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 | .... | 32 | 33 | (Page 34) | 35 | 36 | .... | 140 | newer

    0 0

    WINNIPEG - Family members of a Canadian who was shot multiple times while defending a group of Manitoba school students in the Dominican Republic are revealing details of what happened during the frightening robbery.

    The family says that Les Lehmann, who lives in the Dominican Republic and manages an apartment complex, suffered nine bullet wounds and was stomped by the armed intruders during the incident late last month.

    The details have been posted on a website (, which the family is using to raise money to cover Lehmann's hospital expenses.

    The students were staying in the apartment complex while doing humanitarian work for an orphanage and school, and none of them were hurt.

    The website says the thieves stomped on Lehmann and shot at him when he confronted them on the property, and then left him as they proceeded to break into the room where the students were staying.

    It says Lehmann found a baseball bat and pursued them, and then hit them several times with the bat before the robbers opened fire.

    "Les is surprised to hear people calling him a hero — it was his natural reaction — a reflex to the threat that the humanitarian group might have be harmed," the family says on the website.

    According to the Franco-Manitoban School Division, which brought the school group home immediately after the incident, the group had just arrived in the Dominican Republic the day of the attack.

    Lehmann had spent January 30th welcoming the group and helping them settle in, the website says. But at 1 a.m., it says he was awakened by a disturbance and got up to patrol the property.

    He was startled by two thieves with guns drawn. He grabbed a machete while the thieves shot at him numerous times.

    They backed him into the bedroom and then began stomping on his head and torso in the hope that he would no longer interfere, and then eventually left him alone.

    The family says that Lehmann threw hammer at them as they left. He then saw them breaking into the apartment, and he returned to his residence to find something else he could use for a weapon. He grabbed a baseball bat.

    Surveillance video obtained by media in the Dominican Republic and posted on the website shows what happened next.

    Lehmann can be seen in the video surprising one of the armed men emerging from a doorway, knocking the man to the ground and forcing him to drop his pistol onto the tile floor. One of the armed men can be seen emerging from a doorway and Lehmann surprises him from behind. Lehmann hits him repeatedly with the bat, knocking him to the ground and causing him to drop his gun.

    But before Lehmann has a chance to grab the weapon from the dazed man, another gunman appears in the doorway and bright flashes can be seen shooting from the barrel of his gun. Lehmann grabs the dropped weapon while the second man continues firing, but it appears Lehmann has been hit and he falls. He drops the gun behind him and his blood can be seen pooling onto the tile.

    The second gunman returns to retrieve the dropped gun, then grabs the collar of his companion who is still lying on the ground and drags him away.

    For the remaining few minutes of the video, Lehmann rises to his hands and knees and takes off his shirt to use as a tourniquet for his arm. He tries to stand by using the baseball bat like a cane but he's too weak and falls. After rolling onto his back, a dog, tail wagging, approaches and licks his hand.

    "Les' main concern was that the humanitarian group remain safe. Even after being shot several times and immobilized Les made every attempt to check on the people in the unit and ultimately he dragged himself to the door to see that they were all out of harms way," the website says.

    The website says Lehmann spent four hours in emergency surgery. On top of the bullet wounds and blood loss, his injuries included a broken knee and a broken arm. He is recovering but still requires more surgery and rehabilitation.

    The family plans to bring him to a hospital in Canada.

    The robbers have not been caught, and the family says that they hope the video may lead to their arrests.

    0 0

    (Relaxnews) - For globetrotters who only stay at the very best hotels and suites, a luxury website has created a package that includes stays at 10 of the most extravagant properties around the world, from the Burj Al Arab in Dubai to the largest hotel suite in Europe.

    For $581,329, guests of will experience some of the world’s most iconic addresses at their best, with reservations booked for presidential and penthouse suites.

    At the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, for instance, couples will be booked for the Royal Suite, which comes with a personal butler and a solid gold iPad that serves as a virtual concierge.

    At the Westin Excelsior in Rome, couples stay at the Villa la Cupola, the largest hotel suite in Europe, which stretches across 1,100 square meters (11,840 square feet).

    Likewise, the hotel itinerary features suites that offer sweeping views of their respective cities. The Presidential Suite at the Intercontinental in Hong Kong, for instance, offers wrap-around views of Victoria Harbor and a rooftop infinity pool and Jacuzzi, while the Ritz-Carlton Suite in Tokyo is located on the 53rd floor of the city’s tallest building.

    The site has also partnered with an online bidding site AuctionWhatIDid, which will allow people to bid for the entire 21-day package for as low as $671.

    The cost includes business class flights, airport transfers and accommodation.

    Here's a list of the 10 destinations:

    0 0

    The joy of Disney is that there is something for all age groups and something that everyone can enjoy as a family. Walt Disney World Resort is on the “to-do” list of many people, young and old, and especially those young at heart. There’s something for everyone, if you’re willing to look.


    From roller coasters to a trip through your favourite movie adventure, Walt Disney World has it all. The older family members might like Expedition Everest while the smaller family members may prefer the Astro Orbiter. Of course, there’s something to be said about the classics; that’s where Space Mountain comes in.

    Science and Learning

    Both curious young learners and adults nostalgic for the age of the space race will have much to see at Tomorrowland. You may have accepted the basics of everyday life, but your Disney Side is still full of wonder about what the future could bring; to infinity and beyond! Learn about space travel and indulge your inner astronaut at the Advanced Training Lab.

    For a more practical learning experience, The Great Piggy Bank Adventure at INNOVENTIONS WEST teaches young children (and adults!) the importance of saving towards a life goal.


    Epcot is the cultural hub of Walt Disney World. There you can learn more about different cultures from around the world or marvel at treasures in the Gallery of Arts and History. If you love anime, then a trip to the Bijutsu Kan gallery offers insight on how the ancient myths of Japan lead to modern-day anime.

    Your Favourite Character

    Mickey Mouse burst into the world's consciousness with Steamboat Willie, and Disney characters have had a huge cultural presence ever since. Every generation can find their favourite characters; from Walt’s original creations, to the first Disney Princesses, to Aladdin and Simba from Disney’s renaissance, all the way to Elsa and Anna from Frozen.

    Show your Disney Side and take advantage of these once-in-a-lifetime meetings to do what you’ve always wanted; from getting in a muscle flexing competition with Gaston, to singing a few bars with Belle. Deep down, you’re their biggest fan, so why hide it?


    If you feel like taking in a show, there's something for all ages; from Beauty and the Beast live on stage to The American Idol Experience. If you’re with a family member who has more of a classic taste in music, why not enjoy a little live rock 'n roll at the British Revolution performance?

    Of course, you can't forget the amazing parades held at Walt Disney World. You'll be spoiled for choice because there's the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It parade which features stilt walkers, floats, Disney characters AND guest participation. This parade heads down Main Street several times a day.

    The Main Street Electrical Parade returns for an extended run. This parade features new lighting effects thanks to new technology. It starts with Tinkerbell leading the show with several familiar Disney characters.


    One of the best times for family bonding is over a great meal. It could be over breakfast at one of the great resorts such as the Grand Floridian Resort or the Wilderness Lodge or dinner at one of the many restaurants scattered throughout Disney. Enjoy great food at all price points while you reminisce about your day.


    There’s one sure-fire way to entertain an entire multi-generational family: fireworks. The Fantasmic! show at the Hollywood Studios is on every night, early enough for the little ones to take in some excitement before going to bed.

    On your second night, try the Wishes nighttime spectacular (we did say you'd be spoiled for choice) at the Magic Kingdom. Watch as fireworks decorate the night sky as Disney characters narrate the show. If you want to be part of show, and who doesn't, you can get Glow with the Show Mickey Mouse ears. The ears light up in time to the fireworks displays throughout the park.

    0 0

    (Relaxnews) - It's a tale of two cities. A bit of forward thinking and ingenuity is driving an emerging trend that would see derelict subway stations transformed into a restaurant or swimming pool, and pop-up stores opening in major metro hubs -- on both sides of the Atlantic.

    It’s an idea born in two cities where real estate comes at a high premium: New York and Paris.

    In the Big Apple, Storefront, an online marketplace that connects startups with available properties in the city, has struck a partnership with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority that will see parts of the underground metro turned into pop-up retail space for artists and designers.

    abandoned ghost subway stations

    Rendering of Paris metro ghost station project for an art gallery.

    abandoned ghost subway stations
    Rendering of Paris metro ghost station project for a restaurant.

    And with 5.3 million subway commuters daily, that amounts to enormous foot traffic and potential retail sales.

    Across the Atlantic, Parisian mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, known by her initials NKM, also has her sights on the derelict, unused metro stations of the city’s underground system and proposes bold, forward-thinking projects that would turn phantom stations into usable spaces for the public.

    abandoned ghost subway stations
    Rendering of Paris metro ghost station project for a theatre.

    Artist renderings designed with the help of urban architects, for instance, show a ghost station transformed into a fine dining restaurant, an art exhibition centre, theatre, night club or indoor swimming pool.

    abandoned ghost subway stations
    Rendering of Paris metro ghost station project for a pool.

    abandoned ghost subway stations
    Rendering of Paris metro ghost station project for a night club.

    0 0

    (Relaxnews) - A massive project is underway in South Korea that would bring the Will Smith movie "I, Robot" to life with the opening of the world’s first theme park devoted to robotics and artificial intelligence.

    Slated to open in 2016, Robot Land will include a family-friendly amusement park with rides and attractions, waterpark and hotel, but will also be home to a graduate school for robotics, research and development lab, as well as residential complex, retail centre and condominium.

    Spanning 387,505 square meters in Incheon, 30 km from Seoul and 15 minutes from the Incheon airport, Robot Land is a tri-level investment from national and local governments, as well as private developers, and is estimated to cost $625 million USD.

    Though details remain scarce, one of the main mandates will be to offer more “Asian and Korean content” in order to differentiate itself from other theme parks.

    The park will also be a mix of high-tech entertainment and educational attractions.

    Robot Kingdom, for instance, will feature a Robot Gaming Arena as well as a pavilion that will demonstrate how robots may be used in the year 2030, particularly when it comes to assisting seniors with housework, medical check-ups, and dementia prevention.

    At Robot City, visitors can take a spin on water rides and go-karts as well as take in a completely robotic fish aquarium, which will replicate marine life such as jellyfish, fish and lobster in robot form.

    And attractions at the Kidbot Village will include a flying robot coaster, Ferris wheel, Bot Bounce jump ride, merry-go-round of robot animals and education centre.

    Meanwhile, the city of London also transformed the site of the 2012 Olympic games, Olympic Park, into a community that will house 8,000 new homes, miles of commercial retail space and the tallest sculpture in the UK by the time it’s completed. The 115-meter steel ArcelorMittal Orbit tower opens to the public April 5.

    0 0

    (BERLIN-AFP) - Soaring above a pine forest in the heart of former communist East Germany, a huge hangar built to house airships on an old Soviet airbase has been transformed into a popular, if unlikely, tropical getaway.

    As the imaginative brainchild of a Malaysian businessman, Tropical Islands has become a haven for Berliners seeking out balmy temperatures when the mercury outside plummets, or even when it doesn't -- and without need of an airplane.

    But in the 10 years since opening, the draw of its pools, beach, waterfalls, imported plants and Asia-inspired temples and water features has stretched far beyond the immediate flat landscape of Brandenburg state, which surrounds Berlin.

    The imposing resort attracts about two million visitors a year, the majority of them German, spokesman Patrick Kastner told AFP, adding however that people also travelled from Poland and the Czech Republic to soak up the tropical atmosphere.

    Some 200 million euros ($270 million) has been ploughed into the resort over the last decade, he added, a far cry from the initial 15 million euros that the businessman, Colin Au, paid for the hangar to house his then budding idea based on a cruise ship.

    At the time, Au headed a cruise company and was travelling in Germany on business when he complained to his financial adviser about the cold, grey November weather.

    "His adviser told him about this gigantic hangar. They both went to see it and said to themselves 'Okay, we're going to apply the principle of a cruise ship here except that instead of taking people far away to the tropics, it's the tropics which will come here'," Kastner said.

    "That was the birth of Tropical Islands," he said.

    - Small slice of Asia -

    Standing taller than Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the resort is maintained at a pleasant 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit) for frolicking in its tropical forest or on the long sandy beach in the 6.6-hectare (16-acre) domed park, roughly the size of eight football pitches.

    Back then, the dome on a disused airfield was threatening to become a symbol of economic failure following Germany's reunification after being built as a giant hangar for a company that produced gas-filled airships capable of carrying heavy freight over long distances.

    But the company, CargoLifter, went bust in 2002.

    In its new reincarnation, it now houses more than 60,000 plants brought by container from Asia, while visitors can splash down water slides into large crystalline pools, and a little slice of Cambodia, Bali or Thailand has been re-created with replica temples and houses.

    While still holding a minority share, Au has since stepped back, with Malaysian leisure and real estate company Tanjong now holding the majority share in Tropical Islands.

    Kastner, initially reluctant to divulge the resort's financial results, speaks when pressed on the matter of "an operating profit which is in the millions" after three initial "difficult" years.

    Today, the centre, whose site is still dotted with abandoned shelters and ramshackle buildings from the days when it was an airfield, employs about 500 staff.

    The entry price is 34.50 euros ($47), plus extras. "It's expensive but it's worth it," enthuses 29-year-old Berlin mum Jessica, who, with her two children is tucking into sandwiches they have brought with them.

    "It's the fourth time we've come and we'll be back," she said.

    Few of the swimsuit-clad visitors may be aware that on the spot where they now enjoy a German-style tropical experience sipping exotic cocktails, there was once a Nazi Luftwaffe airbase, followed, after the war, by a base for Soviet Mig-27s until the fall of the Wall in 1989.

    However, today, it's the troupe that provides the evening entertainment that comes from Russia.

    0 0

    There are a few things Canadians get theirs chests puffed up about when it comes to nationalism, and the Olympics manages to combine almost all of them into two highly patriotic weeks. They are, in order of importance, hockey, beer and manners. And the ad above from Molson Canadian does a pretty great job of snagging all three, and also pulling strongly at our notion of Canadians as global citizens.

    In an ingenious bit of marketing originally released in honour of Canada Day, Molson Canadian (which, it must be pointed out, is owned in full by bi-national company Molson Coors Brewing Company) created a fridge that apparently only opens when a Canadian passport is inserted into its scanner. Then, and only then, will the door open to reveal shelf upon shelf of cans of Molson Canadian, which can be duly shared with the surrounding crowd.

    Now, Molson is well known for playing into the best of Canada's stereotypes (who can't recite at least part of Joe's "I Am Canadian" rant?), and we don't blame them for pushing this ad out once again at the height of patriotism during the Olympics. But we can't help but point out, as one YouTube commenter noted, that if this fridge was placed anywhere in Canada instead of Europe, everyone would be arrested for drinking in public.


    0 0

    Two Canadians are dead in Mexico after police say thieves broke into their home during a violent robbery on Sunday.

    Police in Ajijic, Mexico, have identified the couple as an 84-year-old man and a 72-year-old woman but would not release the victims' names. Both the CBC and Guadalajara Reporter, a Mexican newspaper, have identified the man as Edward J. Kular and the woman as Nina Discombe.

    Kular's Facebook page says he lived in Toronto before moving to Ajijic. Activity on Discombe's account suggests she was a Montreal author and that she travelled regularly to Mexico during winters over the last 12 years.

    Kular's son confirmed his father's death to CBC News.

    "He was an amazing father to all of us, he had several grandchildren and was a great man," said Steve Kular.

    Police chief Ernesto Robles Juan Carlos Berra, the couple's gardener discovered the two bodies on Sunday morning, according to the Toronto Sun.

    After discovering the door open, Berra went inside to find the house looted, the resident's two vehicles gone and two bloodied and beaten bodies suffering knife wounds, according to the Guadalajara Reporter. Kular was reportedly found half naked, only in his underwear while Discombe was found in her robe, face down in a pool of blood.

    Officials in Mexico say Kular was beaten on the head with a small statue while Discombe was stabbed in the stomach with a kitchen knife.

    Ajijic is roughly 50 km south of Guadalajara, the state capital and the country's most popular city, AFP reports. It's a town popular with retirees, with 5,000 foreigners living in the area. The area has seen a rash of break-ins since 2013 but most have occurred while home owners were away. This is the first violent incident, according to the Guadalajara Reporter.

    Canada's department of Foreign Affairs was unavailable to provide any additional information at the time.

    With Files From The Canadian Press

    Please check back as this is a developing story

    0 0

    (Relaxnews) - A small airport at the tip of Northern Norway has launched what's being billed as the world's first dog-sledding taxi service in a bid to attract more interest to the area.

    Instead of an airport shuttlebus, a cab, or a stretch limo, passengers arriving at the Kirkenes Airport can hop on a Husky-pulled sled to the Kirkenes Snowhotel.

    During the 45-minute trek, guests are given a scenic tour of the Nordic surroundings, reported English-language paper The Local.

    The service is backed by the country’s defence services, local municipality and reindeer authorities and costs 2,300 NOK or $370 USD.

    Dog-sledding activities are popular among hotels in northern climes like Norway, Sweden and Quebec, which attract hardy, fearless winter lovers.

    In Quebec, the Ice Hotel -- about 10 minutes from downtown Quebec City -- offers dog-sledding activities around the Jacques Cartier Valley, while the Icehotel in Swedish Lapland takes guests through the wintry wilderness of Jukkasjarvi.

    0 0

    TORONTO - Canada's first H5N1 flu patient may have contracted the bird flu virus passing through or near an illegal live bird market in Beijing, Chinese scientists have suggested.

    And Canadian researchers have published a report on the full genetic sequence of virus taken from the Alberta woman, who died in early January after returning from a three-week trip to her native China.

    The woman was in China from Dec. 6 to 27; on her return flight home she began to experience malaise, chest pain and fever. She went to hospital the day after her return; there she was diagnosed with pneumonia and sent home with antibiotics. Four days later she returned and was admitted. She died on Jan. 3.

    The woman was the first case of H5N1 infection discovered in North America. Over the past decade the virus has infected at least 650 people in 16 countries. Nearly 60 per cent — 386 — of known cases have succumbed to the infection.

    The source of the woman's infection has been a mystery. She spent her entire trip in Beijing, where H5N1 reportedly hasn't been discovered for some time. And her travelling companion said the woman did not have contact with live birds while in Beijing.

    Now scientists from Beijing's Center for Disease Prevention and Control have hypothesized that the woman may have contracted the virus by walking through or near market stalls that surreptitiously sell live poultry.

    Beijing banned live poultry markets in 2005. But an illegal trade in prized live birds continues in the city, the authors said in a letter to Journal of Infection.

    "Although the Beijing government makes efforts to ban the illegal dealing of live poultry, this selling mode consistently exists as many Chinese people prefer live poultry to fresh poultry in light of their culture of consumption," said the authors, some of whom are affiliated with the Beijing Research Center for Preventive Medicine.

    The scientists pointed to the case of a previous H5N1 patient in Beijing, a woman who died in early January 2009. She had bought a live duck at a market in Hebei province, near Beijing, and prepared it for cooking by defeathering it and gutting it.

    Public health investigators trying to trace the source of her infection could not test the duck; nothing of it remained by the time her infection was diagnosed. But they tested the area around the market stall where the woman bought the duck; that work revealed the presence of H5N1 viruses that were closely related to the ones that infected her.

    As well, they note that several human infections with the newer H7N9 bird flu virus have been reported in Beijing, again despite the fact that live poultry sales are not supposed to be taking place.

    The scientists suggested the illegal trade in live poultry in Beijing may pose a high risk of human infection with bird flu viruses for people living in the city.

    "The enhanced inspection of illegal selling of live poultry, the strict regulation of transporting live poultry from regions outside of Beijing as well as the health education on changing dietetic culture is greatly warranted in Beijing in order to reduce the risk of infection with avian influenza viruses in the general population of Beijing including visiting foreigners," they wrote in their letter.

    Meanwhile, scientists from Alberta's provincial laboratory, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg have published an analysis of the full genetic sequence of the virus recovered from the Alberta woman.

    Their report will be in the May issue of the CDC's journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, but it has been published early online.

    They said the virus is from a clade — a subgroup of the main H5N1 family — that has been found recently in China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Analysis suggested the virus is a close match for one that has been made into a vaccine seed strain that manufacturers could use if H5N1 vaccine is required.

    The authors said additional study of the virus is needed to see if its characteristics are responsible for the unusual symptoms the Alberta woman suffered.

    While she had the respiratory infection that is characteristic of influenza infection, she also had evidence of meningoencephalitis, infection in the brain.

    Follow @HelenBranswell on Twitter.

    0 0

    A transgender British comedian says she was humiliated during her detention by Canadian immigration officials at Toronto Pearson International Airport Monday afternoon.

    Avery Edison, a 25-year-old comic and writer, flew into Toronto in order to pick up a few of her items and visit her girlfriend. Edison had previously stayed in Canada but overstayed her visa. According to her tweets, she thought a non-refundable return ticket and a copy of her London lease would have been enough to avoid the snafu but admits her predicament was 100% her fault.

    Edison was detained for roughly eight hours, according to Toronto Life. During her ordeal, she took to Twitter through the airport's Wi-Fi network to let her followers know what was going on.

    At one point, Edison thought she would be sent home but immigration officials instead said her case would have a hearing, meaning she would be detained overnight.

    At first, Edison's tweets show she was still in good spirits, making jokes via Twitter.

    But when Edison's status as trans woman came up, her tone then changed.

    Edison was eventually transferred to Maplehurst correctional facility, a men's prison, because of her male genitalia, according to Jezebel.

    A study by the Ontario Human Rights Commission states "[transgender] people may be placed with those of the sex with which they do not identify," though there has been a case of a judge recommending that those convicted of a crime as a male but are transitioning to the gender of a female may be placed in a women's correctional facility.

    In an interview with, Romy Sugden, Edison's partner said she's been in contact with lawyers, Maplehurst officials and the British consulate and that Edison will be kept in isolation from other inmates for her safety.

    Everybody, save for one person at Maplehurst, has consistently misgendered her, refusing to call her ‘she,’” said Romy Sugden.

    You can view all of Edison's and Sugden's tweets collected in the Storify below:

    CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that it was Edison who had been in contact with lawyers, Maplehurst officials and the British consulate. The story has since been updated.

    0 0

    Will bikini-clad swimsuit models make airline passengers pay attention to in-flight safety instructions? Air New Zealand certainly hopes so.

    On Tuesday, the Kiwi carrier released their latest in-flight safety video, entitled "Safety in Paradise" on YouTube. The video's a joint venture between the airline and Sports Illustrated Magazine, which is releasing its 50th edition of its swimsuit edition.

    Clocking in at just over four minutes, the video features the regular list of safety protocols such as turning off electronics before take off, how to fasten your seatbelt, what to do during loss of cabin pressure but replaces standard cabin crew members with Sports Illustrated models Christie Brinkley, Jessica Gomes, Chrissy Teigen, Hannah Davis and Ariel Meredith.

    The video's a departure from the standard aircraft setting but manages to capture the basics of in-flight safety one way or the other, while highlighting the beauty of the Cook Islands, the location where Air New Zealand shot the film. What it isn't a departure from is the airline's recent streak of quirky videos.

    Earlier renditions of the carrier's videos have featured orcs and elves from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series as well as celebrity Betty White. Competing carriers have caught on too, releasing their own funny videos, featuring song and dance numbers or retro throwbacks to the '80s.

    But Air New Zealand has also taken its videos to new heights after it released a behind-the-scenes teaser last week. It's also earned its share of critics, some which are calling the airline sexist for using swimsuit models. You can watch the teaser video below:

    Deborah Russell, a lecturer and feminist commentator at New Zealand’s Massey University denounced the video.

    "My concern is that as a woman I get on a plane to go to a business meeting say — something serious — and I am confronted by women in bikinis in what are highly sexualised images," said Russell. “I want to be taken seriously but it seems that suddenly they are saying that my sexuality is all that matters about me," the Daily Telegraph writes.

    The airline says there's nothing wrong with the video and that the attire is fine given the beach location.

    "We have been careful to ensure Safety in Paradise has been produced in a way that is tasteful" maintains Air New Zealand spokesperson Andrew Aitken told Fairfax NZ, adding that it was "entirely appropriate they're wearing beachwear and we were careful to ensure all talent were in appropriate wardrobe choices."

    What do you think? Another classic in-flight safety video in the making or a demeaning piece of media? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @HPCaTravel.

    Like this article? Follow us on Twitter

    0 0

    TORONTO - Jail officials say a transgender woman from London, England, who was held in a detention centre for males has now been transferred to a facility for women.

    Earl Essery, the shift supervisor at Maplehurst Correctional Centre in Milton, Ont., confirmed the move late Tuesday but would not specify where Avery Edison had been sent.

    UPDATE: Edison has been denied jail release and will return to England on Thursday, according to the Toronto Star.

    Edison, 25, had posted on her Twitter account that she landed Monday at Toronto's Pearson airport and was detained by the Canada Border Services Agency. She suspects she was detained because the last time she was here she overstayed her student visa.

    Edison tweeted that despite her passport listing her as a female, the customs officials sent her to Maplehurst, which is a detention centre for males, to await a hearing.

    Her girlfriend, who lives in Toronto, tweeted that jail staff told her that Edison was in the male facility because she has male genitalia.

    Edison wrote that the prospect of being sent to a male facility, where she believed she would be "a potential target for sex attacks," was "terrifying."

    Randall Garrison, the NDP critic for LGBT issues, says he spoke with Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and pressed for an immediate transfer and a review of Canada Border Services Agency policies on detention of transgender people.

    "It could be very dangerous for a transgendered person to be in an incorrect institution...(because of) threats from other inmates who may not understand the situation," Garrison said.

    Edison's girlfriend took to Twitter again Tuesday evening after speaking to Edison and confirming the transfer.

    "She only had 2 minutes to talk, but she sounded good, and seemed surprised ppl were still talking about her," another message read.

    She also wrote that Edison has a hearing set for Wednesday morning.

    Canada Border Services would not comment on Edison's case, citing privacy concerns, but said it asks its provincial service providers to avoid placing those detained on immigration matters with criminal prisoners.

    "Ultimately, it is the decision of the provincial service provider that determines in which facility the individual will be detained," spokeswoman Anna Pape said in an email.

    A spokesman for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services says "classification recommendations and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and are based on factual information and objective criteria."

    Greg Flood says the ministry is discussing the case with the Canada Border Services Agency, but could not divulge more information for privacy reasons.

    "Anyone with concerns about their treatment or care while in our custody can bring those concerns forward to the staff, superintendent of an institution, ministry officials, including the minister and the deputy minister," Flood wrote in a statement.

    "Concerns may also be raised to the Ombudsman, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, or to an MPP or MP."

    0 0

    In the last year I've noticed the travel conversations skewing towards Asia. Not one, but two friends of mine have successfully relocated from Toronto to Hong Kong. Another, a bank exec, is regularly doing business in Shanghai.

    All this talk has stirred up my own desire to experience East Asia, with a focus on Japan. And, as any savvy businessperson would do, I think it would be wise to brush up on the cultural nuances of my chosen market. For this I consulted with Howard Nutt -- someone who has made a career out of facilitating professional relationships around the world. Here's what he told me.


    Destination preparation...
    -Knowing a few common phrases can help not only when first meeting someone, but also in trying to navigate the area. There are many books, classes, and programs available to help people learn new languages (this writer suggests trying Pimsleur!). If time is an issue, arrange in advance for a translator.

    Let's just get along...
    - Japan is probably easier for most Westerners because of its 50-plus year process of integration with Western cultures. The people are used to hosting foreigners and are generally welcoming in their attitudes. It's also likely that you will find people who speak enough English to be helpful, if needed.
    By comparison, China remains much more closed to our Western ways and provides a greater challenge since Chinese people expect visitors to be much more attuned to the Chinese culture than most of us are prepared to be. However, a good place to start is Hong Kong - a very comfortable, cosmopolitan city that was actually the first part of China to allow foreigners. You could call it "China for beginners."

    Know (someone) before you go...
    - In both Japan and China, in-country connections are held in high regard.
    If you are fortunate enough to know someone who has friends or colleagues where you're going, you will find that a personal introduction in advance will make your visit all the more enjoyable. Both Japanese and Chinese cultures view it as a sign of respect to extend themselves on behalf of a mutual friend, and you may find that they go to significant personal inconvenience and expense to make you feel welcome.

    Next steps...
    - In building competence with Chinese culture, Shanghai can be considered an intermediate step. For many years it has served as a "gateway to China," and the city is more tolerant of foreigners and their inevitable cultural slips than Beijing or other "hardcore" Chinese cities. Visitors can experience a very modern part of the city that is fairly open to Westerners, as well as an Old City that notably contains the Yuyuan Garden complex, and the City God Temple.

    I don't speak 日本の or 中國的...
    - In both Japan and China, one is all the wiser to use a tour guide. In most cases, your hotel can arrange for a guide, who will know the area and speak the language. In general, travel around Japan is easy and unencumbered, whereas you'll want to do research in advance and be more careful about where you go in China.
    If you do venture out on your own in either country, be sure to take a card with your hotel information on it in the local language. It's rare to find a taxi driver who speaks English. So there's that.

    In the end, Nutt encourages me to just enjoy the countries visited. Only by steeping myself in the local customs will I truly appreciate what makes each unique. Sounds like a low risk/high reward investment to me!

    Who is this Nutt?
    Howard Nutt currently serves as executive director and chairman of the board of the Business Development Institute International, which extends best practices in business development around the world. He also knows how to avoid a serious case of jet lag.

    Photo credit:


    0 0

    So much to do, so many places to see, but so little time to do it all. That's where Destination Unknown comes into play. At the beginning of each month, HuffPost Canada Travel will be putting together a list that offers something for everyone — those on a budget, those looking for something unique or those simply looking to get away. Curious? Good. A sense of wanderlust is always healthy. So, without further ado, here's April's Destination Unknown round-up.

    While April might be known for its showers, that gloomy rain is a perfect excuse to take a break and go travel. It’s spring in the north and fall in the south, creating the perfect not-too-hot and not-too-cold weather all travellers love. April also allows you to hit some of the most popular destinations while skipping summer’s tourist rush, high prices and booking fiascos.

    And for those who have already visited the usual hotspots, April has some out-of-the-box ideas too (think World Marbles Championship). To see the best this month has to offer, check out the slideshow below.

    Like this article? Follow us on Twitter

    0 0

    Let's face it: There's something undeniably attractive about someone who travels.

    Perhaps it's their passion for change and adventure, their ability to soak up knowledge in far-flung places. Maybe it's the colour of the skin they've developed after lounging on a beach for hours on end. Or it could be the physique they've developed after months of hiking and backpacking across Europe.

    Between the brains, beauty, and brawn, travellers seem like a perfect package.

    And yet, to date someone who travels remains a hot-button topic of contention. Writers have penned blogs about dating a traveller, not dating a traveller, and how everyone should shut up and date whoever they want. But none have really addressed the real issue here: If you've got the hots for a globe-trotter, how do you kick things off?

    Our advice is to muster up as much confidence as you can and come prepared with a pick up line. Just not any of these pick up lines.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    Like this article? Follow us on Twitter

    0 0

    GUADALAJARA, Mexico - Mexican authorities have arrested one man and launched an interstate manhunt for another as they investigate the grisly slaying of an elderly Canadian couple.

    Eighty-four-year old Edward Kular and 72-year-old Nina Discombe were found lying in a pool of blood Sunday in the living room of the house where they'd lived for at least six months.

    The attorney general of Mexico's Jalisco state alleged on Wednesday that two men broke into the couple's home expecting to find them asleep, but became startled when they found the pair awake and killed them both for fear of being recognized.

    Luis Najera told The Canadian Press the man who was arrested was the brother of a construction labourer who worked near the Canadians' home.

    Najera alleged the labourer had seen the Canadians buy a big-screen TV day a few days prior, and allegedly plotted a robbery with his brother, who had just been released from jail.

    The suspects broke into the couple's home in the community of Ajijic early in the morning believing Kular and Discombe would still be sleeping, Najera alleged, but instead found them wide awake.

    "They were in the living room when they arrived. And when the lady sees the brother, he knows the lady (will) tell...he knows that the lady knows the brother (and) he decides to kill the couple," Najera alleged.

    Officials have said Kular was beaten on the head with a small statue while Discombe was stabbed in the stomach with a kitchen knife.

    Najera said police are searching for the labourer in a nearby state, while his brother has been charged with murder.

    A relative of Kular has said the Toronto man's death is like a "a bad nightmare" for his family.

    Discombe was from Ottawa but had purchased a home in Mexico to live there full-time, said Barbara Wills, a friend who also lives in the community of Ajijic.

    The area located outside Guadalajara City is popular among snowbirds and several who knew the couple said they were in shock.

    — with files from The Associated Press

    0 0

    CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (AP) - From the bridge of the Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw, northern Lake Huron looks like a vast, snow-covered field dotted with ice slabs as big as boulders — a battleground for the icebreaker's 58-member crew during one of the roughest winters in memory.

    It's been so bitterly cold for so long in the Upper Midwest that the Great Lakes are almost completely covered with ice. The last time they came this close was in 1994, when 94 per cent of the lakes' surface was frozen.

    As of Thursday, ice cover extended across 88 per cent, according to the federal government's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

    great lakes frozen
    The ice-covered St. Clair River with the Canadian shoreline on the left in this Feb. 6, 2014 aerial photo

    Sections of the lakes, which hold nearly one-fifth of the freshwater on the world's surface, harden almost every winter. That freezing keeps the Coast Guard's fleet of nine icebreakers busy clearing paths for vessels hauling essential cargo such as heating oil, salt and coal. But over the past four decades, the average ice cover has receded 70 per cent, scientists say, probably in part because of climate change.

    Still, as this season shows, short-term weather patterns can trump multi-year trends. Winter arrived early and with a vengeance and refuses to loosen its grip.

    "That arctic vortex came down, and the ice just kept going,'' said George Leshkevich, a physical scientist with the federal lab.

    great lakes
    In this Feb. 6, 2014 aerial photo is a view of Lake Huron looking south towards Port Huron, Mich., right, and Sarnia, Ont., left.

    The deep freeze is more than a novelty. By limiting evaporation, it may help replenish lake water levels — a process that began last year after a record-breaking slump dating to the late 1990s. Also getting relief are cities along the lakes that have been pummeled with lake-effect snow, which happens when cold air masses suck up moisture from open waters and dump it over land.

    Buffalo, N.Y, got nearly 43 inches of snow in January, but this month just 13 inches have fallen, a decline resulting largely from the freeze-over of Lake Erie even though Lake Ontario has remained largely open, said forecaster Jon Hitchcock of the National Weather Service.

    Heavy ice can also protect fish eggs from predators, and it has delighted photographers, ice anglers and daredevil snowmobilers.

    At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin, the rock-solid cover has allowed around 35,000 visitors to trudge miles over Lake Superior to explore caves featuring dazzling ice formations. It's the first time in five years the lake surface has been firm enough to allow passage.

    great lakes
    In this Feb. 2, 2014 photo, people visit the caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin, transformed into a dazzling display of ice sculptures by the arctic siege gripping the Upper Midwest. (AP)

    With no letup in the cold, the ice hasn't experienced the usual thaw-and-freeze cycle, so nature's artistry is even more delicate and beautiful, with needle-like hoarfrost crystals sprinkled across sheets that dangle from cave ceilings like giant chandeliers.

    "Seeing them like this is almost a once-in-a-lifetime experience,'' Superintendent Bob Krumenaker said.

    There's even an (apparently) tongue-in-cheek Facebook page inviting people to join a convoy of snowmobiles, cars and other vehicles on a nearly 80-mile trek across Lake Michigan. Never mind that its waters remain partly open and experts warn the ice can be dangerously unstable.

    "If it freezes, and you miss this chance, when will it happen again?'' the page says. "Feel free to invite more folks!''

    great lakes
    In this Feb. 2, 2014 photo, people visit the caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin, transformed into a dazzling display of ice sculptures by the arctic siege gripping the Upper Midwest.

    For Coast Guard icebreaker teams, it's all business. They've logged four times more hours this season than the average for the same period in recent years, said Kyle Niemi, spokesman for the agency's Cleveland district headquarters.

    The 240-foot-long Mackinaw began its duties Dec. 16 — several weeks earlier than usual — and worked nonstop until Feb. 8, when traffic slowed enough to allow a break.

    "As you can imagine, the crew's tired,'' Cmdr. Michael Davanzo said this week during a tour of the ship in its home port of Cheboygan.

    A 35-year Coast Guard veteran who has spent 12 years on the lakes, Davanzo said this winter is the toughest he's experienced because the ice came so soon and is so thick and widespread, and the weather has been constantly bitter.

    great lakes
    In this Feb. 2, 2014 photo, people visit the caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin, transformed into a dazzling display of ice sculptures by the arctic siege gripping the Upper Midwest.

    The Mackinaw, commissioned in 2006 to replace an older vessel with the same name, is designed specifically for duty on the Great Lakes. It's propelled by two "Azipod'' thrusters that can spin 360 degrees and fire jets of water at adjacent ice, weakening it. Sometimes the crew will drive the ship's bow onto an ice sheet to crack it with sheer weight. Or they'll go backward, chopping up ice with the propeller blades.

    When the going gets tough, there's the battering-ram option — hurling the reinforced hull directly against walls of ice that can be several feet thick.

    The workload typically drops sharply after navigational locks on the St. Marys River, the link between Lakes Superior and Huron, close in mid-January and most large cargo haulers dock for winter. But the ice was so thick this year that a number of freighters were still struggling to complete final deliveries days later. Even now, demand for road salt and heating oil in the Midwest is keeping some icebreakers busy.

    One day last month, the Mackinaw spent 16 grueling hours helping a freighter squeeze through a narrow 3.5-mile section of the St. Marys. As the Mackinaw attacks the ice, the engines roar and the ship vibrates. The noise and motion are "like living in an earthquake 16 hours a day,'' Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Alderman said.

    great lakes
    Ice covers Lake Ontario in Rochester, N.Y. on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014.

    Davanzo hopes for rain and warmer temperatures that would melt some ice before the locks reopen in late March, when the Mackinaw will venture onto Lake Superior and clear paths for iron ore and coal haulers.

    "But if the weather stays like this,'' he said, "we could be breaking ice all the way to the middle of May.''

    Despite the inconvenience, there's a silver lining for shippers. Since the low-water period began in late 1990s, they've been forced to carry lighter loads to avoid scraping bottom in shallow channels and harbours. Heavy snow and rain in 2013 finally raised water levels.

    Ice cover blocks evaporation, the leading cause of low water. It also will keep the lakes cooler for a longer time this year, delaying the onset of heavy evaporation season, scientist John Lenters reported in a paper last month, although the benefit is partially offset by stepped-up evaporation shortly before the ice forms.

    In Lake Superior, snowbound Isle Royale National Park is home to a dwindling and inbred wolf population that is usually trapped on the island. Biologists hope a newcomer or two will venture to the park now that the lake is almost entirely frozen over. The park's first wolves are believed to have crossed an ice bridge from Canada, 15 miles away, in the late 1940s.

    There's also a chance that one or more of the island's wolves could grab the rare opportunity to escape.

    "They are inveterate travellers,'' veteran wolf expert Rolf Peterson said. "And they don't need a reason that would make sense to us.''

    0 0

    Admit it: You forgot when Family Day was and now you're scrambling for something to do during the long weekend of Feb. 15 - 17.

    Maybe you were too busy watching the Olympics. Perhaps you were preoccupied with Valentine's Day. Maybe you just forgot about it because it's a made up holiday. Either way, if you ran out of time to plan a family vacation to Universal Studios or Disneyland, fret not. There are still options for some last-minute family travel.

    Banks, government offices, schools, and grocery stores will shut their doors on Feb. 17 in Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, but major malls will keep their businesses open. And while that's nice, we're sure you'll agree with us when we say that a mall is no place to spend time meant for friends and family. If you're looking to avoid the crowds and mall rats, give these destinations a shot.

    Canadian Capital Cool
    Venture over to Ottawa and catch the final days of Winterlude, a compilation of Canada's favourite winter activities. The Family Day long weekend marks the closing of the three-week festival, so expect to see plenty of locals and visitors alike. You'll probably be joining them as they skate on the Rideau Canal, play with snow at Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques Cartier Park, and dance the night away to live music.

    Get Cultured In Toronto
    ontario science centre
    If you find yourself in Toronto for the Family Day Long weekend, some of the city's main attractions are offering family-friendly promotions. The Art Gallery of Ontario is offering family passes at a discount, while the Ontario Science Centre will be running iMax movies, planetarium shows and electricity demos, according to BlogTO.

    Warm Up In Hamilton, Ont.
    dundas valley conservation
    Need an incentive to get outside on Family Day? Well, if your family likes nature and hot chocolate, then make a trip to Hamilton for the Hot Chocolate Festival. Located in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area Trail Centre, the festival lets families explore city's trail system, enjoy live musical performances, and yes, drink hot chocolate.

    It's Snow Joke!

    Snowmen are back in the "cool" category thanks to the movie "Frozen," and here's a festival that gives them the respect they deserve. Make the trek to Wasaga Beach for Snowman Mania. The four-day festival started off as a snowman-building competition but has expanded to include dancing, chilli cook-offs, and toboggan runs.

    Feeling Blue At Blue Mountain
    blue mountain winter
    Sure, you could have a typical day of skiing and snowboarding at Blue Mountain, just northwest of Collingwood, Ont., but then you'd be missing out on the special activities that the ski resort has planned. The little ones can take part in pottery classes and scavenger hunts, while older kids can have fun at DJ skating parties or hop on scheduled wagon rides.

    0 0

    You know what they say, "If you want a diploma, go to college. But if you want an education, go travelling."

    Okay, I don't know if anyone actually has ever said that.

    But they should.

    I recently spent one year getting myself an informal education. I travelled to 12 different countries, and in each of these countries I attempted to find ways to be helpful. I assisted a raw vegan farm in Costa Rica. I tutored English in northern Laos. I volunteered at the Festival Fringe in Scotland. I painted cottages on the seaside in Goa. All of these experiences have added up to a massive bundle of memories and lessons.

    Permit me to share some of them. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from my journey.

    1. It's important to eat a bit of everything.

    If you're in Peru and refuse to sample a bit of roasted guinea pig because you think it's "icky" or "weird," then you might as well stay home with your TV dinners and the numbing glow of your favourite reality TV show. As a human species, we have eaten basically everything that walks, crawls or grows. Besides, turning your nose up at culinary offerings is deeply rude. Try a morsel. It won't kill you. Why? Because it's already dead. Dig in.

    2. I am fortunate to be able to cross borders with ease.

    Citizenship is a determinant that I hadn't given much thought before travel. But as I have crossed borders, the privilege of my nationality becomes apparent. To be able to tour the world does take some financial saving, but it also requires a passport that reflects diplomatic neutrality. Travel often shines light on our own privilege.

    3. Use protection when you crawl between the sheets.

    I'm not talking about condoms here (although those are important also). I'm talking about a silk sleeping bag liner or anything else that will protect you from bed bugs. We have a global pandemic happening, and even the cleanest of establishments is not immune. Those little bastards are hungry. I was victimized in Buenos Aires and Luang Prabang. You don't have to be. Use protection.

    4. Humour is one of my greatest tools to build trust.

    I'm generally a big goofball. This is never more apparent than when I'm standing in front of a class, teaching an English lesson. I am a complete ham. Why? Because speaking a different language is scary -- we fear looking stupid. Being a jester is a strategic way to lighten hearts, both in and out of the classroom. I'll feign masculinity for a laugh. I'll dance like a buffoon for a giggle. I'll attempt to speak local languages. Think of it this way: A person's sense of humour and his or her trustworthiness are often correlated.

    5. Short-term international volunteer work is highly romanticized and rarely impactful.

    Chances are your three-week stint in a Ghana orphanage is more about fulfilling your own agenda then actually saving any children. Unless you have a year (or more) to give to a social-based development project, it's doubtful that you'll have long-term impact. This doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't participate in short-term volunteer projects. But go forth with realistic expectations. And clear ideas about who's really benefiting.

    6. Sometimes it's best to put the camera away.

    I am guilty of wanting to share every awesome detail with my family and friends. But each time I reach for the camera, I switch from "being in the moment" to "documenting the moment." It's okay not to record everything. Be there.

    7. It's okay to look like a tourist.

    I'm allergic to groups of westerners waddling around with fancy cameras and safety belts. But guess what? I'm a tall, pasty white man, and most folks are going to put me in the exact same category as the waddlers. So maybe I should get over my ego and surrender the ideal of flawlessly blending in with the locals. I am what I am. You are what you are.

    8. It's helpful to have a map -- a paper map.

    In my experience, many folks around the world can't locate Canada on a map. I have the choice to become offended or to share a quick geography lesson. I choose the latter. I've learned that people love looking at maps. It is a great way to connect with locals.

    9. The cheapest ticket is not always the best option.

    I purchased a dirt-cheap ticket from Lima to Buenos Aires, which happened to include an 8-hour layover in La Paz, Bolivia. Little did I know that, at 4061.5 meters of elevation, the La Paz airport is one of the highest airports in the world. I slept on a cement floor, and then spent the next two days recovering from altitude sickness. Splurging an extra $100 for the direct flight and sidestepping the sickness would have been the better option. Not all costs are financial.

    10. When I trust, my trust will (more often than not) be returned.

    If you've never engaged in long-term, low budget travel, allow me to inform you of a giant secret. There is a giant karmic pot to which you will be depositing and from which you will be withdrawing. This includes a delightful series of free meals, late night conversations, travel tips, book exchanges, glasses of beer, personally guided tours, work exchanges and couches to crash on. I give to the system. I take from the system. And when I put this trust in people, I am rewarded.

    If you appreciate Daniel's lessons, you might also appreciate his book, The Traveller: Notes from an Imperfect Journey Around the World.


older | 1 | .... | 32 | 33 | (Page 34) | 35 | 36 | .... | 140 | newer