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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    Why do Canadians buy expensive property in big cities when there are better deals elsewhere?

    For about the price of a one-bedroom condo in downtown Toronto, you can own the Italian village of Calsazio, which has been put up for sale on eBay.

    Check out photos of Calsazio, an Italian village for sale on eBay:

    Located just outside Gran Paradiso National Park, about 80 kilometres from Turin, it is on the market for $356,000.

    Its 14 homes have been abandoned, and could cost a pretty penny to fix up, The Daily Telegraph reported. Any restoration must keep the unique appearance of the town intact.

    The sellers hope the village can be turned into a tourist attraction.

    It's not the first time that a whole town has been put up for sale. Earlier this year, the Spanish village A Barca was offered for free, with the condition that the buyer preserve all of its buildings.

    And two years ago, the Tuscan village of Pratariccia was put up on eBay for about US$3.1 million.

    It's easy to dismiss a property that can be had so easily, but given what it costs to live in a big Canadian city, we think this charming little village is worth a look.

    Like this article? Follow us on Twitter

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    Food + Mouth = Survival. Simple'd think.


    But the task of feeding yourself can seem like Mission: Impossible once you step off the continent. Language, culture and availability make finding animal-free nosh a massive ordeal that can swallow up a whole afternoon of your hard-earned vacation/travel time. And when your blood sugar starts to dip, after a long bus ride or a day traipsing around some ruins, the difficulty and frustration involved in finding vegetarian food can wreck your day.

    Maintaining an alternative food lifestyle while traveling in countries that do not understand or recognize vegetarianism as the moral/ethical/healthful imperative that it is to you, will always be a challenge. But there are ways to make it easier.

    After globe-trotting across every continent, 30+ countries, I've developed a few strategies to help keep my lean, mean, vegetarian machine meat-free on the hoof.


    Going to Egypt? Friggin' Google "vegetarian Egyptian food!" Of course you could probably eat pizza and french fries for every meal and have a (very dull) vegetarian holiday but the whole point is to sample the local flavour. A little research will go a long way and you won't miss culinary gems like kosheri (Egypt's delicious, and vegetarian, ode to carbohydrates).

    Pack your own seasoning

    The sad truth is that to stay veggie in certain countries and regions you may end up eating some boring, bland and tasteless food. On a three month trip to South America my diet mostly consisted of boiled rice, over-fried eggs and a dusting of limp vegetables. Do yourself a favour and make sure you have some salt and pepper stashed in your bag, hot sauce or spices can also help relieve the ennui of repetition.



    Hunting for a decent place to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day is stressful. Is the kitchen clean? Is there anything on the menu I can order? Take the guesswork and anxiety out of eating by hitting a local market. A decent veggie picnic can be cobbled together in this way, and usually for a lot cheaper than eating at a restaurant. Make sure to pack a Swiss Army knife for slicing fruit and veg, and (most importantly) opening bottles of wine.

    Bring an arsenal of vitamins

    To keep your veggie faith burning bright while traveling, you'll most likely be eating a limited and repetitive diet (cheese sandwiches again? Yay). As a result it's possible you could become deficient in some vitamins and nutrients that you'd get from your normal, varied, vegetarian diet. Taking a multivitamin and an iron supplement while you travel can fill in the nutritional gaps, and also help you avoid the fatigue that is associated with some vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Because really, being tired when you're on vacation is a drag.


    OK, I'm a veggie, you're a veggie, but most of the world gets down with meat products. Food is history, it's culture. In short it embodies many of the reasons we travel in the first place. And for that reason I propose that once in a while it's OK to stray from the vegetarian path. It's OK to nibble blood sausage fresh from a market stall in rural France, slurp authentic pho in Vietnam or taste Argentina's famous beef. It's more than just food, it's identity.


    It's also a good idea to keep some snacks on you at all times, in case you get stranded in a locale where the food options are limited. Keeping yourself fed and healthy while you're traveling is more important than it is at home. Thieves and scammers are always on the lookout for people who are vulnerable. And when your blood sugar is in the toilet, your decision making is not at its best. You think the bad guys don't notice but it's their job to notice, and they'll take advantage of your food deprived, shadow-of-a-self and con you.

    So, when gearing up for your next international adventure (or your first one) get planning, get packing and get real, because the richness that travel adds to your life and to your soul is well worth a little fish sauce entering your temple.

    Happy (healthy) travels.



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    WARNING: Spoiler Alert! Do not read on unless you've seen "Amazing Race Canada" Season 2, Episode 1. Unless you like spoilers, then go right ahead!

    "Mother of Cher!"

    "The Amazing Race Canada" is back with a vengeance! And if you're packing for the second season, don't forget your Scotiabank Gold American Express card.

    Canada's most successful reality series has returned with product placement as in-your-face as ever, 11 new teams, and a fresh list of prizes which includes the gasp-worthy "Petro-Canada gas for life."

    Don't believe the hype? Just "jump in one of the waiting Chevrolet Tahoes," and come along for the nearly "40,000 km" ride. But, for the racers looking to stand out, they should take some "pointers" from ballet dancer Rex Harrington and his fiancé, Bob Hope (seriously, yes, that's his name).

    "Our first date lasted three days, 28 days later we bought a house, and 10 years later, here we are on 'The Amazing Race Canada,' and we're going to win," Rex said, at the start of the episode. Judging from what we've seen so far, this is clearly the competitive couple to beat; at least as far as camera time is concerned.

    "You're strapped to a guy!" said Bob, during a skydiving Roadblock.
    "I know!" replied Rex. "It's the only reason I'd want to do it."

    Instant rim shot.

    Breaking the ice, the race kicks off from an Athabasca, AB, glacier as the teams make their way to North America's fastest zipline, "The Monster."

    Here's a perfect example of where "TARC" really shines. Kinetic and co-operative, both team members are forced to take the plunge before they can move on to the next task; a litmus test for how each partner can handle stress and exhilaration. Nicole and Cormac, mother and son, give us a taste of their team dynamics, cheering each other on with Type-A precision.

    Then, thanks to Jon Montgomery: Action Star, we learn the next Roadblock involves a 12,000 ft. (not metres?) skydive over Victoria. At the challenge, Olympian Natalie Spooner shows a teensy chink in her demigod armor, vomiting twice. Even though we (definitely) didn't need the close up of her "mess," her airsickness hardly interfered with her and partner Meaghan Mikkelson's eventual first place win on this leg. Congrats! (This is how Natalie performs after she's sick? Wow.)

    And what better way is there to cleanse the palate than to see fellow Olympic gold medallist Jon dressed for tea? Ah, what a campy sipper.

    Tasked with memorizing a hilariously complex menu, and serving afternoon tea to "lords" and "ladies," this Roadblock serves two purposes: to frustrate the teams as much as possible, and pull the viewers into the drama while showcasing the players' personalities under pressure. While some, like Michel, rock the challenge on their first try, others, like Cormac, aren't so lucky. As an aside -- does Jinder need to showboat after every challenge? Sigh. Soon, the teams catch up, and Ryan and Rob, the charming bartenders, find themselves in trouble. Muskoka, ON's Mickey seals his success with a kiss, telling a patron, "I love your hat!"

    We do too.

    Keeping with the theme of opposites -- from etiquette to military, the competitors head to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt and become naval recruits. Assigned a problem-solving challenge, the pairs are forced to seal nine leaks in a flooding room.

    "Dear God, it's freezing," said Rex.

    "My calves are cramping, get me out of here!"

    Claustrophobic to both the viewer and the racer, the task posed major problems for the competitors as they fought against the frigid flooding. Soon, it became obvious that best friends Shahla and Nabeela were fishes out of water. Dropping their equipment in the water on two separate occasions, the BFFs had to bow out and took a medical-based penalty after Shahla could not continue.

    "I'm almost heaving, it's so freezing," she said.

    Sadly, it added extra time the two could not overcome. Already fighting for last place against married bikers Jen and Shawn, this was the final straw for the Markham, ON duo.

    So, it's a fond farewell to these "besties." It's a shame we won't see them "Vanessa and Celina" their way to the finals, but from our first look at this season, it's clear there will be lots more hijinks in store. Already criss-crossing around the Western front, who knows where the race will go next? Once again, with its premiere, "TARC" surpasses the already-high audience expectations, and may even exceed the entertainment value of last season's epic run. But, if I could just make one request ... can Brett and Holly come back? They deserve a second shot.

    "Amazing Race Canada" Season 2 premieres on Tuesday, July 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

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    HARRISON HOT SPRINGS, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- My grandfather had stories. Logging up in the mountains, things got a bit wild, and so did the tales of the Sasquatch. You see, he worked near the town of Harrison Hot Springs, home to the great, ape-like creature, or so they say.

    Harrison is nestled in the middle of the Coastal Mountains, the range that runs along North America's Pacific coast and includes Vancouver's North Shore mountains and the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort. Next to the town, Harrison Lake extends its long arm into the wilderness for 60 kilometres (37 miles). Although it's a mere hour and a half from Vancouver by car, when you're in the town you feel enveloped by trees and the lake, with wilderness all around. The town is famous for its luxurious hot springs, and it's also famous for the local tales of a wild, hairy, mammoth legend.

    British Columbia is home to many amazing creatures, from grizzly bears to soaring bald eagles that gather annually in record numbers to returning salmon that pack the rivers each year. But there are stories of other creatures that are more mysterious as well. The province has its share of cryptozoological wonders, from the Ogopogo of Okanagan Lake to other tales of the Sasquatch in BC's wild forests.

    The Sasquatch story has a long history. Its name comes from the Sts'ailes First Nations' word "Sa:sq'ets," which means "hairy man," and the band's symbol is that of this spirit creature, who is said to be able to appear and reappear at will. Local First Nations art has long featured the face and the footprints of the Sasquatch. The area around Harrison Lake is particularly famous because of its history of Sasquatch sightings, and Harrison Hot Springs has acted as the hub for Sasquatch enthusiasts for many years.

    Inspired by the area's rich Sasquatch history, Harrison Hot Springs officials are now working to create a museum dedicated to the creature. Slated to open in the spring of 2015, the museum will explore Harrison's Sasquatch history, from First Nations stories to recent artifacts. The town also hosts a cultural festival called Sasquatch Days each June.

    Today, Harrison has it own small band of full-time Sasquatch seekers -- their company is Sasquatch Country Adventures. I met with them in Sasquatch Provincial Park, where we set off on an all-terrain vehicle for an adventure in the mountains, where we were intent on finding the elusive wonder and to catch sight of some stunning views.

    Even if you don't glimpse the Sasquatch, you will be entertained by the stories of Bill Miller and Thomas Steenburg of Sasquatch Country Adventures. When he was a boy, Steenburg flipped to a page of an encyclopedia and discovered the tale of this great beast. From that moment, he was absorbed in the Sasquatch story. A childhood interest became an adult vocation, and he's now a Sasquatch hunter, speaker and author. Miller's fascination with the Sasquatch began with a chance encounter while camping. He heard something huge move past him in the dark and fog, something on two legs, and so began his fascination with the legend, which in other parts of the world is called Bigfoot or Yeti.

    Story by Tricia Edgar, Outdoors Columnist.

    To read the rest of the story on, click here.

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    Frontier Airlines may have a reputation as a cheap no-frills carrier but the same can't be said about some of its employees.

    And by some, we mean captain Gerhard Bradner. Bradner was in charge of a Denver-bound flight when severe thunderstorms and rainfall hampered the journey.

    The flight from Washington D.C. to the Mile High city was expected to last three hours. But that eventually morphed into a seven-hour exercise in patience with a diversion to Cheyenne, Wyoming for two and a half hours Monday night.

    That's when Bradner got hungry. But rather than order something only for himself, the pilot called in and paid for 30 pizzas for the all passengers on board his Airbus A320 aircraft.

    "'Ladies and gentleman, Frontier Airlines is known for being one of the cheapest airlines in the U.S., but your captain is not cheap. I just ordered pizza for the entire plane,'” said passenger Logan Torres, quoting Bradner, in an interview with Fox affiliate KDVR.

    After that, the ball was now in Andrew Ritchie's court.

    The manager of the Cheyenne Domino's Pizza in Cheyenne, Wyoming told the Associated Press he got a call from the pilot around 10 p.m with an order enough to feed 160 people.

    Pizza for that number of people usually takes an hour, but Ritchie said it had to be done and delivered in 30 minutes. Still, that didn't stop the franchise's employees.

    "Actually, they were super excited. They had a blast. It was a challenge," he said. "It was definitely one of those 'challenge accepted' moments in time," said Ritchie.

    Once the pilot and passengers were full, the plane took off and eventually landed in Denver just before midnight.

    For more detail on why Bradner went beyond his call of duty, check out the video above.

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    You can now buy legal recreational pot in Vancouver.

    Vancouver, Wash., that is.

    This week, 24 businesses in Washington state were issued retail licences to sell pot for the first time. Customers from across the U.S. and Canada lined up outside some stores as they opened on Tuesday at 8 a.m.

    This means it's not that far of a drive for British Columbians to purchase legal weed. But how easy is it for you to hop across the border and buy from these shops?

    Here are five things you should know:

    Will I have any trouble crossing the border into the U.S.?

    You might. Groups of young people in particular may attract a higher level of scrutiny from border guards, Bellingham immigration lawyer Len Saunders told The Province.

    “I’m trying to warn Canadians that if you come to the border and answer honestly that you’re coming down to purchase marijuana or smoke marijuana, you will be denied entry — so almost no answer is better than the truth,” Saunders told the newspaper.

    “Now, is every officer going to ask you that? Of course not. But if the question comes up ... you do not have to answer it.”

    How old do I have to be to purchase the weed?


    Washington, as well as Colorado, voted to legalize marijuana for adults over 21, and to create state-licensed systems for growing, selling, and taxing weed, back in November 2012. Legal sales of recreational pot began in Colorado on Jan. 1.

    Where can I use the pot I bought at a legal shop?

    You can use marijuana on your own property, even in plain view of the public, The Bellingham Herald reports. You cannot, however, smoke in the retail store where you bought your weed, nor can you smoke in public spaces. (Uh, don't ask us where you're supposed to smoke it.)

    How much weed can I legally have on me?

    You can buy up to an ounce of dried marijuana. State law also allows 16 ounces of pot-infused solids, or 72 ounces of pot-infused liquids or 7 grams of concentrated marijuana, like hashish.

    Can I take the pot I purchased back into Canada?

    Carrying pot over the border is still illegal, says The Canada Border Services Agency. If you're caught you could be arrested and face charges, reports Global News. In fact, the marijuana cannot even cross state lines; it must remain in Washington.

    With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

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    ROSEBUD, ALBERTA -- I was in town to check out Rosebud Theatre and I wasn't sure what to expect.

    This is one of Alberta's premier entertainment companies and the only professional rural theatre in the province. It has a solid reputation for high-quality live performances but I had never heard of it in my life. And I'm guessing neither had you. Can anyone blame us? Seriously, how could something that good be this hidden?

    The hamlet of Rosebud is truly a little dot in the middle of Alberta's Badlands. I could tell you that you're going to be blown away by this tiny locale. I could tell you that you'll be awestruck by the architecture and chaos of a thriving, "hold onto your hat" community.

    The truth? No outstanding architecture here, although there are nice buildings with a unique, welcome-home feel. Chaos? The only chaos that will cause you to hold onto your hat is a strong wind. And the fact there is supposedly a renowned theatre here didn't make much sense because from what I could see there were only a handful of buildings around Rosebud's few intersections. This place couldn't be more country if Travis Tritt himself showed up for a beer and the only thing that seemed to be missing from this picture were stereotypical tumbleweeds.

    No, Rosebud probably won't blow you away -- at first. But park your car, stretch your legs, meet the people, check out one of the galleries or gift shops, enjoy a buffet at Rosebud Mercantile or a tart at the Thorny Rose Cafe next door...and then take in a play at the theatre and you'll quickly discover why Rosebud is one of the province's favourite stops.

    It's fair to say that my outlook had been hardened somewhat by past experiences. If we're going to call a spade a spade, small-town productions tend to be mediocre at best. But as I watched Rosebud Theatre's brilliant performance of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" on stage for the first time, I began to quickly see why so many people from Alberta make the trip to Rosebud, located 35 kilometres southwest of Drumheller (a 25-minute drive) and 100 km (one-hour drive) northeast of the Calgary airport.

    The theatre has been around for 30 years and started out as a part of Rosebud School of the Arts. Among the many awards Rosebud Theatre has received is Travel Alberta's "Alberta Pride" ALTO Award, the Rural Tourism Champion award and recognition from the Rozsa Awards. The theatre produces four mainstage shows, attracting more than 35,000 patrons per year to the hamlet of about 100 people. Every year, these fans make a point of getting out to Rosebud to see the latest play that this talented group of actors and supporting crew have to present. The productions are complemented by dining, art galleries, museums, and shopping. This year, director of production and general manager Mark Lewandowski makes it clear that what's being served up is a heaping helping of chicken.

    "We just closed 'Diary of Anne Frank', which went really well for us. We've opened on our studio stage 'I, Claudia', which was a student final project," says Lewandowski. "All of our students are required to complete a final project in their final year as part of graduation. And our artistic director liked this play so much, it was so impactful, that he wanted to see it in our season, so that more people could have a chance to see it.

    "We're also opening up our home-grown summer blockbuster, which is called Chickens. It was written by one of our graduates 20 years ago, and the music was done by a number of people here in Rosebud. It's a story about a guy who is losing his farm. One day he gets seduced by a chicken at a farm auction and he brings her home," Lewandowski says of the play written by Lucia Frangione.

    Story by Rod Charles, Writer.

    To read the rest of the story on, click here.

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    A woman was clipped by a Lamborghini pace car as she was trying to cross the street at a Vancouver cycling event.

    The woman was a race official for the Gastown Grand Prix, a one-day event that closes part of downtown Vancouver, reported CTV News.

    Corey Coates, who captured video of Wednesday's incident (above), said on Facebook that people were allowed to cross the empty race course after a bike group had passed, but the woman "just took too long."

    She reportedly suffered minor injuries, said CBC News, while the mirror of the sports car was knocked off the passenger side.

    The Gastown Grand Prix features a 60-kilometre men's race and 42-kilometre women's race.

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    A luxury tent resort on Vancouver Island has cracked a top 10 list of the world's most expensive hotels.

    The Clayoquot Wilderness Resort near Tofino charges an average nightly rate of US$3,681 (C$3,923) during the high-demand summer, making it the eighth priciest hotel in the world, and the costliest in North America, according to a survey by

    And there's a three-night minimum stay.

    The resort takes glamping (that's glamourous camping) to a grand scale. Guests stay in elegant safari-style tents decorated with antiques, king-size beds, remote-controlled propane wood stoves, and ensuite bathrooms. Gourmet meals feature locally caught wild salmon and scallops, and produce from the on-site organic garden.

    The secluded hotel can be reached only via a 45-minute private seaplane transfer from Vancouver, or a 30-minute boat ride from Tofino.

    Story continues after slideshow:

    Located within the 350,000-hectare Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve (a UNESCO site), you can catch salmon and halibut, ride horses into the old-grown rainforest, kayak in the Bedwell River and hike.

    The award-winning hotel takes its location and environmental responsibility seriously, with gravity-fed turbines, recycling and waste composting systems, and "non-intrusive and conservancy-driven" marine and land adventures. It's also funded a salmon stream restoration program and wildlife studies in the area.

    B.C.'s Queen Charlotte Lodge, a luxury salmon fishing destination, ranked at number 20 on the world list.

    The world's most expensive hotel is the North Island Lodge, a private island resort in the Seychelles which charges an average nightly rate of US$6,559.

    The travel site looked at the average rate for a couple between July 1 to August 31, 2014.

    Top 10 most expensive hotels in the world

    1. North Island Lodge (Mahe, Seychelles)6,995

    2. Fregate Island (Seychelles)5,246

    3. Laucala Resort (Taveuni, Fiji)5,040

    4. Khwai River Lodge (Okavango Delta, Botswana)3,800

    5. Savute Elephant Camp (Chobe, Botswana)3,800

    6. Eagle Island Camp (Okavango Delta, Botswana)3,800

    7. Singita Sasakwa Lodge (Serengeti, Tanzania)3,700

    8. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort (Vancouver Island, Canada)3,681

    9. Le Dune, Forte Village Resort (Sardinia, Italy)3,114

    10. Mnemba Island Lodge (Zanzibar, Tanzania)3,100


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    false killer whale rescue

    VANCOUVER - Efforts are underway to save a young false killer whale calf which has washed ashore on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

    The distressed cetacean was found in poor condition Thursday morning on North Chesterman Beach.

    The Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre has recovered the whale and was planning to assess and begin treating it.

    A picture of the dark grey whale posted on Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne’s Facebook page shows it to be about a metre in length.

    The centre says a false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) is distinct from the killer whale (Orcinus orca) and is only rarely sighted in B.C. waters.

    The centre rescues stranded marine mammals and rehabilitates them for release back into their natural habitat.

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    © Embratur

    So, you didn't make it to Brazil for the World Cup? No worries! The South American nation's beautiful beaches, cosmopolitan cities and natural wonders are worth the trip no matter when you decide to go. Hotel search trivago brings you just a few of the "Brazillion" must-see sights in and around the 12 cities that took centre stage during the tournament.

    © kamillok via Fotolia

    What to do: Take in the city's natural beauty while walking through the second largest urban park in Brazil, the Parque das Dunas. A bevy of museums, a historic center dotted with colonial architecture and the largest cashew tree in the world are also must-see sights in the city.

    Getaway: Just a few kilometres from Natal, Pipa Beach (seen above) is one of the most famous and cosmopolitan Brazilian beaches, thanks to crystal-clear waters, white sand and stunning 10-meter-high cliffs.

    © Fernando Dall'Acqua via Flickr

    What to do: Colorful houses, historic monuments and streets steeped in history await you in Salvador's historic center. Known as the Pelourinho, the UNESCO World Heritage Site gives visitors a glimpse into life in South America during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

    Getaway: For those who prefer the water over history, Praia do Forte beach is an hour drive from the city. The Estrada do Coco (Coconut Road) will lead visitors to more than 11 kilometres of beaches and several natural pools formed by the reefs along the coast.

    © Embratur

    What to do: Manaus may be an isolated metropolis in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, but there is much to see and do here. The Mercado Adolpho Lisboa -- the city's largest market -- the Rio Negro Palace cultural center, Amazon Opera House, Adolpho Ducke Botanical Garden, museums and countless shopping centers will keep you very busy during your stay.

    Getaway: As the largest city in the Amazon rainforest, Manaus is the perfect jumping-off point for cruises on the Amazon River (seen above), jungle tours, fishing excursions and more, which depart from the city daily.

    © Beach Park

    What to do: Fortaleza may not be on your travel radar, but it is a favourite among Brazilian tourists. It's no wonder; historic landmarks, world-class shopping, urban beaches and more are all at your fingertips. A must-try while in town -- buggy-riding and sandboarding down the city's famous dunes.

    Getaway: Head to nearby Beach Park (seen above) -- the largest aquatic park in South America and home of the biggest free-fall in the world. Thrill seekers won't be disappointed by this 135 foot high water slide!

    © Recife Dept. of Tourism

    What to do: Known as the "Venice of Brazil," visitors to Recife may feel like they've landed in Europe instead of South America. A stroll through Old Recife to see the city's many museums, cathedrals and historic architecture is a must. Looking for more excitement? Recife's many dance clubs, bars and beach parties will keep you more than entertained.

    Getaway: Lovers of history and culture should travel just a few kilometers from Recife to the colonial village of Olinda, famous for its historic architecture and "Frevo Dance," which was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2012.

    © Embratur

    What to do: Belo Horizonte is the bar capital of Brazil, so after a quick toast of Caipirinha at one of the more than 12,000 neighborhood bars, make sure to visit the Minas Gerais Museum of Natural History and Botanic Garden and the city's Pampulha district - home to Mineirão stadium -- one of the world's largest soccer stadiums.

    Getaway: Take a day trip to Ouro Preto (seen above). The UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its cobblestone streets and Baroque architecture is a mere 1.5 hour drive.

    © filipefrazao via Fotolia

    What to do: The gorgeous Neo-Gothic style São Paulo See Metropolitan Cathedral (seen above) is a must-see. Meanwhile, soccer fans that didn't make it to the World Cup can still get their football fix at the city's Museu do Futebol (Soccer Museum), which is housed under the stands of Pacaembu Stadium. The 1.7 acre museum walks visitors through the history of Brazilian soccer via interactive video installations and memorabilia.

    Getaway: A 2.5 hour drive from São Paulo, Campos do Jordão is a Mantiqueira Mountain getaway for locals that boasts European-style architecture, hiking, mountain biking and even the occasional snowfall.

    © sfmthd via Fotolia

    What to do: On a clear and sunny day, visit Ipanema or Copacabana beaches, hike to the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue and take a cable car ride to the top of Morro do Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) for a panoramic view of the city. Wrap up your visit by watching the sunset at Arpoador Beach.

    Getaway: If you have time, plan a day trip or weekend getaway to either Angra dos Reis, Armação dos Búzios, Paraty and Cabo Frio - three nearby resort towns that offer spectacular beaches and a respite from the busy streets of Rio.

    © Embratur

    What to do: Designed by internationally-renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1956, Brasília boasts some of the world's finest modern architecture. Visit the Catedral de Brasília (seen above), a breathtaking concrete and glass cathedral. A walk around Paranoá Lake is the perfect way to see many of other engineering wonders, including the presidential palace and the University of Brasília.

    Getaway: Want to escape the city? Take a two-hour bus ride from Brasilia to Formosa, a small town with access to Salto de Itiquira -- a gorgeous public park with a 295-foot waterfall and swimming holes.

    © Embratur

    What to do: A visit to Porto Alegre isn't complete without stopping by the city's Usina do Gasômetro (seen above). The former power plant that was converted into a center for arts and culture is also the perfect spot to take in a sunset over the Guaíba River. Another not-to-miss is the Porto Alegre Public Market, which is a famous meeting place for locals catching up over coffee or dinner.

    Getaway: Take a day trip to either Gramado or Canela, two popular tourist towns for Brazilians during winter. They are also home to some of the best chocolate factories in the country.

    © Embratur

    What to do: Take a stroll through one or more of the 15 parks and 33 preservation areas around the city, including the Botanical Garden. During your walking tour, must-see sights include the Wire Opera House (seen above) and the Oscar Niemeyer Museum, which was designed by the famous architect and houses artists' work from around Brazil.

    Getaway: The Curitiba-Paranaguá Train journey -- a 100 kms scenic trip by rail through the mountains of Serra do Mar - departs from Curitaba regularly and is one of the best ways to see Brazil's coastal mountain range.

    © Embratur

    What to do: Visit the Basilica do Senhor Bom Jesus de Cuiabá, a beautiful cathedral in the heart of the city that features Art Deco design and gorgeous stained glass windows. Then, head to the heart of Cuiabá -- Praça de República -- for a walking tour of the city's many museums, shops and restaurants.

    Getaway: Outdoor enthusiasts should travel 65 kilometers from Cuiabá to the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park (seen above), home to waterfalls, rock formations, hiking trails and caves filled with crystal clear water.

    Inspired to visit Brazil and need a place to stay?

    Find your ideal hotel at the best price here.


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    As a single woman who owns a dog, it can be challenging to pack-up and go whenever the wanderlust desires. Dog sitting services add-up and it can be quite an inconvenience to travel with a dog.

    I am not alone.

    With one third of the households in Canada owning dogs and, according to the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada, about half of Canadian households have some kind of pet, that's a lot of people who need to make arrangements for their pets while they travel. The good news is the travel and tourism industry has been waking up and creating enticing offerings so people can travel with their furry loved ones.


    Ontario's Deerhurst Resort is one of them, with their pet-friendly policy that is designed to help guests and their pets stay with ease and comfort. Although I have never stayed at a hotel before with a dog, I wanted to give it a go. And so, my sheepdog, Bob, and I took a road trip in my Smart car and headed to the resort north of Toronto for an adventure -- and learned a few things along the way.

    Here are 10 tips for anyone traveling and staying at a hotel with a dog:

    1. Ensure Your Dog is Safely Strapped In - If you are taking a road trip, strap your dog in with a seatbelt harness designed for canines -- not only for the safety of your dog, but for your own safety as well. Or if your vehicle is large enough (mine isn't), have your dog travel in a crate.


    2. Make Many Pit Stops -- If traveling by car, be sure to take many breaks from driving - more than you think you need. Dogs get restless when traveling and that adds to your stress. Service centres are ideal to walk the dog around to stretch legs and do its business, and you can top-up plastic containers with fresh cold water.

    3. Get Organized -- Think through all the things your dog needs and uses on a daily basis, such as water and food bowls, and create a checklist in advance. When we arrived at the resort, I had realized I forgot to pack Bob's bowls (the staff were kind enough to provide some).

    4. Traveling with Raw Food -- If you feed your dog raw food, contact the place you are staying to see if you can keep the food in a fridge. Of course this depends on the distance you are traveling and how long you are staying. Bob eats mostly raw, but when I travel with him, I pack a high-grade kibble and/or freeze dried meat, and snacks that would not go bad. If you are going for longer stays, make daily trips to the local grocery store to ensure food safety.

    5. Clean Up After Your Dog -- Yes, the poop 'n scoop principle still applies when you travel. Be considerate of the places you are staying, even if you think no-one is watching.


    6. Plenty of Exercise -- Before you depart, and as soon as you arrive at your destination, take your dog out for a long walk or run. Let him/her sniff around the grounds and burn off some energy.

    7. Plan Ahead for Separation Anxiety -- Think ahead about how you are going to handle leaving the dog in the hotel room when you go for meals, etc. to avoid separation anxiety and nuisance barking. If you are staying in a hotel or resort, you probably will not be able to take your pooch into the dining areas. If your dog barks while you are away, that will disrupt other guests and may cause problems for you with the hotel staff. Check to see if the hotel has dog-sitting services.

    8. Follow the Hotel's Rules -- Every hotel will have its own pet policy. Check in advance as to their do's and don'ts. Some may have a "you damage, you pay" policy.

    9. Call in Advance -- It's best to call in advance to determine if a hotel you plan to stay at is pet-friendly. While more hotels and resorts are accepting pets, not all do.

    10. Keep the Dog Calm -- Above all, do your best to keep your dog calm at all times. Not only will the hotel's staff appreciate it, so will the other guests.

    With some planning ahead and wise decision-making, you can have the freedom to travel with you dog -- and an enjoyable experience overall.

    * photos of Bob taken at Deerhurst Resort, with his permission, of course.

    This article originally appeared at


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    BANFF, Alta. - Visitors planning to drive along a major highway in the Alberta Rockies may face delays due to a wildfire.

    Parks Canada says a 20-kilometre stretch of Highway 93 North, also called the Icefields Parkway, just south of the junction with Highway 11 could be closed from 2 p.m. local time to 7 a.m. daily so fire crews can try to contain the Spreading Creek fire.

    Lightning started the fire at the boundary between Banff National Park and the province of Alberta on July 3 and it has since grown to 25 square kilometres.

    Parks Canada spokeswoman Tania Peters says they are trying to help shippers and tourists plan their trips so they don't face long delays.

    On Monday, the section of highway from Saskatchewan Crossing to Waterfowl campground was closed at 2 p.m. and will reopen Tuesday morning at 7 a.m.

    Peters says it's challenging because the fire is unpredictable, so if conditions put the public at risk, the highway will have to be closed.

    "In an effort to minimize disruptions, our goal is to have the Icefields Parkway open as long as it is safe to do so. So there's potential for delays or closures any time, but it's highest after 2 p.m. until 7 a.m."

    It's the busiest time of the year for Banff and Jasper national parks.

    Peters said the best place to get up to date road information is the website

    Ground and aerial crews are trying to prevent the fire from spreading west across Highway 93.

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    Summer is coming. While that seems like an unfathomable concept after mountains of snow from a brutal winter, it is, in fact, true. However brief summer always seems to be, the reprieve from the wintry blues with heat, sun, and endless vacation possibilities is always welcome.

    With that in mind, why not gear up for a vacation near a watery good time? Relaxing at a cottage with some pals or a good book feels great, but what if it were near an ocean or lake? With dunking, cannonballing and lazy swimming days in sight, it’s time to pull out that bathing suit from the back of your closet.

    Start planning your summer with a list of the best waterside vacations:

    1. Parlee Beach, NB
    Located in the northeast bit of the Atlantic province, Parlee Beach appeals to new and seasoned visitors. The 1 km oceanside spot sees thousands of sun and sand worshippers on any given day lounging lazily by the warmest salt water in the country.

    After soaking up some rays, head to the nearby town of Shediac to see the World’s Biggest Lobster in the lobster capital of the world.

    2. Grand Bend, ON
    Leave the city blues behind and drive to a waterside paradise on Lake Huron. Ontario lakes provide the necessary relief city dwellers and suburban residents need in the summer and the Grand Bend community is one of the best during the summer months.

    The Lambton County spot has a regular population of 2,000 but it grows to over 50,000 in the summer as visitors inhabit its beach and cottage spots, while enjoying its local market flair. Grand Bend has over 48 km of continuous beaches and warm water to enjoy.

    3. Lake Champlain, QC/Vermont
    Explore the best of what North America has to offer all in one place. Lake Champlain is located within the borders of Vermont but is positioned across the Canada-U.S. border in Quebec and there are some parks for enjoyment on the New York state side of it as well.

    Enjoy the sights and sounds and adventures of the Adirondacks with the vast lake that’s perfect for fishing, boating, and more!

    4. Toronto Island, ON
    Sometimes escaping to a peaceful island destination doesn’t take much more than hopping on a subway and getting on a ferry. The Toronto Islands offer to city and suburban inhabitants. They give visitors a brief dreamy reprieve before heading back to the daily grind of the metropolis.

    Highlights on the island include the Centreville Amusement Park where fun can be found for just about anyone, or the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse where you can see the oldest stone building in Toronto. End your day by relaxing on the beach, looking out at the sparkling blueness of Lake Ontario, and enjoying soaking up the city skyline from your nearby "vacation" spot.

    5. English Bay Beach, BC
    Meanwhile in the other metropolis of the country, Vancouver has English Bay Beach as a summer escape for locals and visitors.

    The most popular beach spot in the city, the hot spot also features an icy Polar Bear Swim in the winter -- proof that a beach can still be the place to be no matter what the season. The Stanley Park Seawall runs along side the east side of the beach, so if sitting isn’t your thing, maybe take a run or go for a bike ride.

    6. Grand Beach, MB
    Find a little bit of freshwater peace in the Prairies. Grand Beach is located on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg on the northern part of Grand Maraise, MB. Enjoy a myriad of activities along three kilometres of white sand with bordering sand dunes that rise upwards of 12 metres.

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    For the first time in 21 years, thousands of First Nations people from across the continent have canoed their way to B.C.'s Bella Bella island for the Qatuwas, or "people gathering together."

    Also known as the Tribal Journey, the Qatuwas is an annual event that unites coastal First Nations from Canada and the United States for a week of exploring and sharing their cultures with each other.

    The Qatuwas was founded by residents of Bella Bella in 1993, which is the only time it's been held there until now.

    "They just wanted to bring back our old ways of gathering together, and our only transportation back then was to travel by canoe," Liz Wilson, a member of Bella Bella's Heiltsuk Nation, tells The Huffington Post B.C. "They just wanted to bring that back into our tradition, our culture; just to get all nations together to share their different cultures, language, and stories."

    Because participants are coming from all over North America, some canoe trips last for weeks. This year, it took a Hawaiian community three weeks to arrive in Bella Bella.

    Story continues below slideshow:

    Wilson estimates that representatives from 20 communities are in Bella Bella for the gathering, totalling between 2,000 and 4,000 visitors. Bella Bella has a population of 1,500.

    Once all the groups arrived, they floated together and took turns asking a Bella Bella chief for permission to come ashore. The visitors then set up camp, while elders and families with babies were billeted with hosts.

    A different community hosts breakfast and dinner every day of the week-long event, which began on Sunday and runs until Saturday. This gives everyone else a chance to get to know them and their culture.

    "I was 13 in '93 and I volunteered," says Wilson. "Now I'm 35 and I have a 14-year-old daughter who's volunteering.

    "For me I'm just amazed with everything that's going on, being able to see the different cultures and hear the different languages," she continues. "[Both] meeting new people and seeing familiar faces from '93 — connecting and reconnecting."

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    PARIS - Restaurant-goers in France will start seeing a funny little symbol on their menus this week: a skillet with a house on top, indicating your menu choice is made in-house.

    It's part of a new law meant to battle against the surprising amount of factory-made, pre-packaged food in French restaurants, and celebrate the country's culinary traditions.

    However, many in the industry say the law doesn't go far enough, because it allows dishes made from frozen, pre-peeled or pre-cut products to count as home-made.

    France's chief of consumer affairs, Carole Delga, told The Associated Press that the logo would better inform customers about what they're getting, and highlight restaurants' craftsmanship.

    "It's about sending a message that France is a country where we eat well, where we have skills, especially cooking skills," she said. "We wanted to give concrete tools for tourists and for French people, and recognize cooking as an integral part of our French identity."

    While UNESCO put French cuisine on its World Heritage List in 2010, two recessions in recent years have driven more and more French chefs to resort to pre-packaged food to cut costs. And France is a champion of industrial food, with companies specialized in frozen foods or dishes that can be prepared quickly and look homemade.

    Alain Dutournier, cook and spokesman for the Culinary College of France, a non-profit supporting French gastronomy, is among those who think the law makes it too easy for restaurants to claim a dish is home-made.

    "It's really not very serious. I thought it would be more rigorous and precise," he said. "Once again they are choosing to serve the interest of the food-processing industry."

    Diners at Crom'Exquis, a restaurant in Paris' 8th arrondissement, gave the new law mixed reviews. Anne-Laure Bernard called it "a great tool."

    There is an exception for potatoes. Dubbed by French media the "McDonald's exception," it means that no one making French fries out of pre-peeled potatoes can claim to be "home-made."

    Parliament approved the law March 17, and it came into effect this week. Restaurants and catering companies have until Jan. 1 to adapt their menus.

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    WARNING: Spoiler Alert! Do not read on unless you've seen "Amazing Race Canada" Season 2, Episode 2. Unless you like spoilers, then go right ahead!

    How hard is "The Amazing Race Canada"?

    Poor Shawn had to bow out of the competition after a surfing accident left him with a dislocated shoulder. Minutes earlier, we're shown Rex and Bob taking not one, but two time penalties for voluntarily opting out of both the surfing and seemingly simple driftwood chair-building task. After a six-hour punishment, they're still in it, but they've certainly lost face.

    For those keeping score:

    Tofino, B.C.: 2. "The Amazing Race Canada": 0.

    We know the race is the ultimate battle of endurance and stamina, but does it have to be this brutal for the competitors? Shahla and Nabeela were "medically eliminated" last week, and now that the show is Hong Kong-bound (a poorly-kept secret, thanks to Instagram and "dark social") -- is more trouble on the way?

    Regardless, the editors gave us quite the tease of how the episode would play out within the first five minutes.

    "Heading out in last place is not the ideal position to be in, but we have nothing to lose," said Jen, Shawn's wife, and fellow Haligonian. A good attitude, but famous last words for the racer.

    Of course, this also followed Rex's proclamation of, "I think third is a great place, and if we're not total idiots, we'll still be here today!"

    But were Rex and Bob “total idiots” for taking the double penalties? According to the ballet dancer’s Twitter page, their version of the surfing challenge was harder than the others.

    “I was in deeper water than all other teams we didn't quit !!! #bad edit @AmazingRaceCDA @RexAndBob,” Rex tweeted.

    Holy s*** editing makes us look soo bad !!! But surf challenge was not clear @AmazingRaceCDA @RexAndBob we were. 1st!! …. It's a reality show people we didn't give up #therulesrntequal.”

    If Rex is right, this was a colossal time management misstep by the show’s producers. We get it -- fish are gross, and that "Sharp Knives" vs. "Sharp Eyes" Detour was confusing because the teams kept switching sides. But, it didn’t need that much exposition, at least not for every team. Pierre and Michel are butchers, and are adorably playing for their father – the patriarch of their family business. Cute! Laura and Jackie are vegetarians, and are grossed out by the seafood. Sukhi and Jinder “know biology” but can’t sort fish properly on the first try. Alain and Audrey are worrying about running out of fish to fillet, when they’re surrounded by “angles.” Let’s move on.

    We should have seen more about why Rex and Bob couldn't carry their tasks and Roadblocks to completion. It would have also been great to spend just three extra minutes with Jen and Shawn, to delve deeper into their heartbreaking end of the road.

    Perhaps the race’s temporary move to China will be the "Chevrolet Volt" it needs to boost its energy, and pump up the positivity.

    In the meantime, Natalie and Meaghan are stomping through the competition. Finishing in first for the second leg straight, these two are clearly the team to beat -- with a killer instinct and tenacity that pushes them through fish frustration.

    "We've had a little bit of down time since the Olympics," Meaghan said. "I know I've been missing the competition."

    Aside from the Olympians, we’re also getting a taste of the racers’ personalities.

    Montreal dating duo Alain and Audrey prefer to bicker in French, and Mickey and Pete are amateur stand-up comics who make us laugh. Sukhi and Jinder are goofballs, too, but their excessive showboating is already starting to get in the way of their track record -- running to get their Chevrolet Volt charged, when it actually had 453 km left on it. Sigh.

    Hopefully next week, we’ll see if the "fishy turn" in Tofino was just a bump in the road. It should be interesting to see what happens to the teams when the native language isn't English (or French).

    Episode 1 Recap
    Episode 1 Review

    "Amazing Race Canada" Season 2 premieres on Tuesday, July 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

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    From the country that brought you a man-made island shaped like a palm tree and the world's tallest skyscraper comes something even more ambitious: a space agency built from scratch that will send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2021.

    To commemorate the 50th anniversary of its formation, the United Arab Emirates has announced it will lead the Arab world's first mission to another planet, according to Arabian Business.

    "The UAE Mars probe represents the Islamic world’s entry into the era of space exploration," said the UAE's president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. "We will prove that we are capable of delivering new scientific contributions to humanity."

    There are no estimates on the cost of the agency and mission, but the oil-rich country has already dropped 20 billion dirhams (approximately $5.9 billion Canadian) on space technologies and satellites, according to The National.

    The project will no doubt be a monumental challenge considering Dubai will host the World Expo — which authorities expect will cost $8.4 billion to organize — in 2020, just a year prior to the mission's planned date.

    But the country seems to feed off insanely ridiculous challenges, according to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, vice president (and prime minister) of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.

    “We chose the epic challenge of reaching Mars because epic challenges inspire us and motivate us," he said. "The moment we stop taking on such challenges is the moment we stop moving forward.”

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    They're real and they're spectacular.

    This is Mount Thor on Baffin Island in Nunavut

    mount thor 1
    (Nestor Lewyckyj)

    It has the world's highest vertical drop

    mount thor nunavut

    That's 1,250 metres, straight down. The CN Tower is 553 metres tall

    mount thor 2
    (Nestor Lewyckyj)

    This is Abraham Lake in Alberta

    lake abraham
    (Flickr: matlacha)

    The artificially created body of water looks pretty unreal in the summer...

    lake abraham

    ... But in the winter it looks like this

    lake abraham ice

    lake abraham ice cp

    Because a lake of ice bubbles is a real thing

    lake abraham ice
    (Flickr: Fred Dunn)

    lake abraham ice 2
    (Flickr: Fred Dunn)

    lake abrham cp 3

    This is the Manicouagan crater in Quebec


    It's around 215 million years old and holds the title for largest visible impact crater on Earth


    The massive Daniel-Johnson Dam turns the crater into an enormous reservoir


    That is easily seen from space


    But it's far from the only crazy Canadian impact site

    This is Pingualuit crater in Quebec


    It's around 3.5 kilometres in diameter...


    ... And 1.4 million years old. That's a toddler in crater years


    It also looks pretty crazy from space


    nasa 900

    These are pingos in the Northwest Territories

    (Flickr: DParsons1)

    The mounds are actually massive hunks of ice covered in earth


    (Flickr: Tania Liu)

    When they melt they look like this


    This is the Sleeping Giant in Ontario

    sleeping giant
    (Flickr: Calypso Orchid)

    And this is what it looks like from a helicopter


    This is the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

    bay of fundy

    It has the highest tidal range in the world

    bay of fundy cp

    The difference between low and high tide can be as much as 16 metres. That's roughly the height of a five-storey building

    bay of fundy

    high tide
    (Flickr: Gillian)

    This is Nahanni National Park in the N.W.T.



    It's basically "The Land Before Time"


    Mixed with the "Lord of the Rings"



    Virginia Falls in Nahanni is roughly twice as high as Niagara Falls


    This is Spotted Lake in B.C.

    spotted lake

    Mineral concentrations cause the crazy colours

    spotted lake

    spotted lake bc

    spotted lake bear
    (Flickr: Chris Wenger)

    This is the sky in Saskatchewan



    Sometimes it looks scary

    sask sky 4

    Other times it's stunningly beautiful

    saskatchewan clouds

    saskatchewan clouds

    There's a reason they call it the "Land of the Living Skies"

    saskatchewan clouds

    This is the Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland & Labrador

    morne 2
    (Flickr: Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism)

    No, this is not Iceland

    (Flickr: Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism)

    It's better

    morne 3
    (Flickr: Emmanuel Milou)

    This is a glacial cave in Jasper National Park in Alberta

    ice cave canada2

    And this one is in the Pemberton Ice Fields in B.C.

    ice cave canada 3

    This cave is on Devon Island in Nunavut

    glacier 1
    (Angus Duncan)

    It's actually a channel inside a melting glacier

    glacier 2
    (Angus Duncan)

    And there's lots of melting to go around...

    melted glacier
    (Angus Duncan)

    Which is an important reminder that not all of Canada's natural wonders will last forever. See them now before they're gone

    We know we missed many, many surreal spots in Canada. You can email them to us here.

    Follow Michael Bolen on Twitter

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    CALGARY - There were no injuries when a tire on a WestJet flight headed to New York blew just before takeoff.

    People on board flight 1680 Wednesday morning say the plane started shaking badly and they heard a loud bang.

    The pilots were able to stop the plane without incident.

    The passengers stayed on the 737 while crews inspected the damage and technicians replaced the tire and checked out the brakes.

    The aircraft was then taxied back to the terminal so the passengers could be placed on another flight leaving a few hours later.

    Passenger Greg Norris says the inflight crew kept the passengers updated and passed out water as people waited for the plane to be serviced.

    “We slowed down right away," said Norris. "The pilot handled it really well and we came to a stop on the runway and they came on and said, `yep, we’ve blown a tire.'

    “Everybody was fine, so it wasn’t that traumatic or anything like that, but it was different from a normal takeoff."


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