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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    Being a grown-up can be hard, and sometimes you just want to escape and indulge your inner child. We all have a bit of Peter Pan Syndrome, so why not use vacation to harken back to simpler times?

    These seven spots are carefree destinations or activities where you can feel like a kid again, in the best way possible. Check them out below!

    1. Swing At The End Of The World
    Located in Banos, Ecuador, Casa del Arbol's "Swing at the End of the World" provides stunning views of Mount Tungurahua, an active volcano. This is the perfect spot to live out your Magic Treehouse fantasy.

    2. Pacific Pinball Museum
    pacific pinball museum
    If you spent your childhood saving your quarters and begging to go to the arcade, this museum is for you. The Pacific Pinball Museum is home to dozens of unique pinball machines -- and for $15 you can play on them all!

    3. Shane Candies
    shane candies
    Philadelphia's Shane Candies is one of the oldest continuously-operated candy stores in America. And, really, who doesn't love a candy store? This one will leave you just as wide-eyed and sugar high-ed as the shops of your youth. This shop ramps up the nostalgia factor with its old-school vibe and homemade sweets.

    4. Treehouse Point
    treehouse point
    Remember spending lazy summer days hanging out in your awesome, secret treehouse? Take that experience to the next level and book a stay at a treehouse hotel. Check out Treehouse Point, outside Seattle, for a outdoorsy experience.

    5. Park City Mountain Resort's Alpine Slide
    alpine slide park city
    There were few things more thrilling as a kid than flying down a curvy slide at the playground. Amp up the fun at the alpine slide at Utah's Park City Mountain Resort. The slide is one of the longest in the world, with 3,000 feet of luge-like track.

    6. Exploratorium
    If you were a kid wowed by science (maybe you watched hours and hours of Bill Nye The Science Guy), you should take your adult-self on a trip to San Francisco's Exploratorium, a museum that hopes to "change the way the world learns." Don't let the word "museum" fool you, Exploratorium lets you be the hands-on explorer you've always dreamed of being.

    7. Disney Parks
    disney world
    Okay, so it's kind of obvious. But, really, where else in the world can you truly immerse yourself back into childhood? From the treats (Mickey-shaped waffles! Ice cream! Giant lollipops!) to the rides to the nostalgia, a quick visit to Disney World or Disneyland (or an international Disney park) will quickly indulge your inner child.

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    (Relaxnews) - Norway, Aruba and Orlando have emerged as some of the top 10 family destinations for 2014, according to a group of family vacation experts.

    Though the Christmas holidays may have just ended, parents of school-aged children know that spring break looms not far off.
    Here are a few suggestions from the editors of US-based, whose list of best family-friendly destinations is topped by Aruba, also known as “one happy island.”

    In addition to a wide range of family-friendly activities like windsurfing, cave exploration and shell-hunting tours, the Aruba government is developing the Caribbean’s largest linear park (characterized as being longer than they are wide), which will feature playgrounds and bike paths.

    This year also marks the 60th anniversary of Aruba’s Carnival, the island’s biggest annual party, notes FamilyVacationCritic, a kid-friendly festival that includes a children’s parade.

    Inspired by the “storybook-like” village of Bergen, Disney’s latest animated film “Frozen” captures some of Norway’s best assets: the country’s dramatic landscapes, fjords, mountains and cascading waterfalls. Disney also hopes to make the unlikely destination top of mind for parents, having added the country to their Adventures by Disney roster which offers guided family vacations for 2014.

    Highlights of Disney's eight-day Norwegian trips scheduled for the summer months include a visit to Bergen, the inspiration for the kingdom of Arendelle; trout fishing; river rafting and Norwegian folk dance lessons.

    Orlando, FL
    No surprise here, Orlando is a perennial favorite for family travel with its slew of theme parks. New this year, Universal Orlando will be expanding its wildly popular Harry Potter space with the addition of Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is also undergoing its largest ever expansion that will include the debut of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

    This summer, the posh 444-room Four Seasons Resort Orlando will open its doors to families looking for a luxury stay, that will come complete with a five-acre “Explorer Island” featuring a pool, climbing wall, water park, and outdoor movie nights.

    Kansas City, MO
    This kid-friendly city features destinations like a Planet Snoopy at Worlds of Fun, a LEGOLAND Discovery Center and the Crayola Café. But the real reason Kansas City is poised to become a go-to destination for families in 2014? The opening of the Verruckt, the tallest, fastest waterslide in the world, at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark this year.

    Here are the top 10 family destinations for 2014, according to

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    More than two months after he was born, the Toronto Zoo's polar bear is getting his first bath.

    The unnamed cub, who was born on November 9, 2013, has been a hit with online audiences everywhere, from his first steps two weeks ago to this adorable display of cleanliness.

    The cub was born to Aurora, one of the zoo's two adult female polar bears, along with two siblings who sadly passed away after their mother had trouble nursing them, reported CTV. Zoo staff saw this cub was also struggling and took him away to give him nutrition and help him grow.

    His calm acceptance of the bath — with only a few wobbly attempts at escape — seems to show how much he trusts his caregivers. And yes, it will inspire some serious feelings of "can I have one?" for pretty much every viewer.

    Of course, watching this, it's hard not to think of how happy the cub might be in his natural habitat of the Arctic Ocean. But given the circumstances, it's pretty amazing he's getting the opportunity to thrive — and that we get to watch as he does it.

    Visitors to the Toronto Zoo won't have to wait long to see him in person. According to a commenter on the zoo's Facebook page, he should be introduced to the public in the spring.

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    WestJet Airlines unveiled details Monday of the planned eastern expansion of its regional Encore service this summer.

    The Calgary-based airline said WestJet Encore will start June 27 with routes between Toronto and Thunder Bay, Ont., and between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg.

    The airline has been growing its regional service since last June from its base in Western Canada.

    WestJet (TSX:WJA) did not say what additional routes would be added, but that it is currently constrained by deliveries of 72-seat Q400 aircraft from Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B).

    However, it expects that about half of its four to six per cent capacity growth in 2014 will come from Encore.

    Thunder Bay is the first Ontario city for Encore because it is an existing destination that is operating well and is within the plane's range.

    Encore currently operates eight Bombardier Q400 aircraft, but the company eventually plans to fly 45 planes to destinations in Canada and the United States.

    "We are very focused on a slow and steady increase based on the initial success of WestJet Encore," spokesman Brie Thorsteinson Ogle wrote in an email.

    He declined to say when U.S. Encore service might begin.

    WestJet also announced Monday that WestJet Encore will start flying between Fort McMurray, Alta., and Kelowna, B.C., and between Fort McMurray and Vancouver starting in May.

    The main WestJet service is also increasing its flights serving Fort McMurray, with new non-stop flights to Las Vegas, more frequent flights to Calgary and Edmonton, and conversion of daily Toronto non-stop flights to year-round service.

    WestJet announced earlier this year that it would start flying to Dublin, Ireland, from St. John's, NL, between June 15 and Oct. 5, but is adding direct flights from Toronto using its Boeing 737-700 aircraft.

    The airline sees the potential to eventually fly to four or five European markets, but plans to use the initial effort to learn about the new market.

    "The latest schedule reflects the varied needs of the many guests who choose WestJet," stated John Weatherill, director of network and schedule planning.

    He said added in-flight service, increased flight frequencies and non-stop service is designed to attract more business travellers and appeal to leisure travellers.

    Chief financial officer Vito Culmone told an investor conference last week that the airline would soon begin exercising the 25 options it has with Bombardier, in addition to the 20 firm orders for Q400s.

    "What we have seen thus far in those new destinations is that the flow traffic that is coming from those regional markets into our WestJet mainline is actually exceeding our expectations," he said at an AltaCorp Capital event.

    Service between Toronto and New York is an example where the Q400 could be used, leaving the airline's Boeing 737s for more profitable routes.

    On the Toronto Stock Exchange, WestJet's shares closed up four cents at $27.12 on Monday.

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    Trying to plan your 2014 family vacation? Whether you're a family of two or 20, a cruise offers a fun-filled and convenient vacation. Unpack once and explore several destinations, or never leave the ship and find something for everyone. Many of the newest and largest ships cater to families -- virtually theme-parks-at-sea with hidden gems (i.e. adults-only areas) for relaxation. If you know how to score the right deal, it can be a cost-effective vacation as well.

    With these tips and deals from Travelzoo, you can score an unforgettable family cruise vacation including all meals, accommodations and entertainment for less than $100 per person per day.

    1. Book now and plan ahead.

    • "Wave Season" just started and runs through March. This is the time of the year when cruise companies offer some of the most aggressive deals of the year. Families should start to look for deals now and book early for their 2014 cruise vacation. Carnival Cruise Line is even going as far as rewarding cruisers that book early by offering early saver discounts and price protection. Cruisers that book months in advance can rest easy knowing that they got the absolute best deal. Carnival will honor the lowest price, even if fares drop after you book.

    • Families are often looking to travel on very specific dates (on holidays when kids are out of school, over summer vacation or for a special occasion), so it's best to book early to secure the exact dates you want.

    • Cabins that can comfortably accommodate more than two people (sometimes referred to as "quad cabins") or upgraded cabins such as suites often fill up first -- so it's best to book early to secure the exact cabin you want. For families with small children, keep in mind that you may not feel comfortable booking a balcony cabin for safety reasons. Look for adjoining inside or oceanview cabins. You may get an even better deal by getting two adjoining cabins versus splurging on a suite.

    2. Look for value-adds that speak to your interests
    • Many major cruise companies are enticing potential travelers by adding on extras or "value-adds" to their wave season deals. Onboard credits are a popular value-add because you can use them however you want -- shore excursions for the kids, spa treatments for mom or mai tais for dad -- you name it. You can even use onboard credits on souvenirs from the ship's gift shop. Norwegian Cruise Line is offering100 in onboard credit per cabin on Alaska and Hawaii cruises.

    • Celebrity Cruises is offering deals that include unlimited drink packages for the first two adults in each cabin -- and the third and fourth person (when sharing the same cabin) get unlimited soda packages. This is a huge value when you consider the drinks package alone could cost you as much as $44 per person per day.

    • Other cruise lines offer "kids sail free" promotions when sharing a cabin with two adults. For example, on MSC Cruises, kids 11 and younger always sail free and kids 12-17 sail at a reduced rate.

    3. Check on special discounts
    • Most cruise lines offer discounts for seniors, military, police officers and union members, so be sure to tell your cruise agent if you fall into one of these categories when booking. Royal Caribbean even offers deals for police, firefighters and EMTs with deals starting at $129 per person.

    • There are also specials for residents of certain states. For example, Disney Cruise Line offers discounts for Florida residents. Check with your cruise agent to see if there are resident specials for cruises leaving from a port near you. If you can drive to the port, you'll also save time and money on adding airfare to your cruise vacation.

    4. Check airfare first
    • You may find a great deal on a Mediterranean cruise only to find out that airfare to the port city is outrageous. When choosing a cruise, look at the port cities (is this Alaska cruise roundtrip from Seattle or one way from Vancouver to Anchorage?) because adding on airfare can get pricey -- especially for a large family. Some cruise agents offer discounts when adding airfare to the cruise, so be sure to ask for airfare discounts when calling to book. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering up to $1,000 in air credits when you book you cruise with air.

    • Often when you book airfare through the cruise line, you also have the added benefit of knowing that they will schedule the flights to get you to and from the port in time. And if your flight is delayed, they'll work to get you on the next flight to get to the port in time. Royal Caribbean offers one of the best air programs called ChoiceAir.

    Darlene Carenza is a producer at Travelzoo and based in Miami. Travelzoo has 250 deal experts from around the world who rigorously research, evaluate and test thousands of deals to find those with true value.

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    From Bangkok to Phnom Penh, Hanoi to Halong Bay, filmmaker Connor Magill traveled Asia.

    In the plane on his way to Laos, he and his travel buddies were informed that they were arriving on the eve of Songkran, the New Year's water festival -- good luck finding a hostel! The entire visit proved an adventure in ways he could never have expected, from engaging in water gun fights in the street with Luang Prabang locals to stumbling upon rural villages while exploring Vietnam by motorcycle.

    While visiting, he aspired to be the best tourist he could be by dedicatedly learning bits of each new language -- although it was easier said than done.

    "I went through what this German guy explained as "learning bulimia" in that I'd spend a lot of time on the plane ride over trying to learn the basics of the Vietnamese language, how to count to five, where's the bathroom, all that. On the way to Laos, I had to learn all the same stuff for the language over there and I would start to forget Vietnamese," Magill told HuffPost Travel.

    The same thing happened with each country and culture he visited: in with one language, out with the other, but we think the effort itself is to be admired. As evidenced by his video, through these linguistic bits and pieces and a fair amount of curiosity, Magill had a truly incredible journey.

    Lucky for us, we get to tag along for the (elephant) ride.

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    Ah the Caribbean. So exquisite, so pristine, so...overrun? True, there are many, many islands in the Caribbean that are worth a visit and many of them happen to have--shall we say--a healthy tourism market. But what if you still want to jet off to those insanely blue waters and don't want to deal with the masses?

    Never fear, here are few places you should check out if you want to get away from it all without everyone else.

    The Grenadines are mentioned quite a few times on this list and there's reason why. The islands are popular among yachters, have (mostly) great beaches and are further south than some people might want to schlep for a week getaway. First up is Bequia, which has the most protected natural harbor in the Caribbean). This tiny island in the Grenadines is a great under-the-radar destination for divers, boaters and beach goers alike (one of the more popular spots is Princess Margaret beach, named after the actual real-life princess).

    Barbuda sits about 3 hours by boat (20 minutes by air) from its big sister Antigua. You'll see nary a soul on the blissful beaches here. One of the main draws is the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, which is home to some 5,000 of the magnificent birds, whose mating rituals are a thing of wonder (visitors can watch them in the, um, act in their natural habitat).

    Canouan, a teeny tiny island in the Grenadines, has a split personality of sorts. You can either stay at one of the two big resorts on the island or stay super local in the non-resort area. Regardless, you're in for some of the most untouched beaches in the Caribbean and some killer diving.
    canouan caribbean

    Culebra is today what its sister island, Vieques, was 15 or so years ago. Though it sits 17-miles off the highly-visited Puerto Rico, it's distinctly (and happily) lacking in an abundance of activities. If you come here, you come here to see the local wildlife and unspoiled beaches. Oh, and there's gambling.

    Saba, a volcanic island that seems to jut right up out of the water, isn't your typical beach-goers fare. Instead, it's a diver's and hiker's paradise, with underwater mountains and 150 species of fish, not to mention a strenuous climb up Mt. Joy, which is the island's highest point.
    saba caribbean

    Virgin Gorda
    One of the largest islands in the BVI, Virgin Gorda isn't exactly under-the-radar to Tortola-goers or yachters, but its exquisite beaches (and famous baths) are certainly worth a visit.
    virgin gorda

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    Dogs do them. 'Harry Potter' fans do them. Couples celebrate anniversaries in them, and families get lost in them before calling the cops to find a way out.

    They're mazes, and they boggle our minds way more than the average travel excursion. Make room on your bucket list for some of the most elaborate ones on Earth.

    1. Ribeauville, France
    Each summer, this French commune designs a harrowing nine-acre maze, called Labyrinthus, for the local "children." We're no experts, but we'd guess this dragon-themed maze would be a doozy for anyone, not just kids.
    ribeauville labyrinthus

    2. London, England
    The Hampton Court hedge maze was planted over 300 years ago... so that's pretty epic. It was one of England's first puzzle mazes, whereas earlier mazes were just spirals with a direct, single route to the end. Wanna cheat?
    hampton court maze

    3. Teichland, Germany
    This pleasingly geometric little wonder is located in Erlebnispark Teichland, a German adventure park.
    teichland maze

    4. London, England
    In 2010, this pop-up maze graced London's bustling Trafalgar Square. It was a publicity stunt meant to encourage people to "get lost" in the city's West End, with twists, turns, and blockades named after various West End locations. We can only hope this urban playground returns one day.
    trafalgar square maze

    5. Berlepsch, Germany
    THIS is the corn maze you have nightmares about.
    corn maze

    6. Xining, China
    China hosts many ice and snow festivals in the winter, and you can bet you'll find some ultra-confusing frozen mazes at most of them.
    ice maze china

    7. Hever, England
    During the Renaissance, it was trendy to plant a maze in your garden for sheer entertainment. Anne Boleyn grew up in Hever Castle, whose labyrinth now serves as a lovely little tourist attraction for history nuts.
    hedge maze

    8. Guangfu, Taiwan
    This township in Taiwan is all about sugar cane-- its Sugar Factory is a favorite with tourists who come to taste yummy flavored ices. The massive maze out back is shaped like an aboriginal creature.
    taiwan labyrinth

    9. Villandry, France
    This maze is a reference to Daedalus, the mythical Greek craftsman who devised a labyrinth in which he stowed "the Minotaur." Sadly, you probably won't find any actual "Minotaurs" in the quaint little gardens of Villandry Castle.
    hedge maze

    10. Hatfield, England
    This vintage photo shows soldiers and nurses navigating the hedges at Hatfield House, which is currently home to the British politician whose family has owned it for generations. Hidden in the compound's ultra-private East Garden, the maze is still open to tourists.
    hatfield house maze

    11. Glasgow, Scotland
    Scotland's Pollok House is home to a mini maze whose hedges are stubbier -- but prettier -- than most. The foliage surrounding it was once dubbed "Europe's Best Park."
    hedge maze

    12. Stra, Italy
    Napoleon, Hitler and Mussolini have all hung out in Villa Pisani, the former estate of a wealthy Italian Doge. The villa's mind-bending maze has hedges too high to see over-- according to legend, Napoleon never made it to the eerie tower in the center, with its spiral staircase and statue of the goddess Minerva.
    hedge maze

    13. Dixon, California
    What would otherwise be a typical little pumpkin patch is elevated to Guinness World Records status by its corn maze, which was once declared the official largest in the world. This year's maze at Cool Patch Pumpkins was 53 whopping acres of corn-y confusion.
    cool patch pumpkins

    14. Pitmedden, Scotland
    These dinky (sorry, but they are) mazes are all about aesthetics. They're splayed in various shapes -- from a thistle to a coat of arms -- around Pitmedden Garden in Scotland.
    maze garden

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    Praia de As Catedrais -- aka Beach of the Cathedrals -- sits on the northern coast on Spain, near the Bay of Biscay.

    At low tide, you can hike under and around its precarious rock arches, which line the beach like actual little cathedrals.

    But if you stay too long, the tide will rise and swallow the cathedrals whole, until they look like sunken wonders that were never on shore to begin with.

    glowworm cave



    Besides its spectacular arches, Beach of the Cathedrals also has caves you can climb through and cliffs about 30 meters high-- perfect for a peek into the misty waters at high tide.

    The beach is protected as a natural monument by the government of Galicia, its Spanish province.


    catedrais beach

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    Dumplings are universal. Some version of dough wrapped around a delicious filling can be found almost anywhere in the world. From Chinese pork buns and Georgian khinkali, to Swedish pitepalts and South African souskluitjies, dumplings come in all shapes, sizes and flavors from all corners of the globe.

    One bond all dumplings share is that across the board they are supremely comforting. Eaten as an appetizer or dessert, a side or main meal, they are perfect at any time of day, and always beloved by everyone. Dumplings just might be the ultimate comfort food.

    What's your favorite?

    Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

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    Ah Family Day, Ontario's favourite fake holiday. It's only been around since 2008, but the statutory holiday in 2014 gives many in Canada's most populous province a long weekend right in the heart of winter.

    To quote the Ontario government's own FAQ on Family Day, "The time between New Year’s Day and Easter is long and people need a rest."

    In 2014, Family Day will fall on Feb. 17 and like last year the holiday means that many businesses will be closed.

    Government offices, banks and most grocery stores will be closed this Family Day. Large malls, like Toronto's Eaton Centre will be open.

    This year, Ottawa's Winterlude will also end on Feb. 17. The annual festival includes dozens of activities including the world's largest skating rink and the world's largest snow playground.

    Look for special deals and events for attractions such as the Toronto Zoo, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and many others.

    If outdoor activities are more your style, Ontario's provincial parks are also hosting Family Day events. Go looking for owls at the Pinery on Lake Huron or get away from city lights and see the night sky the way it was meant to be seen in Killarney Park.

    The more amorous should consider the fact that this year Family Day bookends a possible four-day weekend that starts with Valentine's Day on Friday. May we suggest a romantic getaway?

    If you have friends or relatives in Alberta or Saskatchewan they'll be celebrating the 'holiday' with you. While those in Manitoba celebrate Louis Riel Day and those on Prince Edward Island celebrate Islander Day.

    It's important to note that British Columbians celebrate their Family Day a week earlier.

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    A Canadian woman is recovering at her home in Brampton, Ont. after she and her friend were attacked during their trip to Disneyland last week.

    Katherine Newman and her friend Crystal Wiley headed back to the Alamo Hotel in Anaheim, Calif. after spending last Thursday at the theme park. They were returning to their room when a stranger pretending to open the suite next door forced his way inside.

    That's when Newman started fighting back, punching the man and yelling at him to leave, she told CTV News.

    "I was hitting him with the side of my hand. I just kept pounding and pounding and shoving him back and yelling him to 'get out, get out,'" she said.

    During the struggle, Newman said she was hit in the back of the head with what she believes was with a knife. Despite her first injury, Newman did not relent, saving Wiley in the process from being dragged out of the room.

    "I think at this point he's trying to eliminate me to grab her, and I just lunged forward and I said, 'No Crystal,' and grabbed her and just kept pounding and he came down with a knife," said Newman, sustaining cuts to her arms in the process.

    The fight attracted the attention of nearby motel guests who called police. But by the time local law enforcement arrived, the man had ran off. Both women were then taken to the hospital for their injuries. Newman received staples for two large wounds to her head as well as her arm while Wiley was treated for a cut to her face with stitches, according to the Star.

    Due to her injuries, Newman was unable to participate in the "Disney Tinker Bell Run", the reason why she was visiting the theme park. Newman's 16-year-old son is autistic and she was part of a team, Autism Speaks, that had raised more than $2,000 and spent over two years in training for the race, according to the Star.

    After hearing about Newman's harrowing experience, Disney officials gave both women a free stay at one of the park's resorts, as well as a private escort and race medals. They'll also be exempted from having to requalify for next year's race in Florida.

    Meanwhile, Anaheim police have made an arrest in connection with the attack, one of five incidents during a violent crime spree in the area.

    Ulises Delatorre, 32, was arrested in a nearby neighbourhood after he was caught on surveillance video, ABC News reports, adding that Delatorre was on parole after serving several years in prison for attempted murder.

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    Global Village Backpackers, the largest hostel in downtown Toronto, announced its closure on the weekend, marking an end to its 17-year stay on the northwest corner of King Street West and Spadina Avenue.

    With the closure comes uncertainty over the historic Toronto building. It has been a hotel for nearly 140 years, beginning in 1873 as the Richardson House. It opening as the Zeigler Hotel sometime in 1914, and then changed its name to Hotel Spadina and then the Spadina Hotel, which it would be until Global Village moved in in 1997.

    The Spadina Hotel became a famous music venue, hosting the Rolling Stones and Leonard Cohen, and later the Tragically Hip and the Skydiggers, and more recently becoming a hub for Toronto's punk scene.

    Global Village Backpackers had a bar inside the hostel, but it too will close.

    The hostel gave no immediate reason for closing, only citing "extreme unforeseen circumstances" it would be closing for good today, Jan. 20.

    "Thank you to everyone who has made this place the icon it is today. We love you all, and as individuals we wish it wasn't ending so soon!" posted the hostel on Facebook. "Come and see us this weekend for a last goodbye!"

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    (Relaxnews) - Football fans on a budget looking to attend the most popular US sporting event of the year may want to consider booking a hotel in the Bronx, Parsippany and Jersey City, where rooms are the most affordable.

    That’s according to the number crunching of TripAdvisor, which found that travellers willing to lodge farther from the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey-- host of the 48th annual Super Bowl next month -- can save up to 40 percent on overall travel costs.

    At $205 a night, TripAdvisor’s TripIndex for the “Big Game” estimates that the most affordable destination for Super Bowl attendees is the Bronx, at $205 a night. That includes a one-night hotel stay, public transit to and from the game, an order of chicken wings and two bottles of beer.

    Following the Bronx, Parsippany in New Jersey is the second cheapest destination for Super Bowl attendees at $253, but also the farthest from the stadium at 24 miles away (39 km).

    Pony up a few more dollars for a stay that’s about 10 miles (16 km) away from the stadium in Jersey City, the third most affordable destination at $296.

    Overall, if you’re still considering a Super Bowl weekend in the greater New York City metro area February 1 to 2, TripAdvisor says you should expect to cough up an average of $356 a day.

    If money is no object when it comes to catching the action, figure about $483 a night for a stay in Secaucus, New Jersey, the most closest and most expensive destination.

    A one-night’s stay in Manhattan is the second most expensive, at $457, while North Bergan, which lies just eight miles (13 km) away, is the third most expensive at $425.

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    Art, sport and nature combined in some spectacular images competing in this year's Whistler Blackcomb Arc'teryx Deep Winter Photo Challenge, with a professional ski photographer taking top spot.

    Zoya Lynch, who is based in Revelstoke, won the contest and the title "Queen of Storms."

    "It’s crazy, I’m so excited right now," Lynch said in a press release. "I considered myself a wildcard competitor coming in so I am really happy to have won first place."

    Lynch walks away with $5,000 for her slideshow titled "Winter Canvas." Second place and $2,500 went to Nicolas Teichrob, and Jason Hummel came in third with $1,000.

    Each photographer presented his or her slideshow to a packed crowd of over 1,000 at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Slideshows had to be story-based and demonstrate a "deep winter" theme.

    Lynch’s show included the processes of artists Vanessa Stark, Vincent Massey, and Kris Kupsky finding inspiration while snowboarding on Whistler and then channeling that inspiration back in the studio.

    While the competition has found a winner, the six finalists are also up for the People's Choice Award. Fans can vote online until Tuesday at midnight.

    See more breathtaking photos from the competition:

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    It would seem one man's revolutionary is another airline's disgruntled customer.

    Angry passengers on board a Ryanair flight in Paris reportedly revolted against airline staff and "pillaged" the plane of its cigarettes, perfume, food and booze after they were fed up with the airline's handling of a delay.

    The incident dates back to Jan. 11 after the flight bound for Paris’s Beauvais airport had to make an emergency stop in Madrid to drop off an ill passenger. The flight departed from Rabat, Morocco and was on track to land in Paris within two hours but the emergency pushed the flight so behind schedule that airline crews could not land at Beauvais due to the airport's night-time noise restrictions, according to the Local.

    Instead, the plane had to land at Nantes airport, some 500 km west of its original destination, and passengers would have to spend the night in nearby hotels. That's when some of the 170 passengers upset that a two-hour flight had become a 24-hour ordeal began looting the plane of its goods.

    The plane and its crew were effectively taken hostage by a group of disgruntled passengers,” said a Nantes airport employee in an interview with Metro News “They pillaged the aircraft for food, drinks — especially alcoholic drinks — cigarettes and perfumes; anything of any value. They behaved like animals towards the plane, the crew members and members of the airport’s ground staff.”

    But some disgruntled passengers said their actions were justified.

    "We were tired, on edge, because the situation was badly managed, we were hungry and thirsty and no one was giving us any information," said one passenger quoted in the International Business Times.

    "After seven hours locked in a plane — instead of the scheduled two-and-a-half — people need to eat. We simply helped ourselves."

    Ryanair, for its part, says the incident was overblown.

    “There was no mutiny on arrival in Nantes,” a Ryanair spokes person told the Daily Telegraph.“Passengers were provided with overnight hotel accommodation and were transferred by coach to Paris Beauvais the following morning, in line with Ryanair’s policies and obligations. Ryanair apologised sincerely to all passengers affected by this delay."

    The budget airline hasn't had the best public image in recent years, with airline CEO Michael O'Leary acknowledging while people love the prices, the company could improve in customer satisfaction

    "We should try to eliminate things that unnecessarily piss people off," said O'Leary in the company's annual general meeting last September.

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    (Relaxnews) - Want to bag the award for staging the most memorable, elaborate and perhaps expensive proposal this year? For $100,000, one California hotel will hire out the entire Rose Bowl Stadium, plus the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra, and throw in a hand-crafted diamond ring in its Valentine’s Day hotel package.

    For The Langham Huntington, 2014 is the year the stars align: both The Huntington Langham hotel and the Rose Bowl Game (American college football) celebrate their centennial anniversary, while the Rose Parade fetes its 125th birthday.

    To mark the trio of milestones, the hotel has developed an over-the-top “Proposal of the Century” package that may be of particular interest to couples who are also major football fans.

    For example, the package includes the use of the Rose Bowl stadium’s video message board which would illuminate with “Marry Me”; the opportunity to pop the question directly on the field while being serenaded by the 40-piece Pasadena Symphony Orchestra, and a photographer to document the entire experience.

    Oh, and the hotel will also throw in a handcrafted, 2.5-carat diamond ring, with a retail value of $35,000.

    Here’s what else you get for a $100,000 proposal:

    -A two night’s stay in the hotel’s presidential suite decked out in advance with 100 long-stemmed roses, chocolate-covered strawberries, monogrammed bathrobes, rose petals strewn throughout the suite, and a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal Rose Brut Millesime Champagne;

    -A four-course meal either in-room or at The Royce Wood-Fired Steakhouse’s Red Wine Room;

    -Use of an engagement coordinator;

    -Chauffeur services in a Bentley.

    If $100,000 is a little steep, reports that the InterContinental Los Angeles has also developed a Valentine’s Day package for couples where the sky is the limit.

    The more modestly priced $11,000 Valentine’s Day package includes a stay in the hotel's Presidential Suite, a 30-minute helicopter ride above Tinseltown, a six-course dinner on the rooftop helipad, and a couple’s spa treatment.

    Reservations can be made at (310) 284-6557.

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    Bari, Italy. Photo by Mi.Ti. / Shutterstock

    It’s a great big world, so it’s no surprise that while there are numerous cruise ship ports that are beloved by travelers -- and plenty that have both lovers and haters -- others are generally regarded as awful. Based on the analysis of responses from members of, here are five ports around the world they are least likely to recommend:

    Prince Rupert, Canada

    Alaska Itineraries

    Perhaps because it’s mist-shrouded natural approaches -- alive with whales, eagles and grizzly bears --are so awe-inspiring, the Canadian port of Prince Rupert, serving an economically struggling city that shows a bit too much of its commercial fishing and mill town roots, leaves many cruise passengers looking more forward to departure than arrival. It does have its attractions --the shore excursion to Canada’s only grizzly bear sanctuary is enormously popular --but if you’re looking for a port to skip in favor of the spa on your Alaskan cruise, this may be the one.

    Telling Quote: “This is the worst port I have ever been to. We had great weather (unusual for this town) but nothing to do. We visited the Safeway and the Seven-Eleven." --PauletteB2

    Fort-de-France, Martinique

    Southern Caribbean

    English is little spoken, which you would expect on a very French island like Martinique, but not on shore excursions presumably designed with a fair number of Americans in mind. Fort-de-France’s main dock area doubles as a cargo terminal and, through its grime, shows it. The town is a good hike away, past sketchy areas where drug use seems evident. And, on Sundays, almost everything is closed.

    Telling Quote: “We had high expectations of this historic island. After all, it was the site of the Mt. Pelee volcanic explosion in 1902, which killed more than 20,000 people. It also was the birthplace of Napoleon’s mistress and wife, Josephine. We found the capital seedy and vaguely threatening, reminiscent of an old Graham Greene novel. We were cheated out of the few purchases we made, and our friends encountered the same treatment." --Dr.L

    La Romana, Dominican Republic

    Southern Caribbean

    For cruise ship passengers who venture ashore here, at a sparse facility a long ride down the coast from La Romana, the poverty and overly aggressive vendor hustling are apparent. Yet what cruise passengers complain about most is the difficulty of getting from their ship to the resort area of Casa de Campo, with its shopping, restaurants and even golf. And to make matters worse, you have to sign up for a shore excursion, or Casa de Campo won’t even let you in the gate.

    Telling Quote: “Scary -- felt very nervous and hounded." -- Jodym

    Cayo Levantado (Samana), Dominican Republic

    Southern Caribbean

    Some sleight of hand is going on here, because while the Dominican Republic’s tiny private island of Cayo Levantado might be listed as your port, most ships anchor in Samana Bay, off the city of Samana. Even more than La Romana, Samana is commonly criticized for being dirty and crime-ridden, with levels of poverty that shock cruise visitors. Although to be fair (Are you listening, tourism officials?), that’s probably because they haven’t seen some of the rest of the Dominican Republic.

    Telling Quote: “The poverty here is striking and although some do cruise to see more of the world as it really is, the Discover Samana tour was a sad experience. We wished that for the enjoyment we had gone to spend the day at the all-inclusive resort, which was one of the tours offered. Hard to ‘vacation’ amid such sadness." -- ElinorK

    Want more? Check out the expanded piece on to see members' least-favorite port.


    Bob Payne is a contributing writer at, a publication of

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    From wearable computers and cloud-connected cars to design-forward chargers -- not to mention enough noise-canceling headphones and Bluetooth wireless speakers that'd make even the most ardent audiophile hit the mute button -- the gadgets making their debuts at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas last week promise to add extra levels of convenience and enjoyment to travelers in the coming months.

    This year's CES featured a record 3,500 exhibitors and 2 million square feet of convention space. After a week of scouring, we found the most promising new devices and technologies to take on your next trip.

    Read on for some of the best new travel tech of 2014.

    --Tom Samiljan

    More from
    Travel + Leisure:
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    World's Weirdest Travel Gadgets
    Best Places to Travel in 2014
    Best Travel Gadgets 2013
    Best Apps for Business Travelers

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    This post was authored by Lauren Hunter (

    I banned Christmas in 2013. I know what you're thinking: How could you do that to Santa?!

    After last year's battle of overanxious crowds and snappy sales clerks, I couldn't look at one more overcrowded shopping mall or department store sales paper, and chose to leave Santa in someone else's candy-coated wishes and sugar plum dreams.

    It's easy to get caught in the hustle and bustle of the holidays around the year's end and become overwhelmed. After packing away the tinsel and holiday cheer, take time to yourself to truly unwind and enjoy real peace in these 7 places where you can still go off the grid:


    1. Glide across the water of Tomales Bay and catch a glimpse of the likes of Tule Elk as the sun sets and the twinkle of bioluminescence appears.


    2. Ease into the coastal tranquility of Phillip Island and explore the uninhibited beauty of Australian Coastline.


    3. Hike through the redwoods and ancient rock formations along the paths of the Bay Area.


    4. Get your hands dirty with sustainable farming and eco-commerce in Jamaica.


    5. Hike the Great Wall in Beijing.


    6. Leave the city life behind with a monthly Yoga and Farm to Table experience in San Francisco.


    7. Wake up to the sounds of wildlife and nature with an East African Safari in Tanzania.

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