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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    TORONTO - A restaurant in tiny Tofino, B.C., on the edge of the Pacific Ocean has been named the best new restaurant in Canada in enRoute's annual top 10 list.

    Wolf in the Fog took top honours while Ayden in Saskatoon, opened by "Top Chef Canada" season 1 winner Dale MacKay, was the people's choice winner in an online poll at eatandvote.com.

    Chef Nick Nutting, who leads the pack at Wolf in the Fog with his locally sourced and ingredient-driven menu, said "coming from probably the smallest town of any of the places nominated to be No. 1 is mind-blowing really."

    He was in Toronto after being informed Tuesday that his restaurant, which opened at the end of June, had won.

    "We definitely have a bold style when it comes to what we do," he said by telephone. "We have a lot of beautiful ingredients that we get out there and we just try to bring the flavours through in a way that's fun and exciting. There's a lot of people serving a lot of salmon dishes on the West Coast and all the standards, but the stuff we have to work with in Tofino is just that much fresher.

    "We get all our fish from a dock that's one block away from the restaurant. ... You can literally see the boats coming in ... This time of year we have lots of foragers coming through with wild mushrooms."

    The menu varies at Wolf in the Fog although there are a few constants, says the Victoria-raised Nutting, who apprenticed at Catch Restaurant in Calgary and helmed the Pointe Restaurant at Tofino's Wickaninnish Inn for five years. The best-selling dish is lightly smoked oysters wrapped in potato and fried till crispy and served with a seasonal garnish. Making the oysters approachable for those who think they don't like the bivalves has created converts out of many, added Nutting, who has also worked in New York and Montreal.

    Nutting hopes the recognition achieved by his restaurant will benefit Tofino too, encouraging travellers who visit Vancouver Island to make the effort to get to the remote place.

    "The culinary community has always been good out there. There's a lot of great restaurants. It's such an amazing part of Canada and to help make people aware we're out there and that we're making this incredible food on the edge of the country is pretty cool."

    A panel of food professionals across the country made recommendations on the most interesting restaurant openings in their area between June 2013 and June 2014 (along with a few from late spring 2013 that missed the cut for last year's list).

    International food and wine writer Andrew Braithwaite chose the 10 finalists from a short list of 30, spending a month crisscrossing the country to dine anonymously at each one.

    Winners will be profiled in the November issue of Air Canada's enRoute magazine and at enroute.aircanada.com.

    The top 10 restaurants will receive their awards Nov. 20 in Toronto.



    Check out the rest of enRoute's top 10 list:



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    Grab your hats and your runners, because we're going exploring!

    Or at least, that's what we feel like shouting after watching this amazing video of B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest.

    Shot by Devin Graham and uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday, the video is a gorgeous and expansive look at one of B.C.'s most beautiful regions. Just try not to swell with pride.

    Plus, as a lovely bonus, there's also a behind the scenes video:



    See you in the wilderness!

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    fairmont vancouver ghost

    Ghosts from the past and present haunt British Columbia, drawing from the province's history and the people who lived there.

    Stories of lingering socialites in hotels, and apparitions of castle owners and prominent businessmen are not unusual to locals and visitors, especially at many historic landmarks.

    With Halloween around the corner, you never know what may show up to spook you at any of these places! Got more to share? Let us know.




    Tranquille Sanatorium, near Kamloops

    Built in 1907, Tranquille Sanatorium was a place to treat patients with tuberculosis. The sound of crying children can be heard from the eighth floor where the pediatrics unit was located. Many claim to have seen a mother weeping for her child on the sixth and eighth floors; her spirit eventually disappears when she is approached but the sound of her cries continue to echo in the hallways.

    Film productions have used the location, which is currently an urban farm. There are plans to develop the property into homes, a public park and a waterfront.

    The Empress Hotel, Victoria

    Located in downtown Victoria, the famous hotel played host to kings, queens, movie stars and many famous people in the 1900s. However, the most famous guest is said to be the ghost of Francis Rattenbury, the hotel architect. He was murdered in his drawing room and has been spotted roaming the halls with his cane. Guests have also reported apparitions of a hotel maid on the sixth floor and a figure of a construction worker who committed suicide.

    Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria

    The 39-room castle was built by Robert Dunsmuir, a wealthy Scottish immigrant. Construction began in 1887, but Dunsmuir died two years after construction started and so did his second daughter later that same year. Ghost sightings of a woman dressed in a ball gown on the main staircase and a young girl roaming around in the basement have been reported. Many have also heard the sound of faint music playing from certain rooms in the castle.

    New Westminster Secondary School, New Westminster

    In the early 1970s, a boy drowned in the pool located in the basement. Security guards have reported seeing a young boy floating around in the water. A man shooting bows and arrows has also been seen in the basement, where an archery range was also located. Another student died in the woodworking shop in the late 1980s and security cameras have caught images of a boy walking around in the room.

    Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

    First opened in 1939, the hotel is haunted by the "Lady in Red," according to reports from guests and staff. The woman haunts the 14th floor where she likes to glide through the hallways. Some say the elegantly dressed woman is the ghost of Jennie Pearl Cox, a Vancouver socialite. A Japanese family once called the front desk asking if the room on the 14th floor had been double-booked because they were greeted by the woman in their room.



    The Old Spaghetti Factory, Vancouver

    Historic Gastown is no stranger to ghost tales of the past. Rumour has it, the Old Spaghetti Factory is home to four ghosts who prefer to linger after closing hours. The most popular ghost is said to be a tram conductor who appears in an old trolley inside the restaurant. Staff members have allegedly spotted his ghost in full uniform. Employees have seen table settings mysteriously moving, and have heard their names called while alone in the room.

    Hatley Castle, Victoria

    Hatley Castle is now home to Royal Roads University but in the 1900s it was owned by James Dunsmuir, a former lieutenant governor of British Columbia. When the house was sold in the 1930s and transformed into a military academy, the ghost of his wife, Laura Dunsmuir, began to appear. She has been known to drag cadets out of their bed, pulling them across the floor in the middle of the night. People also reported seeing Dunsmuir's son, who was killed in WWI, walking along the end of a pond near the castle.

    Vogue Theatre, Vancouver

    Built in 1941, the theater was used for concerts and plays. It also houses two ghosts who sometimes like to spook guests. The first spirit is of a dark-haired man who likes to hang out by the catwalk and main stage. Another man has been seen wearing a black tuxedo and a black bow tie, he is said to appear nonchalantly in the seating area near the front stage. Both ghosts have been spotted in the audience by performers.

    Waterfront Station, Vancouver

    Waterfront Station is considered to be "the most haunted building in Vancouver." The busy transit hub is home to many ghosts and paranormal activities. A security guard claims to have seen the apparition of a woman dancing by herself from the 1920s. Another guard came face to face with a shining white ghost who reached out towards him. In addition, others have seen spirits of three little old ladies sitting on a bench. Random furniture has also been seen moving.

    Hycroft Manor, Vancouver

    There have been countless reports of ghost encounters over the years at the Hycroft Manor. The 20,000 sq.-ft. mansion is located in upscale Shaughnessy. Seven ghosts are known to roam the 30-room structure. Staff say three ghosts known as "The Pranksters" are responsible for lights flickering and doors mysteriously closing. Apparitions of a WWI veteran and a woman in a nurse's uniform have been reported. Spirits of a well-dressed lady and a sobbing man have been heard on the main floor.

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    I fancy myself a pretty decent driver. Defensive but aggressive when I need to be. I heard a radio ad during a recent drive about "those suburban commando moms behind the wheel of her giant SUV," and I held my chin up with pride. All right, so I'm a lot aggressive on the road.

    Whether I get cut off, am tailgated by someone who doesn't think 125 km/h is fast enough or stuck behind that guy (you know the one -- cruising along at a snail's pace, oblivious to those around him, leaving a huge, 18-wheeler-sized space in front of his car), I can admit I have some anger issues behind the wheel. But people can be so irksome. Just when you think you've been travelling alongside some really terrible drivers, I'm here to clarify. There's them, 50 feet of crap, then there are the nominees of "Canada's Worst Driver."

    The series is celebrating its 10th season, a wonderful albeit frightening prospect to know that the bad drivers just keep on coming. Honestly, how any of these people have licences is beyond fathomable. The idea of encountering any one of them on a busy highway or suburban street should scare the crap out of anyone. But season after season, host Andrew Younghusband does it, and he's petrified (though he does a good job hiding it). Or perhaps that's why his razor-sharp wit kicks in and is always in overdrive.

    The drivers have so many issues. They are either super-shaky and nervous or mysteriously overconfident. Their heads whip around frantically to check their blindspot and their rearview mirrors (um, just leave your head stationary and look with your eyes?), and the sheer panic is mind-boggling -- yet makes for mind-blowing entertainment.

    Just witnessing the eight drivers in the premiere travelling from their starting point to the rehabilitation centre 90 minutes away is cause for concern. "Oblivious" Chanie, who never took lessons and takes 15 to 20 selfies during her journeys, is asked to reverse and asks, "How do I turn around?" She also asks her boyfriend seated in the backseat, "What's a road sign?", "What does yield mean?" and DOESN'T SEE stop signs or traffic lights, particularly red ones. Basically, a nightmare.

    Good. Grief.

    And she's just a drop in the bucket, as the remaining drivers go from bad to worse. There's accident-prone, borderline blind Jason (honestly, his Chevy could be a bumper car); Siham, who suffers from anxiety after being in a bad car accident; and Tyler, a licensed pilot (!!!), who drives like the senior-est of senior citizens trapped inside a 27-year-old, stopping at green lights. Um, what? Santana constantly texts while she's driving (but I couldn't help but notice that her best friend doesn't wear a seat belt while in the passenger seat). Ian, who has written off two cars in the past year, is actually a taxi driver who uses his ADHD as the reason for his terrible lack of skills. George is considered a road bully and likes to street-race and tail-gate -- while watching TV on his phone. But Mariah might be the worst. She actually loves to drive (even though she's dreadful at it); she just tends to do it drunk.

    Canadian drivers definitely need help and the fact that "Canada's Worst Driver" (which, in many instances, can also be known as "Canada's Biggest Idiots") has been on for 10 years and can likely go on for 100 more is a testament to that. But what should be a baffling, frustrating watch is made all the better by Younghusband. Honestly, he is what saves me from throwing a shoe at the television. Thanks to his gigs here and on his other Discovery series, "Don't Drive Here," I am arguably and unabashedly one of his biggest fans. He doesn't make light of the situations -- he simply adds to it.

    "Canada's Worst Driver" is a maddening and alarming hour of television, but he makes it enjoyable and fun to watch. And, hey, aside from being completely entertained, you'll also come out of it feeling much better about your own driving -- unless you're one of those aforementioned annoying ones. Then you might want to audition for Season 11.

    "Canada's Worst Driver" premieres Monday, October 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery.


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    2014-10-22-IMG_2213.JPG

    It rains.

    As I sit in my mountain top jungle casita this morning, I wonder if today will be another full day of hibernation, as mother nature unleashes her seasonal weeks of weeping over the Costa Rican coastline. Yes, October is considered to be one of the rainiest months here in Central America, and since my return here this past weekend, the skies have not disappointed. Lush, green, and clean, the tierra and vistas throughout this region (not to mention farmers crops) absorb this moist magic, and in return offer up the makings for some of the most magnificent months ahead; visiting The Rich Coast here in November and December is quite possibly the best time in my opinion, as the jungle is at it's most fertile, but the days begin to dry as the sun takes back the sky.

    So as I sit here, sipping my spirulina smoothie this morning, I am grateful to be home.

    And I am also thankful to all that helped make my recent three week tour to Canada and the US a joyful journey; as life in the North can be quite overwhelming after months spent living the pura vida. Yes, looking back at my whirlwind trip that had stops in Ottawa, Toronto, Exeter, London, Milton, Newmarket, Atlanta, and LA, I am just happy to have survived! Planes, trains, and automobiles, plus noise and hurry, one raw food event, two TV appearances, and perhaps too much wine with dinner, made for one terribly exhausted yet exhilarated gal, when all was said and done!

    As the summer is now ending, and the cooler air is inevitable (for most, not so much me her in CR), I know many of you will be planning air travel in the coming months for sweet refuge from things like "polar vortexes" (shudder).

    2014-10-23-IMG_4199.JPG

    And there are a few go-to tricks that I always adhere to when planning travel, and I want to share them here today. As I am vegan for the most part, some of these tips may sway towards my being a plant-based diet kind of gal; but don't brush this list off even if you are omnivorous! If you can adhere to a more veg-friendly diet whilst in transit, I promise you that YOUR transit will thank you....get me? Travel constipation much?

    1. Green Juice. This is the ultimate jet-lag preventative measure. I always juice 2 huge jars full; one that I will drink in the taxi en route to the airport, the other that I freeze solid, and can usually get past security in that state, to enjoy on the plane!

    2. Pack plane food. Do not succumb to the $8 corn nuts and colas. You must pack a bag of light, water-rich meals for the trip. My go-tos? A huge salad topped with raw and roasted veggies, lots of fresh fruit, vegan sushi, and a whole avocado. Sometimes you have to flirt with the border guards to get the produce through, but I am prepared to stoop to that in the name of wellness. You should be too.

    3. Got a stopover? Research your airports. Find out where there is WIFI, what restos offer light vegan fare, if see if there are there sleeping quarters available to grab a quick nap.

    4. Hydrate. Drink your weight in water. Gulp it pre-flight, during, and post. Who cares how many times you have to ask your aisle seat neighbour to move so that you can mosy on back to the restroom? At least your skin will remain soft, and your mouth moist and happy.

    5. Enlist the help of others to ease the transition once you arrive at your destination. Raw juice delivery companies like Raw Juice Guru in Toronto, and health and wellness gift basket delivery businesses like Jule's Baskets, can ease the stress of having to source your own local nutrient rich beverages and foods since they can deliver straight to your hotel! All you need to do is land, arrive, and imbibe!


    So what are ya'll waiting for? Book those flights, as the longer you wait, you know the more expensive your getaway is gonna get!

    Here comes the sun, much love, pura vida!

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    Wandering the streets of Rhodes' extraordinary medieval city, I am confronted by an old nemesis; the tagger. The medieval Greek city of Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the 1309 occupation by the St. John of Jerusalem order of knights. For centuries, the knights labored to transform the city into a fortress to defend itself against Turkish invasion. It is one of the only examples of gothic architecture in Greece and it's quite breathtaking. Sadly, many of these beautiful old gothic buildings have been defaced by tourists.
    Names have been carved into the ancient stones and the trees that line the moat. The city gates have been tagged so many times that you can't see the beautiful old wooden beams from which they are made. Even the cannon balls which litter the whole city; remnants of invasions past, have not escaped unscathed.

    When you spray your name across the trains, or bridges or my neighbour's garage, I am (frankly) indifferent. But I find the carelessly scrawled 'Neville woz here' on places of beauty, works of art or historical treasures really gets my goat.

    Sure, travelling does make your own insignificance abundantly clear. Knowing that eons of peons have toiled to make this beautiful old castle can be overwhelming. Watching history stretch out before you with the millions, or possibly billions of people who have passed this place without leaving a mark is enough to make even the most stoic among us feel somewhat small. Well buck up man! Resist, dear traveler, at all costs the urge to make your mark on the world by smearing your name on something beautiful.

    Know that, even if you do manage to mangle a piece of history with your autograph, you are won't feel fulfilled or any more significant.

    And while I will acquiesce that carving 'Neville luvs Liz' into an ancient tree or a historic tombstone may get you laid, passersby will not marvel at your ingenuity or spunk. We will not think to ourselves: "Wow, that Neville, what an impressive example of humanity at its most evolved." Instead, we are far more likely to think: "Neville you utter arse. Thank you for ruining a perfectly good tombstone, you sorry little imbecile."

    Now I'm not picking on the graffiti artist; the disenfranchised, the bullied, alienated or otherwise "justly pissed off at the powers that be". These prophets of the subways, concrete bridges and even my neighbour's ill-fated garage are artists that often inspire or make me think. They offer profound insights, incredible pieces of public art or simply rail against those who seek to silence them.

    I'm speaking here to the Neville's of the world who write only their names without so much as a thought to our entertainment. Next time you have an urge to tag something or carve your name into a tree, please think twice.

    If you must immortalize yourself, do so through dashing acts of bravery, beauty or brilliance. If you are not capable of this then, at very least, donate enough money to the local botanical society for them to dedicate a park bench to you. That way, everyone who needs to take a rest, sleep off a hangover or have an al fresco tryst will whisper: "Thank you Neville... what a guy!"

    ALSO ON HUFFPOST:


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    Eagles and muskox and bears, oh my!

    As you have likely learned, we at the Huffington Post Alberta love a good animal story.

    So when we made contact with Alberta wildlife photographer Pat Roque, we are so excited to feature his work as Alberta's Photographer of the Month.

    Pat's wildlife imagery is second-to-none, and he's no doubt dedicated to the craft of capturing so of Canada's most majestic animals. He takes several trips each year to remote areas of Canada, and comes away with some of the most wonderful animal photos we've seen.

    Pat was kind enough to answer some questions about what inspires his photography and how he's able to capture the photos he does. Scroll down for photos from Pat's collection.

    photographer of the month


    Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

    I grew up in southern Manitoba, a small rural community named Lorette. Currently I reside in Calgary.

    How long have you been shooting photos?

    For as long as I can remember I have been interested in photography. I purchased my first SLR camera at the age of 13 and although I normally had a camera nearby, it wasn't until I relocated to Calgary that my passion for wildlife photography became obvious.

    What about Alberta inspires you?

    The abundance of and accessibility to wildlife throughout the province. Whether it;s searching for grizzly bear in the mountains to big horn sheep in nearby Turner Valley or even deer in Fish Creek Provincial Park. I can normally find a subject to photograph! I find southern Alberta's one of the most amazing areas in Canada to view and photograph a vast variety of wildlife.

    Interview continues after the slideshow.



    How patient do you have to be to photograph wildlife and nature?

    Rather than attribute it to patience, I consider it luck. Professionals, will agree that even though you are fortunate enough to encounter a subject, having the subject act naturally and continue with their normal actions regardless of your presence is luck. To be able to leave that subject after having captured that magical moment and the animal continues to do what ever it was that they were doing prior to arrival - is magical in my world. I do spend a great portion of my free time in pursuit of wildlife subjects and from that perspective, a wildlife photographer does have to be patient and willing to spend time doing so.

    What's the most unusual, remarkable thing you've ever had happen to you while taking photographs?

    One of the most memorable incidents involved a coastal wolf near Prince Rupert. While out looking for spirit bear, I came up to a section of road where I had photographed a wolf earlier in the day. I had spotted my friend's vehicle parked along the road and saw him standing at the back with his camera equipment. I knew right away that the wolf must have re-appeared, so I parked and joined him with my equipment. The wolf was in the thick brush but we could see it from where we stood. We decided to slowly make our way toward the animal, and as we got closer, we realized that it was eating bones from a carcass. The brush was thick and it was difficult to shoot, but we managed to work around it. Having a wolf within 10 meters, that is accepting your presence while it carries on it's normal activity, is amazing. The wolf was so comfortable around us that at one point, it walked right past us to get a drink and walked back to the carcass to grab a last bone before disappearing into the forest.

    What is your favourite animal to photograph and why?

    The grizzly bear. Although I find all bears incredible, it's the grizzly that intrigues me most. I find that the different coloring and markings on grizzlies makes them unique and allows differentiating one from another. Of course, the fact that they are so majestic and powerful is an obvious attractant, but the fact that the species is threatened in Alberta, we really don't know how much longer we'll have these magnificent animals in our parks.

    Have you ever found yourself in a scary situation while shooting?

    No I've been very fortunate over the years likely because I truly believe that no shot is worth endangering mine or the animal's well-being. I don't often set out on a trail expecting to photograph a bear, I will for moose or sheep but never for bear. When shooting bears and wolves on land, I have found that my vehicle serves as a perfect blind, likely due to most wildlife being accustomed to traffic.The vehicle often allows me to photograph the animal acting normally.

    What's your advice to people who want to take remarkable wildlife photographs?

    Take the time to research and understand your subject. This is key to wildlife photography -- capturing the images that you will be pleased with and, most importantly, experiencing an amazing wildlife encounter. A little luck is always good as well. Understanding your equipment and its capabilities is also very important to achieving the results that you're looking for. The internet is a great source of information as are camera clubs and stores.

    What do you like to do when you're not taking photos?

    My wife and I like to hike in the summer or snowshoe in the winter with our Portuguese water dog, Buster.

    Many of the photos that you've provided seem to have been taken outside of Alberta. Does your passion take you on many trips?

    I normally do three wildlife photography trips each year. The bear season starts in May with a trip north of Prince Rupert to photograph the bears coming out of hibernation and the start of the breeding period. The bear season then comes to a close for me in October with a trip to central B.C. which coincides with the end of the salmon spawning period. The bears concentrate on the river systems to gorge themselves on the spent salmon and build up the necessary body fat levels to survive the winter hibernation. I've added a third trip to my annual trip roster -- last year it was a November trip to Wapusk National Park to photograph polar bear and this past July I travelled to Somerset Island in Nunavut for muskox and denning Arctic fox. To fill the gap between trips, I spend most weekends in Canmore chasing wildlife in nearby Banff National Park or Kananaskis Provincial Park.

    Explore more of Pat Roque's work:
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    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA -- Norm Beaver can't feel his face.

    That whiny update comes directly from him, my travel companion, as we shiver outside the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg. Our tour guide, Don Finkbeiner of Heartland Travel, is pointing with excitement to a sphinx perched on the peaked roof of the front entrance.

    "Everything was right here in front of us, in plain sight. For almost 100 years no one noticed that this building is actually a temple," Finkbeiner says with incredulity.

    You've probably heard about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights that opened last month in Winnipeg. But did you know the city's Legislative Building is Canada's very own version of the "Da Vinci Code" -- a real-life pagan temple with deities disguised as gargoyles, guardian beasts warding off evil and an altar for sacrificial rites? And you thought politics was boring!

    Sure, "Winterpeg" can be as cold as Mars (minus-50 Celsius degrees at some points last winter) but this boom-bust-boom city is also a hotbed of paranormal secrets and spooky spirits.

    Norm's head isn't the only frozen, back-from-the-dead face in the Legislative Building. In front of the Grand Staircase (13 steps, like all staircases in the building that was designed by a mason), Finkbeiner points up. Way up.

    There's a screeching gargoyle leering down at us. Nice.

    "Look closer. Does she look familiar?"

    Frozen scream, snakes for hair, ice-cold rage and a hard stony stare.

    Bad-girl Medusa is in the house. But why?

    There's a reason the Hermetic Code Tour is 90 minutes long, a designated Canadian Signature Experience and includes a 131-page coffee table book. Every stone, sculpture, painting, adornment and dimension in the Manitoba Legislative Building is encoded with occult symbolism and numerological codes.

    You could quite happily spend all day with Finkbeiner or Frank Albo, the young Winnipeg-born architectural historian responsible for decoding the building's secrets, and you'd still want more.

    Just remember: The tour starts outside so dress appropriately if you come in winter like we did or you'll stagger into "the temple" like the frozen walking dead.

    A Muddy, Bloody Good Time in Manitoba

    For Kristen Verin-Treusch, owner of Muddy Water Tours (Winnipeg means "muddy water" in Cree), the walking dead are always welcome on her tours. In fact, spirits are guests of honour and encouraged to make themselves seen, heard and understood.

    Verin-Treusch is as kind as she is brave. "No, I'm not a ghost whisperer, no way!" she says with a laugh. "I'm more interested in shifting people's paradigms around what happens after we die."

    Our paradigm shift starts at the Fort Garry Hotel in downtown Winnipeg. Built in 1913, the Fort Garry has hosted superstars like Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney and Brad Pitt. But it's the invisible spirit stars -- some friendly, some fierce -- who've transformed this ornate chateau-style hotel into one of Canada's most spectacular haunting grounds.

    Verin-Treusch can't take us into Room 202 because the notorious suite is already occupied.

    Indeed.

    We walk down the narrow carpeted hallway and stand quietly outside the dark wooden door.

    Verin-Treusch hisses ghost stories about what's behind Door 202.

    There's the female ghost who likes to climb into bed with guests. Sometimes she stands at the foot of the bed and just stares.

    Until you wake up screaming.

    Story by Shannon Leahy, Vacay.ca Writer. To read the rest of the story on Vacay.ca, click here.

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    Sure, you might be the type that laughs at scary movies, but do you really think you're brave enough to handle Canada's most haunted destinations and most frightening events? From zombie infestations to haunted hotel rooms, this country is downright creepy as it rolls out a myriad of ghostly chills in time for Halloween, if you dare.

    Winnipeg's Most Haunted Hotel

    You may have checked in alone, but it's unlikely that you'll spend the night that way in Room 202 of the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg. The historic property, built in 1913, is home to ghosts who like to hang out in front of guests. Visitors have reported a cloaked figure standing at the end of their beds, watching them sleep. And housekeeping staff have witnessed blood oozing down the walls.

    Soldiering On at Fort Fright

    In Ontario, Fort Henry is Kingston's most popular tourist attraction. Visitors come for a closer look at the fort, completed in 1837, to keep out pesky American invaders. During October, the site takes on a sinister aura as Fort Fright, which crawls with demonic ghouls, including an axe-wielding guide, a creepy clown, and sinister scientists. Fort Fright runs until November 1.

    "Spookloops" Takes Over Kamloops

    In the weeks that lead up to October 31, Kamloops in British Columbia's interior becomes Spookloops, full of mysterious and terrifying experiences. At Tranquille Farm Fresh, tours of the historic property's creepy underground tunnels promise to freak out those scared of the dark and what lurks in it. Meanwhile, a corn maze with 10-foot-high stalks make getting lost fun.

    Haunted Attractions in Victoria

    As the oldest city on the Pacific coast, Victoria lays claim to the title as "Canada's most haunted" town. The British Columbia capital provides evidence for that nickname with a packed event roster for Halloween. Snag a ticket to Atomic Vaudeville's annual Halloween Cabaret (until November 1), an extravaganza of scary songs and dance numbers. And for the kiddies, there's the Festival of Fear at Galey Farms, featuring a child-friendly haunted house that is open until October 31.

    Ghost Hunting in Hamilton

    Take part in a paranormal investigation with Ghost Walks Hamilton as investigators head to the Custom House, one of the city's oldest and arguably most haunted buildings. Learn how to be a ghostbuster and use paranormal measurement tools and awake the spirits during a Victorian séance to cap off the evening in the Ontario city close to Toronto. This walk is available on October 30 only.

    Catch Ottawa's Zombie Invasion

    If you're a fan of "The Walking Dead" you'll appreciate meeting the undead during a special ghoulish event, Incident at the Bunker: A Zombie Adventure. It's being held every weekend until Halloween at the Diefenbunker, the once top-secret government underground facility built during the Cold War in 1959.

    Story by Michele Sponagle, Vacay.ca Writer. To read the rest of the story on Vacay.ca, click here.

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    Canada might be a massive country, but that doesn't hold its people back from claiming their particular spots as being the best in class.

    Great Places in Canada, a contest run by the Canadian Institute of Planners, asked Canadians earlier this year to nominate areas they felt were the greatest in the country. The places could fall into one of three categories: public spaces, neighbourhoods or streets.

    With 2014 marking the fourth year for the contest, finalists tend to focus on public spaces, where people gather to enjoy festivals, trails and the occasional carriage ride.

    Previous winners include such beloved spots as The Forks in Winnipeg and Saint John City Market in Saint John, but the real charm of the contest lies in its ability to highlight areas that remain unknown to most Canadians.

    Take a look at the nominees for 2014 here — the announcement of the winners will coincide with World Town Planning Day on Nov. 7.


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    Raindrops keep falling on his head, and Chester the false killer whale loves it.

    A new video of the rare cetacean, who was rescued in critical condition this summer on a Tofino beach, shows how much the calf is flourishing.

    The five-month-old mammal is diving deeper, swimming faster, and even attempting leaps, said staff at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre on Monday.

    The footage shot by a centre volunteer shows Chester happily playing in raindrops dripping from a tarp over his habitat (watch the video above). Earlier this month, he got more space to grow when the water depth in his home was doubled.

    "All of it is important exercise for him, helping develop his muscles and improve his strength. He also continues to play with toys and interact with his caregivers, important activities for his enrichment and socialization," said an aquarium news release.

    False killer whales are actually members of the dolphin family and are rarely seen in B.C.'s coastal waters, preferring the open ocean.

    When he was found, Chester was near death with respiratory problems, as well as deep cuts and wounds from being tossed onto the sand and lying on the beach for hours. He now weighs more than 116 kilograms (250 pounds), and is more than two metres long.

    Chester eats about seven kilograms of herring, capelin, and Spanish sardines every day, but is still undergoing rehabilitation and is monitored 24 hours a day.

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

    With files from The Canadian Press

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    When Mikey McBryan first came to Toronto a half-decade ago to promote the very first season of "Ice Pilots NWT," it was the turning point that "changed everything." The Buffalo Airways personality had already shot the first season of the series, but since no one had seen it, he and the pilots still considered it something of an "inside joke."

    Fast-forward to today, and McBryan is back in Toronto to promote the show's final eight-episode run. According to the star, now it's really starting to really feel like the end.

    "Coming back six years later and reflecting on it ... man! I was just a little kid back then. I can't believe all the trouble we got into," he tells HuffPost Canada TV. "It's totally bittersweet."

    According to McBryan, the show's fifth season was supposed to be the last, but everyone was on the fence about giving a proper sendoff to fans. They took so long to make their decision that once they decided to go, shooting started later, resulting in a shorter season.

    "In television, the 'c' word, 'cancelled,' is just a horrible, horrible word and I hate it," McBryan says. "But we all worked together and the show is going out on a high note. I like 'final season' vs. getting a press release saying the show is cancelled. It's cool we're doing it this way."

    McBryan reveals the crew didn't set out to do anything different than previous seasons, yet the dramatics that go down in the final run wound up giving closure on many different levels. Sophie -- the dog that has always been a background player of sorts on the series, a fun part of the show for many fans -- had to be put down at 16 years old in a "heart-wrenching" episode. And something that's been two years in the making, McBryan jumping out of a plane on D-Day, will serve as one of the series' final scenes.

    "It's one of the craziest experiences of my life," he says. "As I was laying, mangled up on the ground because I didn't land that well, it was nice closure for me too. To know that was the end. Luckily I survived."

    Looking ahead, McBryan isn't opposed to future projects involving the crew, so long as it isn't cheesy. He's looking at a variety of options, including an animated series or a pop-up children's book. He's also got the bug to do more work on-camera or with something involving media, and is looking into some options with Shaw Media, which currently owns "Ice Pilots."

    "I'm hooked, I'm definitely hooked and I love it," he says. "Being stuck in a hangar for my entire life, I didn't realize there were other things you could do."

    His dream gig? Being animated on "The Simpsons."

    "Springfield reminds me of my hometown -- that's why I love 'The Simpsons' so much!" he says. "My whole goal in life is to be on 'The Simpsons.' I think if Matt Groening came up to Yellowknife and said hi to me, we could make a deal."

    Proving that he's really thought that far ahead, McBryan is quick to reveal which characters he relates to most.

    "I would probably be Barney ... or Duff Man!" he laughs. "And my father is the Mr. Burns, where he's always making references that are way out of date and all that kind of stuff. I'd actually love to try and do a web series where I host chats about 'The Simpsons.'"

    Stay tuned, he says.

    "Ice Pilots NWT" kicks off its final season Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on History.




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    A French-speaking couple cannot sue Air Canada for financial damages after the airline served a Sprite instead of a 7-Up, and did not provide numerous other services in their language, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Tuesday.

    Michel and Lynda Thibodeau filed eight complaints to the official languages commissioner after taking a number of flights in 2009, Postmedia News reported.

    Lynda had asked for a 7-Up in French on one flight but an English-speaking attendant gave her a Sprite.

    They also weren't served in French when checking in at a boarding gate and announcements about their baggage pick-up were only made in English, CTV News reported.

    The couple received $12,000 in damages from the Federal Court, but the Supreme Court of Canada, while recognizing that the airline hadn't provided services in French, later overturned that award and said they will have to simply receive an apology from Air Canada, QMI Agency said.

    More from The Canadian Press:

    OTTAWA - An Ottawa couple who complained after not being served in French on Air Canada flights are not entitled to financial compensation from the airline, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

    The Federal Court originally said Lynda and Michel Thibodeau should receive $12,000 but that ruling was overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal.

    The case involved four complaints filed with the official languages commissioner in 2009 over English-only services.

    Three were in connection with three different flights: Toronto-Atlanta, Atlanta-Toronto and Charlotte-Toronto, and the fourth dealt with an incident at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

    Air Canada previously apologized to the couple.

    In its five-to-two ruling, the high court noted that the Montreal Convention, a multilateral treaty adopted in 1999, provides for compensation only in cases of death, injury, delays or baggage-related incidents.

    "The Montreal Convention's uniform and exclusive scheme of damages liability for international air carriers does not permit an award of damages for breach of language rights during international carriage by air," said the judgment.

    Michel Thibodeau said he doesn't view the Supreme Court ruling as a defeat, arguing that he and his spouse have advanced the cause of francophones in Canada.

    "Could it have been better for us?" he said. "Obviously, I would have preferred (a victory) but should we see it as a defeat? I don't think so.

    "When we were in court, Air Canada would say, 'Given the number of flights we have all across the country, there aren't many complaints.' Most people don't complain. The more (well-founded) complaints there are, the easier it will be in the future."

    The NDP's language critic was much more negative about the ruling.

    "I am extremely disappointed," Yvon Godin said in an interview. "I don't find anything heartening about a decision that says you can break the law and get away with a mere apology."

    Representatives from the airline were in Ottawa for the ruling.

    "Air Canada has always taken its linguistic responsibilities seriously and is committed to serving its clients in the official language of their choice," said spokeswoman Louise-Helene Senecal.

    Senecal said the playing field is not level for Air Canada because it is held to different standards than its competitors.

    "If the government considers official languages to be that important, it should be the same for all (air) carriers in Canada."

    When he released his annual report three weeks ago, Canada's official languages commissioner expressed concerns that certain institutions, including Air Canada, continue to violate the law year after year.

    Graham Fraser singled out the airline, saying it shared the top spot in the number of complaints filed against it in 2013-2014 along with the Canada Border Services Agency.

    Fraser expressed dismay that Air Canada did not seem to consider bilingualism a competitive advantage.

    He also said he was mystified by its attitude toward bilingualism, saying it's constantly reminded of ongoing investigations.

    "Instead of looking at the question of offering services in the two official languages as a marketing asset, it appears to treat it as a burden,'' Fraser said.


    -- Melanie Marquis, The Canadian Press

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    VANCOUVER - To his neighbours on Salt Spring Island, B.C., he was an avid gardener and a history writer who lived a quiet life with his wife and children.

    But to the British spy agency MI-5, he was a wartime agent who exposed hundreds of Nazi sympathizers and intercepted secrets meant for Gestapo eyes.

    Records released by the British National Archives reveal the identity of the spy code-named Jack King as Eric Roberts, an unassuming banker who retired and came to Canada in 1956. He died on the island in 1972 at the age of 65.

    "We're still reeling from it," his daughter, Christa McDonald, said Tuesday from her home in Qualicum Beach, B.C., after learning of the release of the documents.

    "We're absolutely so happy that he's getting some recognition for his work but, at the same time, it's been quite emotional for the family."

    Declassified documents posted online by the British archives on Friday say Roberts posed as a Gestapo officer, gathering information from Nazi sympathizers in Britain from 1942 to 1945 to ensure it did not reach the enemy.

    Among hundreds of pages of transcribed conversations involving Jack King is information meant to aid a German invasion of Britain and an appeal for a renewed blitz by German bombers.

    It is believed that Roberts was one of the inspirations for spy writer John Le Carre's famous character George Smiley.

    To McDonald, he was a great father for her and her two brothers and a humble man.

    "Our family life was different because of his work, but having said that, we had a great family life," said McDonald, who has one living brother with whom she has spoken about the revelations.

    They were aware to a certain degree that their father led a dangerous second life.

    "We knew to keep quiet when we were outside the house," she said.

    The archive records say Roberts joined the service July 4, 1940, but his daughter said he began working for MI-5 at 17 in a minor role.

    Officially, the archive records show that on June 8, 1940, Lt. Colonel Allan Harker wrote to Westminster Bank Limited to request Roberts's release to the security service's employ.

    His unassuming bank job was part of his cover, his daughter said.

    "My father was highly intelligent. He really was. And when I think back now ... to lead a double life for so long, when you think about it, is quite amazing," McDonald said. "He was very witty. He was unassuming and you would never have any idea what his work was."

    The archive records note Roberts spoke some German, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

    "Roberts is thoroughly familiar with everything connected to the various pro-Nazi organizations in this country and Maxwell Knight has the highest opinion of his character and his abilities," the file said. Knight was a famous British spymaster known for destroying wartime spy rings.

    Roberts's work for the spy agency continued after the war, McDonald said. He didn't retire until he moved to Canada.

    "I think there are a lot more stories to come when the files are finally released," she said of her father's Cold War activities.

    McDonald said her father and mother, Audrey, brought the family first to Hamilton, Ont., for several months.

    "My father used to go to the library and he'd read up about these Gulf Islands and he thought he would like to move out West and see what they were like, and that's how we ended up on Saltspring," she said, recalling the move at age 15.

    "For my parents, they thought it was just a piece or paradise on Earth."

    Roberts wrote a book on local history, "The Saltspring Saga." And he and his wife tended their garden.

    "I think that was very good therapy," McDonald said.

    On the cusp of Remembrance Day, she said her father's story is a reminder that many people served their country with no recognition.

    "Anybody who does this work and (is) good at it, really doesn't get any accolades or medals," she said.

    "Basically, you do it for your country and hope that you will live through it."


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    Ivanka Trump knows how to charm Vancouverites.

    "The beauty of this city is truly second to none," she says, unprompted. "Vancouver on a purely aesthetic level is one of my favourite cities in the world. Where else do you have this unbelievable urban environment that’s youthful, that’s fun, that’s got great culture, and then surrounded by the lush landscape?"

    Trump and her brother, Donald Trump Jr., were in town this week for a site visit of Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver, a 63-storey building that will be second only to the Shangri-La in height. More than halfway through construction, it's scheduled to open in the summer of 2016 in downtown Vancouver.

    The first 15 floors will feature 147 hotel rooms, while 218 residential suites will make up the rest of the $360-million twisting tower designed by late Canadian architect Arthur Erickson.

    In an interview with The Huffington Post B.C., Ivanka Trump said she's proudest of the spectacular three-level penthouses that maximize the Coal Harbour location and views. Unveiled on Monday, the three premium units (between 3,700 and 4,700 sq. ft.) will include private glass elevators, as well as private gardens with outdoor kitchen and jacuzzi.

    "They're not replicable," said Trump, who is an executive vice-president with the Trump Organization. Her father, Donald Trump, and brothers, Eric and Donald Jr., all came to Vancouver to launch the hotel/condo project in June 2013.

    Story continues after slideshow of the Vancouver Trump tower so far:




    The most expensive penthouse is nearly $20 million. Recent listings have a 1.5-bedroom, 599 sq.-ft. unit for $747,900, while a 3.5-bedroom, 2,107 sq.-ft. residence is $4.76 million.

    "We have a tremendous volume of buyers right here in Vancouver," said Trump, adding that European, South American, and Asian clients also represent a portion of owners. "It will be a really great and global community, but anchored with people from Vancouver.”

    Holborn Group and TA Global Berhad are developing the project, while the Trump Organization is branding and managing the hotel.

    More than 60 per cent of the luxe condo units have been pre-sold since the fall of 2013 — an encouraging pace, especially in light of Holborn's failed Ritz-Carlton hotel project on the same West Georgia Street site that was cancelled in 2009 due to "worldwide economic turmoil."

    ivanka trump vancouver

    Trump said her company prides itself on being "incredibly contextual to the environment," and so the Vancouver structure embraces 360-degree views, features a cool colour palette, and brings some of the outdoors in.

    "When you walk into the lobby and when you walk into the actual space, you’ll feel that very uniquely Vancouver element of both nature and urban," said Trump, describing "sexy stones and gorgeous wood materials."

    trump hotel tower vancouver

    "We wanted the hotel to be very modern, very cool but in a timeless way that’s appropriate for our brand. So everything’s incredibly luxurious yet very contemporary and very youthful and very young, and that’s what we think Vancouver is," said Trump.

    She hinted at a well-known chef heading the hotel's restaurant and food service, but declined to name names with a laugh, saying only that the announcement will be made soon.

    Tower residents will also be able to access Vancouver's first pool bar nightclub, Rolls-Royce and Learjet service, and a spa run by Ivanka Trump.

    trump hotel vancouver pool bar

    The Trump brand hit a few bumps in Toronto after the Trump International Hotel & Tower opened in 2012 and subsequently ran into legal conflicts and poor sales.

    Ivanka Trump said that the two cities' developments are "different."

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    Like many Canadians who have travelled across the County, I had been to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan several times but it had simply been to "drive through." This fall, I returned to the prairies to learn more about the culinary culture of Saskatoon and came to learn that it's definitely worth stopping, staying and dining in the cultural capital of the province!

    Arriving on a cool October evening, my travel companion (Chair of the Terroir Symposium - Arlene Stein) and I checked into the Delta Bessborough, a 1935 castle-like structure set along the South Saskatchewan River.

    We began our whirlwind culinary adventure with a visit to SaskMade Marketplace where we picked up some unique products that are grown, raised and crafted in Saskatchewan. I grabbed some Three Farmers chickpeas for my kids to try back at home. Interestingly, we learned that chickpeas are one of the provinces major agricultural crops.

    Our next stop was LB Distillers (a.k.a. Lucky Bastard Distillers) for a tour and tasting of their artisan distilled products. Head distiller Michael Goldney introduced us to "Ginger," their micro-still that has a capacity to distill 248 litres in a batch. We got to taste their gins, liqueurs and vodkas -- including a traditional Mendova z Pertsinka (wildflower honey and pepper vodka) -- a first for me, but a traditional Ukrainian style of vodka typically used for toasting in celebrations. My favourite was their Haskap Liqueur -- perfect for a Saskatchewan version of a Kir Royale!

    2014-10-29-IMG_20141027_135522.jpg



    We were then whisked away to Riversdale Deli to meet proprietor Darby Kells. Over a delightful array of cured meats, cheeses, pickles, olives and local wildflower honey we learnt what drew Darby back to Saskatchewan to run a foodservice business of his own. After eight years of being stationed in Calgary - quality of life, a great place to raise his kids and being part of a revitalization that is taking place in Saskatoon, were all part of the draw for him. In addition to the deli, Darby is set to open a pizza joint on the same block -- the perfect addition to the Riverside neighborhood that is home to the cities farmers market and host to the new Remai Modern Art Gallery slated to open in 2016.

    2014-10-29-IMG_20141027_160806.jpg



    Both lunch and dinner on our brief culinary excursion took place at one of EnRoute Magazine's 2014 Top 10 Restaurants -- Ayden Kitchen Bar. Co-Chefs Dale Mackay and Nathan Guggenheimer, took our taste buds on an prairie adventure that was infused with techniques and tastes from their global training. Thai chicken wings (the chicken is locally sourced from Pine View Farms in Saskatchewan) are off the charts, along with the seasonal squash two ways salad and the Butcher Burger (40 day aged rib eye ground beef) topped with a fried egg and bone marrow! Their charcuterie board and sausage board is house made and outstanding. Cocktails are off the chart crafted by award winning mixologist Christopher Cho, formerly from Charcut in Calgary. My favorites were the Hemmingway and the Gin Giblet.

    2014-10-29-IMG_20141027_124954.jpg



    Another taste of place treasure is the Prairie Harvest Café. Showcasing local tastes along with a great selection of beers from Saskatoon craft brewery Paddock Wood Brewing Co. My lunch recommendation would be a bottle of Whit beer with the house made pierogi -- a classic of the native early Ukrainian settlers.

    A true gem of the city is the Western Development Museum. It's easy to fill a half-day or more walking through and immersing yourself in the 1910 Boomtown exhibit -- that details the history and settlement of the province. With over 30 buildings depicting life at the turn of the century it's an awesome way to learn about the history of Saskatchewan and Canada.

    While we didn't get to take in much of the great outdoors during our visit due to inclement weather conditions, I can honestly say that I am keen to return in the summer or early fall months to run or paddle along the South Saskatchewan River -- the provinces namesake that dissects the city in half, or attend the famous SaskTel Saskatoon Jazz festival that is one of the top 20 jazz festivals in Canada.

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    GWAII HAANAS, B.C. - A national park at the southern edge of British Columbia's Haida Gwaii archipelago is in the running for a National Geographic travel award.

    Gwaii Haanas has been selected in partnership with a tourism trade show in Berlin as one of three finalists for a World Legacy Award in a category called Sense of Place.

    The award recognizes protection of historical monuments, archaeological sites, cultural events, indigenous heritage and artistic traditions.

    A news release says more than 150 entries from 56 countries were received and that finalists in five categories were selected by an international team of 18 judges who are experts in sustainable travel.

    Gwaii Haanas superintendent Ernie Gladstone says temperate rainforests, abundant sea life and cultural treasures such as totem poles offer a glimpse of the Haida way of life and make the park unique.

    The other finalists in the Sense of Place category are Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland and Cavallo Point Lodge in California, and the winner will be announced in Berlin next March.


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    Canada has had no shortage of proposals for new provinces, territories and regions throughout its history.

    Washington, D.C.-based geographer Alexandr Trubetskoy imagined what it might look like if many of them came to fruition.

    Last week, he posted the following map to Reddit, where it drew plenty of comments.


    (Photo via Alexandr Trubetskoy)

    Explaining the map, Trubetskoy said he included "every new province proposal since the late 19th century that gained any significant political support."

    He told The Huffington Post Canada that he was inspired to do the map after looking at a Wikipedia article that listed provinces and territories that have been proposed throughout its history.

    And though the list was helpful, he had to do some "historical digging to come up with the most accurate borders for these provinces."

    Trubetskoy also had to use different names for brevity's sake. "Sagamie," for example, actually refers to Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, a region in Quebec.

    Not all the proposed provinces and territories have had strong support behind them. A movement to see the state of Maine join Canada is largely speculative, while the idea of a National Capital Region was floated as an unrealistic idea in this Ottawa Citizen story.

    We admit, the map of 36 provinces is fun to look at. But if you want more accurate maps of Canada, we recommend this one, which shows why almost no one lives in most of the country.

    canada map

    Meanwhile, we enjoy this Apple map precisely because it's so inaccurate.

    apple map canada

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    Everyone needs a getaway now and again — but why not go the extra mile and buy your very own resort?

    The Chilko Experience Wilderness Resort, located in British Columbia's serene Chilko Valley, is on the market for $10.5 million, according to the Luxury Real Estate listing.

    The 25-acre lot comes complete with seven log homes, a greenhouse, a gym (complete with climbing wall), and a private 10-acre lake, for starters. Eleven ATVs and three boats are included in price, as well.

    "Although never intended to be operated as a Resort, the Huston Family Estate has quietly become known (largely through word-of-mouth) for its outstanding facilities, and has hosted internationally recognized politicians, movie stars, musicians, and titans of industry," states the listing.

    Take a peek:






    (H/T BC Business)

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    TORONTO, ONTARIO -- From what I've read about Toronto's first mayor William Lyon Mackenzie he would probably roll his eyes, and then roll in his grave, if he knew his home had become a Halloween destination.

    Then again, it's possible the legendary politician isn't as close to his grave as we think he his. That's if you believe the creepy stories that have oozed out of this house over the years and trust me, there have been many.

    Mackenzie House is where the legendary, no-nonsense politician and journalist lived until his death in 1861. Mackenzie emigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1820, started a store but quickly moved into journalism and the political theatre.

    In 1824 he founded a newspaper called the Colonial Advocate and by 1834 was elected to the Toronto City Council and appointed mayor, the city's first. He was a leader during the Rebellion of 1837 in what was then Upper Canada and when that uprising failed, Mackenzie and his family had to flee to the United States, where he remained in exile for 12 years before being granted amnesty by the British government.

    After it was safe to come home, he returned to Toronto and his life in newspapers and politics. Mackenzie died in the bedroom on the second floor of the house, and some believe he never left. That's why today this house just south of busy Dundas Street is such a magnificent Halloween draw.

    Danielle Urquhart, a program officer at Mackenzie House, has worked within these walls for 12 years and while she hasn't actually seen a ghost, she is aware of the stories.

    "A lot of people feel the house is haunted. Former caretakers who have worked here in the late 50′s and early 60′s say they would hear footsteps going up and down the stairs at night when there was no one else in the house," says Urquhart. "They also claim to have heard the piano in the parlour playing on its own. One set of caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Edmands said they saw the ghost of Mackenzie in his bedroom. They also say they saw the ghost walking down the pathway to Bond Street. The most dramatic story we know from the house is that Mrs. Edmands claims that while she was asleep in her bed she was awoken by a tap on her shoulder and when she opened her eyes she said there was a lady with long dark hair and a pale, narrow face bending over the bed, who then vanished."

    Urquhart explained that the same thing happened a few weeks later, but this time the ghostly lady drew back her hand and hit Mrs. Edmands in the face and then vanished. She doesn't know who this might be - William Lyon Mackenzie did die in the house but his wife Isabel did not. After the Mackenzie's left it was a rooming house, so a lot of people lived and died here.

    "In the early 1960′s there was an exorcism performed by a deacon from Trinity Church and filmed by the CBC Broadcasting and it ended up on TV, which made the stories famous," says Urquhart. "But there has never been anything odd reported after that exorcism, so most of the really interesting ghost stories happened about a half century ago."

    Be that as it may, it hasn't stopped this house from being a magnet for ghost tours, adventurers and just those who are interested in the unexplained. So are there spirits roaming around in this house? I wouldn't know and I don't want to know. If you appreciate honesty in a man, then here it comes -- I would be the first one out the door if I got wind of an actual ghost. You think Usain Bolt has wheels? Wait till you get a load of me. The last person in the world I want to see tonight in any way, shape or form is William Lyon Mackenzie.

    Story by Rod Charles, Vacay.ca Writer. To read the rest of the story on Vacay.ca, click here.

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