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Canada Travel news and blog articles from The Huffington Post

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    Vancouver's Gastown steam clock has been removed for some life-saving repairs.

    The popular tourist attraction was uprooted from the corner of Cambie and Water streets on Wednesday and taken to a fabrication shop, said a city news release.

    The clock's mechanical moving parts for loading the metal balls are worn out and "can no longer be reliably maintained," said the city. There have been regular mechanical failures over the past year, which the repairs should help avoid.

    The off-site work coincides with the end of cruise ship and tourist season. The city hopes to have the clock back in place by early December.

    In the meantime, crews have installed a "faux" steam clock to protect the existing steam vent parts.

    gastown steam clock

    The steam clock was built as a public art piece in 1976 by horologist Ray Saunders. It also serves as a vent for Creative Energy Canada, which supplies the steam that sounds the whistles.

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    It seems Brazzers, the porn production company that offered free memberships to Air Canada pilots, has found its first taker.

    The company announced Wednesday a pilot had accepted its offer with a predictably saucy tweet.

    Brazzers extended its offer of free memberships to current Air Canada pilots, after news emerged the airline is having difficulty keeping flyboys from bringing "suggestive material" into cockpits. screengrabbed a tweet (since taken down) from an interested party who claimed to be a pilot, posting both his employee and flying licence numbers as proof.

    The man told the website that he and some friends thought they might get a kick out of contacting Brazzers, even though he did not fly planes for Air Canada itself. The airline denied that he worked for them.

    But that was fine with the porn company, they gave him a membership anyway.

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    What kind of food comes to mind when you think of Surrey, B.C.? Perhaps Indian, but the fast-growing city actually has a lot of great — and varied — restaurants from comfort Korean food to hearty pub grub.

    But which ones are the best?

    To narrow down the vast array of options, we called on our friends Jon Ng of Surrey 604 and local blogger Jude Hannah for their expert, local opinions.

    Below, dear eaters, is the final list. Did we miss any?

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    LUMBY, B.C. - Members of a forestry crew in British Columbia believe they may have unearthed a Second World War-era Japanese balloon bomb in the Monashee Mountains.

    A military bomb disposal unit has been sent to investigate the metal object found in the forest near Lumby, 460 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

    Const. Ted Bowen said the crew contacted RCMP and the area has been sealed off because the metal object may be live ordnance.

    Lt. Paul Pendergast of Maritime Forces Pacific said bomb disposal experts have yet to confirm that it is an explosive device.

    "That's what the team does — they investigate first whether it's inert or whether it's a hazard," he said.

    "Sometimes they're a souvenir someone kept from World War II, and they may be inert or they may be live."

    "Then, if it's determined to be a hazard they have a few options."

    Pendergast said the unit is called about once a month about suspect objects, he said.

    If the object is a live ordnance of any kind, unit members will decide whether they can render it inert or must detonate it on site.

    Bowen said if the object is a war relic, there is interest in salvaging as much as possible for a museum.

    In the final years of the war, the Imperial Japanese Army released more than 9,000 bomb-bearing balloons to drift in the jet stream toward Canada and the United States.

    At least 1,000 made it over the Pacific and landed as far inland as Michigan and Manitoba.

    There were no deaths reported in Canada but an Oregon Sunday School teacher and five teens were killed when a balloon detonated on the side of a road almost 70 years ago.

    Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said there were seven victims in a balloon bombing.

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    Rick Mercer has his head in the clouds.

    The Canadian comedian and his "Rick Mercer Report" crew travelled to B.C. to visit Richmond-based Harbour Air, and ride a float plane to Phantom Lake in Tantalus Provincial Park.

    In the video, Mercer spends time as a dock boy. While washing the planes, he also tries to tie ropes like the pros. Later, he climbs aboard and acts as a first officer for the plane, even trying his hand at steering.

    And, just like everyone else who spends time in this glorious province of ours, Mercer was floored by the expansive mountain views that lay below him.

    "This is an astounding treat," he exclaims. "Not that the flight between Toronto and Ottawa is not awesome, but this is something else."

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    It's been six weeks since the crush of September hit and 12 weeks since the wheels touched down on the tarmac, marking my return from a perfect vacation -- and I'm feeling due for another.

    Ah, the power of being relaxed. Thinking back on the glow I had post vacation, it was noticeable; I could handle anything. My son running wild? No problem. Water in the basement? Again? I can handle it. Deadlines looming without a plan we love yet? Let's bring out the magazines and brainstorm old school! Nothing can stop me. I've got ideas and energy to give in spades!

    But in the face of the heady September schedule of back to school, back-to-back meetings and evening events, my aching feet need refuge (I still love you heels, it's not you, it's me!). Something tells me I just might be hearing the warning signs.

    Maybe it's because lately I can't seem to go a day without reading about "burnout." Like when my well-intentioned mother put an O Magazine article in front of me, on "How to Handle Burnout"?

    Can you hear the warning signs?

    The last time I heard the siren's call it was May and I was daydreaming about sleep. So I spent time doing research, gazing longingly at luxurious ocean views on and in no time at all, the pull of Real del Mar in Punta Mita had me booking a week-long trip.

    I had heard that Mexico was good for the soul, and, well, I was pretty sure that I could find plenty of fish tacos and margaritas (staples for nourishment, I'm sure) not to mention breakfast service every morning and any amount of activity or spa I was up for; all things I knew were the type of restoration and joyfulness I was seeking.

    This Thanksgiving weekend, as we dive into a time of family rituals, driving from one side of town to the other, cooking for an entire day and navigating the heady waters of our loved ones special qualities, take time to give thanks to yourself this weekend and go book a holiday for you, a really good one, with luxury written all over it.

    I don't think I'm alone in this, but sometimes I feel like a slow learner, or is it stubbornness? But I'm always convinced I can push on and dig deeper, as I am well versed in the school of "when the going gets tough...the tough gets going." I think it's because I have a lot to do.

    I want to go places.

    Not just in my career, but in life. I have a business, a two-year-old, and big plans for all of it. There's no time to waste, right?! But what I know (even if it's hard to admit sometimes) is that we all need time to incubate, process, think, and rest.

    So I start by making space to dream about those places.

    When I realize that I don't have time to dream, or when dreaming resembles anything close to taking a nap, I book a vacation, or even just a spa appointment (great advice given to me by Carol Stephenson, former Dean of the Ivy School of Business).

    So start dreaming about treating yourself.

    Rounding into the first holiday weekend of the sweater season, it's a good time to look back on the healing powers of a good vacation and start to dream about the next one.

    Today I'm dreaming about Tahoe (at least until there is solid snow on the ground in Colorado).

    Let's do it together.

    Let's give thanks to ourselves for all our hard work and tired bones; let's take a deep breath, relax our shoulders from up beside our ears; sign up to have someone take care of us for a change, and book ourselves a vacation.

    Exhale. Feels good doesn't it?


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    Deadmau5 is calling for an end to animal captivity at Marineland Canada in the most Deadmau5 way possible.

    The Niagara Falls-born EDM artist (real name Joel Zimmerman) penned a strongly-worded rant on his Tumblr page yesterday, telling the marine park to "lose the fucking animals" even if it means they take a financial hit.

    From Deadmau5's post, titled "Deer Marineland":

    "... Look at what you have to gain? You'd win the entire EVERYTHING if you released a statement promising the closure of your animal pens and aquariums. That 'good guy' PR would reach worldwide fuckin' acclaim ... shit, even SeaWorld (who aren't any fucking better by a longshot) would be like … ‘OH SNAP’ and probably [force] them into action."

    Deadmau5 goes on to say, "Believe me, if I had the kind of money you'd want to buy your shit operation out, I'd do it myself in a heartbeat ... and I'm probably not far off, so you might wanna hop on this shit."

    He later told the Niagara Falls-Review he was serious about raising enough money to buy Marineland out of its facility and turn it into a theme park without animals.

    Marineland did not return the paper's request for a comment.

    Deadmau5's rant came as activists held a yearly Thanksgiving protest at the park, which is now closed until May.

    Last year, Ontario said it would strengthen enforcement of animal welfare laws by regularly inspecting zoos and aquariums to ensure they were healthy and safe.

    But even if protests don't manage to shut down facilities like Marineland, there are other signs that activism is affecting their profits.

    SeaWorld's stock took a dive of 31 per cent this year amidst bad publicity around how its animals are treated.

    The 2013 documentary "Blackfish" provided an inside look at how whales are treated in captivity.

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    We knew that South Florida hockey crowds were bad, but not THIS bad.

    On Monday night, Sun Media reporter Bruce Garrioch tweeted some stunning photos from the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., where the Florida Panthers were taking on the Ottawa Senators.

    The crowd, if you can call it that, was scattered so thin no one was seated behind the Senators' bench.

    The game drew an estimated 7,311 people to fill 19,250 seats – the least the Panthers have ever brought to a home game, Garrioch wrote in The Ottawa Sun.

    The second-lowest attendance record was 10,063 people, for a game against the Carolina Hurricanes in 2007.

    The team tried to sugarcoat the attendance on its Twitter account.

    The sparse attendance comes amid speculation the Panthers could be relocated, The Associated Press reported.

    Club owners said last month the team has lost money for over 10 years. But the Panthers aren't the only team in the Miami area with difficulty attracting fans.

    AP noted that the Miami Marlins generally rank near the bottom of Major League Baseball in terms of attendance, while the NBA's Miami Heat also reduced capacity in their stadium some years back.

    The same is not true of the Tampa Bay Lightning in central Florida, where attendance averaged 96.9 per cent in the 2013-14 season, according to ESPN.

    NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has repeatedly said there are no plans for the league to expand or relocate teams in the near future.

    But The National Post noted that Quebec, Toronto, Saskatoon, Las Vegas and Seattle have been floated as potential homes for NHL clubs.

    Despite no official plans to move or expand, tell us where you'd like to see a new NHL team:

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    UPDATE - Oct. 17, 2014: Matt Adams' family said they finally heard from him on Thursday night, reported CTV News.

    A family in the Okanagan is frantically trying to reach a West Kelowna man missing in Nepal.

    29-year-old Matt Adams was last seen Oct 10.

    Adams was travelling alone without a guide and was known to be in the Manang region hiking the Annapurna circuit, according to his family.

    Bad weather along the circuit has caused blizzards and avalanches that have killed at least 27 people, including four Canadians whose bodies have not yet been recovered.About 70 people are still missing along or near the popular circuit, 160 kilometres northwest of the capital, Kathmandu.

    Three Canadians—two women and one man—were rescued Thursday. At least four Canadians have been killed. 

    Adams' sister-in-law, Jocelyn Enns, says it's not like Adams to be out of touch.

    "He was supposed to be in contact every three to four days at the most and he's been very good about being in contact on a regular basis, so it is unusual to not hear from him for this length of time," she said.

    Enns says their family is hoping Adams simply hasn't been able to reach a phone or computer to make contact following the blizzard.

    She says his wife Ria is very concerned.

    "My sister is quite upset right now," said Enns. "She's inconsolable beyond words."​ Enns says they have reached out to the consulate and various travel agencies in Nepal and have also posted photos of him online.

    Three other hikers from the B.C. Interior, who were also missing in Nepal, have been located safe and sound.

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    I just celebrated my first Thanksgiving away from my family. I'm in Perth, Australia, more than 18,000 kilometres from my hometown of Toronto. We are a close-knit bunch where aunts and uncles are like second parents. I'm the first person in my family of three generations to take time off to travel. This is new for me and it's new for my family--holidays make the distance especially hard.

    Before I left, I made an affirmation with myself on keeping in touch: I made the decision to leave. I'll make an effort to make the first connection. Why? I was the one leaving everyone's regular routine. I was the one who would have more time to connect. So, I made the first contact. I sent postcards from almost every country I've visited over the past five months. I've woken up at the crack of dawn, bleary-eyed and bed-headed, to Skype with friends and family. I've made videos for special occasions, so I can send well wishes because I'm not there.

    The thrill of hearing from a relative or friend that they received my letter--after traveling from remote corners of Vietnam to the other side of the world--is filled with a lot more happiness than a Facebook response. It also takes more effort and planning.

    Months into our trip, I started to see who was making the effort to connect. While I made the first contact, I learned that my outreach was just as important as getting a meaningful response.

    Here are four rules I've learned to keep relationships alive on the road:

    Adapt to people's preferences
    With no phone and no opportunity to be in person, I had to adapt my routine to how people like to communicate and how they best respond. My mom and I regularly email, but my brother and I stay in touch on Facebook messenger. My cousin writes me on Viber, and my best friend and I Skype regularly. Everyone has a preference for communicating; I've found that people are more effective at using one tool. I've adapted to those needs so communication is more consistent.

    Work hard to stay connected
    When I was in Toronto, my mom and brother lived about 20 minutes away. I could call my brother in the morning to make dinner plans for the evening. It takes longer to coordinate a Skype call because of a 12-hour time difference.

    Aside from day-to-day contact, birthday notes and video greetings give me the same rush as putting a postcard in the mail. Because I've put the time into making something, I hope it will be just as exciting for the person who receives it. My aunt and uncle celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this past weekend. My boyfriend and I made a short video capturing their 30 years by classic rock hits of their generation. Family members are now quick to update us on other birthdays; or as my aunt put it on our Thanksgiving Skype call, "you better start working on a video for Jaci's birthday." My cousin turns 30 on November 1.

    Make it mutual
    Building a relationship requires two-way communication. I learned this philosophy while studying public relations, and it has positively shaped my relationships. I've learned that it takes one person to start the conversation, but two to keep it going. If I'm the only one continuing to write, then I will stop communicating--I won't be getting anything in return from the relationship.

    One loud truth of distance is this: being away from home shows you who really wants to keep in touch. Some people I expected to stay in touch don't. It's the reality of growing up.

    My best friend writes me almost every day. We talk more than we did when I was at home. She finds time after a day of work and caring for her two-year-old daughter, even if it's at midnight from her phone in bed. When she doesn't hear from me, or feels like I've left her out on a part of our trip, she tells me.

    Another close friend doesn't stay in touch much at all. I have been the first to email or to setup our only Skype call. I was surprised; but I'm not at home, where social plans are a big priority for her.

    My cousin, who is like a sister to me, also constantly stays in touch. She's usually the first to write. She's there for me even from the road if I need support. While we're close, we didn't spend a lot of time together back home, so once again I am surprised by her effort.

    Build a routine and stick to it
    When I'm ending the day in Australia, everyone I know is starting to wake up. For me, this means checking messages and communicating while they're awake. Posting photos when they'll see them. Sending an e-newsletter when they have time in the morning at work to read.

    While I have to decide at some point where I'll be living more permanently, for now I'm as connected as I can be. I made the tough decision to leave to fulfill my dream of traveling the world, but it's a mutual effort with friends and family to stay in touch. My new affirmation is: I will work hard to keep in touch as long as the same effort is reciprocated.


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    Edmonton has really come into its own.

    The captial city of Alberta is blazing a trail on the employment front and has been climbing the ranks of Canada's best places to live.

    Now, a breathtaking video by Edmonton photographer Alex Scuccato is garnering attention for the beautiful way it captures the city.

    Scuccato shows off Edmonton's stunning River Valley, street festivals, eateries and more, highlighting the best bits of of the city in what could easily be a tourism reel.

    As one Redditor put it: "We live in a nice f***ing city."

    We couldn't agree more.

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    jan rooksA B.C. nurse was killed after an avalanche buried scores of people in Nepal this week, while an Okanagan man's family was relieved to hear that he's safe.

    Jan Rooks, a cardiology nurse at B.C. Children’s Hospital was among the estimated 27 people who died in the slide in the Annuapurna region, according to a statement by the board of the Children’s Heart Network.

    The non-profit organization said Hooks left for Nepal in late September with her husband, Grant Tomlinson, and another couple. The network's board of directors said as far as it knows, Tomlinson and the couple were okay.

    The statement said Rooks was a ''great nurse with a very special love of heart children and families'' and had a "special gift for putting people at ease.''

    ''It seems impossible that someone like Jan can be gone from our lives in the blink of an eye. She will be so sadly missed.''

    On Thursday, search teams in army helicopters rescued dozens of stranded foreign trekkers and recovered more bodies in mountains in the northern part of the country. Four Canadians were among the dead and with roughly 70 more people missing.

    jan rooks grant tomlinsonJan Rooks is seen with her husband Grant Tomlinson in this Facebook photo.

    In West Kelowna, B.C, Matt Adams' family heard good news late Thursday after working the phones trying to get in touch with the 29-year-old man in Nepal.

    Several media reports and tweets said Adams had called home to say he was safe.

    "My friend Matthew Adams has been found safe and sound in Manang! Thank God he's ok! read one such tweet by Rob Mulvihill.

    Adams had set off on a six-week tour of region last month and his parents and wife Ria hadn't heard from him since last Friday.

    Quebecer Sonia Leveque who survived the avalanche has described a harrowing tale of being buried waist-high in thick, heavy snow on a "nightmare'' of a day.

    She thought she was going to die and that she and her fellow trekkers are fortunate to be alive.

    "We fought for survival and we were lucky,'' she said in an interview from Nepal with RDI, Radio-Canada's all-news network. "I think nobody in the group wanted to die.''

    She said that Tuesday was a "nightmare'' and that nobody in her small group saw the avalanche coming.

    "It happened extremely quickly — within seconds, we were separated,'' Leveque said.

    "Three people in our group were swept away (and) we tried to find them but there was about 20 metres of snow accumulated at the bottom of the avalanche.''

    Leveque said she and her fellow travellers remained shaken up on Thursday but will stay in Kathmandu for at least a few days to see how the rest of the rescue operation unfolds.


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    There is no shortage of fun activities in the desert oasis of Las Vegas, Nevada. With big name acts and performances and the themed hotel attractions that draw millions of visitors from around the world (39.6 million per recent count), it is no wonder that Las Vegas is the most visited place on planet Earth according to this infographic published on Huffington Post. To put that in perspective, the total visitors to Las Vegas are in excess of all visitors to Disneyland and Disneyworld, combined!

    Claiming to find uniqueness within one of the most unique places in the world is a conundrum in itself. Therefore during a recent media trip to Las Vegas, I was not sure what to expect and what to present to Canadian readers, being that almost two million Canadians visit Las Vegas each year, representing the largest share of tourists from outside the U.S. according to statistics published by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association. Turns out, most visitors, especially first timers, are so enchanted by the Strip, where the famed themed hotels and casinos are located, that they miss out on other attractions located on and beyond the Strip. This list showcases some of the unique experiences that visitors may not be aware of.

    I should add that this list is by no means conclusive and comprehensive. If you have an experience you want to recommend to other readers, by all means share your thoughts in the comments section at the end of this post. Additionally, I should add that while I have featured some of these experiences in further detail on my own travel blog (, I encourage readers to do a search online to read what others have to say about these experience. And now, the list.

    1. Take a stroll along Fremont Street
    Downtown Las Vegas has undergone extensive revitalization and features several attractions dispersed throughout its downtown. In fact, downtown is now most frequented by the locals and should receive the title of "The most Famous Secret Downtown in USA". The redevelopment of Fremont Street began in the 1990's with the opening of the Fremont Street Experience in 1995 that converted three blocks of the road into a pedestrian-only plaza and offers visitors a spectacular light and sound show under a $70 million canopy. This entire area is closed to vehicular traffic and becomes an outdoor nightclub. The attraction is now also home to Slotzilla zip line that is 77 feet high and 850 feet long where you can zoom over a street party at speeds faster than 35 miles per hour.

    2. Do a walking tour of Zappos Headquarters
    The famous shoe retailer (now part of Amazon) relocated in to the 40-year-old former City Hall building and invested more than $40 million dollars worth of renovations. It offers complimentary tours to the public (limited space and gets booked up well in advance). A tour of the space gives you insight on the workings of the creative class that occupy the space, as well as a glimpse in to the historical building and some notable artwork inside. You can book your tour by signing up here.
    2014-10-10-zappos.jpgCourtesy of

    3. Renew your vows (or get married) at the Graceland Wedding Chapel
    While there is no dearth of Elvis impersonators in Vegas, Brendan Paul is unlike most others because he has visited Canada (including Alberta!) several times and has overseen the weddings of several Canadians, who represent yet again the largest customer base of the wedding chapel. The chapel is also located in Downtown.
    Image Source: Graceland Chapel

    4. Shop and Play at Downtown Container Park
    Downtown Container Park is a sustainable shopping and dining attraction that is home to numerous small businesses, which set up shop inside more than two dozen, 250 sq. ft. re-purposed shipping containers and 41 modular metal cubes. The Downtown Container Park also has a center courtyard with a giant tree-house playground, a stage for live entertainment, and its iconic, fire-breathing praying mantis!
    2014-10-10-Container_Park_Entrance.jpgContainer Park Entrance Credit: Emily Wilson for Downtown Container Park

    5. Visit the Neon Museum boneyard
    Often overlooked by visitors, the Neon Museum is a hidden treasure chest of history and stories on casinos, mobsters, celebrities, and downtown Vegas that should not be missed. It offers guided tours by volunteer patrons who may share insights of Las Vegas that you will not find on any travel guide or an online search!

    6. Check out the Arts District of Vegas
    Culture took a front seat in downtown Las Vegas in 2012-2013 with the openings of the iconic $453 million Smith Center for the Performing Arts, as well as the DISCOVERY Children's Museum. The Smith Center offers a modern twist on the classic Art Deco style of architecture and is THE place to be if you want to experience the innovative performance of Cabaret Jazz. The Center is located in front of Symphony Park, a brownfield site that has transformed in to a vibrant and delightful "Oasis" within the "oasis" in the desert.
    2014-10-10-smith.jpgCourtesy of city of Las Vegas, Erin O'Boyle Photographics

    7. Find a Secret Garden
    If all the walking in Downtown makes you hungry, grab a bite and drink at Park on Fremont that spruces up Downtown Las Vegas with innovative bar fare and an eclectic art collection set in a laid-back area for dining indoors and antique tables in a lush garden outdoors. Within the premises is a secret garden that most patrons are not aware of.
    Image by Anthony Mair. All rights reserved

    8. See a Cirque show
    I admit that the Cirque Du Soleil brand is now entrenched with Las Vegas, perhaps even more so than the iconic casino hotels. However, it deserves a mention no doubt for the spectacular performances that defy the laws of physics. Plus, it's of Canadian origin. Go Canada!

    9. Hand Feed a Lion (or better yet, DON'T!)
    The Lion Habitat Ranch in Henderson, Nevada (further south of the Las Vegas Strip) is family owned and operated and houses the lions that were formerly at the MGM Lion Habitat. The MGM Habitat closed and the lions cannot be returned to their natural habitat. Thus the Ranch is a sanctuary for the king of beasts. The ranch is fairly new as an attraction venue and therefore even most of the locals and cab drivers are not aware of its existence! But you do now!
    Lion poses for Calgarians Katrina Olson Mottahed and her sister
    Courtesy of Katrina Olson Mottahed

    10. See the Grand Canyon by Air, Land, and Water
    The south rim of the Canyon is close to Las Vegas and a day trip or afternoon trip is feasible at various budget levels. For those with time to spare and seeking a low budget option, Papillon offers coach bus tours to the Canyon and back with a stop at Hoover Dam from Las Vegas. For those seeking a more adventurous experience, Pink Jeep Tours offers off-roading experience in the Canyon in, you guessed it, a Pink Jeep! For those pressed for time or seeking upscale experience, there are helicopter tours that can be done in three hours or less. Sundance and Maverick are two major operators (in addition to Papillon) that offer helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas skyline. The rides are very popular and sell out well in advance so do check the schedules with multiple operators.


    11. Ski in Nevada
    When the mercury cranks up to 40 degrees on the Strip, the cool mountain breezes on Mt. Charleston, about 45 minutes north of Las Vegas, keep the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort (LVSSR) at a pleasant 23 degrees. The winter season starts in late November, and the resort is open into April depending on the weather. LVSSR is also the ONLY place in the country where one can learn to ski for FREE! They have a complimentary coaching program where trained professionals teach skiers and snowboarders while they're out on the slopes.
    2014-10-10-LVSSR_VegasSign.jpgCourtesy of LVSSR

    This media trip was partially sponsored by participating members of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association. This post was not reviewed by the members prior to publication. This list is provided for general information and entertainment purposes for visitors to Las Vegas.


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    You’ve accompanied your kid across half the province to provide support at the big tournament, but what now? How do you keep your other kids occupied, stave off your own boredom, or handle the ride back if your kid leaves the tournament empty-handed? Fortunately, you’re not alone in this scenario and there are solutions out there.

    Many road trip guides suggest making a playlist of your favourite songs and hitting the open road. But when kids are involved, it’s not always that easy. Aside from the fact that you’re unlikely to have the same taste in music, you will also need to have a list of activities readily available in hopes of preventing the dreaded backseat question: “Are we there yet?”

    A combination of old-school distractions and new-school technology can be just the solution you’re looking for when taking a road trip with your whole family. Below is a list that can help keep the younger family members engaged before, during and after their game.

    Colouring and activity packages
    Start with creating activity packages before your trip. This could include activity and colouring books, (of course) crayons and pencil crayons and hand-held, travel-friendly games. When the kids start to complain, toss each of them a package and enjoy the minutes of silence.

    Audio books
    For kids who get motion-sick in cars, audio books are a good alternative. Invest in a few books for each child, either by downloading them or renting them from your local library. That planning will pay off when your children are absolutely captivated and engaged by Jim Dale’s reading of Harry Potter books.

    If you can afford it, consider splurging on an iPad and load it up with downloaded or rented movies. Throw in a portable speaker and your children could be occupied for hours. Cater to different tastes with a blend of comedies, cartoons and musicals. After all, everyone should sing “Let It Go” at least once on a road trip. It’s practically a law.

    If you have older children, they may have their own iPods. Why not surprise them with gift cards just before the trip? That way, they can download their newest favourite songs before the trip and enjoy along with the scenery.

    Kid-friendly tours
    Once you arrive at the city hosting the event, your tournament child will likely be caught up in the excitement of the game. But what about their siblings? If they’re old enough, why not see if the city offers kid-friendly events that cater to them? It might be a tour of the city or a movie day. Contact the local tourist board to see what the city offers for children.

    The post-game reward
    If your child doesn’t bring back the trophy, they’ll likely be disappointed or upset on the trip home. But this is your opportunity to congratulate them on their efforts. Perhaps in the form of a post-gift reward from you and their siblings? Whether it’s one of their favourite toys, a ribbon for their accomplishments or a gift card, they did their best and that’s what counts.

    What are your favourite tips for a long road trip?

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    Psst ... don't tell anyone, but there's a low-level invasion going on.

    It's of New York City, by Canadians. Tens of thousands of us, standing out from the locals by munching Montreal-style bagels, celebrating Thanksgiving early, and generally acting polite.

    And a growing number of us seem to be from the West Coast. But just because we're here, doesn't mean we don't miss the hell out of Vancouver sometimes.

    I figured I'd ask a few expat Vancouverites about what they miss most about home. Here's what they said.

    Melanie Ash, Lawyer, 42
    What she misses: Purdy's Chocolates

    "I crave Purdy's like nothing else. I always buy it when I go home, and make it last as long as I possibly can. I also count on my mom to send me some for Easter or Christmas. Sometimes I even order it here in New York City, but that's really expensive.

    My grandparents lived around 15 minutes away from the factory on Kingsway, so we used to drive there and get factory seconds. It was chocolate that hadn't passed muster, like a chocolate bunny that was missing an ear. We would get a paper bag full of that stuff, and it was always way cheaper.

    It's really a West Coast thing. Canadians from further east only know Laura Secord. But for me it's always been Purdy's. I can even tell the difference between Canadian and American chocolate, no problem. And I can literally eat a whole chocolate Santa in one sitting."

    Ed Shin, Physician/Entrepreneur, 43
    What he misses: The Canucks

    "I've been a lifelong Canucks fan since I was 10 years old, going out to games at the Pacific Coliseum. Now I follow them on the Internet, but it's just not the same as when you're in the hometown of the team you love. Especially in Vancouver, where the Canucks are the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL all wrapped into one.

    The Canucks represent a huge amount of pride and pressure and heartache and obsession for the city, and I miss that. Here in New York there are so many sports teams that everything is diluted. The Giants, the Jets, the Yankees, the Mets -- they even have three hockey teams.

    That's why, when I visited Vancouver during the 2011 playoff run, it was so much fun to be a part of. It seemed every single car had a Canucks flag. Then I came back to NYC, and no one was even paying any attention to hockey. Even when the Rangers made the Stanley Cup finals, they barely realized what was going on."

    Loretta Lam, Corporate Accountant, 37
    What she misses: Asian food

    "I moved to New York City 11 years ago, and immediately I found it challenging to find quality, authentic Chinese food. It's pretty terrible, especially when it comes to dim sum. So when I go home to Vancouver there are certain places I always go to, and certain food I always get.

    My favourite restaurant is Red Star on Granville. They're known for their Peking Duck and the quality of their dim sum. Another one is called Shanghai River, in Richmond, and that's where I get soup dumplings.

    Those places are definitely on my list. Whenever I fly home in the middle of the night, the next morning I'm going for dim sum at Red Star. I tell my New York friends all the time that the Asian food in Vancouver is the best. But they don't know any better, because they have nothing to compare it to."

    Elliot Brown, Banker, 35
    What he misses: West Coast rain

    "My wife is Brazilian, and she always looks at me funny for saying that. Being damp and soggy doesn't seem like something you would miss.

    But the fact is, when it's raining in Manhattan and you step out of your home or office, it makes you think that everything has just swelled out of the sewers. I guess you get used to it after a while, and become numb to it. But it certainly doesn't make you feel clean.

    But when it drizzles in Vancouver, it smells like trees and pine cones and all that good stuff. It's a nice, earthy, West Coast feel. It makes me feel at home."

    Cheryl Browne, Entrepreneur, 42
    What she misses: Stanley Park

    "I grew up in the West End, so Stanley Park was my go-to place as a kid. I could get on my bike and just be gone for a while. I would bring some breadcrumbs, and feed the ducks, and be out in the middle of nature.

    That has influenced me a lot as a parent. Now I live in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where there's not a lot of nature. But it's important for me that my kids get that, so we go camping a lot, and raise plants and grow some of our own food.

    My favourite place was Beaver Lake, because it was a little remote and not that easy to find. I always felt like I was far away in the forest. I also had my favourite tree, where for some reason I used to put pennies in the bark. Once I took my kids back to that tree. It's huge now."

    When you're away from Vancouver, what do you miss? Let us know in the comments.

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    OK, OK, we don't exactly need another reminder of the beauty of the Greater Vancouver region, but sometimes a photo comes along that is simply way too breathtaking to ignore.

    Taken in 2009, this one resurfaced on Reddit recently. And man, is it gorgeous:


    We got in contact with photographer Jan Kozderka and found out that the photo is actually part of a series of gorgeous shots taken from Mount Seymour and overlooking Vancouver. Here are a few of Kozderka's other stunners:





    See all of Kozderka's photos from the series here.

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    A Whistler ski chalet touted as the most expensive in Canada is on the market for $13.5 million.

    Treetop Lane, which is being sold by realtor John Ryan, is an opulent residence that overlooks B.C.'s famous Whistler Village. According to Luxury BC, the property is the most expensive ski chalet in the country.

    Built in 2005, the 12,000 sq.-ft. property is within walking distance to the village. The main home boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, limestone floors, a billiards room, a gym, seven bedrooms (including a spa-like master suite), and a temperature-controlled wine cellar.

    The outdoor space includes an infinity edged swimming pool, a 40-foot waterfall, hot tub, and wood-burning stone fireplace. A separate guesthouse features four bedrooms, a housekeeper's suite, and theatre.

    Could be worse, eh?

    See more photos:

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    jumbo glacier

    When Pat Morrow looks around at the mountains, towering on either side of the Jumbo Valley, his concern is palpable.

    Avalanche paths are clearly visible, both beside Jumbo Creek Road and on slopes surrounding the meadows and valley where Glacier Resorts Ltd. wants to build a 6,000-bed all-season ski resort.

    "Looking down the valley, we are seeing how vulnerable it is to massive avalanche damage," Morrow said.

    "There are three or four fresh ones. The avalanche paths are just slowly eating their way across the slope as the years go along."

    Few people who are familiar with Morrow's accomplishments are going to argue with his expertise.

    Morrow, who lives in the East Kootenay community of Wilmer, is a mountain climber, photographer, and filmmaker and was the first person in the world to climb the highest peaks of all seven continents. In 1982 he was a member of the first Canadian team to climb Mount Everest, and in 1987 he was awarded the Order of Canada for his international mountaineering exploits.

    "I have been in hazardous terrain all my adult life -- sizing it up -- and in there I felt really exposed," said Morrow, as his truck rattled over the rough road. He was heading home after a day of hiking the Jumbo Glacier Resort area.

    Morrow is a director of the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society and supporter of Wildsight, one of the non-profit groups fighting against the Jumbo proposal. On a sunny day in September, as he again looked at the site, his concerns grew.

    Morrow does not believe there are any other ski resorts with such high risks at the base site, as well as along the access road and on the glacier ski runs.

    "Where are they going to park the cars?" he asked. "You're not going to park them in the middle of an avalanche zone."

    An illustration of the power of avalanches -- which sweep down one side of the mountain, across the road, and swoosh up the opposite side -- came this year. A bevy of provincial government cabinet ministers were scheduled to visit the area in June, but had to take a helicopter tour of the site, instead of driving, as the road was still blocked from spring avalanche debris.

    The ministers included Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett, who has pushed provincial support for Jumbo. After the visit, Bennett told a Columbia Valley newspaper that the resort proponent needs improved access. The road, until it reaches the resort boundary, is the responsibility of the province.

    In addition to avalanche risks, there are the challenges of bringing supplies along an uneven, unpaved access road. Morrow shakes his head as he tries to estimate the expense of rebuilding the road and helicopter bombing potential avalanche sites.

    "It doesn't make sense," said Morrow, who grew up in the area and honed his mountain climbing and photography skills in the Purcells.

    However, the Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan assesses the avalanche hazard at a low to moderate risk, similar to other ski areas in B.C. and Alberta.

    An avalanche study, conducted in 1995 for the company by Peter Schaerer of Stetham and Associates, concluded that avalanche risks could be managed with road closures during hazardous times combined with dropping explosive charges from helicopters.

    "The avalanche hazard to traffic on the Jumbo Creek Road would be low with the predicted initial traffic volume of 160 vehicles per day and would increase to moderate when volume exceeds about 260 vehicles per day," says the report.

    The reports were compiled by some of Canada's leading avalanche experts, said Tommaso Oberti, spokesman for the resort proponents.

    Rod Gibbons, senior guide with RK Heliski, a company with a 44-year history in the area, said no mountainous area is completely safe from avalanches, but the key is ensuring the level of risk is acceptable.

    "Because of the avalanche hazard, there are going to be some extreme costs in keeping that road within Ministry of Transport allowances," said Gibbons, who has spent 28 winters working in the Purcells.

    "It's going to take a lot of money to make that road fit."

    Helicopters would be required to drop explosives on potential avalanche sites and "a lot of the time, the helicopter will not be able to access those points to do avalanche control," Gibbons said.

    Pilots need good visibility to fly and to assess where to put explosive charges to get the best results, meaning flights are weather dependent.

    "There could be multiple days that road will have to be closed," said Gibbons, who believes he has spent more time in the Jumbo area mountains than anyone else.

    "I'm out there every day," he said.

    RK uses explosives on potential avalanche areas, but last year a German client was killed by an avalanche in the Jumbo area.

    Mary Clayton of Avalanche Canada, formerly the Canadian Avalanche Centre, said avalanche terrain is found throughout B.C. and there is nothing unusual about the Jumbo area.

    However, of all avalanche fatalities in Canada, 80 per cent occur in B.C. and the majority of those are in the Columbia Region, she said.

    Glacier Resorts' environmental assessment certificate, first issued in 2004, expired October 12 unless proponents can prove there has been substantial progress.

    - Judith Lavoie, DeSmog Canada

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    Depending on who tells the story, either Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth II called Goderich, Ontario (pop. 7000), "the prettiest town in Canada." Not true. It seems there never was a royal visit, but don't let that stop you. This underpopulated little gem is a restorative cure for the urban soul, and it's an easy road trip from Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto or Buffalo.
    Photo: Lin Stranberg
    Goderich has its own brand of rural allure. This is Alice Munro country, after all. And if that's not enough, here are six other reasons to go:

    1. Hike in, hike out, and raise the bar on glamping.
    If you like your outdoor experiences close to your comfort zone, I'd recommend Samuels Hotel, just across the bridge from Goderich on Highway 21. This seriously affordable boutique hotel will amaze you. You can hike, cycle, fish, canoe, kayak, snowshoe, snowmobile or cross-country ski right out your door, according to the season. Book a room with a view of the Maitland River, get outside in the fresh air and scenic surroundings, then back for a snooze on your king bed before dinner. There's a gas fireplace in every room; when owner Kim Burgsma, a designer and author, renovated this historic property, she redefined country comforts along the way.
    Photo: Lin Stranberg

    2. Happy trails.
    The Maitland Trail Association maintains more than 120 km of hiking trails, including the 50 km Maitland Trail itself. Some sections are suitable for cycling, skiing or snowshoeing and on-leash dogs are welcome in most. For a spectacular view over the Maitland River near Lake Huron, don't miss the Menesetung Bridge on the Tiger Dunlop Trail, a mostly flat 3 km that connects to the Maitland Trail at one end and the old Canadian Pacific railway station at the other. Across the road from the station is the Waterfront Boardwalk, a 1.5 km stroll along Goderich's Lake Huron beaches and coastline. Check out for details.
    Photo: Lin Stranberg

    3. Local flavour.
    Like everything else in this part of the world, fine dining here is low-key and casual. I enjoyed the bounty of Huron County's rolling farmlands at Thyme on 21 and the Benmiller Inn. The food and ambiance at Thyme's four small intimate dining rooms in an 1870s lace-curtain Victorian were top-notch, and host Peter King's warm welcome adds a gracious touch. The exceptional setting of the Benmiller Inn, a former 19th Century mill outside the hamlet of Benmiller, and the "progressive Canadian" cuisine of Chef Peter Vail are worth the short drive.
    Photo: Lin Stranberg

    4. Walk back in time.
    Well-preserved 19th Century homes and commercial buildings dot the eight streets radiating from the ring road around Goderich's Courthouse Square, the octagon-shaped centre of the heritage district. For a throwback to the pre-Cineplex era, catch a movie at the Park Theatre on the square. On West Street, check out the jelly doughnuts at Cuthbert's Bakery, a Goderich institution for or more than 130 years, or browse new and used books at the Book Peddler. And if you love libraries, I recommend a stop at the public library on Montreal Street. It dates from1903 and is a living testimonial to the glory days of Carnegie Librairies. A booklet with four self-guided Heritage Walks is available free from Tourism Goderich.
    Photo: Lin Stranberg

    5. Local artists and artisans.
    Meeting people makes for some of the best memories of all. It's easy to reach out to local art galleries and studios. Many keep regular hours and welcome drop-ins, like The Co-op Gallery on Courthouse Square. The space is run co-operatively among an eclectic group of local artists and craftspeople, so you never know what you might find to catch your eye. For something completely different, make arrangements to visit Sharp's Creek Forge and speak with blacksmith Jim Wallace. His forged architectural metalwork can be seen inside and outside homes and public places throughout Southwestern Ontario.
    Photo: Lin Stranberg

    6. Small town fascinations.
    Nearby Clinton, ON (pop. 3000) is where Alice Munro makes her home. "To me, it's the most interesting place in the world," the Nobel prizewinner said in a 2013 New York Times interview. I couldn't linger to discover why she might find it "endlessly fascinating," but I wouldn't have missed my overnight stay in one of the four guest rooms at the Kildonan House, either. It's remarkably quiet. I had a great sleep, followed by breakfast in the dining room with hosts Maureen and Gene Logel. The 12-foot ceilings, splendid antiques and mellow surroundings of this stately 1867 home are redolent of a quieter, gentler place in time, all with the requisite modern conveniences. In summer, there's a saltwater pool in a lush garden setting.
    Photo: Lin Stranberg

    For more about visiting Goderich:


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  • 10/22/14--14:13: What to Do in Las Vegas
  • Canadians just can't seem to get enough of Las Vegas. According to the Conference Board of Canada, between January and July 2014 the number of arrivals from Canada increased by 12 per cent compared to the same time 2013.

    As Canada's Sin City experts, we've called out to our team of Sin City insiders -- on the ground locals and Vegas experts -- and developed customized travel itineraries tailored for anyone thinking of making the trip. Whether you're an Adrenaline Adventurer, High Roller, Big Ticket Enthusiast or Vintage Seeker, Vegas has so many options to choose from and we know a little help from locals goes a long way. Here are a few unique itineraries, as curated by and our Sin City Insiders:


    MORNING -- For a true 360-degree view of Vegas, take the plunge with a skydiving adventure. But if you're not a fan of heights, try the indoor skydive option instead.
    NOON -- Satisfy your need for speed behind the wheel of a Ferrari F430 or a Lamborghini Gallardo. A lap around the track in one of these vehicles is sure to get your engine going.
    NIGHT -- For the ultimate adrenaline-pumping and memorable activity, make your mark with a tattoo to remember it all.


    MORNING -- Who says the fun needs to stop when the night is over? Known as the best place to keep the party going, Lavo features a 'Saturday Party Brunch,' complete with a lavish menu, bubbly champagne and yes, even music to keep you dancing.
    NOON -- For a more restful and relaxing VIP experience (or if you're looking to recover from the night before), spend the afternoon treating yourself at the Wynn spa.
    NIGHT -- For an elaborate night out on the town that only Vegas can provide, treat yourself to dinner at Gordon "Hell's Kitchen" first-ever steakhouse and eat the 'Gordon Ramsay Steak' in Paris Las Vegas. From there, explore the infamous Vegas strip in your own private limousine and when you're ready to rock, strap on your dancing shoes and head over to LiFE Nightclub at SLS, the newest and coolest club in town.


    MORNING -- Fly over the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and Fortification Hill, and enjoy a touchdown in the Grand Canyon, complete with a late-morning snack and Champagne toast.
    NOON -- Check out one of the many magic shows or partake in an interactive afternoon with "comedy in action" entertainer Jeff Civillico at The Quad on the north end of the strip.
    NIGHT -- No Big Ticket Vegas trip would be complete without a big ticket show. Cirque du Soleil's Beatles Love is a fan favourite, and music lovers can see bands like Kiss and Motley Crue or pop queen Britney Spears, all of whom have Vegas residencies.


    MORNING -- Play a round of golf at the last remaining casino golf course on the Strip at Wynn Las Vegas. The historic course, known for most of its life as the Desert Inn Country Club, has hosted dignitaries, mobsters and A-list entertainers throughout its history.
    NOON -- Spend the afternoon walking among the ghosts of Vegas Past at the Neon Museum, where classic Vegas signage goes to spend its afterlife.
    NIGHT -- If you're really feeling 'vintage,' spend the evening like the old Rat Pack at the city's oldest continuously operating casino, downtown's El Cortez. Opened in 1941, the casino was once owned by mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky, and is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


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