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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    Getting married? Congratulations! We'll start practising our speech.

    In British Columbia, where backdrops of mountains, ocean, beach, and greenery abound, it can be hard to decide where to tie the knot.

    To help you sift through the seemingly endless choices, we asked some professional photographers from around the province to weigh in with their favourite places to capture a wedding.

    Whether you're on the Lower Mainland, up north, on the island, or somewhere in between, there's a gorgeous venue with you and your loved one's names on it.

    Merridale Estate Cidery, Cobble Hill
    merridale cidery
    Recommended by: Jesse Holland Photo

    Located up island from Victoria, this gorgeous space has beautiful orchards and an elegant, rustic feel. Why not treat guests to a cider tasting tour while you're there?

    Thompson Rivers University Horticultural Gardens, Kamloops
    tru garden
    Recommended by: Jason Beattie Photography

    The gardens have a lovely array of colourful plants and flowers that are constantly re-blooming. The ceremony space is largely shaded by tall trees, providing a cool and comfortable atmosphere for your vows. The campus also offers a variety of reception rooms in the Campus Activity Centre, which is a short walk from the gardens.

    Sparkling Hill Resort, Kelowna
    sparkling hill resort
    Recommended by: Adrian Photographers

    This resort's terrace, which overlooks Okanagan Lake, is a surefire winner for your big day. Bask in panoramic views of the lake and gorgeous peaks of the Monashee Mountains. Remember to breathe.

    Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Kelowna
    summerhill
    Recommended by: Adrian Photographers

    As you're probably already aware, the Okanagan is known for its wine. So why not grab your nearest and dearest, and celebrate your special day surrounded by delicious grapes and breathtaking landscapes? The view isn't too shabby, either.

    Mount Robson Mountain River Lodge, Mount Robson
    mountain river lodge
    Recommended by: Northern Pixel Photography

    If you're looking for a small, intimate venue with only a handful of guests, consider this adorable place. The serene location overlooks a glacier river and the majestic Mount Robson. Bonus: It's only five minutes from the famous Berg Lake Trail.

    Green Water Resort, Pemberton
    green water resort
    Recommended by: Lucida Photography

    Tie the knot in an intimate garden set against the Lillooet River. There's also a gazebo surrounded by dahlias, a spring-fed pond and waterfall, a riverside beach lined with torches, and a sprawling lawn with majestic Mount Currie in the background. Good luck deciding which spot you want to recite your vows at!

    Huble Homestead, Prince George
    huble homestead
    Recommended by: Northern Pixel Photography

    This 100-year-old historic site, about 45 minutes north of Prince George, allows you to choose from various spaces for your wedding: the large barn's main floor, the smaller barn's loft, the lawn looking towards the Fraser River, the hay fields, or right along the banks of the Fraser River.

    Logpile Lodge, Smithers
    logpile lodge
    Recommended by: Northern Pixel Photography

    Perfect for a smaller wedding of 30 or so guests, this Smithers lodge has great accommodation and a gorgeous field overlooking Hudson's Bay Mountain.

    Long Beach Lodge Resort, Tofino
    long beach lodge resort
    Recommended by: Marnie Recker

    Get married by the beach. Need we say more? (More Tofino wedding venue options can be found here.)

    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Ucluelet
    black rock resort
    Recommended by: Marnie Recker

    Choose from their ballroom, wine cellar, or patio overlooking the ocean. For the reception or even the ceremony, consider taking advantage of the gorgeous nature that surrounds the resort, including Big Beach, Wild Pacific Trail, and Pacific Rim National Park.

    Brock House, Vancouver
    brock house
    Recommended by: Lucida Photography

    You'll be in the city, but you'll feel like you're in a quiet oasis just for you and your loved ones. Enjoy the surrounding greenery and beach, plus a bright and spacious indoor reception room — not to mention a vast selection of interesting menu options.

    Hart House Restaurant, Vancouver
    hart house
    Recommended by: Blush Wedding Photography

    What could be more romantic for your wedding photos than a pond with rowboats? This Vancouver restaurant features a beautiful outdoor space for your ceremony, a pretty forested stream area for photo taking, and an elegant white tent for the reception.

    Vancouver Club, Vancouver
    vancouver club
    Recommended by: Lucida Photography

    Nothing says elegance quite like this downtown Vancouver space. From the classic entrance stairway to the white and pristine interiors, the building is urban heritage at its finest. Take advantage of their in-house wedding specialist and catering department.

    The University Women's Club of Vancouver at Hycroft, Vancouver
    hycroft
    Recommended by: Blush Wedding Photography

    This gorgeous heritage mansion (built in 1911) has both great outdoor space and incredible Edwardian style indoor rooms. The Shaughnessy house was originally built for Alexander Duncan McRae — a leading Western Canadian businessman and politician at the start of the 20th century.

    Beacon Hill Park, Victoria
    beacon hill
    Recommended by: Jesse Holland Photo

    Get married in one of Victoria's most well-known parks — warning: you'll need a permit first. It boasts lots of gorgeous green space and nearby restaurants for the reception.

    Check out more photos from each venue:



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    A new report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office suggests there's no benefit to developing shipping infrastructure in the Arctic.  


    The organization serves as a watchdog for federal spending, and says deep-water ports, mapping and other infrastructure improvements will only go so far in attracting more ships.


    For the container-ship companies, the report says one problem is Arctic routes would be seasonal, while that industry needs steady, year-round schedules. 


    The report also says mainstream cruise lines aren't drawn to the Arctic because the 10-day journey, typically in Alaska, is too long, the scenery unvarying and interesting ports too scarce.


    Some U.S. policy makers like Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski disagree with the report.


    She says Arctic maritime activity is on the rise due to the shrinking sea ice, and says now is the time to start building infrastructure.


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    (Relaxnews) - A large-scale travel survey has revealed the top bucket list destinations among travellers around the world.

    While Italy and Australia topped the global wish list, TripAdvisor’s bi-annual TripBarometer survey also breaks down travel preferences among respondents from different countries.

    For example, while US respondents named Italy, Australia and Ireland as their dream destinations, the US was cited as the most popular destination among Greek, Israeli and Spanish respondents.

    Here’s a breakdown of the top dream destinations cited when travellers were asked which countries they’d like to visit in the next 24 months if money were no object:

    Top of global wish list: Italy and Australia each received 32 percent of the global vote.

    Canada is the dream destination for Australians and New Zealanders.

    The USA is the top destination for Spaniards, Israelis, Italians, Greeks and Turks.

    The Caribbean is the top bucket list spot for Austrians, the Irish and South Africans.

    Italy is the dream location for Americans, Brazilians, Mexicans, and Russians.

    Australia tops the bucket list of French, German, Portuguese, Swiss and Canadian travellers.

    New Zealand is the most popular destination for Indian and UK travellers.

    Interestingly, Asian travellers buck the international trend and cite regions closer to home as their top destinations:

    Japan is the top pick for Malays, Thais and Indonesians.

    China is the top pick for the Chinese.

    For the full report visit http://www.tripadvisor.com/tripbarometer.

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    It's Monday morning, so perhaps you don't want to be reminded of what you ate when you drank too much on Saturday night. But trust us, this video from BuzzFeedYellow makes greasy guilty pleasures look temping once again.

    We particularly love how each food is laid out in all its glory, showing those of us who don't know what, say, an acarajé is exactly what it's composed of (for the record, it's Brazil's deep-fried batter ball served with shrimp stew). We have to say, though, that poutine they exhibit for Canada looks pretty weak.

    Though the video doesn't note where this "data" comes from, it's easy to assume it's based on the junkiest of foods served at places most commonly open once bars close down. According to comments below the video, however, doner is popular across Europe, and Japanese people would never, ever put broccoli and lime in their ramen.

    Do these foods correspond with what you eat when you're drunk? Let us know in the comments below.

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    Travelling the world can seem like an exciting prospect, but what about travelling the world alone? While it may be a scary notion, taking solo vacations can be an inspiring and refreshing change of pace.

    Watch the video above and learn about the seven trips you should take by yourself.

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    (Relaxnews) - The Eurostar, the high-speed train that connects London to the European continent in under three hours, is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014. But that's not the only reason to visit the British capital this year. This spring and summer, London is abuzz with cultural activity and attractions ranging from art exhibits to festivals and flower shows. Here is our selection.

    "Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy" in the UK at the British Library

    This exhibit, the UK's largest ever dedicated to comics, is intended for mature audiences (visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult). Through the iconic characters of historical and contemporary artists, the exhibit retraces England's rich and varied comic book tradition, covering themes such as violence, drugs and sexuality. Rare prints, previously unseen sketches and other artefacts illustrate the history of the subversive and iconoclastic world of comics.
    Dates: May 2 - August 19
    More information: www.bl.uk

    "Wedding Dresses 1775-2014" at the Victoria & Albert Museum
    london travel
    Bound to appeal to future brides, this exhibit follows the evolution of the wedding gown over nearly three centuries, exploring the influence of iconic designers such as Charles Frederick Worth, Norman Hartnell, Charles James, Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano. Visitors will admire the dresses worn by various duchesses of the British crown, including the satin and silk gown worn by Margaret, Duchess of Argyll at her wedding in 1933. Dita Von Teese and Gwen Stefani also lent their bridal attire to the museum for the exhibit.
    Dates: May 3, 2014 - March 15, 2015
    More information: www.vam.ac.uk

    MoonWalk London 2014
    moonwalk london
    This nocturnal walking marathon is sure to attract plenty of attention, as the walkers, who are all women, set out for the trek at the stroke of midnight in their bras and eccentric, colorful, often glittery outfits. Pink is of course the color of choice, as this festive event is intended to raise funds and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. All of the proceeds go to the non-profit Walk the Walk.
    Date: May 10
    More information: www.walkthewalk.org

    BP British Art Displays: "Walk Through British Art" at the Tate Britain
    tate britain
    Through an impressive selection of iconic works by major artists, the Tate is inviting visitors to stroll through 500 years of art in the UK. Works by Bacon, Constable, Hirst, Hockney, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Lowry, Millais, Spencer, Stubbs and Whiteread, among others, are presented in 20 entirely renovated exhibit rooms.
    Dates: May 14 - December 31
    More information: www.tate.org.uk

    Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
    regents park open air theatre
    Each year, the famous London park is transformed into a theater under the open sky. Outdoor performances of great English plays, including a new adaptation of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," the Open Air Theatre is staging a number of American classics this season, including Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" and Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird."
    Dates: May 15 - September 13
    More information: https://openairtheatre.com

    "Treasures from the Royal Archive" at Windsor Castle
    windsor castle
    For the first time at Windsor Castle, the public will be able to view certain documents conserved by the royal family since 1914. Visitors can read selections from the monarchs' correspondence and personal journals, including a letter written by Prince Albert to the future Queen Victoria while they were engaged to be married. However, only those who read German will be able to decipher the contents, as the letter was written in the Saxon-born sovereign's native tongue.
    Dates: May 17, 2014 - January 25, 2015
    More information: www.royalcollection.org.uk

    London Record Fair at Brick Lane
    london record fair brick lane
    Record collectors from all over the UK and Europe will head to this three-day fair to browse through extensive selections of vinyls. In addition to providing a marketplace for vinyls, record players and music memorabilia of all kinds, the fair has a unique atmosphere that invites music lovers to share their passion.
    Dates: May 30 - June 1
    More information: http://londonrecordfair.co.uk

    Zoo Lates at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

    Each Friday night in June and July, London's zoo closes to those under 18 and invites a more mature public to experience a new side of the attraction. Visitors can watch improv comedy shows by the aquarium and a cabaret review in the amphitheater while enjoying street food in a festive carnival-like atmosphere.
    Dates: June 6 - July 25
    More information: www.zsl.org

    "British Folk Art: The House that Jack Built" at the Tate Britain
    british folk art the house that jack built
    London's prestigious museum is presenting its very first exhibit of folk art from the UK. Around 100 works, many of them anonymous, were brought together for the occasion. Paintings, sculptures, textiles and other objects all serve to promote the recognition of a type of art that was long overlooked.
    Dates: June 10 - September 7
    More information: www.tate.org.uk

    RHS Flower Show at Hampton Court Palace
    rhs flower show at hampton court palace
    This annual event is known as the world's largest flower show. In addition to admiring the floral exhibits and no less than 50 gardens on display, visitors can attend gardening workshops and demonstrations.
    Dates: July 8 - 13
    More information: www.rhs.org.uk

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    Oh, Canada, our cinematic home and native land!

    April 29, 2014 is National Canadian Film Day, a day for all Canadians to celebrate Canada through our nation's rich cinema history.

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    If you fly, you've seen them in action but unless you work in an airline, you probably have no idea of the rigours flight attendants endure while on the clock.

    When it comes to jobs, few titles carry such a mix of sex appeal, glamour and mystery like flight attendants. Despite the number of times they've helped you with your luggage, shown you how to buckle a seat belt or served you a meal, there's still a lot travellers don't know about attendants.

    But between their duties and responsibilities of keeping passengers happy and safe, there's not a whole lot of time to stop and ask before another overhead light flips on and they're needed somewhere else on the plane.

    Still, that hasn't stopped one female flight attendant, under the username of inflightdrinks, from taking to Reddit to host an ask me anything session for travellers curious about the things she's experienced in her four years on the job.

    Here's a few secrets Huffington Post Canada Travel gathered from the 21-year-old attendant who declined to give her name in order to stay completely anonymous.

    Flight Attendant Uniforms > Tinder

    Q: Are hookups something flight attendants look for or are receptive to?
    A: Well, since many are young and the job makes steady relationships quite difficult, hookups are something many attendants embrace. And there is no lack of opportunities since the uniform is way better than anything like Tinder.

    Q: What are the logistics of taking a flight attendant out for a drink? Are you typically staying at a hotel near the airport?
    A: Yes, usually airport hotels or close by. Well, there is no general trick for taking one out, just be friendly and honest about your intention and just chat her up. Just make sure she is not busy when you ask her.

    Q: How often do you guys have sex with passengers?
    A: It's a very rare thing but I must admit, it does happen. But after all its just between two persons and how they get along.

    You Scratch Their Back, They Might Scratch Your Back

    Q: What's the easiest way to get on a flight attendant's good side?
    A: Be friendly and charming but not cheesy. Appreciate the work we do.

    Q: There's a free seat in business class or, better yet, first class. Is there any move I can make to get it?
    A: Yes, its not easy but there are ways to qualify. - Be really, really friendly - Help an attendant when necessary (lifting bags, help with spilled drinks) - We might be nicer when we see you are struggling (2-metre tall guys in economy, very annoying person next to you)

    Q: What kind of free stuff can you/or other airport folk give me and what do I need to do?
    A: There is not much to be honest, only a few promotional stickers or so.

    Q: Upgrades to first? Lounge pass? Free drinks?
    A: Only if you stand out as being really nice and helpful and to make up for annoying seat neighbours or mishaps.

    Q: Is it really all that common for attendants to approach passengers mid-flight to move them up? Also do you spend time with other attendants during long layovers?
    A: No, not that common but it happens when the situation calls for it or it helps to improve the atmosphere in the cabin. And yes, attendants often do stuff together, of course it depends if you get along well but its generally fun.

    While On The Job...

    Q: What's the worst thing, in your opinion, a passenger can do on a flight (that doesn't result in being arrested)?
    A: Sexual acts and behaviour aimed at the flight attendants, that's the worst.

    Q: It is acceptable to ask for multiple cans of soda/wine/spirits at one time?
    A: Two cans of soda are totally fine and its OK to ask. Alcohol is a different story though since its hard to keep track who had how much so its one drink at a time only.

    Insider Knowledge

    Q: So, what brand of luggage do flight attendants prefer?
    A: Well, that varies a lot. First of all it has to be light and durable. Hard-case trolleys are best. You don't do wrong with the big brands like Rimowa, Titan or Halliburton. Just make sure it has a long warranty.

    Q: Not to get too personal, but do you make a liveable wage? How long does it take to get to a point where you're getting regularly scheduled flights and making decent money?
    A: It really depends on the airline, some consider it to be a proper job and immediately give you proper flights, others let you start right at the bottom. In fact, the job is not paid that well money-wise. However, you get tons of discounts and travel is really cheap (80-90% off).

    It generally gets better after two-three years but you just have to be into the whole lifestyle. I personally just love being in the air and travelling the world. But you are right, it's not the dream job it used to be any more. It is stressful and there are many annoying things to put up with.

    Q: Do you ever get nervous or scared? You all seem so freakin' unflappable.
    A: Its all experience and training. We are trained to stay calm all the time and smile. Newbies sometimes are a bit scared but it goes away quickly.

    Responses and questions condensed up for clarity.

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    (Relaxnews) - Airbnb has emerged the big winner in this year’s edition of the Webby Awards for travel, taking the top honours in categories like best travel website and best mobile travel app.

    Winners of the 18th edition of the Webbys were announced Monday, an event that spotlights the best in digital media.

    While the short-term vacation rental site took the Webby Award for best travel website, the world’s largest travel review site, TripAdvisor, took the People’s Voice award.

    In just six years, Airbnb has become one of the leaders of the sharing economy, with a user base of more than 11 million members across 34,000 cities in 192 countries.

    Airbnb also took the Webby for best handheld travel app.

    Also in the travel category, a somewhat outrageous marketing campaign from German airline Lufthansa took the Webby Award for tourism and leisure in Interactive Advertising and Media.

    To promote its Stockholm-Berlin route, the airline launched the “Are you Klaus-Heidi?” campaign which offered one Swede the chance to begin a new life in Berlin, complete with a one-way ticket and pre-paid apartment. The catch? Applicants had to legally change their name to Klaus-Heidi, “a gender-bender double name fit for the modern Berliner.”

    In the end, 42 Swedes changed their names, but all except one had to settle for a VIP Lufthansa Silver Card.

    A panel of more than a thousand web experts, captains of industry, creative celebrities and visionaries including actor Kevin Spacey, Arianna Huffington and Tumblr founder David Karp help sift through 12,000 entries from 60 countries around the world to come up with the Webby Award winners.

    Here are the noteworthy Webby Award and People’s Voice winners in the travel category:

    Web
    Webby Award: Airbnb
    People’s Voice: TripAdvisor

    Online Film and Video
    Travel and Adventure
    Webby: The List, AOL
    People’s Voice: Living Galapagos, University of North Carolina

    How-to & DIY channel
    People's Voice: How to Travel, Sonia Gil

    Interactive Advertising and Media
    Tourism and leisure
    Webby Award: “Are you Klaus-Heidi?” Lufthansa
    People’s Voice: Space KLM

    Mobile & Apps
    Travel handheld
    Webby Award: Airbnb
    People’s Voice: TripIt

    Tablet and all other devices
    Webby Award: Kayak
    People’s Voice: Hotel Tonight for iPad

    For the full list visit http://www.webbyawards.com/winners/2014.

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    Quick: what’s the first thing that you see when you think of California? Aside from the famous landmarks and the celebrity glamour that the state has to offer, it has a great variety of hidden treasures beyond its iconic Hollywood sign, but there’s no better way to see the sights than by bicycle. The Golden State offers many quick and easy ways to rent bikes, so read ahead for the best spots to visit on your own two (borrowed) wheels.



    Bidwell Park
    California is home to countless nature parks, but few have such a long history of preservation and expansion as Bidwell Park. Not only is this park one of the largest municipal parks in the United States, this gem in Chico, located at the northern end of the state, has no shortage of activities to partake in. The cycling trails vary from flat lands to hills to rough, challenging terrains. Find the path that best suits you!

    Silverado Trail
    Fun fact about the Silverado Trail: its location, Napa Valley, is home to the domestic wines that put California on the map as a global leader in the vintner industry. So believe us when we say that cycling along this pleasant, scenic route is truly a feast for the senses. And you’ll earn bonus karma points, because cycling and other environmentally friendly options are encouraged in the area; emissions from vehicles can create bad air for the growing grapes.

    Golden Gate Bridge
    Why be content with snapping a selfie in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco when you can cycle across its 4,200 foot-spanning glory? This iconic wonder is accessible to cyclists 24/7 at no cost. As it can get a bit chilly in the afternoon, be sure to bring a warm sweater to keep you cozy. Otherwise, ride on in the beautiful scenery beyond the bridge, day or night. (And feel free to take that selfie anyway; we’re not monsters.)

    Downtown San Francisco
    Coming down with some nature fatigue? Why not try a stab at the concrete jungle that is downtown San Francisco? The city is very popular with cyclists and has great options for those looking to rent a pair of wheels for the day. Explore the bike-friendly roads and enjoy San Francisco’s parks and other well-preserved and restored buildings. Choose a tour guided option and you can even hear about the history of San Francisco -- an ideal option for history nerds and cycling enthusiasts alike. After all, they don’t have one of the most bike-accessible roads in North America for nothing. Go see what a true bike-friendly city feels like (sorry, Torontonians!).

    Stearns Wharf
    The beautiful and bustling Stearns Wharf of Santa Barbara is relatively free of tall buildings and hotels that could conceal the magnificent view of the wharf and shoreline itself, which makes it a prime location to cruise by bike. Its waterfront area has several preserved landmarks that you can visit, and countless seafood restaurants. Vehicle access is limited, so you’ll be king of the boardwalk on your own two wheels.

    Venice Boardwalk
    With its open-air, old-world charm, Venice in Los Angeles is truly a trip back to a carefree atmosphere. With loads of performers to see and places to stop by to shop and eat, there’s nothing like a bike ride along the boardwalk. And if you’re craving even more good times, ride over to nearby Santa Monica, where you can take in some city sights.

    Ready to jump on your bike and start exploring the Golden State? Check out more of Visit California’s top outdoor adventures.

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    Air Canada Rouge may be a discount carrier, but its flight attendants are sporting some designer footwear in the air.

    Celebrity favourite John Fluevog designed the custom grey brogues for men and grey heels for women that are part of the Rouge uniform. The rest of the burgundy/grey ensembles are kind of "Glee" meets hipster.

    The Fluevog footwear retails for almost $300.

    Rouge began flying out of Vancouver and Calgary this month, after six months of operating in Toronto and Montreal.




    The Vancouver-based designer's footwear is in the closets of stars including Madonna, Whoopi Goldberg, and Scarlett Johansson.

    But Fluevog is far from the first designer to fly the friendly skies. Banana Republic is behind Virgin America's new uniforms, while Pierre Balmain's timeless creations for Singapore Airlines in the '70s are still worn today.

    Check out more stylish flight attendant uniforms:




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    The Vancouver Aquarium sent five harbour seals to a facility in Ontario long condemned by animal-welfare advocates, the Straight has learned.

    One of the seals is dead and four are permanently blind after being exposed to poor water conditions at the aquarium named Marineland Canada.

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    If a tree falls down in one of Canada's national parks and no one's around to hear it, does it make a sound?

    Probably not.

    But now imagine if it did. Someone would be able to tweet about it, post a photo on Facebook or email their boss — thanks to the upcoming addition of Wi-Fi in parts of Canada's wilderness and historic sites.

    The government agency in charge of 44 national parks and 160 historic sites says it plans to add up to 50 internet hotspots, giving park visitors the option to stay connected and surf the web. It's a move that's expected to attract a more digitally-savvy generation to the country's national parks, according to Francois Duclos, a Parks Canada spokesperson.

    "Canada is a very big country, and it has become very urban. And for young people from cities, things are different," Duclos told AFP.

    It's still uncertain which the the first 50 areas will be selected as part of the trial phase, but Parks Canada says that number will triple within three years. The agency is currently accepting offers from companies to provide the service and expects the majority of the service will be free. Service for some areas that are too remote might come with a fee.

    Wi-Fi is currently available in some of Canada's provincial parks, with hotspots in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, the CBC reports.



    With Files From The Canadian Press

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    You might just want to pack your bags and head to Alberta this summer. Or right now.

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    NEW YORK, N.Y. - Air Canada is the first international carrier to join in the U.S. government's PreCheck screening program, aimed at reducing the time spent on pre-boarding security checks of qualified passengers at some American airports.

    Passengers in PreCheck lanes do not have to remove their shoes, belts, or light jackets and can keep liquids and laptops in their bags. Security agents are expected to process twice as many passengers in PreCheck lanes in the same time as in a normal lane.

    Air Canada (TSX:AC.A) serves 49 U.S. airports, but passengers will only be able to use PreCheck at 41 of them as of Tuesday, when the airline joined nine U.S. carriers participating in the program.

    Air Canada executive vice-president Benjamin Smith said the Montreal-based company is delighted to be the first international carrier to be able to offer the service.

    "TSA PreCheck will make our customers’ travel experience with us even more enjoyable, including those connecting through our main hubs in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to international destinations in Asia and Europe,” Smith said in a statement.

    The program is open to some elite frequent fliers of U.S. airlines as well as the 2.4 million travellers in one of the Customs and Border Protection's expedited entry programs: Global Entry, Nexus and Sentri.

    The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has also started enrolling people directly in PreCheck through its own centres at 17 airports and 237 off-airport locations. Since it opened the application process in December, nearly 204,000 people have enrolled in the program which costs US$85 and is good for five years.

    For now, Air Canada passengers who enrol can only use the program if they print or reprint their boarding passes at airport check-in desks or kiosks. Later this year, those printing boarding passes at home or using the airline's mobile app will also be included.

    The TSA said expanding the PreCheck program to passengers on international airlines will allow the agency to dedicate more staff to other passengers — those who theoretically pose the higher risk.

    The program was launched in October 2011 at four U.S. airports. Today, there are PreCheck lanes at 118 of the roughly 450 U.S. commercial airports, processing about five million passengers each week.

    The government is also turning to foreign carriers to sign on to the program, to help ease checkpoint congestion. The airlines are responsible for paying for their computer upgrades, hence some of the hesitation.

    Air Canada joins nine U.S. airlines who participate in the program: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, and Virgin America.


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    The Glacier Skywalk is set up open in Jasper National Park Thursday, but consider yourself warned — it's definitely not for the faint of heart.

    The marvel attraction features a barrier-free walkway and glass platform observation deck, hanging 35 metres out from the cliff-edge and 280 metres over the Sunwapta Valley.

    The glass floor gives visitors a bird's eye view of glaciers, mountain crags and wildlife along the cliffs below.

    The $21 million Skywalk has been under construction for the past two years.

    According to a press release, the Glacier Skywalk is the first major attraction to be developed within Canada's Mountain National Parks in over 50 years and its elevation is higher than the Eiffel Tower's top observation deck by four metres.

    Story continues below the slideshow



    Although construction on the main structure was completed last October, the design had already garnered international acclaim, when in 2011 it won the World Architecture Festival Award in the Future Projects Category. Construction hadn't even started and the Skywalk was already a world leader.

    Visitors to the Skywalk, situated on Highway 93 between Lake Louise and Jasper, will be bused to the site from the nearby Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre.

    An adult ticket for the Skywalk costs $24.95, and a child ticket is $12.50. Children under five get free admission.

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    When I was a teenager, my family took a vacation in the Rocky Mountains.

    My father had a demanding job at the CBC and it was nice to get some time alone with him. We hiked to azure lakes, gawked at stunning vistas and slept in a rustic lodge.

    He didn't tell anyone at the office where he was going.

    But they found him anyway.

    One day we returned to our room to find a note pinned to the door. A producer from the office had tracked us down.

    My dad was livid.

    Today the story seems quaint. Who doesn't check their email on vacation these days?

    When I was in California recently I didn't return any work emails (though I checked every single one). People at the office greeted me back like a conquering hero. "How did you do it?" "So amazing to unplug!"

    Escaping work on holiday is now a decision rather than the default.

    You can always turn off your phone, and I would encourage you to do so frequently, but the fact is that as the internet has become more accessible it has also invaded every aspect of our lives. We always have the option to unplug, but few of us do.

    Parks Canada announced this week that it will soon become even easier to stay connected while you're away. The agency is looking at adding Wi-Fi access to national parks.

    As a long-time geek who spends most of his waking life staring at screens, I can see the benefits. Travel before the web is almost unimaginable for my generation. When I'm away from home, I love to have free Wi-Fi. I get angry when it's not there.

    Having access to the web in parks will make so many things easier, everything from planning a hike to booking a restaurant to keeping the kids quiet. And because camping will be less difficult, more people will do it.

    Nevertheless, the news made me, and many others, feel sad. Plenty of others were irate. The idea of Instagramming all those azure lakes and stunning vistas is just depressing. Nature is supposed to be where we go to get away from all the absurdity of the modern world.

    But fighting it is pointless. It's inevitable that the internet will soon be with us always and everywhere. All the last refuges are being breached: airplanes, the subway and now even the wilderness.

    It's only a matter of time before Google beams the thing straight into our brains.

    But just because it's inevitable, doesn't mean we should act like technology taking up more and more space in our lives is a universal good.

    With all change, something's lost, but something's gained.

    There's a picture from that trip to the Rockies. I'm sitting on a ledge starring at the Saskatchewan glacier, the source of the northern half of the river of the same name. I look pensive and perhaps a touch morose. Typically teenage and more than a little annoyed with my mother for taking a picture. She was interrupting my thoughts.

    My mind was wandering. I was born in Saskatchewan and much of my family still lives there. I imagined the river snaking its way out of the mountains and into the Prairies. I pictured my ancestors standing by its shores

    I thought about what the glacier would have looked like during the last ice age. How old the mountains are, shaped by the unseen world beneath us.

    I reflected on how small my place in the universe really is.

    The important stuff. The stuff that so often gets lost in a world of selfies and social streams.

    If my mother took the same picture today she would probably put it on Facebook immediately. And I wouldn't have thought about the evanescent nature of human life. I would have thought about how many likes the photo was getting.

    In fact, I probably would have pulled out my phone and checked.

    RELATED


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    As the start of summer grows closer, so does Europe's popularity among travellers.

    It's not hard to see why. Few continents offer a mixture of history, culture and sights capable of attracting 29 million international visitors in a year.

    But that's the thing about Europe in the summer: if you're planning a trip, expect another 10 people to do the same.

    It would also explain the crowds of families, backpackers and the general lack of personal space that comes with every Eurotrip. If only there were a way to take in a collection of visually stunning sites rich in history and culture.

    Cue Europe's collection of abandoned destinations.

    Yes, you're probably thinking, "who in their right mind visits forgotten railway stations, hospitals or amusement parks?" Well, someone had to, otherwise there'd be no photographs of these terrifying, yet oddly fascinating photos of abandoned Europe.

    And what these places lack in crowds (not to mention things like life, electricity or working doors), they make up for with an eerie sense of wonder that you can witness below.

    Fun Park Fyn, Aarup, Denmark
    fun park fyn
    Once known as a place for family fun back in the '80s, this amusement park has sat abandoned since 2006 after its owners went bankrupt. But there might be a ray of hope for Fun Park Fyn as possible new investors could breathe life into its forgotten waterslides and carousels.
    fun park fyn

    Hotel Heinrich Heine in Schierke, Wernigerode, Germany
    hotel heinrich heine
    Let's just say time hasn't been too kind to the Hotel Heinrich Heine in the town of Wernigerode. Located on the fringes of the Schierke region, this hotel was originally built in 1900. It housed a nightclub and was a booming spot for tourists and locals alike. That was until the reunification of Germany, when it suffered a loss in business. The hotel shut down in 1995.
    hotel heinrich heine

    Waterville Beach Hotel, Reenroe, Ireland
    waterville beach hotel
    What was once meant to be a four-star waterfront hotel in the '90s became a €30-million liability in 2007. It's said that plans to turn the area into a 120-bed hotel were opposed by a couple in Canada and that halted the project for 10 years. Plans to finish the building tanked along with the Irish economy when it came time to resume construction.
    waterville beach hotel

    Lillesden School for Girls, Kent, England
    lillesden school for girls
    It started as a private school but now the Lillesden School for Girls sits empty and forgotten. The school closed in 1999 due to a lack of students to keep it in business. Originally built as a mansion by banker Edward Loyd in 1855, it also served as a hospital during World Wars I and II.
    lillesden school for girls

    Colonia Fara, Italy
    colonia fara
    Believe it or not, this abandoned seaside resort could one day be an apartment complex and mall. However, for most travellers, the Colonia Fara, or Colony Fara, will be remembered as a summer resort and camp for kids that also served as a wartime hospital, hotel and refugee camp before becoming a school. Students and teachers were forced to leave the building when the upper floors became unsafe due to a lack of maintenance.
    colonia fara

    Canfranc Station, Huesca, Spain
    canfranc
    The Canfranc Station once served as a major transport hub between France and Spain through the Pyrenees. That was before a train derailment destroyed the bridge connecting the station to France, leaving little use for the building. It soon fell into disrepair and became a haven for junkies and drug dealers in the '90s. Most have since fled and been replaced by urban explorers brave enough to cross the barbed wire.
    canfranc

    Dadipark, Dadizele, Belgium
    dadipark abandoned amusement park
    Things were going swell for Dadipark until 2002, when a boy lost his arm while on a water ride. It originally started as a playground created by a pastor for the children of tourists but closed as an amusement park maligned for its questionable safety standards.
    dadipark abandoned amusement park

    What are some abandoned destinations you recommend in Europe? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @HPCaTavel.

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    You might be thinking of staying close to home this May thanks to all those flowers in bloom, but don’t forget spring is a prime travelling time.

    No matter where you head in May, you’re bound to get good weather. It’s spring in the northern hemisphere and fall in the south, so you won’t freeze in the snow or faint from the heat, regardless of what direction you decide to go. And since it’s a shoulder-season month, you’ll get to skip all the hustle and bustle of the summer holiday and winter break.

    May is made for being outdoors, whatever your destination. Check out the gallery below to see the best places to explore this spring.







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    (Relaxnews) - Cemetery tourism, though macabre by definition, certainly isn't gloomy or dull. All the rage in Japan, the idea of travelling to cemeteries -- whether to visit the grave of a favourite celebrity, artist or historical figure or simply to admire the tombstones -- is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. For ideas on planning a trip around this original concept, just follow the guide provided by Hotels.com.

    According to the website, which specializes in hotel price comparisons, one of the most affordable cemetery tourism destinations is Palm Springs, where Frank Sinatra is buried at the Desert Memorial Park. The average nightly rate for a double room is €81 (around $112).

    Next on the list is Buenos Aires in Argentina, home to the Recoleta cemetery. Though not necessarily famous, most of the wealthy bodies buried here commissioned particularly elaborate tombstones which are definitely worth the trip. A hotel stay near the destination costs €84 ($116) per night on average.

    On the other side of the Atlantic, Berlin is one of the most affordable destinations, with the average hotel room costing €85 ($118) per night. At the Dorotheenstädtisch-Friedrichswerderscher Friedhof cemetery, visitors can place flowers on the tomb of the playwright Bertolt Brecht and the sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow, among others.

    Finally, no list of the world's most prestigious cemeteries would be complete without a mention of the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris. Edith Piaf, Maria Callas, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are just a few of the notable personalities laid to rest here. Tourists can expect to pay more for their stay, however, as a double room is priced at €131 ($181) per night on average.

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