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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    KELOWNA, B.C. - Passengers and the driver on a transit bus in Kelowna, B.C., looked on in horror as a man fatally stabbed another passenger before running from the scene in what police say was a random attack.

    RCMP Const. Kris Clark said the 55-year-old male victim died on the bus early Thursday evening.

    "According to witnesses, as the male suspect left the bus he made a shoving motion towards the victim," Clark said. "The victim was found immediately after suffering from a serious injury which resulted in his death."

    Clark said a police service dog was on the scene and quickly established a trail but the suspect was not located.

    Supt. Nick Romanchuk said he understands that the crime is disturbing to the community.

    "I would like to assure the public that all resources needed for the investigation are currently in place and every effort is being made to identify and apprehend the suspect as soon as possible," he said Friday.

    Romanchuk urged anyone with information that may identify the suspect to call police.

    Les Milton, president of the Kelowna local of the Amalgamated Transit Workers union, said it was a rough night for passengers and the bus driver.

    The passenger is believed to have been stabbed in the neck when the bus pulled over at a regular stop, Milton said.

    BC Transit and its operating company FirstCanada ULC "are deeply saddened by this violent and tragic attack," Transit spokeswoman Maribeth Burton said.

    "All 10 passengers who were on the bus were driven home by transit staff after police finished interviewing them, which was over a two-and-a-half-hour period," she said.

    "As you might imagine, our operator is off today and he is deeply disturbed by last night's tragedy."

    All transit staff in Kelowna have been offered counselling, Burton said, and the company is urging anyone with information to call police.

    She said BC Transit hopes to begin installing surveillance cameras on its fleet by next year.

    A man who stabbed and beheaded a passenger aboard a Greyhound bus in Manitoba six years ago was later found not criminally responsible due to a mental illness. (The Canadian Press, CKFR)


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    Tucked cozily away in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood sits a building that is hard to miss. With ornate aboriginal designs and a majestic totem pole on its roof, this cultural oasis is different from anything else in the city — or even the country, for that matter.

    skwachays lodge

    The Skwachays Aboriginal Hotel & Gallery opened its doors in August, showcasing aboriginal culture to the city — and the rest of the world.

    "There are so many different layers for how this positively affects the aboriginal community, but I think for the greater community at large, they get to have a great experience and exposure to aboriginal art," Maggie Edwards, Skwachays' general manager, told The Huffington Post B.C. in an interview.

    "It's such a beautiful place to stay in the hotel; we are getting tremendous exposure to the greater, wider community of Vancouver and travellers in general. I think it's just a win-win on so many levels."

    skwachays

    Skwachays is more than a good-looking boutique hotel; it has two additional functions. First, 24 units are saved for low-cost aboriginal artist housing; the lower level is being renovated into a workshop. Artists live at Skwachays on a three-year contract, during which they produce pieces that are sold in the hotel's lobby gallery. Skwachays' goal is to help the artists become financially independent by the end of their contract.

    Second, the remaining 18 rooms are designated as the hotel, each uniquely designed by one of six aboriginal artists. These rooms, as well as the gallery sales, fund the artist housing, resulting in a self-sustaining social enterprise.

    Aside from the sheer beauty of its design, hotel guests can immerse themselves in aboriginal culture by participating in a traditional sweat lodge and smudge ceremonies. All food is produced by a local aboriginal catering company, with wine and beer focusing on local offerings as well.

    skychaways lodge

    Owned and operated by the Vancouver Native Housing Society, Skwachays works to become part of the fabric of the controversial Downtown Eastside. Rather than "fix" the neighbourhood, the organization aims to enhance it.

    "There's been so much talk in the past about cleaning up, for lack of a better term, the Downtown Eastside area from members of the homeless community and drug addicts who tend to frequent this area," said Edwards.

    "But one of the things that we would like to see happen is rather than the gentrification of the neighbourhood, bring small, successful businesses together that support the existing community .... There are some wonderful coffee shops and restaurants that are working with the homeless and working with social services in the area to be a part of the community as opposed to the alternative, and it's a very positive way of approaching and improving everything in the neighbourhood."

    Story continues below slideshow:




    The lodge originally started in 2012 as an affordable healing space for aboriginal people travelling to Vancouver for medical reasons, Edwards explained. But with aboriginal health care services transitioning to the First Nations Health Authority, the project wasn't as successful as hoped.

    Then in 2013, Jon Zwickel, president of InnVentures Hospitality Corp., visited the gallery and had the idea to turn the healing lodge rooms into a hotel suites.

    Since then, dozens of people have donated time, services, and goods to get it off the ground, and the reception to Skwachays' launch has been "phenomenal," Edwards said.

    "The quality of the rooms and the fact that they reflect amazing Canadian aboriginal art is just getting a terrific response. People just really love it."

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    shane kalyn photogrpahy

    November's B.C. Photographer of the Month is inspired by the natural elements.

    Shane Kalyn says he is "inexplicably" drawn to earth, fire, air, and water, and as such, they are the driving force behind his art.

    "Through my photos I try to capture one or more of those elements as they each have distinct characteristics which can be represented in different ways," he tells The Huffington Post B.C. in an email.

    "On my website I have broken my photos up by how I see that they meet these criteria. The four elements are essentially the building blocks of life, so I guess my photos are a celebration of that."

    Kalyn, who grew up in Surrey and has lived in Vancouver for the last 15 years, says his passion for photography developed over time.

    And things have really taken off for the 35-year-old in the last year. He won gold in the lifestyle and colour categories at the 2014 Toronto Star Photography Awards, and also had a photo featured on the National Geographic website.

    Kalyn submitted the photo, "Island in the Sky," as part of the 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. He won "Photo of the Day" on April 28 (a huge accomplishment, considering there were over 18,000 entries). The picture features a little island in the middle of Tumuch Lake in northern B.C.

    shane kalyn photography

    And while Kalyn's love for the craft may have been a slow build, it has undoubtedly shaped how he views his surroundings.

    "I find now that I see the world through an imaginary lens, constantly scanning for another shot," says Kalyn. "The beauty of photography is you can't get any worse — there is always something new to learn, and that really drives me." For him, photography is less about capturing the objects and more about channeling the mood behind them.

    Kalyn studied fish and wildlife management in university and now works as a fisheries technician. It's a job he says takes him to many parts of B.C. that most residents don't get to see. He is also a natural wanderer, having travelled to approximately 30 countries — always with camera in tow.

    "Being constantly exposed to such natural beauty, through work and travel, it makes perfect sense to bring a camera along," he says.

    "Mother Nature has done all the work — I just point a camera at it and press the shutter."

    See more of Kalyn's amazing work:




    More B.C. Photographers Of The Month:

    October: Landscape photography of David Chang

    September: Food photography of Joann Pai

    August: Street photography of Donovan Mahoney

    July: Wildlife photography of Pam Mullins


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    TORONTO - Canada is following in Australia's footsteps and has closed its doors, effectively immediately, to people from the West African countries battling Ebola.

    In a move that puts Canada at odds with the World Health Organization, the federal government said Friday it is suspending the issuance of visas for residents and nationals of countries with "widespread and persistent-intense transmission" of Ebola virus disease. As well, work on permanent residence applications for people from the affected countries is also being suspended.

    The stress on countries with widespread transmission provides an out for the United States, which currently still has at least one active Ebola case within its borders. At present only three countries meet the definition of widespread and persistent Ebola transmission: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    An international law expert denounced the move, saying it was a violation of the International Health Regulations, which Canada helped to draft in the aftermath of the 2003 SARS outbreak. And David Fidler, of Indiana University, said the decisions of Canada and Australia to close their doors to the citizens of the affected countries threatens to further undermine the IHR, as the treaty is called.

    "The whole thing that so many years and so many efforts and so much money was spent on just seems to be disintegrating in this Ebola panic," Fidler said of the treaty.

    "And to have countries like Australia and Canada be in the forefront of this is even more disheartening, because they had been shoulder to shoulder with those trying to build these regimes, these approaches and to keep us focused on having a disciplined approach in a (disease) crisis."

    "Now they are back to allowing fear and politics drive responses to a disease threat. And we know that only ends up in a bad place."

    The change was announced Friday in the Canada Gazette. In a news release issued some hours later, the government said it was taking "new precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians."

    The government said the move does not affect Canadians in West Africa; Canadian health-care workers helping in the effort to contain Ebola will be permitted back into Canada, the release said. As well, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander retains the discretion to grant entry on a case-by-case basis in exceptional circumstances "where travel is essential and in Canada's interest."

    "The precautionary measures announced today build on actions we have taken to protect the health and safety of Canadians here at home," the news release quoted Alexander as saying.

    Kevin Menard, a spokesperson for Alexander, said Canada's policy and the one adopted by Australia are "considerably different."

    "We have instituted a pause, but there is room for discretion if we can be assured that someone is not infected with Ebola," he said in an email which stipulated the government is "doing anything we can to keep Ebola from coming to Canada."

    Asked if Canada was violating the International Regulations, the government said in an email that it respected the WHO's "guidance" but did not refer to it as a treaty.

    "Governments have the duty to take actions they deem appropriate to protect the health, safety and security of their citizens," the email said.

    "Canada, upon reviewing the evidence, has come to the conclusion that visa restrictions of this kind are appropriate to achieve that goal in respect of the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa."

    Menard said Canada has not cancelled visas that have been issued but not yet used. But the country is reaching out to people who are in this situation to make sure they understand they will be required to undergo health screening when they arrive in Canada.

    The government's move was quickly criticized by NDP health critic Libby Davies.

    "A visa ban isn't a solution. The World Health Organization and the World Bank have both spoken out sharply against international travel bans, so the experts we're relying on to fight Ebola are saying this is not the right approach," Davies said in an email.

    "The Conservative government seems more interested in public relations than in acting on recommendations from public health experts."

    Earlier this week Australia issued a blanket ban on visas for resident and citizens of the West African countries struggling to cope with the most devastating Ebola outbreak the world has ever witnessed.

    That move was slammed Wednesday by Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization, who said closing borders will not stop spread of the Ebola virus.

    "I understand the fear in the community, but the fear factor is way too high and out of proportion to the risk,” Chan told Bloomberg News in an interview. "No evidence exists to support the effectiveness of travel bans as a protective measure."

    Both countries may soon have to try to produce some evidence to support their actions. Under the International Health Regulations, they can be required to explain these decisions to the WHO.

    The IHR are designed to help the world fight infectious disease outbreaks that have the potential for international spread. When they were revised and strengthened in 2005 after the SARS outbreak, an emphasis was put on not penalizing countries that are experiencing outbreaks because doing so may tempt countries to cover up epidemics rather than disclose them.

    During SARS, the World Health Organization issued travel advisories directing people around the world to avoid places battling outbreaks. It is a tool the organization has never used again.

    One of the places hit with a travel advisory was Toronto.

    Two prominent members of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet — Treasury Board Chairman Tony Clement and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird — were then part of an Ontario government that roundly denounced the WHO for the travel advisory, which emptied hotels and conference centres in Canada's largest city.

    In fact, Clement, then Ontario's health minister, led a delegation to Geneva — an extraordinary move, given that the WHO only deals with national governments, not lower level governments within a country — to demand the WHO rescind the travel advisory against Toronto. The travel advisory was lifted shortly thereafter.

    Under the IHR, countries agree not to restrict trade or travel over and above what is recommended by the WHO during Public Health Emergencies of International Concern. The WHO declared Ebola an international public health emergency on Aug. 8 and in doing so said countries should not close their borders to the West African countries struggling with Ebola. It has repeated that advice several times since.

    Dr. Theresa Tam, head of the Public Health Agency of Canada's health security infrastructure branch, is a member of the emergency committee that advises Chan on Ebola. That committee recommended countries not institute travel bans on citizens of affected countries, saying the move could backfire by inciting people to travel by circuitous routes.

    "A general travel ban is likely to cause economic hardship and could consequently increase the uncontrolled migration of people from affected countries, raising the risk of international spread of Ebola," said a report of the group's most recent meeting, on Oct. 22.

    The IHR stipulate that countries that go beyond the WHO's recommendations have to back up their decisions with solid rationale.

    "You have to explain yourself. And you have to show that your measure, which is more restrictive than what WHO is recommending, is based in science and public health principles," Fidler said in an interview.

    "There isn't a public health or scientific justification for what Australia and Canada are doing. Therefore they are in violation of their obligations under the international health regulations."

    Fidler said that Canada and Australia — both major contributors to international public health efforts and supporters of the WHO — are taking these actions is particularly disheartening.

    "You think about Australia and the leadership it's taken in global health on the tobacco issue. You think about Canada and the contributions it has made to global health over the years — maternal and child health, supporting WHO, CIDA."

    "Canada is known as being a champion of well-informed, scientifically based, evidence-solid policies. Then something like this happens and it's not only disappointing, it's also a violation of international law. And both Australia and Canada have the capacity to deal with this issue in a way which doesn't have such adverse effects on these West African countries which are suffering from this unprecedented epidemic."

    In fact Canada actually receives very few travellers from the affected countries. Research done by University of Toronto expert Dr. Kamran Khan showed that only about 1.5 per cent of people travelling from those countries in any given year come to Canada.

    A recent study Khan and colleagues published in the journal The Lancet showed the three countries — among the world's poorest — are not major contributors to international travel. Their combined travel made up half of one per cent of all international air travel in 2013. The figure would be expected to be substantially lower this year, as many air carriers have cancelled flights to the countries. Flights from Liberia are down 51 per cent, from Guinea 66 per cent and Sierra Leone 85 per cent.

    The latest figures from the WHO suggest at least 13,567 people have been infected since this Ebola outbreak began, and 4,951 have died.


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    Grizzly bears in the Central Purcell Mountains are more vulnerable than shown in 15-year-old research being used by proponents of Jumbo Glacier Resort, says one of Canada's leading grizzly bear experts. And he adds that if the resort is built, it could threaten grizzly populations through southern B.C and into the U.S.

    Michael Proctor has studied grizzly bears in the Purcell and Selkirk mountain ranges in southeastern B.C. for almost 20 years and his work is regularly published in scientific journals. He recently completed two ecological analyses of the Purcell grizzly population and found --based on data-driven population surveys -- that bear populations are about 50 per cent smaller than previous estimates.

    In 1999, government scientists estimated the area to be at 93 per cent of carrying capacity for grizzlies, but Proctor's research, completed more than a decade later, found grizzly capacity to be at 54 per cent. The capacity is the population an environment can sustain.

    Human encroachment likely cause of drop in grizzly population

    Using DNA analysis from hair snagging, Proctor found the Purcell grizzly populations are depressed, bringing them "close to or below the threatened population threshold." The reason for the lower than expected numbers is most probably more roads into the backcountry and human-caused mortality associated with the activity that roads bring.

    Work needs to be done on helping the population recover before efforts to mitigate the negative effects of the proposed resort come into play, he said.

    "To improve the status of the Purcell grizzly it will likely be necessary to improve the balance of human use and wildlife habitat needs. The Jumbo Glacier Resort would challenge our ability to accomplish that goal," Proctor said in a 2010 letter to the provincial government.

    Purcell/Selkirk grizzlies act as anchor population

    An even more important issue, Proctor said in an interview, is that the proposed resort will likely fragment the approximately 600-strong Purcell/Selkirk grizzly population and compromise its ability to act as a core anchor for beleaguered and already-fragmented smaller units to the south. Keeping that population intact is probably essential to maintaining international grizzly bear populations extending south into the U.S.

    "Those small, fragmented populations just to the south are too small to survive long-term without the larger Purcell/Selkirk regional core population to act as a long-term source of immigrants," Proctor said.

    It is an argument that has been emphasized by Wildsight, a non-profit group fighting approval of the proposed resort.

    "This is the last stop. There's small bits of populations to the south and in the U.S and, if we cut them off they are hooped," said Wildsight spokesperson Robyn Duncan.

    Although Glacier Resorts spokespeople say there are few grizzlies in the area that would be used for year-round glacier skiing, there are numerous anecdotes about resort proponents ignoring grizzlies that appear almost in front of them.

    Bob Campsall, a long-time Jumbo Creek Conservation Society board member, recalls one of the first meetings about the planned resort.

    "I asked about grizzly bears and they said they had studied the grizzly bear population and there were not enough to be concerned about. I had hiked up there the previous weekend and saw four grizzly bears," he said.

    Most up-to-date grizzly research not considered by B.C. government

    Proctor said that, as Jumbo is in the central spine of the Purcell Range, it is in the area where the bears are generally going to travel.

    "Ski areas are not generally bad for grizzly bears; it's the location of this one," he said.

    However, Proctor's latest research appears to have been ignored by the provincial government. The Environmental Assessment Office is currently considering whether the environmental assessment certificate, first granted in 2004 and renewed in 2009, should be made permanent.

    "They haven't incorporated the new information I have given them," Proctor said. "They said the research was too late."

    That is a disappointment, according to Proctor, who has a reputation as an independent research scientist, whose only agenda is science.

    "It is a shame not to use the latest science," he said.

    Gerry Wilkie, a director of the Regional District of East Kootenay, is angry that Proctor's research is not being taken into account and believes it illustrates how poorly the Jumbo decision is being handled by the government.

    "It's a debacle," he said, describing the project as a white elephant.

    "The fact that Mike Proctor's work on population dynamics and fragmentation of habitat of the southern interior grizzly was disregarded is of critical importance."

    The Environmental Assessment Office determined that the 1999 report, conducted for Glacier Resorts by Axys Environmental Consulting (PDF), satisfied the requirement for a pre-construction inventory of grizzly bears in the study area, said an Environment Ministry spokesman.

    The project is in compliance with five conditions related to grizzly bears, but future work is required, the spokesman said.

    "Jumbo Glacier Resorts is currently developing plans for the next steps in monitoring for potential impacts of the project on the grizzly bear population."

    Proctor is not the only one to conclude the resort would be bad news for grizzlies

    Alton Harestad, former co-chair of the provincial Grizzly Bear Scientific Advisory Committee, concluded the development would adversely affect the grizzly population in the South Purcells.

    "The size and nature of the development will result, eventually, in the loss of bears locally and will diminish the viability of the regional population of grizzly bears," Harestad wrote in a report.

    "There are no examples in North America where grizzly bears have coexisted successfully with large human development over the long term."

    The Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan, approved by the province, relies heavily on mitigation efforts, ranging from Bear Smart programs to establishing partnerships with government and local forest tenure holders to improve grizzly habitat in and around the almost 6,000 hectares of controlled recreation area -- Crown land that the company will lease from the province.

    Ktunaxa spirituality not up for grabs

    However, members of the Ktunaxa Nation, like other critics, say categorically that mitigation is not possible.

    The Ktunaxa, who are appealing a B.C. Supreme Court decision turning down an application for a judicial review of the province's approval of the resort, know the area as Qat'muk, the place where the Grizzly Bear Spirit was born, goes to heal itself and returns to the spirit world.

    The heart of the nation's spirituality is not up for grabs, says Kathryn Teneese, chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council.

    It is easy to understand why the Jumbo Valley is so special in First Nations culture, Duncan said.

    "It's where grizzly bear science and spirituality come together. It's not a coincidence that the Ktunaxa knew from living on the land that this is a core area -- that this is an area we don't touch," she said.

    - By Judith Lavoie, DeSmog Canada

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    When departing from Canada, the land down under can feel like it's a world away, and well, it almost is. By birth, I'm Canadian, and by choice I'm living in Australia, having moved to Sydney several years ago. I'm often fielding questions from friends and family back home on what part of my adoptive country would be best for them to visit as most don't know where to start. Here's my guide to Australia for all types of travelers.

    2014-10-31-Melbourne.jpg

    Families: Sunshine Coast, Queensland
    Stretching more than 200 kilometres along Pacific Ocean shores, Queensland's Sunshine Coast boasts dozens of family-friendly, beachside towns. In the heart of the area, Noosa's Main Beach is cited by ninemsn, one of the country's most popular websites, as the top spot for kids, for its soft, gentle waves and rock pools. The area is also home to plenty of attractions aside from beaches including national parks, UnderWater World Sea Life Aquarium and Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo (think cuddly koalas and kangaroos), with animal encounters available.

    Getting There: Just over an hour's drive north from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is an easy drive from Queensland's capital. Direct flights into Brisbane from Los Angeles and Honolulu are available, or catch a domestic flight into the Sunshine Coast's airport in Maroochydore.

    Honeymooners: Lord Howe Island
    Condé Nast Traveler calls Lord Howe Island "paradise on Earth" -- and there's something incredibly romantic about a volcanic isle that's hundreds of kilometres from anywhere and limits the number of tourists to just 400 on the island at a time. A step back in time, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed island has no mobile phone reception and no traffic lights. The island's lone luxury accommodation, Capella Lodge, oozes romance; the nine-suite lodge is perched atop a turquoise lagoon with incredible views of ancient volcanic peaks.

    Getting There: Direct flights from Sydney and Brisbane are available through Qantas.

    Hikers: Tasmania
    It's no surprise Frommer's lists three Tasmanian treks in their top hikes in the country. From half-day walks featuring views of crystalline waters in Freycinet National Park's Wineglass Bay to weeklong alpine treks through Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania's a haven for hikers. Roughly the same size as Ireland, the state is home to 19 national parks that beckon exploration. Plus, being the southernmost state, summer temperatures are much more comfortable for the un-acclimatized climber.

    Short on time? Easy day trips from Sydney to the Blue Mountains, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Royal National Park, and from Melbourne to Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park provide endless options for nature walks.

    Getting There: Tasmania's two major airports are in Launceston or Hobart, both within easy drives of almost anywhere in the island state. Those looking to take the scenic route can cruise from Melbourne aboard the Spirit of Tasmania, which offers everything from an on-board cinema and gaming lounge to deluxe accommodation and dining for the 9- to 11-hour journey.

    Adrenaline Junkies: Far North Queensland
    Thought the only way to see the Great Barrier Reef was by getting in the water? Think again. A two-hour boat trip off the coast, there's a quicker, more thrilling way to get there. Many reef tours offer upgrades where adventure-seeking travelers can hop into a helicopter and check out the reef from above before diving into it. If that's not exciting enough, the area is also a popular spot for skydiving, and here, brave travelers will be treated to unmatched aerial views of the reef, rain forest and pristine beaches from as high as 14,000 feet. Also found in the area, is bungee jumping, white-water rafting and, of course, SCUBA diving.

    Getting There: Cairns is the gateway to Far North Queensland's reef and rain forest. Although there are no direct flights to the city from North America, most Australian carriers offer flights.

    City Slickers: Melbourne, Victoria
    Melbourne practically oozes cool. The easy-to-navigate city centre boasts chic, near-hidden laneways lined with brilliant street art, trendy cafés and designer boutiques. Vogue recently listed Melbourne's Fitzroy as one of the Coolest Neighborhoods in the World, based on the fact it's "teeming with the personalities that often define such place: artists, jewelers, students, et al." The city's network of tram routes make navigation a breeze, and endless theatre, sporting and other event options can keep any cosmopolitan traveler entertained.

    Getting There: Most major international airlines offer flights into Melbourne, with direct options available from Los Angeles.

    Wine Lovers: South Australia
    With Australia being one of the world's largest wine producers, you won't have to look too hard to find a wine region. New South Wales' Hunter Valley, Western Australia's Margaret River and Victoria's Yarra Valley are some of the nation's top spots for oenophiles. However, it's South Australia that's just riddled with acre upon acre of vineyards. With hundreds of wine producers in the state, the wine decision becomes a lot harder than just red or white. Some of the most prominent regions are the Barossa and Clare valleys, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale.

    Getting There: Although none of the wine regions has an airport, they're each within an easy drive from major cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Coach or train transportation is available from each city.

    No matter what travel type you are, Travelzoo Canada has an abundance of Australia deals to choose from.

    -- Alex Keshen is a producer at Travelzoo based in Sydney. Travelzoo has 250 deal experts from around the world who rigorously research, evaluate and test thousands of deals to find those with true value.

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    Greetings, mountain foodies!

    A trip to Alberta's Rocky Mountians would not be complete without a stop in Banff to check out Canada's most popular mountain town.

    And while most people associate Banff with stunning views, luxury hotels and hot springs, it's also a town with a burgeoning culinary scene.

    We asked our readers to share their favourite Banff restaurants and tell us what they like about each establishment.

    From casual to high-end dining, we've compiled some of the best eating to be done in Banff.

    We recommend getting out for a vigorous walk to help work up an appetite before sitting down at any one of these places.



    Are there any places we missed? Share your favourite recommendations with us in the comments below!


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    grizzly bear photographer

    A B.C. photographer is hoping his incredible shot of a grizzly bear toying with his camera equipment goes beyond a fleeting viral trend.

    Jim Lawrence was trying to capture a photo of the bear fishing for salmon last week in southeastern B.C., but he was caught off guard when the bear started to make its way towards him.

    “I set up my camera to get a photo of him across the way, but I should know better than to guess what a bear’s going to do," Lawrence told The Huffington Post B.C. in an interview. As the grizzly scrambled up the bank, the photographer ran back to his truck for another camera.

    That's when he noticed the bear taking an intense interest in the camera and tripod he had set up earlier. “For the longest time he studied the screen and buttons and with his big, long-nailed paw, gently tugged on the strap," said Lawrence.

    The long lens caused the camera to pivot, startling the animal. "He kind of shrugged and went back to fishing," said Lawrence.

    The bear didn't take any photos, but Lawrence managed to snap one of the bear. He posted it to his Facebook where it's since gone viral.

    Lawrence, who owns Kootenay Reflections, hopes that his photo can help end controversial trophy hunting in British Columbia.

    "If we can do anything to bring people’s respect, [help them] gain awareness of the importance of our wildlife," he explained. "If the message can go out to just respect the bear’s habitat... Respect the bear itself."

    Recreational hunting of wild game, including bears, is legal in B.C. during the spring and fall. Parts of the animal is sometimes kept as a hunting trophy, or used for food.

    Provincial biologists estimate there are approximately 15,000 grizzly bears in the province, which is home to about a quarter of the remaining North American population. But critics of the bear hunt say it's impossible to pinpoint the population. On average about 300 grizzlies are killed annually in B.C.

    The Alberta government suspended its grizzly hunt in 2006 and declared the bears a threatened species in 2010.

    Lawrence said he had never experienced an event like this before, but has tips for other wildlife photographers: "Carry bear spray. Keep a safe distance. Get your picture and move along."

    Check out more of Jim Lawrence's photos:




    With files from The Canadian Press

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    Just months ago, 28-year-old Toronto man Jordan Axani was looking forward to taking a trip around the world with his sweetheart, Elizabeth Gallagher.

    Taking advantage of an error on Priceline, they booked a Christmastime trip that would take them from New York to Milan, Prague, Paris, Bangkok and New Delhi before they return home in January.

    Then, the couple split up. Gallagher is no longer going on the trip.

    Rather than wasting the extra ticket, Axani turned to Reddit and Imgur in an effort to find a "Canadian named Elizabeth Gallagher" who can travel in his ex-girlfriend's place.

    Takers must meet the following conditions, "more or less," as outlined in the Reddit post:

    1. Be sane, smart and (hopefully) interesting.

    2. Have always wanted to travel, but maybe haven't had the opportunity or cash to see much of the world.

    3. Be named Elizabeth Gallagher and have a Canadian passport.

    4. Be ready for a rather spontaneous life experience that will, one day, be an epic story that you'll tell your kids.

    5. Pay it forward. I’ve been lucky in life and this is me giving back to the universe. Do something similar someday.


    Axani said he's not seeking "companionship, romance, drugs, a trade, or to take selfies with you in front [of] the Christmas Market in Prague." Whoever is awarded the trip will have to book their own hotel stays and any travel beyond the flights themselves.

    If the taker doesn't travel with Axani, they only place they'll see each other is on the planes.

    Speaking to Vice News, Axani said he's generated interest but "no bites that will work."

    He told reporter Monica Heisey that people are attracted to "the idea that we can take what would otherwise be a sad situation and make it into something adventurous and positive."

    Ultimately, Axani sees the trip as "my own way of putting some good karma out in the world."

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    NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. - As the rain kept falling, boulders started sliding and silt stacked up early Tuesday morning, North Shore homeowner Barbara Brinson relentlessly packed makeshift sand bags and began imagining getting into a new line of work.

    "They said, 'That's it, we shouldn't have more water coming.' You'd start packing up and think, 'Finally, I can go in and get some rest and get warm.' And then the deluge would happen again," said Brinson, who's lived in the area more than 20 years.

    "I think I'm going to change careers and I'm going to become some kind of a construction worker. I sure do know how to sling a shovel and push water with a push broom."

    Brinson was among scores of residents awake half the night dealing with torrential rains that caused localized flooding and evacuations in the District of North Vancouver. On Tuesday, the community was hard at work cleaning up from wet weather not uncommon to the region but something that community hadn't experienced for many years.

    "We all came together. Basically, it was the north side of the street helping the south side. They were fantastic," Brinson said.

    Up to 86 millimetres of rain battered the region over 24 hours as a strong frontal system moved through British Columbia's south coast. Creeks overflowed, inundating streets, houses and some schools in the Lynn Valley area.

    Heavy rainfall caused culverts in five different areas to overflow, said District of North Vancouver Asst. Fire Chief Michael Cairns.

    "There's pretty substantial damage to a lot of houses," he said. "There was too much water flow. We did try to divert from houses as much as possible."

    All available fire trucks from the district, as well as the City of North Vancouver and District of West Vancouver were called out, with between 10 and 15 homes evacuated at one point.

    "In a lot of locations there wasn't a lot we could do," Cairns said. "Restoration crews will be working hard for quite some time."

    About a dozen students joined their principal and custodial staff about midnight to lift boxes and electrical equipment from the floors of Argyle Secondary School, one of the storm's greatest casualties.

    "We're in a fairly old building, so we're always looking up during the rain, expecting some leaks," said Principal Elizabeth Bell. "But we don't usually look down to see that kind of vast amount of water running through the building."

    The school stayed closed Tuesday after two wings of the building received a good dousing. Water pooled to about 45 cm around the outside of the building, with up to four centimetres gushing through its inside hallways. Sand, soot and other debris was left behind.

    "It was pretty exciting to have that number of students showing up and wanting to help," Bell said. "I was getting tweets or email from students saying, 'Can we come and help, what can we do?' The community here has been outstanding."

    The school is expected to reopen Wednesday.

    Meteorologist Andre Besson, with Environment Canada in Vancouver, said the rains that abated about 4 a.m. are normal at this time of year, but at least one element was unique.

    "What is unusual with that system is a great deal of the rain fell in such a short period of time."

    More rain is expected through the region from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday, though not nearly the same quantity as what already came down, Besson said.

    Resident Irene Wood's home was spared, owing to its location on the upward slope of the street, but she was prepared to assist in the efforts.

    "A lot of people are still out helping," she said. "It's a really great neighbourhood and everyone is talking. Everyone knows what yards are going to need to help and people will be out there in the next few days to rake away all the sand and debris."


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    Martin Gregus Jr. is only 18, but he's already an award-winning wildlife photographer. And for his latest project, the North Vancouver native literally swam with the fish.

    Over three weeks in October, he photographed the celebrated sockeye salmon run in the Adams River near Kamloops, B.C.

    martin gregus jr

    adams river

    The teen was there with BC Parks and the Adams River Salmon Society (as well as his photographer father, Martin Sr.) to capture the salmon for Thank You Canada, an interactive multimedia project designed to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 2017.

    Thank You Canada isn't ready yet, but Gregus Jr. sent The Huffington Post B.C. some photos as a taste of what's to come.

    In order to gather the images he wanted, Gregus Jr. braved a mix of strong currents, wind, thunder, and snowstorms. But if you ask us, it was well worth it:

    sockeye salmon bc

    sockeye salmon bc

    sockeye salmon bc

    sockeye salmon

    sockeye salmon bc

    Sockeye battle their way upstream each year to reach their spawning grounds. The natural cycle is one that boldly represents a country built on natural beauty; as Gregus Jr. said in a press release: "This was the wild, strong and free Canada that we set out to capture."

    See some other photos by Gregus Jr.:



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    A report by BC Ferries looking for efficiencies has raised questions about running ferry service between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo, suggesting that the route may become a passenger-only service or be re-routed entirely through Tsawwassen.

    The report, which was submitted to the B.C. Ferries Commissioner at the end of September, outlines several options that could save the corporation money including consolidating the Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo and Tsawwassen-Duke Point routes; consolidating just the Nanaimo and Duke Point terminals; using a passenger-only service for some trips; or shifting service to Vancouver Island from Horseshoe Bay to Tsawwassen, either in whole or in part.

    The report argues that because of the significant capital costs involved in maintaining the Horseshoe Bay terminal infrastructure and the likely service interruption it would pose, it may make sense to have at least some of the Nanaimo-bound traffic use the Tsawassen terminal.

    "It is contemplated that the Major Routes Strategy will challenge historically established notions of how BC Ferries' service is delivered to the mid-island corridor, and will require changes in customer behaviour," the report said.

    Transportation Minister Todd Stone said trying to maintain routes and service levels as they are could result in a $200 million expense to maintain the Horseshoe Bay terminal over the next ten years.

    "I can't envision a scenario where there would not be a ferry, passenger or vehicle service, from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay," he said. "But I think if we challenge the status quo of the type of vessel that goes in there, that could have the effect of reducing the capital upgrades that are required."

    Stone said smaller ferries to Horseshoe Bay could be the answer, given that much of the traffic, and trucks in particular, now goes to Nanaimo via Tsawwassen because of the new South Fraser Perimeter Road.

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    INVERMERE, B.C. - The B.C. New Democrats and governing Liberals can't agree on whether the day lodge for the New Jumbo Glacier Resort is being built in the path of a dangerous avalanche zone.

    Opposition Leader John Horgan asked Environment Minister Mary Polak to withdraw Jumbo's permit in the legislature on Tuesday, saying the lodge is in a class-four zone, the second most dangerous classification for avalanches.

    But Forests, Lands and Natural Resources spokeswoman Vivian Thomas says the lodge is actually 56 metres away from the "avalanche run-out" area and its location was considered during the assessment process.

    The proposed $1-billion year-round ski resort west of Invermere, B.C., had been rushing to meet a provincial construction deadline before its government-issued environmental assessment certificate expired on Oct. 12.

    The NDP later released a statement saying the Liberals are making a mockery of the environmental assessment process and rewarding bad behaviour.

    Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall says the day lodge isn't the only violation of Jumbo's certificate, and that a preliminary look at the certificate requirements show the company is in violation of three other conditions.


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    My boyfriend Kavi and I had only been together for about a year-and-a-half before we left Toronto to travel for a year. We also hadn't lived together beyond spending a few nights a week at each other's apartments. We work really hard on our relationship, and it's important to point out that this trip wasn't some magical adventure that would mean a forever honeymoon for us.

    If Kavi and I were a shaky union, no amount of long-term travelling would make us a stronger couple. We were building a partnership from day one. Deaths in the family, Kavi's parents uprooting their lives and heading to California for work, the stresses of our dull corporate jobs, and emotional experiences we've both carried through from our past have shaped the way we interact with each other.

    A lot of people asked if I was worried about traveling with Kavi. Through the eight-month planning process it was the furthest thing from my mind. We have a good connection, good communication, and we're patient with each other. If we kept all this up then I couldn't see anything changing.

    Communication -- despite the cliché -- is what strengthens our relationship. We're always checking in with each other to see how the other person is feeling. If I notice Kavi is more quiet than usual, I'll ask how he's feeling and he'll do the same with me. How we communicate is important, and we've learned to ask questions that inquire without pushing each other too much. Nobody likes to be interrogated; rather, good, consistent communication has taught us a lot about each other -- what we like, what we dislike, our dreams and our fears. We started talking on our first date and haven't stopped chatting since.

    When I reflect on why we both communicate so well, I've noticed that there is a constant commitment to work on the following qualities:

    Keeping a routine
    Kavi is a routine-based person. He makes time to enjoy the activities his body and mind need to keep him centered (primarily reading, running, and cooking).

    When I lived in Toronto, I had my routines too, but I wasn't good at sticking with them. I was sporadically going to a strength-training gym; this usually meant rushing from work and taking a bus and subway. The days that I got there, I'd completely zone out for one hour on my own from a stressful day of work. But, it wasn't enough relaxation.

    I was committed to relationships with friends and family, more than I committed a block of time for myself every week. Running from one social commitment to another often had me complaining out loud, I just want some time for myself. I never made time to unwind and relax and I needed it.

    For many years my challenge was that I'd only do the activities that calmed me when I was at a real breaking point. I'd go to a yoga class. I'd have a hot bath with Epsom salts. There was no consistency. And so at the two-month mark of our travel I started to get home sick -- mostly missing my mom and brother who I'm very close with.

    I was trying to adapt from leaving a busy schedule of seeing family and friends to days of only being with Kavi. We often spent a couple days of the week and then weekends together, but those days and nights were interspersed with other interactions.

    This change in pace took an extreme one evening when we were at a restaurant in Bangkok. I was in a mood and once we sat down, the words just spewed out of my mouth with a persistent and annoyed tone, "We spend every day, every hour, every minute together." Imagine being on the other side of the table hearing this from your partner. Kavi was understandably both frustrated and sad. I cried at the table. I sat in silence. I went to the bathroom embarrassed by my tone, my expressions and for crying like a fool in a restaurant.

    It was my boiled up frustration with not having a change in pace for the past two months. Kavi seemed to be getting on fine, so I didn't say anything for a while.

    That night we shared a few beers and sat and talked about how we were both dealing with missing people, keeping in touch, creating time for ourselves and how we dealt with the past. From that moment forward, I've never felt like we're spending too much time together despite being together every day and all day.

    This is where I realized that to build time for myself, I didn't really need to be away from Kavi, I just needed to carve out time in the day. This meant aligning my interests with my time. Things I enjoyed like picking up a magazine, a new book, taking a yoga class, or just relaxing.

    Now, we sometimes sit in the same room and read and I feel like I'm on my own. Some days I'll write upstairs and he'll write downstairs. Or, he'll run the park and I'll walk.

    Patience
    Kavi and I are similar in many ways, and we're also different in some ways. I like to think things over. Kavi prefers to jump right in. But despite this difference, there is an enormous amount of patience that goes into any scenario we face. And how we choose to communicate with each other in those moments is where this virtue shines. Sometimes this means saying, "I need a few minutes to think this over before we keep talking," so I can collect my thoughts. Sometimes it means moments of silence to collect patience.

    2014-11-05-kayakphoto.jpg

    The author and her boyfriend during a two-hour kayak trip that tested their communication and patience with each other



    We had just spent three days in the remote village of Nong Khiaw in northern Laos. A four-hour bus ride back to Luang Prabang, one of the countries largest cities, meant hopping into the flatbed of a large truck with bench seating on both sides. Just the road and open air. When this option was presented to us, I immediately said no. Kavi said this was our only option -- we had to catch another bus later that day for an overnight trip to the capital city, Vientiene. If we didn't take the truck, we'd be set back on our journey by another day. Kavi took his time to carefully weigh our options with me, and tried to be positive about our situation. "We'll all have window seats and air conditioning sitting in the back," he said jokingly. I reluctantly said yes, but I definitely had fear building up inside until we got on the truck and I saw that we'd be fine.

    Listening
    Understanding each other involves careful listening and showing the other person that we're listening. This doesn't always work out perfectly, and we'll tell each other if we're not being heard. Whether it's frustration at the train station, or feeling tired walking through a Bangkok market, we're always listening.

    We recently walked for 10 minutes to the grocery store in complete silence following a disagreement. While we were willing to walk together, it took that time for one of us to speak up and start the conversation. Each of us took time to explain our side of the disagreement, which included interruptions and bouts of, "could you please let me talk for a minute," before ironing things out and moving on with the day.

    We aren't a couple that argues a lot. But part of being a relationship with someone is learning how to understand each other. That's not easy. The things that make Kavi and me unique are what attracts us to each other, and also teaches us something new about each other. It's how we grow into being better partners, and our life on the road has allowed us to continue that process.

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    The running joke in Vancouver is that there is a Starbucks on every corner. Now, a local company is trying to revolutionize the industry with something you may not have heard of: coffee leaf tea.

    Don't let the name fool you: it's not meant as a replacement for coffee, but rather as a new kind of tea that just happens to be steeped from a familiar plant.

    Coffee leaf tea has more antioxidants than green tea and has approximately the same amount of caffeine as decaf coffee. It has the body of a black tea, but without the bitterness and acidity. An added bonus? Buying it helps overseas coffee farmers in countries like Nicaragua make a year-round living.

    "The coffee bean is the second-most traded commodity on the planet — behind crude oil — and for some reason no one has even bothered to use the leaves for a product," Max Rivest, who runs Wize Monkey with his business partner Arnaud Petitvallet, told The Huffington Post B.C. in an interview.

    "Imagine a parallel universe where someone made the decision to market the leaves 200 years ago instead of the beans — the coffee industry would be exponentially bigger, considering the fact that it has zero seasonality."

    Because the bean harvest season is so short, coffee farms are only profitable three months out of the year — resulting in 90 per cent of a farm's staff without work for the other nine months. In comparison, the leaves of the coffee plant can be harvested all year round, resulting in sustainable and continuous work for those involved.

    When the coffee bean was discovered in the 1800s, caffeine hit a "massive wave," Rivest says. As the obsession with caffeine grew, the "leaf itself was put aside — they never thought they could do anything with it."

    coffee leaf tea
    Petitvallet and Rivest

    Rivest and Petitvallet began looking into coffee leaf tea as a project when they were in grad school in France. But they soon realized the value of pursuing it outside of the lecture hall.

    "We did a little research and discovered that the coffee industry is so seasonal, it's so volatile," says Rivest. "We realized, 'We should really do this. It could make a huge impact.'"

    The past year has seen them spend three months in Nicaragua to find a producer as well as doing tests to ensure Health Canada would approve the product.

    Research on coffee leaf tea has shown some surprising health benefits. It has 17 per cent more antioxidants than green tea, for example, including high levels of a natural chemical known to lower cholesterol and the risk of diabetes.

    Now the duo is launching a Kickstarter campaign to help them expand production. (A launch party is being held Friday, Nov. 7 at Kafka's Cafe in Vancouver.)

    Rivest says that if coffee leaf tea takes off, it could boost the coffee industry by 200 per cent in the next five years.

    "We just don't understand why this hasn't happened [yet]," he says. "It's such a powerful idea."

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    Sure, it's a bit rainy in B.C. these days, and we grumble about the cost of living here. But take a few minutes to sit back and take in this majestic new video from Destination B.C., the province's tourism agency.

    It makes us want to bolt out of the office to climb a glacier, hike through a forest, and hug a spirit bear. (Uh, or maybe just try to spot one.)

    tourism bc

    tourism bc

    spirit bear

    "It reminds you what it feels like to be alive — to find the wild within," says the video's female narrator.

    And if you don't live here already, we're sure you're making plans. We've got a spot on our couch. Come on down.

    tourism bc

    tourism bc

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    VICTORIA - In just 24 hours, British Columbia's government went from supporting to sinking a proposal from BC Ferries to stop rising fares by cutting routes and closing terminals in Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay.

    The about-face had the head of BC Ferries warning on Wednesday that the government has taken away one of the company's primary means of controlling costs and major fare hikes could result.

    "To be perfectly clear, with government not wanting to consider the major route strategy, I mean that represents 80 per cent of our costs," said BC Ferries president and chief executive office Mike Corrigan. "Without being able to look and explore the major routes, we're looking at having difficulty now keeping fares at inflationary increases. That's going to be basically impossible now."

    BC Ferries looked at the idea of dropping routes and closing terminals to save costs in a Sept. 30 efficiency and performance report presented to ferry commissioner Gordon Macatee. The commissioner regulates fares and service levels and acts independently of the provincial government and B.C. Ferries Inc.

    The report said BC Ferries will have to spend $1.1 billion over the next 15 years to replace six major vessels and upgrade the Horseshoe Bay terminal at a cost of $200 million.

    The report, which examined issues up to 2020 and beyond, stated: "These options may include such strategies as, consolidating the two mid-Island routes, consolidating two mid-Island terminals, leveraging a passenger-only service or shift route 2 service from Horseshoe Bay to Tsawwassen."

    Transportation Minister Todd Stone said on Tuesday that he would consider proposals in the report, but on Wednesday said he was lobbied intensely by his caucus colleagues and determined the status quo was the preferred option.

    "Over the last 24 hours, I've had very good conversations with my Island colleagues," said Stone, who is in Regina for Western partnership meetings. "They made some very strong and eloquent arguments."

    He said Island Liberal MLAs, Michelle Stilwell and Don McRae, convinced him closing terminals and cancelling the major Nanaimo route to the Mainland does not make economic or social sense.

    "The B.C. government has no interest in cancelling or seeing the cancellation of the Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay run," said Stone. "That's an iconic run in B.C. There's no appetite whatsoever within the B.C. government to see BC Ferries cancel that run."

    He said there are currently no government plans to close the Nanaimo ferry terminals at Duke Point or Departure Bay.

    "The B.C. government has determined that is not an initiative we would like to pursue at this time," Stone said.

    Stone also rejected calls for BC Ferries to consider a passenger-only service from Nanaimo to the Lower Mainland.

    Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan said he was flooded with calls and emails from residents concerned about the potential terminal closures and service reductions.

    He said people reacted as if the report's suggestions were final rather than proposals for consideration.

    "When they say this is just a tentative report don't be concerned about it, it's just a plan, it's a wish list," Ruttan said. "Well, that's fine and dandy, but we've got a lot of anxious people who are concerned. I've had all kinds of emails and phone calls, particularly the elderly saying I need that service."

    BC Ferries is undergoing an efficiency plan to cut $54 million in costs in an effort to keep fare increases in check.


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    Rejoice, skiers and snowboarders! Lake Louise Ski Resort officially opens this week.

    And while Lake Louise is the first hill to open in Alberta, the other resorts aren't too far behind. Soon you'll be able to rip down many of the mountains in the southern part of the province.

    We've rounded up some of the opening days for Alberta's most popular hills. For good measure, we've thrown in a few B.C. resorts that are a quick drive from the Alberta/B.C. border and are popular with Albertans.

    Keep in mind many of the openings are weather permitting, so be sure to keep your fingers crossed for lots of snow!

    Which ski hill are you most excited to visit this winter?



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    The dropping Canadian dollar, along with Vancouver's natural beauty, is bringing impromptu foreign buyers back to the Coal Harbour area, says one realtor.

    "It happened a long time ago and now it seems to be happening again," Shaun Kimmins with Sotheby's International Realty told The Huffington Post B.C. in an interview. He said his office fielded dozens of daily inquiries from tourists this summer.

    "People walk in and with no previous intention of setting out to buy property, end up just falling in love with the area on a sunny day, walking into our office and end up writing offers."

    While Chinese visitors buying property remains consistent, it's the American clients that have returned, he said.

    Kimmins has sold several waterfront condos ranging between $2 million and $4 million this year to U.S.-based clients who use them as vacation properties.

    When the towers in Coal Harbour were going up around 2001, the low dollar attracted many Americans. But as it swung up to $1.05, many cashed in.

    "They have to be objects of desire but they also have to represent a safe or secure investment," said Kimmins. "Now that we've seen a reversal in the depression of the [Canadian] dollar versus the U.S. dollar, we're sensing that there's more money coming back and buying back in."

    One of Kimmins' clients from Mexico, who already owns in the area, bought a $5.5 million waterfront property this summer.

    Meanwhile, Canadians who left Vancouver to work in Hong Kong after obtaining citizenship appear to be moving back to Vancouver, realtor Winfield Yan told the Georgia Straight.

    The cost of living in Hong Kong is high, with rich mainland Chinese pushing locals there out of the real estate market, he said.




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    Tomorrow, I hop on a plane to Peru. Today, therefore, is packing day. While I sip my morning coffee, I eyeball my recommended packing list for my Inca Trail and Amazon adventure; bug spray with Deet, anti-malarial pills, sunblock you could sit in a microwave with and not burn, water purification tablets.... check. I've got 'em all.

    But if you're a typical girl like myself, when packing , you're undoubtedly facing the age-old question many female travellers have asked themselves: "what beauty products do I need to pack?"

    Let me begin by saying I am by no means high-maintenance ( I will be sleeping in a three-walled jungle hut in the Amazon, where rainforest creatures frolic in my sleeping quarters and am trading my nude heels for hiking shoes--albeit they're pink and they're fabulous ).

    Now, for you ladies jetting off to posh destinations such as Paris or Milan, you have the luxury of being able to be a bit more liberal with your beauty products. You won't be sweating it off while trekking through the jungle. You also won't need to worry about your fragrance attracting insects that border on the size of small birds. That being said, we adventure girls have a lot less time for our daily beauty regimens ( who wants to spend 35 minutes on your face when you can spend five minutes tops, and instead spending that 30 minutes enjoying your morning java while watching the sun rise over mountain tops?) When embarking on this type of travel, it's tacky to wear as much makeup as you normally would for a night out with your girls, but that doesn't mean you have to leave your cosmetic bag behind.

    Now, some women out there may scoff at the idea of even thinking about a beauty regimen while on a trek such as this, but if you're anything like me, this is something that can't be ignored, even at 8000 ft. in the Andes ( you'll thank me when you see how glowing you look in the pics next to that llama). So, if you want to look and smell pretty while also kicking some serious butt as a hardcore explorer, I've got you covered.

    I've chosen my top beauty bag essentials for adventure travel, and because I'm a huge fan of eco-friendly cosmetics with ingredients that not only don't harm the environment but are good for you, you'll find my preferences err on the green side. And when you're so close to nature, who wants harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients anyways?

    1. Tarte, cheek stain, Natural Beauty

    When I was first introduced to Tarte cosmetics, it was love at first sight. Their slogan high-performance naturals doesn't lie. Natural Beauty is the original shade of their cult classic cheek stains and remains my favourite. Tarte products are vegan-friendly, gluten-free and cruelty-free, formulated without parabens, sulfates, mineral oil or phthalates. This solid gel stain comes in a roll up cylinder that you simply swipe on the apples of your cheeks for a natural, healthy glow. Containing both acai and goji berry extracts, it not only smells delish, but is superb for your skin.
    $36.00 CAN, Sephora.

    2. Aveda, Inner Light Mineral Tinted Moisturizer

    From the mothership of natural beauty comes this fantastic product. The ultimate time-saver, it moisturizes, contains SPF, and gives you a smooth, even glow. It also contains tourmaline, which naturally boosts skin's radiance.
    $39.00 CAN, Aveda.

    3. Tarte, Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara

    Okay I'll admit it, I was initially drawn to the name of this product because I am actually travelling to the Amazon and thought it was satisfyingly fitting, and then I tried it, and loved it. Once again, Tarte didn't disappoint. It gives you soft and natural looking lashes and it's 100% natural. It also comes in a precious little wooden tube. Swoon.
    $12.00 CAN, Sephora.

    4. Benefit, Speed Brow

    In one universal shade, a few brush strokes of this super lightweight gel on your brows will keep them looking tidy without having that heavy makeup look ( which is always eww 365 days a year). It takes about 20 seconds to apply and comes in a handy compact size which is key for travel.
    $22.00 CAN, Sephora.

    5. Batiste, dry shampoo, Blush

    Who has time to wash their hair frequently when there is so much exploring to do? This flirty fresh scented dry shampoo will revive your locks so you don't have that unsavoury greasy-hair look. It gives that 'just-washed' feel and takes about 30 seconds to use. Just spray the roots, fluff and go. Your ponytail never looked bouncier while backpacking. Caveat: this is an aerosol container, which of course is an environmentally friendly faux-pas. But if you're going to use dry-shampoo, the only way to go is to use an ultra-fine mist that only aerosol can provide. Use sparingly.
    $8.99 CAN, Shoppers Drug Mart.

    6. Burt's Bees, tinted lip balm, Petunia

    Another natural beauty must-have. Their line of tinted lip balms contain shea butter which not only keeps lips supple like the original formula, but also gives you a pop of colour. I like the Petunia shade because I find it enhances my natural lip colour, but there are nine natural-looking hues hues to choose from.
    $7.99 CAN, Shoppers Drug Mart

    7. Lavanila, fragrance rollerball, Pure Vanilla

    This, handy little rollerball is made with pure Madagascar vanilla and smells like the bean, not like an sickeningly sweet cupcake. Dubbed The Healthy Fragrance, Lavanila is free of synthetic ingredients, harsh chemicals, sulfates and parabens.
    The base of their fragrances is always pure vanilla, but their formulations include grapefruit, coconut, lavender and lemon infusions.
    $23.00 CAN, Sephora.

    8. The Body Shop, hand sanitizer, Mango

    When you're bargaining in street markets, shaking hands, touching money, and using bathrooms sans soap and water, hand sanitizer is crucial, and you'll be using a lot of it. Unfortunately, this can be very drying on the skin since most are formulated entirely with ethyl alcohol. Nothing puts me off more than a sterile hospital smell and scaly hands. Luckily, there are alternatives. My fave, is the mango sanitizer from the Body Shop. With nourishing ingredients such as fair-trade chamomile oil, it is antibacterial and also triclosan-free; and the smell of fresh juicy mango will lift your spirits and energize you when you have four more hours of hiking ahead of you. Clean hands never smelled or felt so good.
    $2.00 CAN, The Body Shop.

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