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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    If this isn't cause for a nice big glass of delicious wine, we're not sure what is.

    B.C.'s glorious Okanagan Valley has been named the world's second best wine region to visit by readers of USA Today and travel and lifestyle website 10Best.

    Wine expert Kerry Woolard describes the region famous for its white and ice wines as "drop dead gorgeous," says the site.

    "Tucked between two mountain ranges, about a four drive from Vancouver, Okanagan Valley enjoys a rural character, dramatic vistas and abundant outdoor adventures to occupy the time between tastings."

    Alentejo, Portugal took the top spot, with Maipo, Chile rounding out the top three. See the full list here.

    Cheers, everybody!


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    If you think the only restaurant scene in southern Ontario is in Toronto, then you obviously haven't visited Hamilton for a meal.

    The Hammer (or Steeltown, if you prefer) has exploded in the past few years with a number of amazing restaurants and events that celebrate Ontario's bounty, while remaining incredibly community-oriented.

    "It's very rare to find so many businesses at different stages of their success, from brand new ventures getting off the ground and beloved institutions, and everyone seems accessible," says Dave Hanley, owner of Pop Up Hamilton and occasional food writer for Hamilton Magazine. "There's a very strong neighbourhood feeling. There's a feeling that if one of us succeeds, all of us will succeed."

    Hanley's company, which creates four-to-six course pop-up dinners at inventive locations, has worked with many chefs in town for their sold-out events. Though they initially had to hunt around for their cooks, now Hanley says they build their events around the chef, instead of vice versa.

    And that includes chefs like Jonny Blonde, whose barbecue food truck helped lead the way for the city's street food revolution, now celebrated as one of the best in Canada. More evidence of Hamilton's carnivorous roots comes in the form of MeatVentures MeatWagon, another favoured food truck.

    "The food truck community is very supportive of each other," says Hanley. "They send a lot of business each others' way. It's a very authentic city."

    The Huffington Post Canada came up with a list of the best sit-down restaurants in Hamilton, from the very high end to the messiest of great bar food. Take a look at our choices, and let us know — what did we miss?

    Chuck's Burger Bar
    Where: 194 Locke St. S.
    Type of food: Seriously impressive burgers. "Where burgers are concerned, I'd say [chef Chris Preston] is an artist," says Dave Hanley, owner of Pop Up Hamilton.
    How much: Burgers from $8 to $15; sides and appetizers from $3 to $11

    Jack and Lois
    Where: 301 James St. N.
    Type of food: Gourmet sandwiches and breakfast. "Their chefs have integrity, they’re really committed to innovation, they try a lot of things and succeed at most of them," says Hanley.
    How much: Sandwiches from $7 to $13; breakfast from $7 to $12

    Where: 61 Young St.
    Type of food: Adventurous carnivore (with a few veggie options). "Matt Kershaw is probably the single greatest chef in Ontario," says Hanley. "Simplicity kind of rules and yet he’s daring at the same time."
    How much: Dishes from $9 to $19

    Bread Bar
    Where: 194 Locke St. S.
    Type of food: Shared plates, burgers and pizza
    How much: Appetizers $6 to $15, burgers $9 to $13 (a mac and cheese burger!), pizza $13 to $15

    Cavallo Nero
    Where: 370 Wilson St. E.
    Type of food: Italian. "They manage to deliver high-end, really flavourful cuisine without any pretense," says Hanley.
    How much: Appetizers $6 to $12, pasta, pizza and mains between $12 and $30

    Where: 824 King St. W., 835 Paramount Drive (Stoney Creek)
    Type of food: The pizza is the real standout here
    How much: Pizza $7.50 to $14

    The Burnt Tongue
    Where: 10 Cannon St. E.
    Type of food: Soups, fresh cut fries, hamburgers, Rudy's paletas
    How much: From $4 to $10

    Where: 107 James St. N.
    Type of food: Mexican (obviously), vegan, vegetarian
    How much: Appetizers from $10 to $14.50, mains from $11.50 to $19

    Where: 246 King St. W.
    Type of food: Fine Mexican food
    How much: Appetizers from $5.50 to $10.75, mains $16 to $20

    The Purple Pear
    Where: 946 Barton St. E.
    Type of food: Steak, seafood and classic entrees
    How much: Appetizers $3.95 to $9.95, mains $12.95 to $39.95 (for twin lobster tail)

    Wild Orchid
    Where: 286 James St. N.
    Type of food: Portuguese, "masters of seafood," says Hanley.
    How much: Appetizers $5 to $15, mains $13 to $30

    Where: 16 Sydenham St. (Dundas)
    Type of food: Modern French, local ingredients. "The hallmark of exceptional," says Hanley.
    How much: Appetizers $9 to $24, mains $32 to $42

    NàRoma Pizza Bar
    Where: 215 Locke St. S.
    Type of food: Pizza. "Their dough-making process takes 72 hours," says Hanley. "You've never met a more passionate pizza maker [than owner Mario Spina] in your life."
    How much: Appetizers $4 to $9, pizzas $11 to $20 (plus more for 'party' size)

    Where: 47 King William St.
    Type of food: Peruvian
    How much: Appetizers $4 to $8, plates $9 to $25

    La Cantina Ristorante
    Where: 60 Walnut St. S.
    Type of food: Italian. "You go there at 7 and you just wind up staying until midnight," says Hanley.
    How much: Appetizers $6.50 to $14.95, mains $12.95 to $24.95

    Chicago Style Pizza
    Where: 534 Upper Sherman Ave.
    Type of food: Gooey, yummy pizza.
    How much: Pizza starting at $13.50 (with a lot of toppings and options to add)

    La Luna
    Where: 306 King St. W., 650 Concession St.
    Type of food: Lebanese. "It's a no-nonsense place with amazing food," says Hanley.
    How much: Appetizers $6.50 to $8, mains $5.30 to $24.95

    Papa Leo's Restaurant
    Where: 638 Concession St.
    Type of food: Breakfast and lunch (burgers, sandwiches) with a Portuguese influence, amazing specials
    How much: Breakfast $6.50 to $13, lunch $5 to $14

    La Piazza Allegra
    Where: 180 James St. S.
    Type of food: Italian
    How much: Appetizers $4 to $13, mains $14 to $24

    Twisted Lemon
    Where: 3 Norton St. W. (Cayuga)
    Type of food: Seasonally and locally inspired cuisine. "Chef Dan Megna is committed to the marriage of flavours," says Hanley.
    How much: Menu changes constantly, but approximately $16 for appetizers, $35 to $40 for mains

    The Aberdeen Tavern
    Where: 432 Aberdeen Ave.
    Type of food: Gastropub, comfort food. "They serve a duck confit Monte Cristo sandwich at brunch," says Hanley. "If that was a religion, you would just join it."
    How much: Shareable appetizers $4 to $17, mains $13 to $29

    Matsuri Sushi
    Where: 24 King St. E., Unit #36 (Dundas)
    Type of food: Sushi
    How much: Appetizers $4.95 to $15.95, rolls from $2.50, dishes $10.95 to $21.95

    The Ancaster Mill
    Where: 548 Old Dundas Rd. (Ancaster)
    Type of food: High-end dining with classic dishes. "Along with Quatrefoil, this is one of the more decadent dining experience you can have in the area," says Hanley.
    How much: Appetizers $10 to $16, mains $20 to $41

    The Ship
    Where: 23 Augusta St.
    Type of food: Pub, seafood and craft beers. "It's really kicked-up pub fare with influences from around the world without going overboard," says Hanley.
    How much: Appetizers $5 to $13, mains $11 to $15

    Detour Cafe
    Where: 41 King St. W. (Dundas)
    Type of food: This place started as a coffee roaster, then started serving brunch, then sandwiches, and now also has dinners on Fridays.
    How much: Breakfast $6 to $13, lunch $6.50 to $14

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    On the plane to Milan for a week's visit in northern Italy, my son declares that we should eat as much pizza as possible. He wants to make the most of being in the motherland of the savory pie.

    We begin casually, with an apizz here and a calzone there, but soon realize that to maximize the experience, we need to add troops and specialize. We enlist our friends and book a table for eight at a pizzeria known for the depth and breadth of its offerings.

    Located in the Piedmont region among hills dotted with cows just south of the Swiss border, it's no surprise that this welcoming kitchen focuses more on cheese than tomatoes. Down an alley off the main piazza in the villaggio of Mergozzo, the Fiore di Latte (Flowers of Milk) is named for a fresh day cheese similar to buffalo mozzarella.

    The friendly young Italians running this neat and tidy restaurant excel at invention -- each dish takes a tasty departure from the expected. Plates are turned out with flare and style, served onto long white tables running under hanging Alpine images of cows and flowers.

    The appetizer of Fiori di Zucca e Crema di Ricotta sets the bar high. Delicate zucchini blossoms, picked from the garden just before lunch, are stuffed with fresh ricotta (filled through a pastry bag so as not to stress the petals) and fried ever so lightly, tempura style. Served with a basil pesto, they are airy and delectable.

    The first pie is elegantly artless: Marinara con Acciughe. Anchovies lie randomly on a cheesy surface between San Marzano tomatoes, basil, and oregano -- a simple setting that lets the tiny fish shine.


    Pizza Vesuvio, named after the volcano, is a dramatic union of Napoletano calzone and Margherita. Half the pie, filled with salami, mozzarella and mushrooms, is folded over on itself, puffed up high and charred black on top. The flat half oozes with tomato and fior di latte, as if the molten insides are running out of the fiery cavern.


    Pizza Fritta is a ring of dough, lightly flash fried into a crisp crust and heaped with sliced figs, shaved crudo and clumps of soft blue cheese. The salty ham pairs well with the sweet figs, which complement the cheese, a milder cousin of gorgonzola dolce.


    The Cappello Del Prete (Hat of the Priest) is a showy pie. A rolled crust forms the rim of the priest's hat, and is stuffed with a pipeline of ricotta surrounding a centre of tomatoes, basil and schiacciata calabra -- thin slices of a Calabrian pork sausage. When the middle of the pie has cooled, a cut into the rolled rim still vents steam.


    The Rotolino Siculo is a pizza for people who like it really hot. The entire pie is rolled up, its savory filling of eggplant, mushroom, basil, ricotta and fior di latte kept warm interminably in the longboat crust.

    Washed down with several bottles of Sangiovese -- not a Piemonte wine but with generous tannins and acidity that make a good accompaniment to these cheesy concoctions -- the pies leave a good taste in the mouth, the prospect of a rosy afternoon. My son is smiling. He's gotten his wish.



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    It's been 10 years since the Olympic Summer Games took place in Athens, Greece.

    But if you saw what its venues looked like today, you'd think that many more decades had passed. Pictures captured by Getty photographer Milos Bicanski on July 31 show former Games venues that look positively haunted today.

    If you ever needed evidence to persuade your city NOT to host an Olympics, this is it.

    Olympic Baseball Stadium, Helliniko Olympic Complex

    athens olympic

    athens olympic

    athens olympic

    athens olympic

    athens olympic

    Olympic Canoe/Kayak Slalom Center, Helliniko Olympic Complex

    athens olympic

    athens olympic

    Helliniko Olympic Complex

    athens olympic

    athens olympic

    Olympic Hockey Stadium, Helliniko Olympic Complex

    athens olympic

    athens olympic

    Olympic Village

    athens olympic

    athens olympic

    Olympic Aquatic Center

    athens olympic

    athens olympic

    Olympic Softball Stadium, Helliniko Olympic Complex

    athens olympic

    Beach Volleyball Olympic Stadium

    athens olympic

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    An airplane aficionado from Red Deer, Alta. is selling a Royal Navy FA2 Sea Harrier jet on Kijiji with the hope a buyer could make it fly again.

    But you'll have to dig deep to make it yours: the price tag is a cool $1,500,000.

    Check out photos of the fighter jet. Story continues below slideshow:

    Ian Cotton bought the plane from the U.K. Royal Navy six years ago, CTV News reported.

    Last flown in 2001, the aircraft no longer has its gun or missile capabilities. And though it's described as being in "outstanding condition," the plane is in no shape to fly without some missing parts.

    "It’s about time to get rid of it, I haven’t had the time to spend renovating it," Cotton told the network.

    Cotton, a former Rolls Royce Aerospace employee who now owns a gas turbine company, has amassed an impressive collection of planes, QMI Agency reported.

    They include five additional fighter jets, three Hawker Hunters and an English Electric Lightning.

    Cotton told the outlet he estimates the Harrier jet would cost anywhere between $400,000 and $500,000 to fix, and would need a specially-trained pilot to put "the ultimate boy-toy" in the air once again.

    Numerous inquiries have been made, but no serious offers are outstanding, the news agency said.

    But this isn't the first time that a military jet has been put up for sale online.

    In 2007, a U.K. man bought a Sea Harrier ZX494 that had been used in the Falklands War off eBay for £10,000, and spent the next six years restoring it, The Telegraph reported.

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    KLEMTU, B.C. - A Japanese fishing vessel believed to be cast adrift in the 2011 tsunami disaster will soon find a new life as a tour boat exploring British Columbia's shores.

    The eight-metre-long craft was discovered in March 2013 washed ashore near Klemtu, on B.C.'s North Coast, and has since been repaired for launch into the tourism industry this month.

    Tim McGrady, the general manager of Spirit Bear Adventures, said they will use the vessel on tours of the Great Bear Rainforest, about 700 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.

    The boat, which has been renamed Japanese Drifter, was found with kanji markings and an intact engine, leading salvagers to believe it was washed away during the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that killed as many as 19,000 people.

    The disaster also triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

    McGrady, 49, said it's probable the boat was swept away during the disaster because it's rare for vessels with intact engines to be cast a drift unless they are washed away by waves.

    "It would be one thing if the boat was just found as an empty shell, but the boat was found with its engine on it," said McGrady "It clearly was functioning at some point before it left the harbour."

    "For the boat to drift away like that with the engine intact — it would be very unusual for that to happen on its own," he said. "It would've had to have been a catastrophic departure of the boat."

    McGrady said they were unsuccessful at finding the owner and realized it would be too expensive to return the boat even if they did find its rightful keeper.

    He's still hopeful he'll be able to connect with the original owner and said he thinks the owner would be proud to know his boat has found a new life.

    "There's this really deep, profound connection with a man and his boat," McGrady said. "When a man parts from his boat it's a serious event."

    "We would like to reach out and say, 'Hey we found your boat,'" he said. "We want you to know that we're looking after it, and we're putting it to good use and we would just like you to see that."

    The boat is about the length and width of two Honda Accords placed together from front to back and has been outfitted with a new engine.

    The fibreglass vessel was likely used for shoreline fishing because of its small size, McGrady said.

    Aside from routine repairs, the boat will not be changed from its original state.

    Kanji that was etched on the craft will remain, and no paint will be added, McGrady said.

    "We're going to try and keep it pretty much just as it is," he said.

    The vessel also has holes that cast off water entering the boat.

    This design was probably the reason it was able to make the trip from Japan to B.C., McGrady said.

    Spirit Bear Adventures takes many of its guests on bear-viewing tours, but McGrady believes this craft could specialize in wolf-spotting trips in a hard-to-reach watershed in the Klemtu area.

    Staff of Spirit Bear Lodge have posted images of the vessel on social media sites and have asked anyone who might know its original owner to come forward.

    Progress has been slow, McGrady said, but one woman from Japan has contacted the tour group on Facebook and said she would try to help locate the owner.

    "Finding that original owner can be a really magical thing and can establish a really magical connection between that person and this community," McGrady said.

    The Japanese government estimates 1.5 million tonnes of debris were swept into the Pacific Ocean when the tsunami struck.

    Heavier items sank close to Japanese shores while lighter debris was widely dispersed by ocean currents and winds, often forming clusters in the Pacific.


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    For nature lovers, Shark Week on Discovery is one of the most anticipated TV specials of the year. This year, Shark Week is especially pertinent to Canadians, as "Daily Planet" hosts Ziya Tong and Dan Riskin return early from hiatus for five special "Shark Week" episodes – featuring dozens of original Canadian "Shark Week" stories and content – from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Cape Cod, New Orleans, the Florida Keys, and the Bahamas.

    Each episode spotlights the planet’s biggest, most enigmatic species of sharks – including the basking shark, cow shark, great hammerhead shark, great white shark, blue shark, bull shark, blacktip shark, and even an extinct shark – the helicoprion.

    HuffPost Canada TV caught up with Tong and Riskin at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto, where we talked about the potential harm of tagging sharks, whether they ever get scared when they get in the water with the big predators, and where in Canada someone is most likely to see a shark.

    The "Daily Planet" Shark Week episodes premiere Monday, August 11 and run through Friday, August 15. All episodes are at 7 p.m. ET.

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    Did you take time to look up last night? The biggest moon of the year glowed over Canadian skies on Sunday, shining 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than the typical full moon.

    This was the closest the moon has been to Earth in nearly two decades, according to The Independent.

    If you missed last night's display, fear not. Here are some shots of the supermoon rising over B.C.

    Landscape photographer Yuichi Takasaka, who specializes in stunning Northern Lights images, shared this time lapse from his home in Lumby:

    supermoon bc 2014

    Seaside Signs captured these gorgeous shots and shared them with us via Instagram:

    supermoon bc 2014

    supermoon vancouver

    Jill Macneill captured the supermoon over the Skeena River in Prince Rupert:

    supermoon prince rupert

    And Shaun Klassen hung out with a deer to catch the sight:

    This particular supermoon also coincided with the annual Perseid meteor shower, which CBC News reports will peak on Tuesday. Supermoons typically appear in the sky every 13-and-a-half months, but it will make a final 2014 appearance on Sept. 9, before returning on Sept. 28, 2015.

    Check out more supermoon shots taken in B.C.:

    Want to share your B.C. supermoon photos? Email it to us.

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    We may be a country with "great oceans of car parks," but Canadians are also in love with walking around their cities — and finding places where they can easily do so.

    A 2013 survey from WalkScore (the company that rates neighbourhoods based on access to amenities by foot) put Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto in the top three spots, and unsurprisingly, each of these cities boasts a place where people can walk around without staying confined to the sidewalk.

    Besides being a pleasant way to check out more of your city, walking (especially regularly) can have big benefits in terms of fighting obesity and boosting mental health.

    In recent years, more cities are celebrating being car-free, closing off streets for certain points in the summer and letting people roam where they may. came up with a list that we at The Huffington Post Canada have added to, looking at the most pedestrian-friendly streets and areas in the country.

    Do you love this idea of a fully walkable area, or hate it? Check out these spots across the country where pedestrians rule (at least for a time), and let us know:

    St. John's, N.L.
    Where: George St.
    When: After 6 p.m., all year-round
    Any particular reason?: This is the heart of St. John's entertainment district, and also acts as the main stage for festivals and Mardi Gras

    Charlottetown, P.E.I
    Where: Victoria Row
    When: During the summer months
    Any particular reason?: A place for citizens to gather for music, food and general hanging out

    Dartmouth, N.S.
    Where: Portland Street and Prince Albert Road
    When: June 15 and August 24, 2014
    Any particular reason?: "It is about opening streets to a greater variety of transportation modes," via Switch Open Street Sundays.

    Where: Granville Mall
    When: All the time
    Any particular reason?: A shopping district created out of a former street

    Where: Ste-Catherine Street, between St-Hubert and Papineau
    When: From May 15 to September 1, 2014
    Any particular reason?: Making way for free art exhibits, street vendors as well as a backdrop for many restaurant patios, according to

    Quebec City
    Where: Petit Champlain district
    When: Always
    Any particular reason?: Narrow cobblestone streets — and tourist charm. Carefree Cities calls it the "one decent example of a carfree district" in North America.

    Mont-Tremblant, Que.
    Where: The village at the foot of the hill
    When: Always
    Any particular reason?: Tourism — it helps to create a "European-style village" feel, notes

    Where: Sparks St.
    When: All the time
    Any particular reason?: Open-air mall and festival venue

    Where: Yonge and Bloor Streets
    When: August 17 and 31, 2014
    Any particular reason?: For Open Streets TO, which will close these streets to cars, "promoting physical activity and exploring our city in healthy and fun ways."

    Also: Kensington Market in the summer, where the whole market is closed to cars on the last Sunday of the month

    Toronto Islands, Ont.
    Where: Just a ferry ride from downtown Toronto
    When: Always
    Any particular reason?: No space, no need

    Victoria Beach, Man.
    Where: An hour and a half north of Winnipeg (and yes, the whole city)
    When: June 20 to September 1, 2014 (and every summer)
    Any particular reason?: To maintain the resort-like feel of this community, which features beaches and is home to thousands of cottagers in the summer

    Where: Scarth Street Mall
    When: All the time
    Any particular reason?: Open-air mall

    Where: Stephen Ave. (8 Ave. SW)
    When: All the time
    Any particular reason?: A pedestrian shopping area, entertainment district

    Where: Granville Island
    When: Every weekend, from June 28 to Labour Day, 2014
    Any particular reason?: Part of Viva Vancouver's plan for the summer, which includes other areas of the city at other points.

    Victoria, B.C.
    Where: Bastion Square
    When: All the time
    Any particular reason?: Open square, an artisan market throughout the summer

    Whistler, B.C.
    Where: Whistler Village
    When: All the time
    Any particular reason?: Much like Mont Tremblant, keeping this area car-free adds to the resort feel of it (and makes it easier for tourists and residents to shop, eat and play)

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    bc luxury car tour

    The closest most of us get to expensive luxury cars is at trade shows (or maybe if you attend UBC, the University of Beautiful Cars) but you can get right into the driver's seat of some fancy supercars, thanks to a unique new tour.

    The B.C. Luxury Car Tour from Luxury Horizons allows you to rev up several high-end cars for six days in September along some of the province's most gorgeous highways.

    Among the vehicles available for this car lovers' tour are:

    • Porsche: 911 4S Cabriolet, Panamera 4, Cayman

    • Maserati: Gran Turismo Spider, Quattroporte

    • Lamborghini: Gallardo Spyder

    • Ferrari: 360 Modena Spyder

    • Bentley: Continental GT, Flying Spur

    • Audi: R8 Coupe

    • Aston Martin: DB9 Cabriolet, Vantage

    The tour starts off in Brentwood Bay and travels to Tofino and then Salt Spring Island. Along the way you'll enjoy gourmet meals, cocktails, wine tastings, spa time, and activities such as surfing and deep sea fishing.

    Prices per person start at $17,000.

    bc luxury car tour

    bc luxury car tour

    (H/T Luxury BC)

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    wreck beach bare buns run

    Beach bums were out in full force during the annual Bare Buns Run at Vancouver's clothing-optional Wreck Beach.

    Over 100 people participated in the five-kilometre run on Saturday at the popular Vancouver nude beach.

    Uh, what more can we say?

    wreck beach bare buns run
    RCMP Reserve Const. Mike Bensimhon took part in the weekend run.

    Check out more photos:

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    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (SEAS) fell Wednesday after the theme park operator reported second-quarter profit and sales that missed Wall Street expectations and cut its outlook for the year.

    The Orlando, Florida-based company also said it believes attendance during the period was hurt by negative publicity surrounding its treatment of killer whales, which are trained to perform tricks. A documentary last year called "Blackfish" suggested that the company's treatment of the killer whales provokes violent behavior from them, which in turn has led to the death of trainers.

    On Wednesday, the company said promotions and discounts also hurt revenue in the April-June period. It cut its sales guidance for the year — it now expects revenue to drop 6 to 7 percent — and plans to cut costs.

    For the three months that ended on June 30, the company reported net income of $37.3 million, or 43 cents per share. Analysts expected 60 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research. A year ago, SeaWorld reported a loss of $15.9 million, or 18 cents per share.

    Revenue declined 1.5 percent to $405.2 million. Analysts expected $447.7 million.

    SeaWorld shares dropped $8.41, or 30 percent, to $19.74 in midday trading. The stock is down 31 percent this year.

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    WARNING: Spoiler Alert! Do not read on unless you've seen "Amazing Race Canada" Season 2, Episode 6. Unless you like spoilers, then go right ahead!

    "We always entertained the notion that somewhere in the race we would be eliminated," said Bob.

    "But we thought we would know it."

    Take a bow, Rex and Bob. The pair hams it up until the end of their race, even as they were tripped up by each task along the way.

    Matching coins to their flags at the Royal Canadian Mint? The duo didn't immediately have it in the bank. Preparing 74 perogies for a stringent potato maiden while in a church basement? Not as easy as pie. And -- finally -- lip-synching to a made-up rock anthem in front of "Winnipeg music lovers" at a bar, aptly dubbed "Whiskey Dix"? Let's say Rex's performance started off a little limp.

    When in Winnipeg, indeed.

    It's a shame the wisecracking couple were eliminated in the city described by host Jon Montgomery as being "smack-dab in the middle of our great country." The fan favourites ran into trouble on the race before, taking two time penalties in Tofino, B.C. under allegedly controversial terms, but they always managed to rally back from their so-so task finishes with finesse. However, this time, they weren't as lucky, but the National Ballet of Canada artist in residence — who was recognized by a fan in Hong Kong — did perform a fancy ballet move at his final curtain call with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet prima ballerina. How sweet.

    It was a fitting farewell to the longtime couple, and the episode was equally as impressive. Finally, on Episode 6, we see some of the domestic lightning in a bottle that made "The Amazing Race Canada" a nationwide phenomenon in Season 1. Kinetic, exciting, and often frantic, the teams all fly from Whitehorse to Winnipeg with a quick connection in Vancouver, and seem neck-and-neck all episode long.

    With clever challenges and even smarter gameplay, the duos travelled to the Royal Canadian Mint where they were tasked with pairing up a nation's flag with its currency. Why not? Flag tasks are typically frustrating, and slow down the racers. Back in the Season 9 finale of "The Amazing Race," the teams had to sift through 285 flags to find the ones that corresponded with each of the countries they visited on the race, in order, while surrounded by decoys. We saw that again this time as Alain and Audrey confused the Philippines for Costa Rica, and Ryan and Rob continued to lag behind. Meanwhile, Sukhi and Jinder, who arrived last at the task, finished near the top due to Sukhi's Rainman-esque knowledge of world travel. Who knew?

    Leaving in first and now somewhat clouded by hubris, Olympians Natalie and Meaghan are stalled behind a giant train, but still arrive at the Detour before the others.

    Given the option of taking the Detour (Puck it [hockey] vs. Pinch it [perogie making]), or the suspiciously easy Fast Forward (finding "vintage" signs in Winnipeg) — which would keep them in the lead — the two chose to show off their hockey skills. After all, they're gold medallists, and Meaghan has two of those coveted trophies.

    "This is our challenge!" said Natalie.

    Except, instead of scoring a shorthanded goal when they needed it, the hockey players nabbed a short-sighted mishap. It took them 57 tries to net five goals, an embarrassment amplified by Pierre and Michel and Sukhi and Jinder schooling them on the ice, despite the fact that it was Sukhi's first time in skates. Amazing.

    "It's just the most epic thing ever to see gold medal Olympians keep missing," said Jinder.

    It was epic, but Natalie and Meaghan's arrogance on the rink was only beaten out by Alain and Audrey's game-savvy. Arriving at the MTS Centre in third, the Montreal couple intended to avoid the Fast Forward because they thought it was a no-brainer that either the hockey players or brother-sister duo would go for it. Except, they quickly found out they were wrong. Audrey ran into the women's dressing room, but when she saw Natalie, Meaghan, and Sukhi's bags in there, she knew the Fast Forward was still up for the taking. She then barged into the men's dressing room to inform Alain.

    "Nobody's at the Fast Forward!"

    The couple, who lovingly bicker in French, quickly find seven faded billboards and fill out their questionnaire, before travelling to the Pit Stop, in hopes of finishing in first for the second leg in a row.

    Meanwhile, back at the church basement, Rex and Bob and Ryan and Rob are making small talk, and hopefully, successful perogies. 74, to be exact.

    "Just hanging with the gals, having a little chit-chat," said Rex.

    Tedious and time-consuming, it's a perfect red herring detour that sounds simpler than it is, and relies on an expert judge. Remember when Laura and Jackie were eliminated in Hong Kong after wasting too much time on a similar food preparation task? As nice as it is to kibbitz with the other teams, or play around with ingredients, the perogie precision and obsessive attention to detail quickly put these two duos in a race for last place.

    Once the teams finished the Detour, they were off to the Road Block at saloon-style rock bar, "Whiskey Dix."

    "Who has performance issues?" asked the clue.

    Cheeky. Jon introduced the rock star task in a leather jacket and cuff, but never mounted the stage himself. It was fun to see the racers memorize lyrics and get all dolled up like Dee Snider, but Michel wasn't having any of it.

    "I said no way I am going to make it, it is way too hard," said Michel.

    The twins used their Express Pass and raced to the Pit Stop, fearing their English would cause them to lose their footing in the competition. Finishing in first at the soon-to-be-open Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the brothers were gifted with a prize pack that included an all-inclusive trip to Los Cabos, Mexico.

    Next up -- the teams head to France, and visit a Canadian war memorial in Normandy. Will Natalie and Meaghan remember their humble Canadian roots? Will Ryan and Rob show some personality separate from their competitive goals? Will Mickey and Pete wear more custom t-shirts? We'll just have to wait and see, but for the first time, the race looks like it's anyone's game.

    Episode 5 Recap
    Episode 4 Recap
    Episode 3 Recap
    Episode 2 Recap
    Episode 1 Recap
    Episode 1 Review

    "Amazing Race Canada" Season 2 airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

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    VANCOUVER - Vancouver International Airport has rolled out a fleet of "new and improved" baggage carts — and a slick video to promote them.

    Sporting a "sleek, upright, ergonomic design," the 3,000 carts feature major upgrades, the airport says.

    They're nine kilograms lighter than the old model. A new handbrake makes them safer. And the wheels are made of "dual composite rubber for better grip and durability," according to the airport.

    "Precision bearings make for better manoeuvrability."

    The high-performance carts are free to use terminal-wide, as the old ones were.

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    Talk about a big friendly giant.

    A curious humpback whale made some people friends while hanging out near their boat off the coast of Prince Rupert, B.C.

    In a video uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday, the majestic creature is shown chilling right next to the Thunder 1 boat. The whale stayed there for over an hour, according to the video description.

    Doug Emery, who owns Thunder 1 Adventures with his wife, told Global News that the animal was sleeping on the surface of the water when they spotted it, but that it stayed by the boat when it woke up and was looking up at them.

    "He was on the people watching tour and we were on the whale watching tour," Emery told the outlet.

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    Anyone who lives in a Canadian city and complains about the traffic and congestion and the construction needs to watch "Don't Drive Here." Because like with most other modern conveniences, you'll be left shaking your head, thanking your lucky stars for your good fortune. And perhaps the next time you sit behind the wheel and are ready to rage, you'll think twice.

    Host Andrew Younghusband is no stranger to scary driving. For years he has been hosting "Canada's Worst Driver," which is another equally baffling show. I never understood how the participants ever got licensed to drive in the first place and it terrifies me that these Nervous Nellies who know so little about the rules of the road, not to mention simple traffic signals and signs, share the same roads as good drivers like myself.

    That's right, I consider myself a good driver. Perhaps not the best but definitely above average. I'm confident yet cautious, aggressive yet defensive. My foot may be a little lead-like but other than my need for speed, I can hold my own behind the wheel, all while singing at the top of my lungs -- a very important quality.

    But there's no way in hell I would drive in any of the cities Younghusband ventures to in his other series. In case you missed the first season, he doubles down on his life by spending a week in some of the world's most traffic-challenged urban centres and tackles their horrific vehicular situations.

    In Season 1, Younghusband drove in barely drivable cities Delhi, Bangkok, Manila, Mexico City, Lima, and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I've been to Manila several times in my life, only ever as a passenger, and I can confidently say that I would never drive there. Like, EVER. There are lanes -- but drivers don't stay in them. It's congested, making the construction-heavy downtown Toronto streets seem like a carefree jaunt in the country. The buses stop anywhere to pick up passengers (pfft, who needs stops?) and there are people everywhere, be it pedestrians trying to get to work or those less fortunate who are selling anything from gum, food and newspapers in the middle of the road. It's ... mayhem, to say the least.

    The streets of Nairobi, Kenya, the second-season premiere city for "Don't Drive Here," are similar to Manila -- except the cars are older and clunkier and the pedestrians far and away outnumber those in the Philippines' capital.

    Younghusband informs us that walking is the most common way to get around Nairobi, even though more than 10 pedestrians a week are killed, be it getting hit by a car, boda boda (motorcycle) or, worse, a matatu (bus). He takes on different driving challenges, including being first a passenger, then driving his own boda boda, trying his hand at a brakes-less flatbed truck full of livestock during rush hour, and giving his biceps a workout by using a handcycle, which paraplegics drive since they're safer and faster than a wheelchair and are allowed on all the major roads.

    Younghusband gets a gig as a courier and is given a bike with terrible brakes (unless you count what his companion, Dedan, calls the "Kenyan brake," where you stick your foot on the tire until you come to a stop). He also gets a job as a delivery guy, with a load of 60 pounds of bread balanced precariously on his bicycle (a different one from the courier gig), joins a family in a tuk-tuk (a three-wheel rickshaw car) and learns the ins and outs of pulling a mkokoteni for eight kilometres. Andrew refers to it as a "crazy cart thing" that has a "top speed of about as slow as molasses and weighs, on average, about a million tons."

    But enough with the facts. It's Andrew himself that makes "Don't Drive Here" one of the most entertaining hours on television. There's drama and suspense as he figures out how to drive like a local, as well as going to a driving school that only teaches skills required in a hijacking situation. That's right, because the traffic isn't bad enough; let's throw in some bad guys who will shoot you in the face or beat you senseless if you don't give up your tuk-tuk.

    It's laugh-out-loud hilarious, as Younghusband squeals and quietly freaks out (as politely Canadian as ever, of course, even apologizing to pedestrians when they almost walk into traffic in front of his oncoming motorcycle). He also delivers the funniest lines ever (like when he's asked if he's having fun and he replies, "Sure. If sliding under a matutu and tasting your own blood is fun.") And if that's not enough, there's even romance, with Andrew escaping the harrowing streets of Nairobi to Amboseli National Park where he hits it off with safari guide Frank. Things even get musical when the pair pick up four Maasai people and they perform a little song.

    Younghusband is a wonderful entertainer, and breathes such life into each and every episode. He not only makes the scariest situations seem fun but is a brave, brave man who seems at home anywhere he goes. Don't drive in the places he's driven, but make sure you don't miss him.

    "Don't Drive Here" premieres Monday, August 18 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery.

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    FXX is set to air the longest marathon in TV history when it runs all 552 episodes of "The Simpsons" back to back, starting Aug. 21.

    Sadly, Canadians have been shut out of the fun, as FXX is only available to viewers in the U.S.

    Since people won't be able to enjoy all their favourite Springfield hijinx north of the border, we here at The Huffington Post Canada wanted to give them a chance to have some fun anyway.

    Or, if you're in the U.S., it's a chance to mock your northern neighbours.

    Here are some of the best references to Canada on "The Simpsons."

    The CFL Draft

    cfl draft

    It didn't hold Homer's attention. But then, it doesn't entertain all Canadians, either.

    (From "When Flanders Failed," season three, episode three)

    Robert Goulet!

    (From "$pringfield (or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)," season five, episode 10)

    "Anyone can miss Canada."

    (From "The PTA Disbands," season six, episode 21)

    "That's It! Back to Winnipeg!"

    This wouldn't be the first time that the birthplace of Burton Cummings would be referenced on the show.

    (From "Bart on the Road," season seven, episode 20)

    "Naked Lunch"

    naked lunch

    "I can think of two things wrong with that title."

    (From "Bart on the Road," season seven, episode 20)

    "I moved here from Canada."

    (From "You Only Move Twice," season eight, episode two)

    Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files"

    The "X-Files" villain was brought to life on the paranormal mystery show by Toronto-born actor William B. Davis.

    (From "The Springfield Files," season eight, episode 10)

    Ralph Wiggum: "O Canada"

    Ralph Wiggum probably could make it into the RCMP.

    (From "Das Bus," season nine, episode 14)

    "It's so clean and bland, I'm home!"


    (From "The Bart Wants What It Wants," season 13, episode 11)

    "Birthplace of Paul Shaffer"

    paul shaffer

    This episode took place in Toronto, but Paul Shaffer was actually born in Thunder Bay.

    (From "The Bart Wants What It Wants," season 13, episode 11)

    Canadian graffiti

    canadian graffiti

    (From "The Bart Wants What It Wants," season 13, episode 11)

    The Spell-lympics in Calgary

    spell lympics calgary

    Lisa made it all the way to the finals. Sadly, she lost to adorable Alex in a rigged contest.

    (From "I'm Spelling As Fast As I Can," season 14, episode 12)

    "Now entering Winnipeg."


    (From "Midnight Rx," season 16, episode six)

    When Bart's class watches a movie ...

    national film board

    They're so excited, and then they see this.

    (From "The Italian Bob," season 17, episode eight)

    Elvis Stojko

    elvis stojko

    Moe: "Don't you hags know that all male figure skaters are twinkly in the lutz?"
    Elvis: "That's a common misconception. I have a girlfriend in Vancouver!"
    Moe: "Made up girlfriend, made up city."

    (From "Kill Gil, Volumes I and II," season 18, episode nine)

    The Simpsons go to Vancouver

    (From "Boy Meets Curl," season 21, episode 12)

    "The Harvard of Canada"

    (From "MoneyBart," season 22, episode three)

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    A B.C. news crew set out to film footage of a forest fire, but they may have caught a whole lot more.

    The Castanet team was covering the Smith Creek wildfire in West Kelowna on July 17 when all of a sudden a bright green object popped out from behind the clouds and moved across the sky.

    The news outlet's camera was rolling and the video has since been shared — and dissected — on some UFO websites.

    Mutual UFO Network's Marc Dantonio told OpenMinds that the object seen in the video is "an earth grazer — a meteor that approaches the atmosphere at a shallow angle and continues on, skipping off the atmosphere back into space."

    Do you think it's a UFO?

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    As awesome as travel is, it often comes with two drawbacks: It can be expensive, and well-known places are often crowded with other tourists. Well we’ve got good news, because you can save money and avoid the masses, simply by travelling in the off-season. It is a great way to expose yourself to unique experiences while avoiding the costs of high-season travel. We’ve put together some recommendations on the best off-season vacation destinations in Canada. Happy travels!

    Tofino storm watching in winter

    The stunning beaches of Tofino on Vancouver Island’s west coast are a huge tourist draw during the warm summer months, but during the winter Tofino is known for putting on one of the most spectacular natural shows in the world. Winter Storm Watching season runs from November to March and attracts plenty of tourists who love to watch the powerful waves crashing — either from the beach or the comfort of a luxury chalet. Once the storms die down, Tofino’s mild climate is ideal for nature walks in the surrounding rainforest or even a surfing expedition if you’re brave enough to face the chilly pacific waters.

    Whistler adventures in the summer

    While the majority of people only think to flock to Whistler in winter when the ski resort is covered in fresh powder, this mountain destination is actually a year-round tourist spot, open long after the last snow has melted. In fact, there’s even more for the family to do when the weather warms up. Whistler offers a 4.4 kilometre gondola, 50 kilometres of alpine hiking trails, a mountain bike park, an adventure zone for thrill-seeking kiddies and a wide range of family-friendly tours. For those who can’t fathom a trip to Whistler without a ski or snowboard run, there’s even summertime glacier skiing available.

    Montreal’s winter festivals

    Travelling to Quebec at the height of Canada’s notoriously cold winter season may seem like a crazy move, but in Montreal the city is in full swing once the mercury drops. January’s winter weekends are taken over by Igloofest, an electronic music festival featuring international DJs, and in February the whole city comes out for Montréal en Lumière, a performing arts festival that will take your breath away. Don’t let cold temperatures deter you from exploring this fabulous city to its fullest especially as much of the central part of the city is accessible via the world-famous Montreal Underground City network.

    See Niagara’s colours in fall

    Niagara Falls in the summer evokes memories of sweltering heat, long lineups and hoards of obnoxious tourists. So why not wait a few months and head there in the quieter, cooler fall season? Not only will you escape the crowds and save money on accommodations, but you’ll also have a front-row seat for the amazing colours that take over Ontario’s foliage. Fall is also the height of Niagara’s wine season when grapes are harvested and turned into award-winning wines, so be sure to enjoy a tipple or two.

    Lobster season in PEI

    Consider a springtime visit to Prince Edward Island where natural coastal beauty meets historic charm and friendly east-coast hospitality to create a memorable vacation experience. Seafood lovers will want to head there in May and June during the height of lobster season, but the whole island is worth exploring during this time of year when the flowers are blooming and traditional Celtic gatherings are in full swing nearly every weekend. May is also when the Island’s biggest tourist attraction, Green Gables, opens after their winter break.

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    Over the course of the past three decades, Canadian husband and wife photographers Viliam Hrubovcak and Jolie Fejer have become widely known for their highly evocative portraits of some of music, art, film and literature’s greatest cultural renegades.

    Driven by a curious attraction toward those who are able to move the cultural needle with force, the couple has spent their life together –– which began back in 1988 after being introduced by David Johansson of The New York Dolls at what is now Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre –– in the trenches documenting a colourful array of freethinkers through an ongoing photographic series they’ve come to call, "Anti-Stars."

    Shot exclusively here in Toronto, "Anti-Stars" is now being transformed into a high-gloss coffee table book which will feature the likes of: Ari-UP, Lee Perry, Bjork, John “Rotten” Lydon, Debbie Harry and Buster Poindexter to Nick Cave, P J Harvey, Billy Idol, Dennis Hopper, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Lou Reed and more.

    “The individuals featured in this book all possess a certain credo or philosophy,” explains Viliam. “These are truly authentic, no bullshit people, who have affected real change on a grand scale and set artistic standards by daring to work outside the box. These are people who dared to go their way or no way,” he says.

    Interview continues after slideshow

    For Viliam and Jolie, their work as portrait artists has always centered upon a desire to capture the essence of those who truly live, work and create within that particular fringe state of mind­­. But what began with an interest in documenting the faces of the punk rock movement eventually grew to encompass “punk” as an ideology rather than just a genre of music.

    “Punk was about change and about deconstructing,” says Viliam. “It was about destroying what came before you in order to go ahead. The punk rock movement was a youthful, musical reaction to a highly turbulent era. People were really angry, and that anger drove the art and the art drove the movement.”
“But it didn’t end with punk rock,” adds Jolie. “We needed to move beyond those boarders and start documenting the individuals that broke ground with their art, whether they were musicians or not.”

    “These two have this way of capturing people in the raw,” says longtime friend and Canadian film producer Larry Weinstein. “I think what they do is create icons in a way. For instance, I’ve seen a lot of photos of someone like Bjork, but it’s their photo of Bjork that burns in my brain. You tend to have an image of a person; the images in my head are always the one’s Viliam and Jolie have created.”

    viliam hrubovcak and jolie fejer

Part of what makes Viliam and Jolie’s portraits so captivating is that their process often extends beyond the camera to the genuine, personal relationships they forge with their subjects. Clash frontman Joe Strummer, whom with they enjoyed complete artistic freedom when shooting, was a close personal friend of the couple’s right up until his death in 2002. In 2012, Strummerville (Strummer’s non-profit foundation) released a calendar, art directed by Damien Hirst and Alex Cox, commemorating his passing. Four of the images featured in the project were taken from the couple’s personal collection and shot in Toronto.

    “Viliam and Jolie care deeply about their photo subjects,” says colleague and famed Canadian filmmaker, Guy Maddin. “The love they radiate shows in the faces in their emulsions and in the way the two curate their work. They ain't just snapping celebs,” he notes. “They need to respect, crush on and even adore the work of their sitters, and then impress all that love into the silvers of their own work. I've never encountered people less alienated from their own labours.”

    After nearly three decades of “shooting in the trenches, at concerts, bars and in hotel rooms around Toronto, inhaling great lungful’s of old beer and mustard gas the way kids like to smell carnival cotton candy,” as Maddin puts it, things finally came full circle for Viliam and Jolie when, just over a year ago, they reconnected with a woman who goes by the name, Viva Viletone.

    Thirty-two years early, Viliam captured a photograph of a young then anonymous Viva, standing in the crowd at Toronto’s First Annual Police Picnic. As it turns out, she was the first person Viliam ever photographed at a concert. This reunion with Viva was sufficiently momentous enough to prompt the pair to conduct a review of their lifetime’s work. As a result, they made the decision to finally compile the portraits that had for so long existed as their greatest passion, into a book.

    “The thing about Viliam and Jolie is that neither one of them is an orthodox photographer,” says longtime friend and Canadian music journalist, Larry LeBlanc, who first met Viliam in the mid-nineties. “When he first told me he was a photographer, I thought ‘Okay, sure,’ but when he showed me his photos I couldn’t believe it, I just thought ‘holy shit!’ I recognized immediately that he was crazy as hell but a total genius.”

    And the thing about people who posses that stroke of genius is that they often appear to be extreme. The thing about extremism is that it really just depends on which side of line you’re standing.

    For Viliam Hrubovcak and Jolie Fejer it has long been the literary radicals, musical ruffians and renegades of the silver screen that have captivated their attention, but it is their pure artistic desire to capture the lifeblood that seems to pump feverishly through every single one of the, as Maddin puts it, “wildly spinning subjects of their ardent gaze,” that holds a place at the center of their lives, always calling, always there.

    “The greatest photographs always have that something that pulls you in,” adds LeBlanc. “It may be the angle or the lighting or the way it’s framed, it may even be that moment that you connect with the person but whatever it is, these two have got it.”

    While "Anti-Stars" the book is still seeking a publisher, The Huffington Post was granted exclusive access to a select number of never before seen images from the couple’s private collection.

    Currently, Viliam and Jolie own and operate Photosynthesis, a studio that houses both their portrait photography and personal art projects, many of which explore other forms of media and cater to a clientele with a taste for the off-beat. The couple is also currently contributing to a number of documentary projects including Killing Joke's "Death and Resurrection Show" and the official documentary on Public Image Limited. This fall, their work will also appear in Billy Idol’s autobiography “Dancing With Myself” for Simon and Schuster. 

    In the past the couple has contributed images to John "Rotten" Lydon's book "Scrapbook”, which won the MOJO Magazine award for book of the year, while last summer, their work received praise from Italian Vogue after it was exhibited at The Ono Arte Contemporanea Gallery in Bolonga, Italy. Most recently twenty-five of their portraits were exhibited at The Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives in Brampton.

    For more information about Photosynthesis or to view Viliam and Jolie’s work visit here.

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