a look at some of the province's majestic Douglas firs.

    3. Saskatchewan's West Parklands Natural Area - Maymont 5

    Maymont 5, Saskatchewan (Photo by Don Dabbs)

    On the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River, just south of the town of Maymont, Saskatchewan, is a 136-acre (55-hectare) property called Maymont 5. Many rare or endangered species make their home here, including lake sturgeon that plies the waters of the river this property hugs.

    This area is a part of West Parklands Natural Area in Saskatchewan, which forms the southern transition to the boreal forest, a type specific to Canada's Prairies.

    Visitors to Maymont 5 will find a collection of waterfowl, grassland birds and mammals - but no marked trails. You can start your journey just south of the Maymont Bridge at the barbed-wire fence entrance and walk east across the property, crossing through narrow bands of aspen forest and dry grassland knolls before climbing the fence line to the height of land to watch the waters of the river flow by.

    4. Manitoba's Elk Glen

    Elk Glen, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

    Elk Glen is a 1,596 acre (645 hectares) property which is right next to the southern boundary of Riding Mountain National Park in western Manitoba. The north of the property consists of mixed-wood forest, transitioning into aspen and oak forests to the south. The olive-sided flycatcher, Canada warbler, bear, moose and elk all make their home here.

    Before heading out to Elk Glen, please contact the Manitoba Region at 1-866-683-6934 to obtain prior permission and coordinate your visit.

    5. Ontario's Happy Valley Forest

    Happy Valley Forest, Ontario (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

    The Happy Valley Forest is a 2,850 acre (1,154 hectare) forest located in King Township north of Toronto. It is one of the largest remaining intact deciduous forest tracts on the ecologically significant Oak Ridges Moraine, and supports more than 110 bird species and a number of species at risk, including endangered plants and salamanders.

    Happy Valley is a shining example of the upland sugar maple and beech forests native to this area. Its old-growth features take visitors back to a time before the first loggers began cutting the forest giants of southern Ontario.

    6. Quebec's Green Mountains Nature Reserve

    Mount Foster, Green Mountains, Quebec (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

    Quebec's Eastern Townships give Montrealers a chance to enjoy nature an hour away. NCC's Green Mountains Nature Reserve is the largest privately held Quebec conservation area; a stunning 17,300 acres (7,001 hectares) of pure, untouched wilderness. This forested area provides habitat for 20 at-risk plant species, birds of prey such as owls and hawks, and various mammals including bears, bobcats and moose. The forest boasts deciduous birches, beeches, ash and maple at lower elevations, which are stunning to view in the fall, and mixed-wood forests of fir, spruce and birch at higher elevations.

    7. New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy - Musquash Estuary

    Musquash Estuary, New Brunswick (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

    The Musquash Estuary is the Bay of Fundy's last fully-functioning estuary. An estuary is a transitional space between rivers and coasts, where high levels of nutrients make estuaries one of the most biologically productive environments in the world. The massive area -4,233 acres (1,713 hectares) - covered by the Musquash Estuary is home to six important habitats from the Bay of Fundy region, including coastal forests. The NCC has established and maintains two hiking trails which give visitors an immersive experience in this ecologically diverse area.

    8. Nova Scotia's Gaff Point

    Gaff Point, Nova Scotia (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

    If you're looking for a coastal hike on Nova Scotia's South Shore, Gaff Point near Lunenburg, Nova Scotia will reward you with thrilling views of the ocean. The trail starts on a white sand beach, meanders and climbs through a rugged and windswept conifer forest, and opens up to heaths and grasslands overlooking the shore below. Whales, seals and a variety of birds are just some of the wildlife you'll see on a hike to Gaff Point. A seven-kilometre hiking trail is accessible off Hirtle Beach.

    9. Prince Edward Island's Boughton Island

    Boughton Island, Prince Edward Island (Photo By Mike Dembeck)

    Boughton Island
    is PEI's third-largest island and has been completely uninhabited since World War II. Wildlife diversity has bloomed on Boughton, and locals often take day trips to Boughton to try to catch a glimpse of the bald eagles, great blue herons, and the endangered nesting piping plover. Its diverse habitats include six kilometres of pristine shoreline and spruce forests, which you can enjoy with walks through old roads constructed before the island's limited settlements and lobster cannery were abandoned.

    10. Newfoundland: Boreal forest and the Salmonier River

    Salmonier River, Newfoundland (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

    The Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland is home to North America's most easterly forest. The forest consists primarily of stands of balsam fir, with white and yellow birch interspersed. This unique forest habitat also has a high diversity of lichens, believed to be unmatched when compared to the boreal forests of the rest of Canada. Many of these species are uncommon, declining, or at risk worldwide, such as the endangered Atlantic population of boreal felt lichen.

    This post originally appeared in the Globe and Mail and on NCC's blog, Land Lines.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    Also on HuffPost:

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    In a week of insane news about how airlines treat their passengers, it's nice to be reminded that forceful "re-accommodation" and bumping a 10-year-old from an oversold flight are the exceptions and not the rule.

    Joel VanderHoek, a businessman from Lynden, Wash., shared an open letter he wrote to WestJet after a flight on Saturday from Calgary to Abbotsford, B.C.

    "There was a medical incident, and the way it was handled deserves commendation," he wrote in a Facebook post.

    VanderHoek went on to describe how quickly the WestJet crew worked with a nurse who was onboard and a volunteer translator to help care for a male passenger who passed out.

    westjet passenger letterRead Joel VanderHoek's full Facebook letter

    "It was beautiful to see strangers come together as humanity to help one another," he wrote.

    "They were so organized, caring, respectful and attentive," VanderHoek said about the flight attendants, who kept the patient's sister updated on the situation.

    While medical emergencies on planes do happen on a regular basis, Westjet's staff response was particularly welcome to witness, noted VanderHoek.

    "In an Easter week of particularly unpleasant news about airline treatment of customers, I commend you for a culture of kindness and care. It was evident before the medical incident but was made especially clear tonight. Thank you."

    Earlier this month, WestJet was named the top airline in Canada, by travel site TripAdvisor, and placed in the top five low-cost airlines in North America sub-category.

    Earlier on HuffPost:

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    There's not much that can match the raw beauty of Mother Earth. And, every spring, you can count on her to paint the world breathtaking shades of pink and white. Known as sakura in Japanese, the cherry blossom is a symbol of renewal and hope. And while Japan might be world renowned for this beautiful bud, cherry blossom trees can be found all over in the world. With spring officially sprung, we have uncovered a few of the best places to experience these gorgeous blooms.

    Osaka, Japan

    Osaka is one of Japan's best cities for cherry blossom viewing, with Kema Sakuranomiya Park being the city's most popular location. The park features nearly 5,000 cherry trees lining the Okawa River for several kilometers. You can enjoy the breathtaking view of the cherry blossoms from a riverside promenade, open lawn areas or from a ship cruising the river.

    Where to stay: Situated right along the Okawa River, the Imperial Hotel Osaka is a short 12-minute walk to Kema Sakuranomiya Park. The chic décor and relaxing ambience provide an ideal oasis after a long day traversing the city. With six restaurants on site offering a range of cuisine types, guests can dine in traditional style without ever having to leave the property.

    Toronto, Canada
    (Photo: Flickr)

    Each Spring, visitors flock to Toronto's High Park to admire the city's only cherry blossoms location. While Sakura trees are known for their beauty, they are also known for their short blooming periods. Visitors are well advised to stay updated on the progress of the blooms as they usually only last about a week, making timing of your visit essential.

    Where to stay: In the heart of Downtown Toronto, the Delta Hotels by Mariott Toronto is the perfect place to stay to experience the hustle and bustle of Toronto city life. With countless restaurants, stores and activities just steps away, you will not run out of things to do and places to go quickly. This property is located near Toronto's subway and streetcar lines, both of which can bring you within a short walk of High Park's Bloor street entrance.

    Kyoto, Japan
    (Photo: Flickr)

    Maruyama Park is the oldest park in Kyoto and is best known for its huge weeping cherry trees. During peak blossom season, the cherry trees are illuminated at night so that people can enjoy them both night and day. Kyoto also has the magical and romantic Philosopher's Path, a walking path from Ginkaku-ji Temple to the Wakaoji-jinja Shrine, lined with cherry blossoms on both sides. The cherry blossom petals floating on the water add to an already visually stunning walk.

    Where to stay: The Hotel Gracery Kyoto Sanjo is located less than one mile away from Maruyama Park. Each guest room is equipped with sophisticated décor and air conditioning for your comfort. The on-site restaurant allows guest to savour native delicacies prepared with local and fresh ingredients for breakfast.

    Vancouver, Canada

    (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

    As winter begins to fade and spring arrives, Vancouverites and visitors to the city can't miss seeing the beautiful 40,000 cherry blossoms that Vancouver hosts. Each year there are multiple events for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival including Bike the Blossoms, Tree Talks and Walks, Plein-Air Blossom Painting and the Cherry Jam Downtown. The city has an array of parks and activities that help admirers take in the cherry trees' seasonal blossoming.

    Where to stay: The Wedgewood Hotel and Spa is a luxury, boutique hotel that offers a tranquil place to relax after partaking in any of the Cherry Blossom Festival activities. Guests can enjoy a full-service spa and sauna, as well as fine dining at Bacchus, a luxurious on-site lounge and restaurant. Robson Street, Vancouver's most popular shopping area with numerous restaurants alongside stores, is right around the corner from the hotel.

    Kumamoto, Japan

    (Photo: Pixabay)

    Built in the early 17th century by Kato Klyomasa, the Kumamoto Castle is one of the three most famous castles in Japan. The Kumamoto Castle is the most popular spot in the city for cherry blossom viewing, with nearly 1,000 cherry trees that add an air of elegance to the property. From the square in front of the castle tower and the front of Naga-bei you can view the three different varieties of cherry trees that the castle houses.

    Where to stay: The modern guest rooms at the Dormy Inn Kumamoto provide visitors with a great place to unwind after a busy day. Only 2,625 feet from the Kumamoto Castle, this hotel also offers a free shuttle to Kumamoto Station to help get you around the city with ease.

    New York, USA
    (Photo: Flickr)

    New York City's famous Central Park is home to two species of cherry blossom trees: the Yoshino cherry tree and the Kwanzan cherry tree. Each year locals and tourists gather in the park to watch the blooming cherry blossoms take bloom. Some of the most popular places to view these trees are at the Bethesda Terrace, the Loeb Boathouse, Conservatory Water and at the edge of the Great Lawn.

    Where to stay: When in New York, one should always travel in style. At Langham Place, guests receive celebrity treatment with world-class service. The central midtown location of the hotel allows you to walk right onto Fifth Avenue for some of the best shopping in the world. From there, Central Park is just a quick walk or cab ride.

    Sapporo, Japan

    (Photo: TheSmartLocal)

    Since Sapporo is in the northernmost part of Japan, it is the last place to become warm which means that cherry blossoms do not begin to bloom until late April into May. There are seven places in Sapporo that are great for cherry blossom viewing, however Toda Memorial Park is said to be the best. With a total of 8,000 cherry blossom trees, the view is incomparable to other places, though the park requires a vehicle to get to. Another option is Odori Park which is easily accessible and has a breathtaking view of the cherry blossoms.

    Where to stay: The Ibis Styles Sapporo is the perfect getaway when visiting Sapporo. The hotel's central location in the heart of Sapporo makes it an ideal basecamp for visitors looking to explore the city. A complimentary breakfast buffet featuring local ingredients is included.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    Also on HuffPost:

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    NEW YORK — Google Earth is getting a revival, as the 3-D mapping service reorients itself to become more of a tool for adventure and exploration.

    A central feature in the new Google Earth is Voyager. Google has partnered with such groups as the BBC and NASA to add video clips, photos and text narratives to three-dimensional representations of particular locations.

    The Jane Goodall Institute, for instance, lets you journey to spots in Tanzania that inspired its founding chimpanzee expert. You can also get overlays of chimpanzee ranges and compare imagery from 2005 and 2014 to see the effects of forest restoration efforts.

    The producers of "Sesame Street'' show off Muppets from co-productions around the world; the map shows where the Muppets live and offer stories about the region and its culture.

    Separately, a new "I'm Feeling Lucky'' feature takes you to a location selected at random. Google Earth is highlighting some 20,000 lesser-known destinations — the kinds of places locals might frequent or know about, such as the Indonesian island of Bunaken, part of a national marine park.

    Google Earth used to be the place to go to for satellite views and 3-D images stitched together from aerial fly-bys. A software download was required, limiting its use. Google Maps has incorporated many of those features, making Google Earth even less necessary.

    google earth
    People look at a Google Earth map on a screen as Google Earth unveils the revamped version of the application on Tuesday. (Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty)

    Tuesday's update is about giving you a reason to use Google Earth again. Google says that while Maps is about getting you to a destination, Earth is about immersing you there, or "getting lost.''

    With the update, Google Earth now works on Google's Chrome browsers for desktops. It still requires an app for phones and tablets because of the heavy graphics involved; Google is rolling out updates for Android, but there's no Google Earth app for iPhones or iPads yet.

    Some older features will still require a software download on desktops. That includes maps of Mars and the moon through a partnership with NASA.

    Google also announced an update to a virtual-reality version of Google Earth. It now works with Facebook's Oculus Rift, not just the HTC Vive. But it won't work with cheaper, phone-based VR systems, such as Google's Daydream and Samsung's Gear VR.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    The opportunity to interact with wild animals can be one of the most rewarding and memorable travel experiences, however, any time humans and wild animals come together there is also potential for danger, harm and abuse. Responsible travellers need to be informed.

    The reality is, animal suffering, cruelty and abuse is a massive global problem, and it's one that needs to be addressed. The good news is, as one of the largest sectors in the world -- supporting 28 million jobs and generating 9.8 per cent of global GDP -- the travel and tourism sector is a massive planetary force with the desire and ability to steer conversations, shape thinking, and drive momentous change in how we treat animals.


    Naturally, Canadians who are passionate about experiencing the rest of the planet are also likely going to be passionate about protecting it. Which is why, when it comes to animal-related travel experiences, it's so important that Canadian travellers think about the choices they make and use their buying power to generate good.

    Take elephant-related travel experiences, for example. Huge, highly intelligent and extremely social, elephants are undeniably one of the most unforgettable animals to see up close. Which is why millions of people around the world -- on safaris, in zoos, at temples, in sanctuaries -- choose to make elephant-related experiences a part of their travel plans every year.

    However, what many don't realize is the potential harm they are causing by supporting attractions that abuse elephants, primarily because they don't realize just how many attractions are engaged in abuse.

    tourist elephant
    (Photo: Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images)

    There are a number of elephant experiences that appear harmless, but are in fact traumatic and even painful for elephants, so it's vital that conscientious travellers make themselves aware of what to look for when they travel to ensure that the experiences they seek out are rewarding for themselves, as well as the animals involved.

    One thing Canadians should keep in mind as they seek out any animal-friendly travel experience is how they live naturally in the wild, because, if the attraction or experience is having the animal do things they wouldn't naturally do in the wild, then they've been forced against their will into doing it.

    For instance, in the wild, elephants would never let you climb on top of them, nor would they perform for you. In order to train an elephant to do these unnatural acts, they first need to be broken, a process as brutal as its name would suggest. The goal is to take these highly social and emotional animals and crush their spirit. Breaking an elephant involves starvation, the infliction of pain through use of bullhooks and whips, and slowly, over time, wearing them down to the point that they will perform or let people mount them out of fear of being tortured again.

    Responsible travellers can also look for tell-tale signs that indicate a pattern of abuse.

    Because of this, riding an elephant, painting an elephant, or watching elephants perform should always be avoided, with no exceptions.

    Beyond the activities themselves though, responsible travellers can also look for tell-tale signs that indicate a pattern of abuse. The TreadRight Foundation bases its Animal Welfare Policy, a program by which our travel brand partners vet and assess animal related activities to ensure they make responsible choices when selecting attractions and experiences for their trips, on the Five Freedoms, a compact of rights for animals under human control. The Five Freedoms serve as a valuable guide in helping Canadians revaluate any animal related experiences, whether it's swimming with dolphins, taking photographs with tigers (hint: don't!) or encountering polar bears.

    The Five Freedoms assert that animals under human control should have freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom to express normal behavior; and freedom from fear and distress.


    Of course, travellers can't always be prepared with a ready-made checklist or the ability to do all the necessary background research for whatever animal-related experiences they might come upon as they travel. After all, unexpected encounters are part of what makes travel so great. So how can Canadians avoid supporting animal abuse on the go? One way would be to travel with organizations that have animal welfare policies in place.

    By doing a little research online before booking your trip can easily find out which travel and tour companies have made ensuring animal welfare a priority, which have aligned themselves with animal protection organizations, or have animal health and safety measures in place so that you know when you travel with them, they've put in the leg work on their part to provide you with peace-of-mind. In doing so, you'll also be encouraging all travel and tourism companies to work towards providing only animal-friendly experiences on their trips.

    Above all else though, educating yourself and making your travel choices accordingly is the key for responsible travellers who want to join the movement to harness the power of travel to help put an end to animal abuse.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    Also on HuffPost:

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    This past March Break, we travelled as a family to a small island off the coast of Cancun called Isla Mujeres. We love going to Mexico when given the opportunity. We enjoy the weather, the food, the beaches, the people. One day in the far-off future when it's time for us to retire (we're talking like many, many decades here!) we hope we can retire somewhere in Mexico.

    We always find Mexico to be very accepting of same-sex families. Isla Mujeres is very kid-friendly and the locals seemed to be accepting of our family. When we travel, we have to take this into consideration, not only for Milo's safety, but ours as well.


    As much as the locals are open and accepting of same-sex families, some of the tourists were not. On a few occasions, we were walking by the pool, and we would see this one family whisper, stare and point at us. The second time we saw them do this, we decided we would stop and say to them, "Hi! Yes, we're gay!" They quickly turned around and didn't make eye contact with us again.

    We have travelled many times with Milo, and have been stared at, but this was the first time that we felt we were being made a spectacle of. Normally we receive stares as we walk by, or when we both play with Milo. We don't think too much of it. We look at it as opening up people's minds and educating them that there are different kinds of families out there. Our friends, Jason and Dan, were visiting Cancun with their son, Theo, and they had similar experiences at their hotel of people staring and whispering.

    We need to not only normalize families like ours, but all families that don't fit into a very narrow definition of what makes a family.

    This family who was staring at us happened to be from the United States. Perhaps in their community, same-sex families are not that common and they felt the need to point us out to their family and talk about us. Or perhaps they pointed at us because he wanted to say, "Look at that fabulous couple there!" (We are going with the latter.) By the end of the vacation, two of their children were playing with Milo in the pool. It doesn't matter that Milo has two dads -- he is well-adjusted and mischievous, just like their little girls were.

    When you look at our family, you see the same thing as any other family. We spend our days trying to keep our two-year-old happy, occupied and fed, all while trying to have a cocktail or two and a relaxing time. This is why it is important for same-sex families to be visible and vocal. We need to not only normalize families like ours, but all families that don't fit into a very narrow definition of what makes a family. As you know, we define family on something very simple... love. Love is what makes a family.

    Our friends Jason and Daniel, their son Theo and our family at Isla Mujeres.

    We are parents, just like any other family -- traditional or otherwise. We raise our child with love, we teach him to be respectful and inclusive. We raise him to laugh and embrace life. Most important, we are a family.

    Originally published on Family Is About Love. Please follow Frankie, BJ and Milo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    Also on HuffPost:

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    You probably spent months planning the perfect wedding, but for many couples, all of that hard work is filled with just as much stress as excitement. Fortunately, it all pays off on the honeymoon, when you and are your partner are enjoying complete relaxation in the destination of your dreams.

    These 15 over-the-top honeymoon destinations are ones that are guaranteed to make you fall in love with each other and the thrills of luxury travel all over again.

    1. Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort -- Los Cabos, Mexico

    Los Cabos, on the far southern tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, is a favourite travel destination for anyone in search of high-end luxury in a picture-perfect setting. The Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf and Spa Resort, recently opened in 2016, is loaded with the luxury travel industry's top amenities, like classically trained butlers, a stunning golf course, two pools, and over-the-top suites overlooking the Sea of Cortez' crystal clear waters.

    2. Cayo Espanto Resort -- San Pedro, Belize

    San Pedro, Belize, is known as one of the world's most pristine slices of paradise on the Caribbean Sea. As the home of the world's second largest barrier reef, it's a honeymoon destination that offers as much adventure as it does luxury. The Cayo Espanto Resort combines five-star resort amenities, including private pools and butlers, just steps from the coastline's sugary sands, turquoise waters, and underwater world.

    3. Awasi Atacama Resort -- San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

    Photo credit: Jim Trodel

    Your honeymoon should transport you to another world, far from the stresses of wedding and party planning. The five-star, 10 room Awasi Atacama Resort in exotic, volcanic, and mountainous San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, will make you feel at home among some of the world's most majestic natural scenery.

    4. Palazzo Avino -- Ravello, Italy

    The Palazzo Avino offers visitors a window into Italy's world-famous Amalfi Coast. This five-star resort was once a private villa for the noble family. Now, honeymooners can stay in one of 33 rooms or 10 lavish suites, while experiencing the region's best cuisine (a Michelin-star dining experience is on-site) and scenery.

    5. The Majis Resort -- Lamu, Kenya

    The town of Lamu, Kenya, has been honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and honeymooners can experience its wonders from the world-class Majis Resort. This 25-room oasis has been crafted by hand and sits just a 10-minute boat ride from the city center of Lamu. Travelers can experience the traditional heritage of the area while admiring panoramic views of Lamu Island and the pristine Ras Kitau beach.

    6. Spicers Peak Lodge -- Maryvale, Australia

    Photo credit: Roderick Eime

    Honeymooners escaping the pressures of everyday life will find solitude and relaxation at Spicers Peak Lodge. Located in Queensland's Scenic Rim Region, this mountaintop resort is the ultimate place to indulge with spa treatments, gourmet dining, and stunningly starry skies.

    7. Orpheus Spa and Island Resort -- Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Australia's Great Barrier Reef is a bucket-list location for many travelers, and the Orpheus Spa and Island Resort is where honeymooners should stay while fulfilling their dreams. The jaw-dropping natural beauty of the island and reef is something that can be taken in during every moment of your stay.

    8. Eagles Nest -- Russell, New Zealand

    The Eagles Nest boutique retreat is no stranger to awards. The five carefully-designed villas sit on 75 acres of private property overlooking the Bay of Islands. It's easy to get sucked into life at the retreat, but nearby activities, like sailing, diving, mountain biking, fishing, and kayaking, are available for adventurous couples too.

    9. Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island -- Bora Bora, French Polynesia

    Honeymooning on a private island is a dream come true for many couples, and the Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island is guaranteed to fulfill all of your travel fantasies. The ultra luxurious villas rest over a gorgeous turquoise lagoon, so you can bathe in the warm waters and take in the stunning views in privacy and at any time of day.

    10. Soneva Kiri Resort -- Koh Kood, Thailand

    Photo credit: Espen Aaeng

    Known as one of the world's few remaining unspoiled islands, Koh Kood is the epitome of a stunning Southeast Asian beach. The Soneva Kiri Resort is the most romantic and luxurious resort on the island, with private villas (with pools), an attentive staff, and a lavish tropical setting -- all just a one-hour flight from Bangkok.

    11. Kata Rocks Luxury Resort -- Phuket, Thailand

    Honeymooners seeking a little more nightlife and local culture on their visit to Thailand will fall in love with the Kata Rocks Luxury Resort in bustling Phuket. The resort encourages you to feel thousands of miles away from it all in your over-the-top private villa with stunning beach and ocean views, but makes it easy to venture out into the nightlife and nonstop action of Phuket too.

    12. Fusion Maia Resort -- Da Nang, Vietnam

    The Fusion Maia Resort's all-spa inclusive concept means you enjoy ultimate relaxation without a worry in the world. Each villa includes as private swimming pool, personal fusionista, and everything you need to create lasting honeymoon memories.

    13. Song Saa Private Island -- Song Saa, Cambodia

    Cambodia is an often overlooked travel destination, but you'll want to return for your anniversary every year after a visit to the Song Saa Private Island. Experience ultimate luxury in your private villa surrounded by the sugar-sand beaches, coral reefs, and lush tropical rainforest of this exclusive island.

    14. The Amangalla Resort -- Galle, Sri Lanka

    Photo credit: Richard Shaw

    Unlike many tropical honeymoon retreats, the Amangalla Resort is tucked into the 400-year-old, UNESCO-listed center of the Galle Fort. Made of classic colonial buildings, private gardens, and spacious rooms with views of the town and sea, this resort will make you fall in love with Sri Lanka, its natural beauty, and its people.

    15. Chiva-Som International Health Resort -- Hua Hin, Thailand

    The Chiva-Som International Health Resort is designed to help you and your partner reconnect through relaxation and health. The world-class resort offers spa treatments, floating pools, jacuzzis, gyms, a kinesis studio, and everything newlyweds need to decompress and be pampered.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Remember the spectacular iceberg that parked itself off the coast of Ferryland, N.L. earlier this month, attracting worldwide attention?

    Well, it turns out that all those beautiful photographs only paint a small picture of how amazing it really was.

    ferryland iceberg
    Residents of Ferryland, N.L., view the first big iceberg of the season in "Iceberg Alley." (Photo: Greg Locke/Reuters)

    A new video of the Newfoundland ice mass, taken from the air earlier this month, shows off even more stunning views of the 'berg.

    In the video above, water can be seen swirling and churning around the ice mammoth.

    The Ferryland iceberg has since begun to drift away from its scenic resting spot, but over the Easter weekend it caused bumper-to-bumper traffic jams in the small town of 500 people.

    Earlier on HuffPost: The Enormous Ferryland Iceberg Is Drifting Out To Sea

    Diane Davis, who runs the Newfoundland Iceberg Reports Facebook group, says she has seen hundreds of frozen slabs in her years as an amateur berg-hunter, but the Ferryland gem appeared to be a special find.

    "Every one (iceberg) has a got a shape and personality to it," Davis said. "It's so big and sexy, and against the ocean, it's so photogenic, and that's why it's getting so much attention."

    With files from The Canadian Press

    Also on HuffPost:

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Do you have a love for nature, and exploring the sacred wilderness? What about a desire for adventure? If so, why not extend Earth Month and book yourself a secluded retreat. Not only is this a chance be surrounded by incredible landscapes, magnificent mountain ranges and breathtaking scenery, it's also the perfect type of escape to recharge and rejuvenate.

    To help you out, we went through thousands of endorsements from our travellers and found some of the most beautiful properties right in the heart of nature. These destinations are perfect to marvel the beauty of Mother Earth, disconnect from the outside world and discover how much joy a stay among the world's wild fauna and flora can bring.

    Halls Gap, Australia
    Situated in the heart of Grampians National Park, Victoria Australia, Halls Gap is the perfect place to stay when exploring the ancient mountain ranges, natural flora and fauna, and waterfalls. Bordering the park is the eco-friendly Boroka Downs, an adult only retreat offering bungalows with a fireplace and BBQ facilities. A hiking backpack containing binoculars, maps and wildlife reference books is provided to all guests.

    Drake Bay, Costa Rica
    With its tropical climate and outstanding lush greenery, Drake Bay in Costa Rica is an explorer's dreamland and an ideal destination to educate yourself on the world's wildlife. Set on Drake Bay, the Copa De Arbol Beach & Rainforest Resort is an eco-friendly resort accessible by boat. This beautiful gem has a jungle setting surrounded by wildlife and tropical plants. Each cabin is constructed from recycled teak, cypress and Melina wood and features a terrace looking the surrounding rainforest.

    Yellowstone National Park, Montana, United States of America
    With nearly 3,500 square miles of wilderness, the world's first national park has a greater number and variety of plants and wild animals live there than anywhere else in the 48 contiguous states. Situated on the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park and just 90-metres away from the Yellowstone River, the Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel offers luxurious tipis overlooking the mountains. Each tent features organic bath products and is decorated with beautiful rugs and chandeliers. Rafting, fishing and hiking are only some of the activities travellers can enjoy during their stay.

    Welgevonden Game Reserve, South Africa
    The rich and diverse Waterberg region offers an amazing variety of unspoiled, natural habitats with the savannah areas consisting of rolling grasslands and a semi-evergreen forest. Located inside the Welgevonden Game Reserve and featuring beautiful suites with private terraces and plunge pools surrounded by lush plants, the Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway organizes elephant safaris and horse riding trips. All suites are decorated with hand-made organic fabrics, while the guests can enjoy the beautiful views over Welgevonden Game Reserve and Sterkstroom River from their bathtub.

    Estosadok, Russia
    Estosadok is mountain village surrounded by the beautiful Russian wilderness, including some of the most unique and diverse flora and fauna in the world. Set 100-metres away from Rosa Khutor Ski Complex, the Cultural and Ethnographic Centre Moya Rossiya Hotel is composed of 11 unique buildings representing different regions of Russia. Mainly endorsed for wildlife, downhill skiing and relaxation, the family friendly destination of Estosadok is a perfect choice for travellers who want to experience living amongst beautiful alpine scenery.

    Imatra, Finland
    With Finland's remote north-eastern European location comes a diverse ecology as exclusive as the location itself. It's a great location to unplug and appreciate the untouched natural wonders this part of the world has to offer. Situated near the Kruununpuisto Park, one of the oldest parks in Finland established in the 1800s, the Rantasipi Imatran Valtionhotelli is set in a magical castle by the Vuoksi River. Nature lovers can visit the magnificent Imatrankoski rapid, which is considered to be part of the National landscapes of Finland, enjoy a cruise on the Vuoksi River or discover the islands on Lake Saimaa.

    All photos are courtesy of

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Summer is prime time for travel, and people across Canada are busy making vacation plans and trying to figure out the best destination for an unforgettable trip. One important factor for many Canadians when it comes to deciding where to go is cost. Knowing cheap flights are available is one thing, but it's even better knowing exactly where your best options are for a budget-friendly flight. That's where we come in. has done the legwork, digging into our data to find out where airfares are down (or downright affordable) this summer, and there are some sweet deals to be found.

    Read on to discover the destinations where you should go while the airfares are low.

    Faro, Portugal
    Image: Aleksandr Zykov, Faro via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    If you've ever dreamed of travelling to Portugal, this summer might be the best time to do it, as airfares are down nearly 24 per cent from last year, with an average flight costing $805 roundtrip. The capital of Portugal's Algarve region, Faro is a beautiful spot to base yourself for a vacation, with nearby beaches, a picturesque old town and many outdoor cafés made for long afternoons relaxing with a glass of local wine. This quieter town is also the perfect jumping off point for accessing some of the Algarve's other seaside gems - like Albufeira, Benagil and popular Lagos - all of which are a quick train ride away.

    Beijing, China
    Image: Roman Boed, Forbidden City, Beijing via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Cross the Great Wall of China off your travel bucket list with a summer trip to attraction-packed Beijing. Flights are averaging $1,050 roundtrip, which is down almost 14 per cent from last year. In addition to the imposing must-see that is the Great Wall, Beijing is home to ornate temples, leafy parks, grand palaces, bustling markets filled with locals and tourists alike, and historic hutongs (traditional neighbourhoods laid out among narrow, winding alleyways).

    San Juan, Puerto Rico
    Image:, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    The colourful capital of Puerto Rico is a destination well worth visiting any time of year, but this summer flights are averaging a wallet-friendly $435 roundtrip, down almost 10 per cent from last year. Just a short three-hour flight from many major North American cities, San Juan boasts beautiful beaches, historic forts, amazing food and a laid-back vibe perfect for days of leisurely exploring. You may find yourself never wanting to leave charming Old San Juan, with its pastel-hued homes and charming cobblestone streets. However, the beaches, rainforest and warm Caribbean Sea will give you plenty of reason to explore the rest of the island.

    Phuket, Thailand
    Image: Jeff Gunn, Phuket, Thailand via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Beaches on the brain? Spend some time this summer soaking up the sun in Phuket, home to some of the most beautiful stretches of golden sand in Thailand. Still need some incentive? The average cost of a roundtrip flight this summer is $1,370, down just over eight per cent from last year. When you're not beach-hopping, check out what's going on under the sea with a diving or snorkelling trip, souvenir shop in Phuket Town, take in a Thai boxing (muay Thai) match, visit some nearby temples or relax with a cold beer at one of the many bars you'll find all over the island.

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    Image: Carlos Adampol Galindo, San José, Costa Rica via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    A summer vacation in Costa Rica is never a bad idea, especially when the average cost of a roundtrip flight is just $540, down over seven per cent from last year. As Costa Rica's capital and largest city, San Jose is home to historic neighbourhoods, museums, parks and restaurants. The city makes for a good jumping off point for anyone interested in visiting some of Costa Rica's best beaches or national parks.

    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    Image: Aleksandr Zykov, Ho Chi Minh City via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    Energetic, bustling and culturally-rich, Ho Chi Minh City is a destination that grabs you as soon as you set foot on its busy streets. But for every crowded corner filled with food stalls and chit-chatting locals or photo-snapping tourists, you'll find a secluded alley to explore or a quiet café to spend some time refuelling. Whether you're looking to bargain your way through the city's markets or to search for the best steaming bowl of pho (and you'll have plenty of contenders), this summer is a great time to go. Flight costs are down just over seven per cent from last year, with airfare averaging $1,275 roundtrip.

    Photo credit: Sven Scheuermeier

    Singapore may have a reputation for being expensive, but flying there doesn't have to be, especially this summer when airfare is down seven per cent and a flight to the stunning city-state is averaging $1,150 roundtrip. Once you're there, there's so much to see and do, your only concern will be deciding what to add to your itinerary. Some highlights include walking through the tranquil (and free) Singapore Botanic Garden, filling up on Indian food in bustling Little India, shopping your way along Orchard Road or winding your way through colourful Chinatown.

    Manchester, England
    Image: Stephen, Manchester Old Town Hall via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    London might get the bulk of the travel attention when it comes to visiting England, but don't discount Manchester, a city well worth visiting. And this summer is a good time to go, with average roundtrip airfares sitting at $920 (not to mention the added buying power of the Canadian dollar in the UK these days). Head here to lose yourself among the city's many museums (like the interesting People's History Museum or the National Football Museum) and impressive art galleries, as well as a whole host of great restaurants and bars. You're also going to want to try and take in a Manchester FC game, souvenir shop, fill up on street food at Levenshulme Market and spend some time walking along the Rochdale Canal.

    Continue reading here to learn about more value destinations for this summer.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    While the capital city is an obvious choice for many vacationers, sometimes it's worth stepping outside of your comfort zone and going down the beaten path. Whether you are looking for a party, to explore the culture of historical sites, or even delve into local cuisines, there are always cities to discover beyond the capital to meet your needs!

    We've put together some of the best cities in countries around the globe for you to check out on your next adventure. Be the first of your friends to brag about experiencing these amazing cities, and make them more jealous than ever!

    New Orleans, USA

    While many visitors to the USA flock to the nation's capital (Washington, D.C.), the iconic streets of New Orleans have become a must visit. Catch the infamous Mardi Gras and Jazz festival in the spring, but enjoy live music and nightlife all year round. Not to mention for those travellers led by their taste buds, The Big Easy has a thriving food scene guaranteed to bring you back for more.


    Where to stay: Ace Hotel New Orleans, located in the Warehouse District and known as the hipster hotel, is one of the trendiest places to stay in NOLA. Each room has a sleek vibe with old school charm, and is finished with original art by talented local artists. Guests can enjoy the outdoor pool, fitness centre, delicious food at the onsite restaurant and tasty cocktails at the hotel bar.

    Marseille, France

    For most, Paris may be the most well-known French, but escape the bustling tourist crowds and head to the oldest city in France, Marseille. This port city was founded 2,600 years ago and today you'll find great shopping, chic restaurants, and designer hotels. It's a great destination all year round with lovely walks in the spring and autumn and beautiful beaches in the summer.


    Where to stay: Located in the centre of Marseille, Les Appartements du Vieux Port is just 150 yards away from the Old Port and offers guests a fully equipped kitchen and a modern-style décor. An array of restaurants, cafes and shops can be found in the area and the apartments are a short drive from the Opera.

    Dubrovnik, Croatia

    The charming Croatian capital of Zagreb may attract visitors with its romantic city charm, but it's the UNESCO world heritage site Dubrovnik, with its picture-perfect location by the sea, that makes for a truly incredible trip. This magnificent walled city is full of Baroque style churches, delicious restaurants, stunning beaches and of course the unique medieval old town.


    Where to stay: Prijeko Palace guest house is just five minutes from the beach and located in the heart of the beautiful UNESCO-protected Dubrovnik Old Town. Set in a palace with incredible 16th century architecture, the rooms at Prijeko Palace are all individually designed, brightly lit and alternate between modern and Baroque styles. The guesthouse has a restaurant and a bar, or guests can wander out to explore the nearby shops, restaurants and cafes serving Dalmatian delights.

    Hoi An, Vietnam

    Vietnam's capital Hanoi is famous for its busy street life, French feel and colonial buildings but it's the bustling and beautiful Hoi An that's the real draw. The UNESCO world heritage site which was once a trading port offers travellers the chance to explore the old town on bicycle, venture out to nearby beaches and spend hours visiting the city's famous tailors.


    Where to stay: Loc Phat Hoi An Homestay-Villa offers lovely rooms with a balcony and terrace, set in a relaxing garden. Hoi An is best explored by bike and guests can rent these from the property - the UNESCO World Heritage Ancient Town is just five minutes away and Cua Dai beach is just ten minutes away.

    Girona, Spain

    If you loved Spain's capital Madrid for its culture and incredible tapas then Girona is a must visit. Soak up the Catalan culture by exploring the architecture, cathedrals and museums as well as sampling the fine cuisine at the city's Michelin starred restaurant El Celler de Can Roca. It's also just an hour's drive from the beautiful coast of Costa Brava, so you'll be able to get in tons of beach time.


    Where to stay: Montjuic Bed & Breakfast is a neoclassical villa in Girona's exquisite Montjuic area, around the corner from the Cathedral and Jewish quarter. The terrace boasts amazing city views, and the on-site pool will be just what you need after a day out in the city's heat. Guests can enjoy a daily homemade breakfast made with organic produce and for lunch and dinner, the city's popular cafes and restaurants are just a 15-minute walk away.

    Bologna, Italy

    Of course the historical city of Rome is an immediate favourite for those travelling to Italy. However, Bologna, which has stayed off the tourist track, is a strong contender, especially if you're a food fan (Who isn't?). You could spend forever perusing the restaurants - from high end to cheap local haunts - in every corner of the beautiful city. After enjoying some of the best Italian food there is, stroll the town and discover the religious architecture and cultural events Bologna has to offer.


    Where to stay: Apartments Centre Bologna offers self-catering accommodation right in the centre of town, close to the Piazza Maggiore and Via Zamboni. These stylish and modern apartments can sleep up to four people and serve as a great base for exploring the city.

    Vancouver, British Columbia

    While Ottawa is a definite visit for Canada 150, you won't want to miss Vancouver - the perfect combination of outdoor sophistication and wilderness adventure. The beautiful mountains and landscapes create the perfect playground for activities such as skiing, kayaking, cycling and hiking. For the foodie in you, there is a wide assortment of restaurants, wine bars, tasting rooms, cocktail dens, food trucks and more, guaranteeing there is something for everyone to enjoy.


    Where to stay: The Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver is a short 15 minute walk to the beach, five minute walk to the Vancouver Art Gallery and Pacific Centre Mall, and has a full service spa right on site, making this the perfect location! Floor to ceiling windows offer guests beautiful views of the city, and the modern fitness centre hosts private yoga and Pilates classes for a great start to your day.

    Learn more at

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    There are a lot of things that can make you worry when traveling. If you are an anxious person you know that your anxiety doesn't take a vacation just because you do. Here are some tips and tricks for your nervous travelers out there.

    If crowds stress you out, plan your trip during "shoulder season" when it will be less crowded. Basically this is the time right before and after peak travel season. That way, the weather is still good, but the crowds are at a minimum.

    Research, research, research! Learn everything there is to know about where you are going. For some people, the anxiousness comes from the "unknown" factor. Take care of this by doing your homework before you leave. It is impossible to prepare for everything but visiting a new destination with an idea of what to expect is always a good idea.

    Are you one of those people that think that you've forgotten something very important when you leave on a trip? Did you leave the garage door open? Was the stove left on? I think we've all worried about something like that at one point or another. Here's a tip for all of us with a little bit of OCD. Take photos of all of the things you are worried about not doing. For example, snap a shot of the stove knobs in the off position or the closed garage door. It might sound crazy but you will rest easy knowing it's done.


    I recommend this next one even if you aren't an anxious traveler. Make lists! Physically checking things off as you accomplish them is very cathartic. Make a packing list and a checklist of things you need to get done before you leave. You should also take photos of your luggage inside and out so that in the off chance your bag is lost it will help the airline identify it.

    It's also a good idea to take screenshots of all your flight details, directions, maps, etc. in case you don't have internet or misplace your printed documents. That way they will be easily accessible in your phone's photo library. For important travel documents like your passport and boarding passes, you should designate a spot for them in your bag so you are less likely to think you've lost them. Make sure the spot for those documents has a zipper closure and that you always put the items back into that pocket once you are done with them. This will prevent you from frantically searching for things.

    And finally, if flying makes you feel claustrophobic it might be a good plan to spring for some extra leg room if you can. It's usually about $75 -$200 more per ticket depending on the length of the flight to get a seat in the premium economy section or $35 - 50 to get a seat with more legroom like an exit row or bulkhead. This can be well worth it when you just need that extra space to feel calm.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    Also on HuffPost:

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Many years ago the Advocate's Society booked its annual conference in Jamaica. LGBTQ members brought to their attention the fact that Jamaica is not a safe jurisdiction (in law or in practice) for queer people and that the choice of location could, in effect, exclude many of those members. Hearing this, the Advocate's Society responded promptly and rebooked in a jurisdiction where homosexuality was not criminalized and where discrimination on the basis of a protected ground was not permitted or anticipated. I think the Advocate's Society made the right call for its membership, so whether it was legally required to do as it did was never a consideration.

    airport security
    (Photo: Meinzahn via Getty Images)

    From the perspective of an employment lawyer, I have to consider what the legal obligations of an employer in similar circumstances might be. If a company hosts its corporate retreat in a jurisdiction where the law is hostile to its LGBTQ employees, are they in so doing discriminating against their LGBTQ employees? What if they open an office there and require periodic attendance? What if their training center is located in a jurisdiction where discrimination against an employee is not only legal, but likely (I'm looking at you, Mississippi)?

    I have long been of the view that employers in Ontario should tread carefully when sending their employees to jurisdictions which may have laws that are hostile to them or where they are likely to be exposed -- as a result of their membership in an identifiable group protected by the Human Rights Code -- to discrimination or danger. I think the answer would likely come down to accommodation analysis and whether visiting a particular jurisdiction is a bona fide occupational requirement.

    Until very recently this has been a largely academic exercise. Although there are many countries worldwide where people and groups protected in Ontario -- LGBTQ people in particular -- do not enjoy the same rights, there are few jurisdictions where most Canadian companies regularly send their employees which would likely expose them to lawful discrimination or danger.

    This is more and more likely to become a live issue for Canadian employers.

    With the passing of each executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump and the looming "religious freedom" legislation which could enshrine and protect a "right" to discriminate if the desire to do so is religiously motivated, the U.S. is, in my view, increasingly becoming a jurisdiction to which Canadian employers have to be careful about sending their employees.

    Certainly I would argue that an LGBTQ employee should not, in many circumstances, be required to travel to a jurisdiction where discrimination and denial of services on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity is entirely lawful and perhaps predictable. It may be reasonable at the moment for some dual passport holders or Canadian permanent residents whose citizenship belongs to one of the countries targeted by the current administration to refuse to travel to the U.S. for work at all. Might we get to a point where it would be reasonable for a Muslim Canadian to claim that his or her employer hosting a corporate retreat in Vegas is discriminatory or creating a hostile or unsafe work environment? I hope not, but it doesn't seem beyond the realm of possibility any more.

    With each passing day and with each enshrinement of discrimination at the state or federal level, this is more and more likely to become a live issue for Canadian employers. Even a few months ago I didn't see a day coming when a Canadian executive being sent to the U.S. on business might constitute a human rights problem in Ontario, but here we are, and employers should turn their minds to how to handle it well before it comes up. With Trump set to sign an executive order granting freedom to discriminate, the time is now.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    Also on HuffPost:

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Admission to Canada's national parks is free in 2017, and it's time to start taking advantage. Parks Canada is offering free 2017 Discover Passes to commemorate the Great White North's 150th anniversary, and that means you gain admission-free access to all of the country's historic sites, marine conservation areas and national parks.

    It's no secret that Canadians and travellers from around the world flock to heavy hitters like Banff, Jasper and Pacific Rim National Park every summer despite the cost of admission. But many lesser known parks offer once-in-a-lifetime adventures and awe-inspiring scenery that's just as impressive as the ones you see in travel magazines. These four Canadian national parks are ones that often fall under the radar but are guaranteed to be the backdrop for your unforgettable 2017 summer getaway.

    Thousand Islands National Park

    Thousand Islands National Park feels more like a luxury retreat than your typical national park. This is one of few places in the country where travellers can hop aboard a boat, canoe or kayak and hop from island to island, finding the perfect place to pitch a tent in a secluded cay or a rarely trekked hiking trail. In just a few short hours, adventurers can travel from Toronto or Montreal to historic wilderness that begs visitors to put down their phones and spot rare wildlife, hike to scenic overlooks and paddle among more than 20 granite islands.

    Yoho National Park

    Photo credit: Peter Pham

    While many travellers explore the Canadian Rockies from world-renowned Banff National Park, others are enjoying the smaller crowds and rugged natural beauty of Yoho National Park in southeastern British Columbia. In fact, "Yoho" was named for the Cree expression meaning wonder and awe, which fits this photogenic park perfect. Visitors can rent a canoe and cruise the crystal-clear Emerald Lake, explore some of the oldest fossil beds in the world (Burgess Shale Fossil Beds) or embark on a hair-raising river rafting excursion. The opportunities for adventure and relaxation in this park are endless.

    Kluane National Park

    Adventuring to the Yukon is a bucket-list item for many travellers, and the summer of 2017 is an ideal time to fulfill this lifelong dream. There's arguably no better place in the country to submerge yourself in nature and completely forego the stresses of daily life. The Kluane National Park and Reserve includes 22,000 square kilometres, including everything from scenic hiking trails, indescribably blue lakes, rare wildlife, abundant fishing spots, non-polar icefields and some of the most impressive places to spot the Northern Lights on a clear summer evening.

    Terra Nova National Park

    Photo credit: Dave Bezaire

    Many travellers assume Canada's most impressive national parks are located in the western provinces, but Terra Nova National Park continues to wow adventurers as the most easterly park in the country. The park can be explored by land or sea, offering opportunities to spot whales and icebergs by boat or conquer steep summits via a number of scenic hiking trails. The park's rugged coastline is best explored by canoe or kayak, and there's no better places to picnic than tucked into a sandy, sheltered cove. Travellers seeking the salty air of the Atlantic coastline coupled with forested trails and starry nights will find it all in Terra Nova National Park.

    Parks Canada will only be offering the gift of free national park admission until the end of 2017, so there's no better time than now to plan your summer visits.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    Also on HuffPost:

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    I arrived in Punta del Este knowing only its reputation as a ritzy beach town where South America's elite converge from January to March -- the summer months for most of the continent -- and its proximity to a year-old winery that has been much talked about in the food and wine world.

    After a five-day stay, I'm convinced Punta del Este and its neighbouring towns along the coast of Maldonado, one of the least populated of Uruguay's 19 states, are among the most exceptional places in the world to visit and perhaps also to live.

    Far safer than most other locations in South America, the Maldonado coast is comprised of approximately 80 kilometres (50 miles) of immaculate beach the colour of a good tan. During the peak tourist season, Punta del Este's population swells from 10,000 permanent residents to more than 750,000 as sun and surf seekers arrive to chase relaxation and thrills.

    Some spread out west to Punta Ballena, home to Uruguay's leading attraction, Casapueblo, a mammoth, Grecian-style complex built by artist Carlos Páez Vilaró. Others head east to the less busy beach towns of La Barra and José Ignacio, where celebrities such as Shakira have homes.

    The Maldonado coast is like The Hamptons, where wealthy property owners maintain an exclusive ambience to the region but surfers, working-class locals and artists provide a counterbalance, making the area a getaway for many (if you've budgeted for it).

    Now, foodies and oeneophiles have reason to come, too.

    In 2016, Bodega Garzon opened on a humongous swath of land about an hour's drive from Punta del Este. Named after the nearest village, Pueblo Garzon, the winery is an $85-million facility with artisanal aspirations.

    Uruguay, a country of 3.4 million people, produces more wine than Canada. But before Bodega Garzon, no commercial vineyard was situated in Maldonado. Even owner Alejandro Bulgheroni, the Argentine billionaire who has purchased leading wineries around the world, was unsure whether the land he procured could grow quality grapes. Then he asked Alberto Antonini, one of the world's most esteemed wine makers, to give an opinion. Antonini visited Uruguay in 2006, reported back to Bulgheroni that, yes, his Maldonado estate could not only grow grapes but possessed the potential to produce stellar vinifera not unlike that found in the wine-maker's homeland, Italy.

    Antonini was commissioned to oversee the vineyards. Rather than flattening the land that has hills and slopes, he created 220 hectares of vineyards. Each parcel of land is situated where the grapes planted on it is best suited for the micro-climates on the estate.

    Albariño and Tannat, two unconventional grapes that flourish in Uruguay, are abundant on the Garzon property. The winery, located 18 kilometres (11 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean, also makes 10 other varieties, including a very good Cabernet Franc. At harvest, grapes are hand-picked and hand-cleaned before entering a high-tech process that includes laboratory testing at intervals in the aging process.

    Magnificent waves & outrageous winds off the Atlantic Ocean. A thrill to storm watch in #PuntaDelEste, #Uruguay.

    A post shared by AdrianBrijbassi (@adrianbrijbassi) on

    The wines are winning awards and appearing on shelves and in restaurants around the world. To get the full Bodega Garzon experience, however, you must come to the winery. That's because Bulgheroni's other achievement was teaming with Francis Mallmann to launch a food program focused on the celebrity chef's famed use of fire. Mallmann, an Argentinian with a planet-wide following, lives part time in Pueblo Garzon, where he and Bulgheroni co-own a charming restaurant in a town of 100 people. Given free rein of the menu at the winery, Mallmann has delivered ingenious cooking, including steak made from Uruguayan cattle (the same breed as Argentina possesses) and smoked everything, including smoked ice cream that is bewilderingly blissful. The ice cream is placed in a cooled oven used for smoking fish and meat. After 10 minutes, it captures the smokiness while retaining its cold state. The taste is an explosion of sweetness and earthiness unlike anything you've tried.

    For such distinctiveness, the winery and its restaurant are attracting more visitors. So, too, is the rest of Maldonado. José Ignacio has a busy, well-regarded beach-side restaurant, La Huella, overlooking a gorgeous sandy stretch. Casapueblo has earned more attention since Páez Vilaró, a contemporary of Pablo Picasso, died in February. And Punta del Este continues to gain notoriety, having been nicknamed the St. Tropez of South America.

    I came in late April, though, and the place was thin with tourists. The beaches were nearly empty and the streets vacant. It was hard to believe a place so beautiful, warm and inviting was so void of activity. In this way, it reminded me of The Hamptons, too, which can be desolate in fall and winter.

    As more people find out for themselves that the Maldonado coast is rich with art, artisans and activities -- and not just wealthy people -- I imagine more curious travellers will arrive, and not just during summer. Some will even dream of staying year round.

    For More International Travel Stories, Visit

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Whether you're heading south for a Mexican vacay or flying out for a quick work trip, there's no reason you can't make this May 5 the best Cinco de Mayo yet. has rounded up 10 top airport bars and restaurants in North America boasting flavourful cocktails perfect for an impromptu Cinco de Mayo (or, Cinco de Flyo, as we like to call it). You can't say we never agave you anything

    Portland International Airport, Portland, Oregon, U.S.
    Image: KittyKaht, One tequila, two tequila, three tequila via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    Did you know there are over 200 different tequilas? Well now you do, and, at Sandoval's Tequila Grill in Portland, Ore., you can try them all (not recommended). Sip them on the rocks or have them blended into your favourite cocktail.
    Location: Concourse C
    Drink this: Cazadores Reposado tequila sampler, a 100% blue agave blend aged in a white oak cask.

    Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado, U.S.
    Image: TheDeliciousLife, Jalapeno Margarita via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    While Denver is known as a beer town (and even has its own airport brewery), there are also a few cocktail spots to keep you entertained before heading to your gate. We picked Denver's Que Bueno!, an affordable quick-serve pit stop with freshly made burritos and tasty margaritas.
    Location: B gates near Gate B52
    Drink this: Sip on the Fresh Jalapeno Margarita for a spicy twist on a classic.

    George Bush International Airport, Houston, Texas, U.S.
    Image: Neil Conway, Margarita via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    With over 30 years of famous Tex-Mex cuisine, the small but mighty Pappsito is known for flavour and freshness. Tasty margaritas, tacos and nachos put this Houston pick on our list.
    Location: Terminal A
    Drink this: If you're feeling fancy, try the Grand Gold Margarita, made with Jose Cuervo gold tequila, orange liqueur and topped with freshly squeezed lime juice.

    Toronto Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario
    Image: Jason Lam, 01 Bloody Maria - Mesa Coyoacan via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    Apropos has breakfast burritos, fresh fish tacos and guacamole on their menu, which is exactly what you're looking for from Cinco de Mayo airport fare. Stop by for a quick bite and a refreshing cocktail next time you're in Toronto.
    Location: Terminal 1 near gate F62
    Drink this: A Mexican-inspired take on the Bloody Caesar, the Apropos Caesar features tequila, celery and sriracha.

    Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
    Image: Stacy Spensley, homemade strawberry margaritas via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    In-house guacamole and hand-crafted margaritas? Yes, please. Chicago's Tortas Frontera is a highly reviewed walk-up that has amazing Mexican food, and there's typically a long line to prove it. Trust us, it's worth the wait, and the line moves quickly. You'll have a fresh drink in hand, stat.
    Location: Terminal 1, 3 & 5
    Drink this: Tortas Frontera claims to have the best margarita you could find in any airport, so choose anything.

    Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
    Image: Didriks, Match Pewter Jigger Pour via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    The original Barrio Cafe once held the largest tequila collection in the state of Arizona. Nowadays, there are over 300 choices at the airport location in Phoenix, which claims to be open from the first flight of the day to the last. The staff promises to serve you the finest tequila cocktails, making it a must-visit on your next stop in Phoenix.
    Location: Terminal 4
    Drink this: Try the Barrio Bomba Margarita; it's as delicious as it is large.

    Mexico City Airport, Mexico City, Mexico
    Image: Lauren Topor, Margarita via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Indulge in fried chicken wings and blended margaritas at Baron Rojo. This popular meeting spot in Mexico City is the perfect place to relax and unwind before your flight. Open 24 hours, you might even be able to catch some late-night karaoke before your next red-eye flight.
    Location: Terminal 2 directly in front of the E2 gate.
    Drink this: Try the mango margarita, a well reviewed favourite.

    Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas, Texas, U.S.
    Image: rick, tequila via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    When in Texas, Tex-Mex is mandatory. Stop by the Tequileria, a casual dining spot that will surprise you with its wide range of tequilas and margaritas and its fast service.
    Location: Terminal E at gate E12
    Drink this: Order most margaritas and get the extra leftover in the shaker on the side.

    Oakland International Airport, Oakland, California, U.S.
    Image: Alan Levine, TEQUILA! via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Next time you're flying through Oakland, head to Andale for premium, hand-selected tequilas that complement their fresh Mexican fare. Enjoy a margarita and some grub at the bar, or take a flight-ready option like grilled fish tacos or the Andale burrito to-go.
    Location: Terminal 2
    Drink this: With such a wide variety of tequilas, you can't go wrong. Ask your bartender for a recommendation based on your preferences and enjoy.

    Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
    Image: Lindsey Turner, Cuervo via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    When Jose Cuervo is in the name of the restaurant, you're in for a good time. Jose Cuervo Tequileria in Charlotte is a festive establishment with classic Mexican dishes and margarita shakers so large, they'll fill your glass twice.
    Location: Main atrium between all terminals.
    Drink this: Order the Ultimate Margarita, a drinkable standard marg with the perfect blend of sweet and sour and a rim of salt or sugar.

    BONUS: Anywhere
    Image: Christina Xu, IMG_1746 via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    When all else fails, make your own on-board margarita. Order orange juice, sprite and tequila from your nearest flight attendant. Over ice, mix tequila and a splash of OJ and fill with some sprite. If you're feeling agile, try stepping up your in-flight drinks game by adding a packet of salt or sugar to the rim of your plastic cup (without spilling on yourself or your neighbour).


    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    A weekend exploring the region of Brittany, France should be on your summer travel list. I am about to take you on the same road trip I recently went on in this ages old land -- rich with history, fresh food, and a fantastic future that's all packed into wonderful little journeys.


    Start here with a night in the heart of the city at Oceania Hôtel de France
    in the Graslin Quarter. Pop into the Passage Pommeray - a shopping arcade built in the 1800s - before dinner at Le Cigale. This spot is all ornamental excess (and an #instadream) circa 1895. A meeting place for Art Nouveau bourgeois and aristocrats, who mingled with actors and dancers from the theatre, it has maintained that magical atmosphere.
    Pair any one of the classic French dishes with a glass of Muscadet. Be sure to make a reservation well in advance. Like, months in advance. It's also open for breakfast, brunch and lunch.


    Wake up refreshed and ready for a walking tour of the Bouffay Quarter's medieval city and its castle, where the Duchy lived and ruled. Then follow the green line to the Isle of Nantes, where creativity explodes in the form of giant moving creatures, troupes of performers, and a three-story carousel dedicated to the deep sea. A magical ride for all ages. There is also an open laboratory so the public can test machine prototypes. All of which will be part of the next spectacular spectacular - a monumental (and massive) Heron Tree that will be ready in 2021.
    Makers take note: a Maker Faire camp will run from July 7-9, 2017.


    On your way across the bridge to get back into the city, listen for joyful sounds of singers at the memorial to the abolition of slavery.

    Dinner is at Pickles. Owned by a British expat, this bistro pub offers fusion food (think: French, Italian, Asian, North Africa) that emphasizes local market products "with a real taste of the terriors".

    The next day is a choose-your-adventure kind of day:
    Art enthusiasts will want to continue Le Voyage A Nantes and do the drive out to Saint-Nazair. Follow 120 kilometres of the Loire River and enjoy the unique and quirky modern works of 30 renowned artists. Many of these permanent installations completely change perspective with the tide.

    History buffs will make their way to Saint Malo and Mont Saint-Michel. Wander Saint Malo's 15th century old town before heading down to the beach and a mini-hike over to François René de Chateaubriand's grave.


    The town's cathedral is worth a look as its stained glass creates a particularly beautiful light effect on a sunny day.

    On the way out of Saint Malo, lunch overlooking the tidal bay at Ar Iniz.

    In less than an hour, you can find yourself in Normandy and in awe of Mont-Saint-Michel. This architectural wonder must be seen from the 11th century village at the base, up to the 15th century gothic cathedral. Recommend taking a Lecture Tour and seeing the 10th century church. Magnificent.


    Drive back to Nantes for a casual dinner at Le coin des crepes. Side note: I went into this trip with a full-on aversion to the things, and by the end of it I was craving savoury goodness. Have the sausage, salad and egg crepe... tres bon!

    An hour's drive from Nantes, along toll-free routes I should add (this is a special thing as the rest of France's roadways are taxed), the road tripper will discover another dynamic city.

    Check in to Le Magic Hall. This former movie theatre is now a boutique hotel that boasts 26 themed rooms, as well as a communal vibe in the kitchen/dining room/lounge.

    If you're hot for history, take a City & Parliament tour, where you can see some of the many timber-framed houses that date as far back as the medieval 1400s. Then explore the grandeur of the 17th century Parliament of Brittany, while its courts are still in full operation.
    Tip: See the city through the eyes of a local and book a personal go-at-your-own-pace tour with an official English-speaking guide.


    One of the most famous trials was that of serial killer Helene Jegado in 1851. She was accused and sentenced to death by guillotine for baking lethal doses of arsenic into cakes.

    Learning this leads perfectly to a tasting of the "arsenic" cake, as well as lovely chocolates-by-the-number at Durand (5 Quai Châteaubriand). Although you might think you've died and gone to heaven after trying their Kouign Amann (aka Butter Cake).

    For botanical buffs, there are 1000 species of roses - each whimsically named - in the lovely Parc du Thabor (Place Saint-Mélaine).

    Contemporary art is also celebrated and the FRAC, la Criee, and 40mcube are all hubs for the modern creative culture that Rennes boasts.


    For lunch and dinner, you've got a choice of restaurants here, but I recommend hitting the Marche des Lices (24 Place des Lices) to purchase everything fresh for a picnic. The market is five centuries old and therefore France's oldest. About 25,000 people flock to it every Saturday to pick up fish, food and flowers for the week. Recommend lunching (or late breakfasting) on the traditional buckwheat crepe with sausage and a glass of chilled cider.

    Drive back to Nantes for a sunset cocktail at the top of the Brittany Tower (Place de Bretagne). Afterwards, check in to a comfortable suite at the Radisson Blu (which you can book for a sweet deal via, btw). Draw a bath, soak those feet, and rest assured you've seen the very best of Brittany.

    There you go, ladies and gents... Proof that it's not all happening in Paris!

    Other notable restaurants, cafes and stays:
    Thalasso Spa Hotel - In Saint-Malo there are many seaside hotels that offer views of the dramatic ebb and flow of the tide. This one is particularly dreamy.
    Sophie Bakery - As a digital nomad, I am always on the look out for a cool spot to catch up on work. Wifi with a side of carrot cake, please!
    Sainbioz - Burgers are the best in Nantes.

    Music enthusiasts take note: The Trans Musicales Festival rocks Rennes from November 29 to December 3, 2017.

    If you are in Ottawa for Canada Day, look out for the giant mech dragon from Nantes.

    *Air France flies from major cities in Canada, connecting through Paris or Amsterdam before arriving in Nantes.

    *Air Transat direct flights from Montreal to Nantes start this summer.

    Images courtesy of the author.

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    0 0

    Horseracing is one of the oldest sports in the world and its basic premise has remained virtually unchanged since the earliest of times. Whether it's the thrill of watching exceptional equine champions compete for glory, the rush as your horse bags a win, the fashion on parade or the chance to spot a celebrity, there are plenty of reasons to head to a racetrack on your next holiday.

    With the 143rd Kentucky Derby set to take place this past weekend, get your binoculars and your mint julep ready because we've gathered some of the best destinations around the world to take in the glamour and tradition of The Races.

    Lexington, Kentucky, USA

    Photo Credit:

    The city of Lexington is home to two horseracing tracks and an array of horse farms. Considered to be "The Horse Capital of the World" this beautiful destination is not only ideal for nature and horse lovers, but also for bourbon and art fans.

    The Staybridge Suites Lexington is only a 15-minute drive from Kentucky Horse Park and 7 km away from the Keeneland Race Course. It's also located just over an hour drives away from famous Churchill Downs racetrack, home to the annual Kentucky Derby.

    Newmarket, UK

    Photo Credit:

    Newmarket is home to two horseracing tracks, more than fifty horse training stables and about 3,000 racehorses. Known as the United Kingdom's largest racehorse breeding place, travellers can enjoy a tour of one of Newmarket's popular racecourses or the National Stud, the showcase of the Thoroughbred horse breed.

    Set amid rose gardens, the peaceful Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa offers modern bedrooms, an indoor pool and spa facilities. The property's 17th century architecture houses the 2 AA Rosette Squires Restaurant, serving an eclectic menu with the finest seasonal ingredients.

    Meydan Racecourse, Dubai, UAE
    Photo Credit:

    The racecourse of Meydan is home to a horseracing museum and the longest grandstand in the world - reaching over a mile in length. Travellers to Meydan Racecourse can enjoy the luxurious racing facilities and even watch the horse races while enjoying world-class cuisine and unparalleled views from the restaurant of the Meydan Hotel.

    The Meydan Hotel is the world's first five-star trackside hotel, designed in the shape of a wave in motion with a luminous green glass façade. It features luxurious rooms and suites with a private balcony overlooking the Meydan Racecourse.

    Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Australia
    Photo Credit:

    The horse racing course of The Flemington Racecourse is part of the Australian National Heritage List and home to the Melbourne Cup since 1861. This famous venue hosts various entertainment events throughout the year, including the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

    Situated only 800 metres away from Flemington Racecourse, the Boutique Stays - Ascot Retreat is a stylish self-catering accommodation overlooking Maribyrnong River. The balcony offers a remarkable city view and the elegantly styled apartment includes barbeque and laundry facilities as well as a full kitchen, A/C, satellite TV and more.

    Saratoga Springs, New York, USA
    Photo Credit:

    The picturesque city of Saratoga is best known for the Saratoga Race Course, which is one of the oldest horse racetracks in the United States and often considered to be one of the oldest sporting venue of any kind in the country. Apart from the exciting horse racing, this 150-year-old track also offers travellers walking tours, breakfast at the track and tours of the stable area.

    Situated less than 2 km away from Saratoga Racetrack, The Inn at Saratoga features elegantly decorated rooms, a restaurant and complementary bikes for exploring the scenic area. The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and Saratoga Golf Club are a couple places you can cruise to at less than 2 km away each.

    Doncaster, UK

    Photo Credit:

    Often endorsed for horse racing, the English market town of Doncaster is also famous for its architecture. Home to one of the world's oldest classic horse races, The St Leger Stakes, Doncaster has more than 50,000 visitors every year who come to enjoy the race.

    The Red Lion is a charming hotel only 2.4 km from Doncaster Racecourse, featuring modern rooms, a restaurant and an on-site bar. This property receives rave reviews for its location and value, offering guests the most bang for their buck when planning a trip to Doncaster.

    Learn more at

    Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

older | 1 | .... | 136 | 137 | (Page 138) | 139 | 140 | newer