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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    Compiled by Evelyn Wiseman Akerman, Community Manager for Yelp Toronto, @yelptoronto

    Skiing. Skating. Sledding. These activities sure are fun in theory, but have you actually felt the temperatures outside this winter? Want to feel like you're accomplishing things when it's as cold as Mars? Expand your mind! Here are some cultural places to keep warm in the big smoke before it finally thaws...

    Aga Khan Museum, North Toronto
    Explore the beautiful artifacts of Muslim civilizations from Spain to Southeast Asia dating back as far as the 8th century. After you've taken in the art, no need to brave the cold again just yet, they serve dinner in Diwan, their restaurant inspired by the Far East.

    Angell Gallery, Ossington Strip
    This intimate gallery might be small, but it's worth warming up in for the long haul. They've been showcasing Canadian contemporary art since 1996, and dabble in it all! Coming up this winter, you can see Dan Hudson's breathtaking Fragments of a Year.

    Ontario Science Centre, Don Mills
    Learn about the brain while expanding yours! The Ontario Science Centre is for kids of all ages, from 9 months to 90, so shed those mittens and get your hands dirty with the best of 'em. It sure beats shovelling...

    Bata Shoe Museum, The Annex
    Just ask any lady in your life, shoes are art, damn it! That's right, if you haven't already heard there is a massive monument to shoes in downtown Toronto. Go in and walk through the ages shoe by shoe, and be sure to check out their current exhibition: Fashion Victims... shoes in the 19th century were serious stuff....

    Art Gallery of Ontario, Chinatown
    Alright, you probably didn't forget the AGO, but did you remember to check out the Basquiat exhibit? It's on until May thrilling tourists and locals alike. Basque in the glory of being cozy after the exhibit in chique Frank. You deserve a glass of wine.

    Gardiner Museum, Yorkville
    Fight the freeze in 3D with the stunning sculptures at the Gardiner Museum. Once you're there and feeling inspired, consider signing up for one of their Clay Classes and become an artiste yourself.

    MOCCA, Queen W
    Beyond that iron fence, and the snow covered parking lot on Queen W is the wonderful Toronto Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. The "facility is modest in scale, impressive in design, and functions effectively as a nucleus of energies for cultural production and exchange." We couldn't find better words than theirs to express them, and we can't think of a place we'd rather warm up, either...


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    Face it, Bella. The staycation is not for you. An island paradise or mountain getaway, sipping cocktails while wiggling your toes in the surf and basking in the sunset and, oh, what the hell, slipping off your clothes off -- that's more your style. Completely exposed, yet refreshingly private. Some of the most beautiful places in the world to be naked while vacationing are out there, just waiting for you to visit.

    We believe that sun, sand and seclusion complete the winning formula for a sexy nudist vacation -- but go beyond the beach and nude vacationing becomes a journey of discovery. Some of the world's sexiest hangouts are overtly hedonistic while others are refreshingly laidback. If you're ready to throw in the towel on vacation planning, we highly recommend throwing off your clothes instead.


    1. Nude cruising -- Bare Necessities Tour & Travel

    Imagine packing for a 14 day cruise and fitting everything into a neat little carry-on. Bare Necessities specializes in nude cruising, whether it's a grand tour of the Mediterranean or a Caribbean sightseeing cruise. The 3,000 or so guests are encouraged to indulge in nudity throughout the ship but clothing is required for dinning and when the ship docks in port. As well, guests need to be clothed for shore excursions but many of the ports of call feature stops at nude beaches. Double win. For more information, visit Bare Necessities Tour & Travel online or catch up with them on Facebook or Twitter.

    2. Nude mineral spa -- Living Waters, Palm Spring

    If you visit Living Waters Spa, plan to soak, lounge and repeat. It's a modest, subline resort in the shadow of San Jacinto Mountain. The water in the pools at Living Waters is fed from a private spring at a rate of 15-20 gallons per minute and is straight from the earth's mantle. It's naturally heated and free from chemicals (no need for chlorine with this rapid exchange rate). Go for the healing waters or just the opportunity to hang out naked while disconnecting from the rest of the world or for the world class massages. No judgment. Learn more about Living Waters Spa or catch up with them on Facebook. Read traveler reviews on TripAdvisor.

    3. Nude camping -- Bare Oaks, Canada

    Just 45 minutes north of Toronto you'll discover a natural wilderness resort with camping facilities, guest rooms to rent, bistro, pool, hot tub and spring-fed lake with lots of trails to stroll au naturel. Bare Oaks promotes a pure naturist philosophy and requires complete nudity while onsite. There's a small bistro onsite but we recommend bringing your own alcohol and foods. A picnic on the great lawn overlooking the stream and dinner on the patio makes for perfect day. Read our GoGirlfriend review of Bare Oaks or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.


    4. Nude Mexican resort -- Desire, Mexico

    Desire is a lifestyle resort and an intensely physical and emotional experience. If you and your partner are anchored together and looking for sizzle, a visit to this decadently beautiful property can be a meeting of motivations and an exploration of sensuality. But we don't recommend this for couples who are on shaky ground and don't take time to connect with each other before leaving home. A vacation here can change the landscape of your relationship and going in with your eyes wide open is the only way to ensure success. Check out our reviews on GoGirlfriend:

    5. Nude Caribbean resort -- Club Fantastico

    We're long-time fans of Club Orient in St. Martin but Club Fantastico has us intrigued. Facing the sea on the hill of Orient Bay (with an amazing view), there are only 6 rooms in this boutique naturist hotel. While breakfast and alcoholic drinks are served daily, there's no restaurant onsite. Bikini Beach is a 15 minute walk and Orient Beach is another 10 minutes further so you'll need to rent a car or rely on taxis if you visit. Visit Club Fantastico online and be sure to read reviews on TripAdvisor to what other travelers think.

    6. Nude Mediterranean resort -- Hotel Panorama

    Although technically a hotel, we think of Hotel Panorama as resort -- yes, it's that beautiful. This Greek, family run hotel and nudist destination since 2010, has 31 rooms, 3 apartments and 1 bungalos. You'll find it in village of Vassilikos on the island of Zakynthos -- an area almost completely untouched by tourism. Visit them online: Hotel Panorama.

    7. Nude event -- Maslin Beach, Australia

    Nude volleyball? Got it. Nude water balloon toss? Got that too. How about nude donut eating and nude best beach bum contests? Got those too. Welcome to Australia's unofficial nude Olympics where competing is as much fun as watching. The nude games began in 1983 and in January 2015, more than 500 people competed. If you want to get in on the action, plan your trip to Australia for 2016 in January. Learn more at Pilwarren online.

    8. Nude hotel -- Ventana, Big Sur, California

    While the entire hotel isn't nude-friendly, the pool and poolside are clothing optional. Good enough for us. The rest of the hotel is an idyllic getaway, with wood burning fireplaces, balconies that overlook 243 acres of rolling meadows and wooded hillsides. Oh and don't forget the luxurious spa that's designed to soothe your tired and weary sole. If you go, save your pennies -- rates range from $600 a night to more than $2,000. If the reviews on TripAdvisor are honest, it's worth the spend though. Visit Ventana online or follow them on Facebook.


    9. Mediterranean nude beach -- Plage de Tahiti

    Located in the St. Tropez area of France, this gem of a beach is accessible via an unpaved road but according to TripAdvisor reviewers, it's worth the trek. Like most beaches in the area, it's small and frequented by celeberities but be forewarned -- it's topless beach but not necessarily a fully nude beach.

    10. Nude hot springs -- Strawberry Park

    Perched in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, you'll find Strawberry Park in Hot Springs -- a short drive from Steamboat. Temperatures in the pools run as hot as 104F -- a nice prelude to a delish massage and a great night's sleep in their rustic lodging or in your own tent. The area is only nudist by night and operates off the grid, which means you'll need a flashlight to travel between the 4 springs. Catch up with them online at Strawberry Hot Springs, Facebook and read reviews on TripAdvisor.

    If a naked vacation is on your hot list, our list of best places in the world to be naked may be just what your relationship, or single life, needs. Connect with GoGirlfriend on Twitter and Facebook - and let's continue the conversation!


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    On your next trip to Italy, what would you think about learning to make stained glass, or to weave on a 19th century loom? It represents a refreshing change from shoe shopping; certainly more edifying and probably less tiring.

    Look no further than Perugia, a gem of a small city in Umbria, smack-dab in the centre of Italy, which has far more to it - thankfully -- than the Amanda Knox trial(s). It has more to it than the Perugina chocolate factory, though the latter is worth a visit for many reasons, not the least of which is the all-you-can-eat part of the tour. And for artistically-inclined travelers who want to enjoy a hands-on experience in centuries-old craftsmanship, there are two museums in Perugia that should not be missed. Both, like Perugina, serve also as workshops/factories and offer lessons (in Italian and English).

    After visiting in 2014, I stood in awe of their histories and products, and also of the fact that neither gets much publicity. Part of that is a particularly Italian thing: small, family-run ateliers producing something truly exceptional put their focus on quality. PR gets abandoned in favour of attending to detail. And detail is key in the work done at Studio Moretti Caselli and the Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti.
    Studio Moretti Caselli

    Leonardo da Vinci likely never imagined that centuries after his death, his masterpiece, The Last Supper, would be reproduced in stained glass. But in the early 1920s, an American client commissioned the Studio Moretti Caselli to do exactly that. Between 1925 and 1930, a 40 square metre duplicate was created for a chapel at the famous Forest Lawn Cemetery, in Glendale, California. At the time, the Moretti family were already well-known as masters of stained glass, and had created windows for some of Umbria's most famous churches: Assisi's Santa Maria degli Angeli, and Santa Chiara; Perugia's San Domenico, and Cathedral of San Lorenzo; the Cathedral of Orvieto.

    The studio was founded in 1859 by Francesco Moretti and set up in a house -- previously owned by Perugia's wealthy and powerful (back in the day) Baglioni family -- full of high ceilings and windows near the historic Rocca Paolina. Five generations later, Moretti family descendants still share this cultural heritage, accepting both public and private commissions. When I visited in December, I was lucky enough to see Moretti's great-great-great-granddaughter, Maddalena, at work.

    The studio contains much furniture and art accumulated over the years, as well as books, photographs and sketches, and works that either had to be returned to the manufacturer or never even made it out the door. One such work is the head of Christ from the Last Supper, with a visible crack in the glass. Christ's head, it seems, had to be redone three times, and the head of Judas five.


    Head of Christ -- with a flaw -- on display at Studio Moretti Caselli
    (photo credit: Rondi Adamson)

    Another fine example of the studio's history is the nearly life-sized portrait of Italy's Queen Margherita, commissioned in 1881 for the 20th anniversary of the unification of Italy. Even standing at a close distance, I would have assumed it was a painting, had I not known otherwise.

    Studio Moretti Caselli can be seen by appointment. Courses range from those lasting four hours to those lasting 34 hours.

    Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti

    Located inside the 13th century church San Francesco delle Donne, one of the oldest Franciscan churches in Italy and the oldest in Perugia, the Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti would be worth visiting merely for its architectural resplendence and back-story: it is said the spot for the church was chosen because St. Francis of Assisi preached there, and eventually, the church was passed on to Benedictine sisters and became a convent (hence 'Delle Donne,' of the women). Over the centuries, it housed a school for girls and a ceramics factory, but it was in 1921 -- when Giuditta Brozzetti founded her textile business and school -- that its current incarnation began.

    Brozzetti was a female entrepreneur in Italy before such terminology was trendy, employing and training local women, designing and selling quality household items that also respected Umbria's rich history of textile production. Today, as at its foundation, almost everything created in the factory that bears her name is hand-woven on 19th century looms. On the premises you will find looms (which are operational) much older than that, and Marta Cucchia (great-granddaughter of Brozzetti) keeping up the family tradition. Cucchia, if she has time, is only too happy to demonstrate for visitors how the different looms function.

    Among the items most produced and sold by the Laboratorio are tablecloths and table-runners embroidered with medieval designs, including the symbols of Perugia, the lion and the griffin (Canadian author Sandra Cordon took lessons at the laboratorio in order to accurately depict the process in her recent novel, The Virgin and the Griffin).

    A finished product draped over a work-in-progress at Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti
    (photo credit: Rondi Adamson)

    Also popular are copies of designs that appear on clothing in the paintings of some of Italy's masters of the 14th and 15th centuries, including Simone Martini, Giotto and Leonardo da Vinci.
    Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti can be visited on a drop-in basis, or by appointment for those wishing a guided tour. Courses in weaving, or in lace-making and embroidery, range from those lasting one day to those lasting three weeks.


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    vancouver february

    The Vancouver area (as well as parts of southern B.C. and Alberta) is enjoying an extended stretch of spring-like weather this February. But we are not here to gloat.

    No, we'd like to extend an invitation to our freezing fellow Canadians to come visit.

    We can bike past the swaying palm trees in English Bay, and go standup paddleboarding in the ocean.

    paddle board vancouver

    In return, you can show us how to properly scrape ice off our windshields, and tunnel through 25 feet of snow the next time we get a snowstorm like the one that hit you Maritimers.

    (Though we can also ask our friends in northern B.C. who got hit by a near-record snowfall.)

    Still, you can't say British Columbians have no empathy:

    Check out more photos of B.C.'s glorious February:

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    Aurora borealis! At this altitude, in this part of the world, at any time of day, localized entirely in an airplane cabin?

    Well, yes!

    Icelandair posted a video to YouTube on Sunday showing off the Hekla Aurora, a Boeing 757 with cabin lights that display beams similar to the colours you'll find in the northern night sky.

    The effect seems to have washed over passengers, who ignored their in-flight entertainment screens to look up at the cabin filled with gorgeous blues, greens and purples.

    But auroras don't just adorn the inner cabin. The Hekla Aurora's exterior has also been decorated with the northern lights.

    Icelandair created the Hekla Aurora as part of its #MyStopover campaign, which encourages passengers to make a stop in Iceland.

    As in-flight services go, this is much better than the time Icelandair offered an "apartheid" cocktail.

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    I used to think that the Australian lifestyle romantically embodied wearing surf shorts and bikinis all day, all year round, until I moved to Australia to live in Perth and now I see how people are really dressing.

    I was surprised by how stylish Perth men and women are within a state that is so isolated from the rest of the country -- its closest neighbour, Adelaide, is almost 2,000 kilometres away. Perth is as remote as it gets, yet style is often only recognized or associated with big city innovation and designers hailing from trendy Melbourne and Sydney.

    Perth is chill and life is slow. People dress to the relaxed vibe of the city more than the weather itself. Perth can peak to almost 40 degrees Celsius in the summer, but I still see people wearing their Blundstones proud. It doesn't appear that anyone is out to impress; rather, the goal is to be comfortable and enjoy fashion.

    Remember the Birkenstocks you wore with white socks in high school? They're a staple shoe for any age, minus the socks.

    Yet comfort doesn't mean compromising style. Comfort means simple cuts, fabrics, and colours worn stylishly. Many emerging designers like my current favourite Monster Alphabets to established labels like Morrison are delivering these styles to Perth women.

    Australian women are beautifully relaxed, exuding confidence and cool whether commuting on the train, walking through the central business district, or attending a party or city event.

    Today as I was crossing the street in my neighbourhood, I noticed a young woman with a shaved bowl cut in slouchy jeans and iconic John Lennon frames. I thought she looked edgy, and as we passed each other on the street I realized she wasn't in her 30s, more likely in her 50s. She looked great.

    Older Australian women are among the most stylish I've ever seen in my travels, even over the confidently dressed women of Italy. They don't over-complicate or get too fancy with their fashion choices. Taking the train is a good place to spot this style. I've checked out women in their 40s and 50s more than ever for inspiration; eyeing their fun, fashion jewelry and edgy designer shades.

    Young women carry the same style philosophy. Long, loose dresses in patterns or neutrals are common for the summer months; they're not tight or too billowy; there's style in the flow and length of the dress with recent observations like a side peek of a lace bandeaux, and a peep of matte black sneakers underneath.

    This past Friday evening I joined the Dumbo Feather Magazine event as part of the Perth Writers Festival in the hip neighbourhood of Freemantle, where my admiration of modish-dressed Australian men and women culminated in only a few hours. Freemantle, also known as Freo by locals, is a major port city with close access to beaches, so you wouldn't necessarily expect such a cool, cultural crowd to reside and hang out within its walls.

    Kate Hulett of lifestyle emporium Kate and Abel, where these stylish men and women mingled, is a classic simple and stylish dresser. You can count on Kate for a great dress and shoes. Hulett wore a '70s-inspired bright-hued, geometric patterned dress by Australian designer Mister Zimi. Hulett wore no jewelry, with her chestnut brown hair tied up; the cut above the knee, half sleeves, and her cowhide chunky wooden heels were all that were needed to set this classy look.


    Kate Hulett and Matt Bale of Kate and Abel in their shop

    Photo credit: Dumbo Feather

    In between my bites of brie cheese and sips of chilled Sauvignon blanc, I spotted a young girl, who I confidently pointed out to my boyfriend and suggested that's how I picture my daughter dressing one day. She wore a navy blue and white polka-dot skirt that whooshed around as she played; a T-shirt with a big sparkly star on the front, and neon yellow jelly sandals. Her happy spirit matched the bright colours and magic moving through her clothing.

    All of my examining and iPhone snaps were taking place within an old Australian department store called Many 6160 that was converted into a space for artists to gather, collaborate, and sell their designs: purses made of Portuguese cork, to a pop up gallery of paintings and illustrations. This burgeoning scene is a testament to the growing creative culture in Perth as innovative minds reclaim once abandoned and ready for demolition spaces.

    The most stylish man of the evening was an older gentleman that I never got to meet. Upon seeing him, my boyfriend said, "I want to look like him when I'm older; he's a man of importance."


    Photo credit: Dumbo Feather

    He wore a thin white cotton tunic with linen salt and pepper pants, strappy brown leather sandals, and thick-rimmed circle frames. His white wispy hair nicely sat back from his face. Maybe he was a man of importance or maybe he was simply a confident and content man; at least that's what his fashion said.

    The style stories coming out of Perth are endless and exciting. In the next few weeks the Western Australia Fashion Awards will recognize the innovation and creative edge coming out of an isolated state that has inspired me to look at style differently than the tired and exhausting see-and-be seen exercise of many big cities.


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    Newfoundland and Labrador doesn't have much farmable land. But the province is fertile with opportunities for fun and adventure.

    A video released on YouTube by Tumblr blog Faces of Newfoundland on Monday proves this, showing Newfoundland and Labrador for the breathtaking, dynamic landscape that it really is.

    Much like the popular Humans of New York project, Faces of Newfoundland introduces readers to people who make up the culture of the Atlantic province. And as creator (and med school student) David McComiskey told The Telegram last year, the region's reputation for friendliness was apparent in his project — nine out of 10 of the people asked agreed to have their photograph taken and story told.

    The site requested that its audience submit HD videos depicting life in the province to "showcas[e] the happy people of Newfoundland and Labrador." The result is a stunning series of images set to U2's "The Streets Have No Name."

    In fact, that's our sole quibble with the video — why not use music that Newfoundlanders produced themselves? After all, the province has spawned much-loved acts such as Great Big Sea and Hey Rosetta! Of course, considering the huge influence the Irish culture has on the region, U2 could be said to be just as appropriate.

    But with or without soundtrack, the video is outstanding. Here's hoping it reminds Canadians just how many incredible places there are to explore in their own country.

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    Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, reveals herself to be quite a ski enthusiast in a Vanity Fair column — and a huge fan of the Whistler resort in B.C.

    Middleton (or someone on her staff) rounded up the "very best of resort skiing in the world" for the magazine. Among the high-end European picks are a handful from North America.

    Whistler Blackcomb was highlighted for its the "mind-blowing" bowls, "particularly the run from Whistler Bowl to Tigers Terrace," as well as the world's longest and highest gondola of its kind.

    pippa middleton skiPippa Middleton competes during the Vasaloppet cross country ski marathon in Mora, Sweden on March 4, 2012. (Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

    Middleton also gave shoutouts to Sidecut steakhouse and Araxi restaurant as great places to eat, as well as the Summit Lodge & Spa, Four Seasons, and Fairmont Chateau Whistler as notable places to stay.

    Whistler is a popular place for celebrities and other royalty like the prince of Dubai who spent the new year on the slopes.

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    While I haven't officially announced it on the blog, I am currently on a whirlwind 5 month trip in Europe, working and exploring the sights and sounds of the countries that fascinate me (and don't have snow)!


    Well, because I can.

    I got bitten by a radioactive travel bug and now I can't stop seeing the world.

    The rush of packing my bags and heading off to some faraway spot on the globe is intoxicating. I love getting to know the locals, learning new cultures, experimenting with food and going where no other tourist has gone before.

    For me, It's all about the journey and exploration more than anything else. It's a feeling that can't be replicated, especially not in the bitter deep freeze of Canada.

    So with my Eurail pass in hand, I'm heading to explore as many countries as I can before coming back to enjoy the summer.

    If you're planning your first ever sojourn abroad, here's a great idea: go to Spain.


    Why Spain is One of The Must-See Countries in Europe for 2015

    Located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, Spain has long been a favorite of tourists from other parts of Europe and North America who want to escape the bitter cold and dreary weather of the north and enjoy a sunny, Mediterranean lifestyle.

    Spain is only one of three countries to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, and that's what makes this country an awesome: an uber long coastline!

    Here are some other reasons why Spain in should be your next vacation destination:

    1. You'll Get an Endless Dose of Vitamin D

    Being in southwestern Europe, a large part of the country enjoys 300 days of sunshine each year.

    There's the occasional rain shower, but for the remainder of tourist season you don't have to worry about the weather ruining your vacation. Some parts of Spain can get cold in the winter, but not as cold as some of her European neighbors.

    Cities that you MUST visit:

    • Madrid

    • Barcelona

    • Seville

    Madrid is the New York of Spain. The hustle and bustle of the city envelopes you, and makes you feel like one of it's own.

    Barcelona is calm, cool and collected. The city has a mellow vibe with a vibrant personality. Oh, and the beaches. Let's not forget the beaches. Tip here is to stay in a central location, and either walk or take the metro everywhere. We stayed the NH Podium and loved it. It's right in the heart of the city and a quick walk from Las Ramblas.

    Seville is the quiet younger sister, and that one that isn't completely swarmed by tourists. This is where you want to go, if you want to enjoy Spanish culture at your own pace.

    2. You'll Get to Take Advantage of All That Coastline

    Spain's long coastline means that you're never far away from a beach.

    Beautiful golden or white sand beaches adorn Spain's cities and towns, with the crystal clear waters always inviting you for a dip.

    If you're not up for swimming, the beaches are also great if you just want to hang out for the afternoon or take a walk in the morning.

    Barcelona is one of my favorite places on earth.

    Regardless of whether you move to the city or just head out there for a weekend, you'll find things that you'll love. We just wrapped up a 4 day stay, and can't wait to go back in when the weather is nicer.

     3. Spain is A Gastronomic Paradise

    The food!

    Spain has the best restaurants in the world. The ElBulli was number one in its day and En Celler de Can Roca has taken the reins as 2013's best, making Spain an orgasmic place for a foodie.

    When you're in Spain, be sure to try everything. The world famous Paella, which is a mix of rice, seafood, meat and spices is a source of national and regional pride. Every region has their own take on the national dish, so be sure to try each and every one of them.

    Be sure to enjoy some tapas, which are tasty appetizers that you can either eat as a meal, or with your main dish. Try their smoked and cured meats, like the chorizo. And, don't forget to indulge in some of the world's best red wine in the La Roja region.

    4. Spain Has the Third Most UNESCO Heritage Sites in the Entire World

    Not only is Spain full of history with a huge number of UNESCO Heritage sites, but it also has many amazing architectural marvels.

    Gawk at the Alhambra Palace in Granda, or marvel at the fine Roman ruins like the Roman theatre in Merida.

    Right smack in the middle of Madrid sits an Egyptian temple, the Temple of Debod, a gift from Egypt in the 60's.

    There are also world famous cathedrals and churches, like the Sagrada Family Church designed by Gaudi, or the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

    The magnificent 1,000 year old mosque in Cordoba is one of the country's best attractions. If you like art, Spain boasts one of the largest art galleries in the world -- The Museum of El Prado, in Madrid. The museum is home to more than 8,000 paintings and works of art by the country's famous artists like Pablo Picasso, César Manrique, Goya, Velazquez and Salvador Dalí.

    But you don't have to wander far to see these marvels. The streets are filled with wonderful architecture that us North Americans aren't used to. You can spend hours walking down side streets and just looking up.

    5. Soak In the Spanish Culture

    Spaniards are very hospitable and warm towards their guests.

    Family is very important in Spain, and families here are extremely close and tight knit. The children respect their elders and take care of their parents when they grow old.

    Spain is also known for the fiestas and siestas.

    Fiestas are legendary events that commemorate either the birth of a saint or some other religious or national event.

    There is often a parade and a lot of eating and drinking. A lot of the small towns and cities still practice the siesta, wherein they take an extended lunch to spend time with their families and to catch a nap.

    A word of warning for those attempting to visit during the dead of summer. Most smaller stores  shut down in the middle of the day. Last time we were in Madrid we took naps under trees in the parks during the 40 degree summer days.

    So Now That You're Convinced You Need to Visit Spain..

    You're convinced that you need to visit Spain.

    You've got your bags packed and you can't wait to get going.

    Here are a few things to help you with your trip:

    Invest in a Eurail pass. It's the best value for your money, and most short trips can be made without a reservation. That means that you can show up at the train station, and go for day trips with specific passes. Worth everything penny.

    Stay in Central Hotels. There's no better way to get to know the city while in Barcelona. It's a great way to save a ton money by walking everywhere, and it cut down on our transportation time.

    Get to Know the Metro System: The metro system in Europe is amazing, and you can get from point A to B really easily and quickly. Every line is coloured, and makes it easy so you won't get lost.

    In a nutshell

    Spain is a beautiful country.

    It's relaxed, Mediterranean lifestyle and warm people make this country a top destination all year round.

    If you want a different experience, head on over to Spain for a vacation you'll remember forever.

    This post was first published on

    Image via Chicdarling's Instagram.

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    People from Stewart, B.C. and Hyder, Alaska have lived side-by-side for more than 100 years and have shared everything from emergency services to grizzly bear sightings.

    But the two northerly towns that operate as one community will soon be cut off from each other, as Canada's Border Services Agency (CBSA) plans to close the border crossing between midnight and 8 a.m. to save money.

    "It seems like a very short-sighted decision," said Angela Brand-Danuser, a small business owner and former mayor of Stewart, who believes the move to close the border doesn't make any sense for the communities.

    Stewart, which is across from Alaska's Misty Fiords National Park, calls itself North America's most northern ice-free port. It has a population of about 300, while about 60 people live in Hyder.

    Brand-Danuser says some residents need to cross the border before 8 a.m. for work and is concerned emergency services could be blocked from getting through to the neighbouring community.

    "Most people in Stewart and Hyder consider ourselves almost like one community and not being able to travel between the two whenever you choose isn't going to be right," Brand-Danuser said.

    Crossing not used enough, says CBSA

    Jennifer Bourque, the CBSA's spokesperson, said the agency reviewed the crossing and decided it wasn't used enough to warrant 24-hour service.

    "While the CBSA recognizes that the change in hours will affect some, the agency remains committed to the free flow of legitimate goods and people across the border," Bourque said.

    The community learned about the closure at a Feb. 23 council meeting.

    "People are quite upset," Brand-Danuser said. "Some people don't believe they can put a gate down and block access to and from another community but that's what CBSA's going to do.

    She said the new hours are scheduled to come into effect April 1, just before summertime, when there are more tourists visiting the towns and the area has about 20 hours of daylight a day.

    "It would be kind of nice if the government finally, for once, did something that wasn't only about money and cents and that was the best for the two communities," she said.

    To hear more from Stewart and Hyder, click on this audio


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    Recent photos of warm, spring-like Vancouver brought much disbelief from some people — not because of the lovely February weather, but because of the palm trees.

    You see, they felt such plants couldn't possibly exist in this city.

    We're here to set the record straight: palm trees in Vancouver are real, and they're spectacular.

    vancouver february

    The first fan palms were planted at English Bay about 20 years ago, said Brian Quinn, Vancouver manager of park operations. The beach area close to the water is a microclimate about two or three degrees warmer than the rest of the city.

    According to Quinn, four or five species of palm can grow in Vancouver, but the majority are Trachycarpus fortunei, also known as windmill palms. They are native to Asia and are hardy enough to survive the mild Vancouver winters.

    Colder weather has claimed two palm trees in the last 20 years at English Bay, but there are currently about 60 there, he said. The plants can also be spotted at other locations in the Lower Mainland.

    "Some people think it's almost blasphemous for us to have palm trees grow in Vancouver because they're not native trees," Quinn said in an interview with The Huffington Post B.C. "But for those who love diversity in horticulture, it's a great thing that we can grow that kind of material out here."

    The original palms were sponsored by the Vancouver Palm and Exotic Plant Society, which is made of up members who "love that kind of diversity in the horticultural world," said Quinn.

    We love it, too.

    vancouver palm trees english bay

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    Looking for a last-minute rental in which to stay for March Break? Why not a luxurious castle in the heart of Montreal?

    A person can dream. At $2,066 per night, the Old Montreal Castle is available to rent for a few days (but not all of them) between March 15 and 20, so it's a great destination for Ontarians hoping to take a short vacation over the break.

    Check out photos of the Montreal castle you can rent on Airbnb:

    With eight bedrooms, the castle could easily accommodate as many as 16 people. That rounds out to $129 per person, per night. Not bad at all.

    Located on the Rue Notre-Dame, between Berri and St.-Denis streets, the castle has an interior pool, a jacuzzi and a private terrace.

    The only catch? No DJs or loud music are permitted. You also can't have a party, a photoshoot, or hold any professional or commercial events on the premises.

    That's too bad. Because you could throw the party of the year in this place.

    This story has been translated from an article by Le Huffington Post Québec.

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    We're two weeks away from March Break and for most families, that means two weeks away from a family vacation! Before you do anything, be sure to check the weather report at your destination. This will give you a better sense of what to expect and what to pack.

    The key to a stress-free vacation is being prepared and a large part of that is dependent on how successfully you pack. Understanding that this can be a daunting task, we've outlined some tips to help you through the packing process:


    • Lay out all the clothes ahead of time; select carefully.

    • Stick with one or two colours that coordinate and are versatile.

    • Layer the outfits, so you can peel off and on according to the temperatures.

    • Choose clothing that can be worn on more than one occasion.

    • Roll clothing items to save space and provide greater visibility if you are going to be living out of the suitcase for a while.

    • Use space-saving bags, packing cubes or transparent kitchen-storage bags. These items are useful if you are going to be making several stops, because it keeps like items together and will eliminate random packing.

    • Leave space in the suitcases if you think you are going to shop.

    • Pack shoes last, soles up. Fill them with small crushable items such as hosiery or socks.

    • Be prepared for lost luggage: carry a change of clothing and must-have medications, and possibly jewelry on the airplane with you.

    • Buy luggage that -- if lost -- is easy to describe or identify.

    • Consider a second copy of passports, important ID and credit cards in luggage or on your smart phone as back up.

    • Once you've selected the items to pack, take photos of them. To make an insurance claim, you may need to remember everything that was in the lost suitcase. The photos may be useful for the next trip as well in planning what you took.

    Always remember to limit your items! Vacations are not daily life, so try to avoid bringing all your everyday life items and everyone's entire wardrobe. Most places offer a laundry service or have a washer and dryer that are readily available.

    Lastly, be sure to pack a camera or smartphone that will allow you to take pictures wherever you are! March Break vacations are filled with great adventures and memories, which you will want to document.

    For more information on Professional Organizers in Canada or to find a professional organizer in your area, please visit the POC website.


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    Compiled by Dale Einarson, Yelp Community Manager for Calgary, @yelpcalgary

    Few things will awaken your weary weekend warrior from the carnage that was Friday/Saturday night. But when that tummy's a'grumbling and dreams of sun-soaked beaches turn into visions of syrup-soaked waffles, only that magical morning period called breakfast will do. This list is stacked with oodles of egg-stras regarding a little meal folks like to call brunch.

    There's breakfast and then there's Over Easy Breakfast (OEB). This place with slap your tastebuds silly with nomtastic creations like their breakfast poutine. Massive chunks of pork belly mixed in with organic duck fat cooked potato wedges, Quebec cheese curds, black truffle shavings and topped with two (perfect and insanely delicious) poached eggs. Cover all of that with brown butter hollandaise and you've got yourself a "Gold Digga'." It's no wonder you're going to have to wait in line for this one! When the wait is long enough, the staff will be down the line with free coffee!

    Dairy Lane
    Bodacious bennies and a down-home local lifestyle -- Dairy Lane crafts the products of Alberta farmers and small businesses into some seriously stunning breakfast bites. All this, while minimizing their environmental impact and giving back to the community we live in. With burgers and wine in the evenings, you can eat local even after the sun has come up and back down again. Try the Alberta Turkey burger with Hill View ground all natural turkey, fresh sage and garlic, cranberry shallot relish, goat feta and truffle mayo on an egg-washed bun.

    Monki Breakfast Club & Bistro
    While Monki Breakfast Club & bistro may be as small and adorable as a capuchin, they serve up some big, mean breakfasts. From Hollandaise topped brisket and sausage hash to banana and Frangelico cream cheese-stuffed French toast -- this is one breakfast club you'll be signing all your friends up for.

    Pfanntastic Panenkoek Haus
    Yeah, they're pancakes, but these satellite dish sized Dutch delectables served in this unassuming breakfast nook are nothing like the fluffy flapjacks you'll find served on the streets during the Calgary Stampede. They're 12 inches in diametre and rolled out thin, featuring flavours from sweet to savoury. Try a bacon, apple and cheese pannenkoek for the best of both worlds. It's a great pick for couples or families of all ages.

    Galaxie Diner
    What's new at Galaxy Diner? Nothing -- and that's the point! Simple, straightforward and delicious breakfast the way you'd expect from the era of the diner days. If you're looking for a meal that will bring a halt on your hangover, hop in an old diner booth and check out their one price, unlimited choice omelette. With your choice of 13 different toppings, you'd best bring your hungriest breakfast game!

    The Holy Grill
    Looking for the Holy Grail of breakfasts? Search no more! When breakfast is short and you need food fast, but refuse to settle for fast food, the Holy Grill has got your back. Located in Calgary's downtown core, leaving the house a few minutes early to pop by for a Bacon Avocado Crisp or a Sausage NicMuffin is well worth it. Breakfast served until 11am and all day Saturday.

    Red's In Ramsay
    Red's is traditional comfort for the modern day. This sunny heritage building in the heart of the quirky, inner-city neighbourhood of Ramsay serves up their tasty take on classic breakfast favourites every day and all day. Try a short rib hash and eggs-a beef short rib potato hash with green onions, peppers and 2 eggs.

    River Cafe
    Picture the most idealistic and adorable picnic in the park you can think of -- now add food expertly prepared using the most fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. You've got yourself the River Cafe's weekend brunch! Look around -- you're on an island park in the middle of a skyscraper-clad city, surrounded by the wild, garden feel of a stone patio, plenty of plants and blankets ready for you if you get a chill. Take your time with this one and enjoy!

    Diner Deluxe
    Set your tastebuds to drool! This long time Edmonton Trail favourite features everything you'd want in your neighbourhood diner from a breakfast parfait with granola, mascarpone mousse, lemon zest, mixed berries, local honey, toast to a veggie burrito made with scrambled eggs, cheddar, roasted red peppers, green onions, black beans, salsa fresca and cilantro sour cream in a whole wheat wrap. You're welcome.

    Neighbourhood residents of Victoria Park can't enough of Grumans... and neither will you! It's a menu unlike any other breakfast menu you'll find in Saddle City. Put the Challah French toast (vanilla, cinnamon, sauteed banana, nuts and fruit salad) and the Lox Benedict (house-cured lox, red pepper artichoke spread, lemon Hollondaise, confit home-style hashbrowns and fruit salad) at the top of your brunching to-eat list. There's nothing else in town quite like it!


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    With spring right around the corner, we have to admit we're excited.

    Like many other Albertans, we're ready to shed our winter woolies, trade our skis for hiking boots, and hit the mountain trails.

    These stunning photos of Alberta wildlife are just fueling that fire.

    Husband-and-wife photography team Chad Larsen and Andrea Halwas have been shooting wildlife and landscapes across western Canada together for six years. Together they own Thirteenth Avenue Photography, and also specialize in lifestyle and family photography.

    There were kind enough to share some of their awesome animal portraits with us, and answer a few questions about what it's like to work alongside the person you love:

    Q: Where did you each grow up and where do you currently live?
    A: We both grew up on the prairies – Chad: I grew up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Andrea: I grew up in High Bluff, Manitoba. We met in Calgary and this is where we now call home.

    Q: How long have you been shooting photos -- separately and together?
    A: We both came from extensive backgrounds in the arts. Chad: I was a visual artist, a painter, and a graphic designer. Andrea: I was a performer and now I am a drama therapy consultant. However, we found a mutual creative passion in photography. What began as a hobby quickly turned into a passion. We have both taken photos to some degree throughout our lives, but it was in 2009 that we officially launched Thirteenth Avenue Photography.

    Interview continues below the slideshow:

    Q: Does shooting photos as couple create a challenging dynamic? If so, in what way?
    A: Shooting as a couple is rewarding because we are always motivating each other to become better at our work. There are days that are challenging because like any artist, there are days where creativity does not come easily. However, we are lucky that we inspire each other. We have our own roles in our company and that makes it much easier to work together.

    Q: What are some of the challenges you face as a team that you might not face as individual photographers?
    A: To date we feel pretty lucky to shoot as a team. It hasn’t offered us many challenges. We encourage each other’s work and celebrate each other’s successes. When one of us succeeds, we both do.

    Q: What are some of the benefits of working as a team?
    A: It is awesome having a photography wingman. We both shoot different angles, depths, and styles. So we know we have two ways to see a subject and we will be able to shoot both perspectives. We always think that we are lucky to have that extra person shooting beside us, capturing the moment, but also being a part of the moment. Plus the catch 22 is if one of us cannot make it out on a particular day the other has twice the gear.

    Q: Where do your individual interests lie in photography?
    A: Chad: Every day when the sun rises, I know there are animals moving around doing something incredible. There are so many different scenarios that play factors in wildlife photography besides the animals. This is where my drive to explore outdoor photography comes from. You never know what you are going to shoot that day, you just have be ready for those moments when the magic happens.

    Andrea: Coming from the narrative tradition of theatre, I am always focused on telling a story with my photography. Drawing on Roland Barthes, I am looking for the ‘punctum’ in a photograph, something that jumps out at me and moves me. I want to create those images for people.

    Q: Do your photography subjects/interests differ at all?
    A: Although our passion for photography began with wildlife and landscape photography, we have developed our skills and range throughout the last five years. We have expanded our company to work with families and lifestyle photography. It is extremely gratifying work to capture an amazing moment in wildlife, but that work is really for us. When we photograph people, we are given the opportunity to make other people happy with our work, and that makes our jobs pretty awesome. There are certain differences in our interests though - Andrea: Chad loves birds and owls. He is passionate about improving his skill and it shows in his work. I love Chad’s bird photography, but I haven’t developed the skill or patience to capture the perfect owl shot like he has, and I’m okay with that. Chad: Andrea is the first person to take on a new family client. She is always shooting our families, our friends, and their pets. She loves making people happy with their photos.

    Q: What's the most unusual, remarkable thing you've ever had happen while taking photos?
    A: We have had some pretty amazing moments photographing wildlife. Animals are very humbling to be around. We have come around a corner to see a Sow Grizzly Bear with her three three-month old cubs, one of them falling out of the tree right in front of us. We have sat in tall grass getting eaten alive by mosquitoes just to see a wild horse come running directly towards us. We have arrived at our photography destination just in time to see the sun in perfect placement between two mountains. We would like to think we were in control, but in fact, nature and the wild were in control and we were just lucky to be in that moment.

    Q: Have you ever found yourself if a scary situation while shooting?
    A: As a matter of fact, we haven’t. When we are shooting, we are very careful to gauge how the animal is reacting. We have never spent any time with an agitated animal.

    Q: What do you like to do when you're not taking photos?
    A: We are outdoors people. If we aren’t taking photos, we are outside. We spend our summers and winters hiking, at the lake, or on the prairies. However, we can guarantee that our cameras are not far away..

    Q: Tell us a bit about your dedication to wildlife advocacy!
    A: We are forever fascinated by the wild and their resiliency and will to survive. The Grizzly Bear is an endangered species and its tenacity to continue is incredible. That being said, while we are humbled by the animals, we are also fiercely overprotective. We have been able to watch Grizzly Bear cubs grow up from yearlings to entering their first years on their own. Because of that, we have little tolerance for people treating animals as a commodity. People tend to forget that these are wild animals and that distance and respect must be first and foremost. We do not want to allow the animals to become comfortable with our presence. We are entering their world. They were here first, and they survived without us, in fact, flourished. We cannot stress enough that humans do not have the right to overstep the boundary between domestic and wild. We want to keep the wild wild. We want people to be aware of the issues and conflicts facing our wildlife and to be motivated to protect them.

    Follow more of Thirteenth Avenue Photography's work here:


    Are you interested in being Alberta's Photographer of the Month? Email us and we can chat!

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    The recent controversy surrounding the tug of war between the B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF) and the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. (GOABC) over the allocation of wildlife is a lurid sideshow, distracting from the real issues around trophy hunting in the province.

    This debate has centred on a new policy to allocate wildlife for recreational killing, focusing on who gets to kill the wildlife in question, while ignoring whether there is justification for the killing in the first place or whether this policy benefits wildlife.

    A very complex issue is being reduced to a ridiculously simple and false dichotomy, i.e. resident hunters versus non-resident hunters.

    The policy applies only to "allocated wildlife," which are those animals whose population is at such a low enough level that they could not tolerate an open season style hunt; this represents only eight per cent of the wildlife hunted each year in B.C. A specific number of individual permits are given out to kill these animals. They include species normally considered game species such as moose and elk, and others considered trophy species such as grizzly bears and wild sheep. The permits have always been divided between hunters who reside in B.C. and guide outfitter businesses.

    Whether each of these user groups should even be allowed to hunt so-called trophy species such as grizzlies, wolves, black bears, and other large carnivores is a debate that is separate from this allocation policy, and one that we have engaged in vigorously.

    If you accept recreational hunting on any level, this policy resides in the framework of managing that activity as effectively as possible. The previous policy was instituted in 2007 and has failed because the competition between these two user groups has played out on the ground as a race to the bottom with damaging results for wildlife in B.C. Provincial officials have termed the resultant negative impact to wildlife an "unintended consequence" of the old policy.

    Two years of negotiations involving government managers, facilitators, and consultants failed to reach an agreement between the user groups. Recognizing that wildlife populations could be at risk if the previous policy was not replaced with a non-competitive scheme, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson made a decision, announcing the province would replace the moveable allocation policy with a fixed allocation process.

    This policy change was urgently needed. Minister Thomson was required to strike a balance between the demands of two powerful lobby groups that represent trophy hunters, while keeping in mind the effect of the policy on vulnerable wildlife populations.

    Cynically playing the xenophobia card, the BCWF has invoked the spectre of the "foreign hunter" to try to get an increase in their wildlife allocation. Using disingenuous arguments, the BCWF has manipulatively refocused the attention on the allocation percentages and away from the most salient issues, which are the policy itself and the impact on wildlife.

    Political opponents to Minister Thomson's announcement have adopted the BCWF's deceptive language that this policy gives more wildlife to foreign hunters than resident hunters. The reality is that resident hunters have always, and will continue, to receive the great majority of allocated wildlife in B.C.

    Complaining about not getting enough wildlife to kill, as compared to non-resident hunters, has been prominent in the BCWF's calculated messaging. In contrast, provincial mortality statistics show that from 1978 through 2011, resident hunters killed 5,900 grizzlies while non-resident hunters killed 4,100. To those 10,000 bears it was no consolation whether the bullets ripping through their bodies, causing immeasurable pain and suffering, were fired from the guns of resident or non-resident hunters.

    The BCWF have deliberately and dishonestly avoided mentioning grizzly bears in their communications and media campaign to secure an increased allocation of wildlife to kill for sport. The messaging around the BCWF's March 2 rally at the B.C. legislature continues this charade by camouflaging their real agenda, i.e. killing more bears and other wild animals, by spinning the protest theme as being about opposition to the "privatizing of our wildlife."

    Raincoast Conservation Foundation has advocated for an end to trophy hunting of large carnivores in B.C. for two decades and will continue to do so. We hope the province will eventually listen to the will of the overwhelming majority of the BC public who want an end to the recreational killing of grizzly bears, and stop acquiescing to the relentless lobbying of the BCWF and GOABC in support of this activity.

    In the interim, Raincoast has purchased two hunting tenures in the Great Bear Rainforest in order to gain control of the commercial trophy hunt in a 28,000 square kilometer area. These acquisitions support our research objectives and respect the direction of Coastal First Nations who oppose trophy hunting in their territories. Under the scenario advocated by the BCWF, Raincoast's grizzly bear quota would be re-allocated to the resident hunt, eliminating our ability to continue managing these tenures in a manner which has benefited wildlife and eco-tourism in the region.

    Minister Thomson has made a difficult decision. The fact that both trophy hunting user groups are not entirely happy about it does not mean he "didn't get it quite right." The animosity between the BCWF and GOABC is part of a long running battle, and as the current acrimonious debate illustrates, truth and relevance have been the casualties of their most recent bickering.

    This article was co-authored with Raincoast Conservation Foundation guide outfitter co-ordinator Brian Falconer.

    A version of this article previously ran in the Vancouver Sun.


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    Andy Warhol is probably the biggest celebrity in the history of art. No matter how much or little you know about artists from ancient to modern, you've probably heard of Andy Warhol and his notorious Factory party scene for the powerful, famous and beautiful. Warhol seems to, perhaps more than any other modern artist, hold a certain relevance to our time.


    Marilyn (pink), 1967, screenprint. Image by Genevieve Michaels

    That makes sense when you consider that he was also, by his own proclamation, infatuated with shallowness and glamour. A large amount of his subjects were celebrities, and, as demonstrated in the new, free exhibit "Warhol: A Different Idea of Love": "To have a portrait painted by Andy Warhol carried incredible prestige and in many circles was considered the ultimate form of social validation." In that way, perhaps he's not so different from the portrait painters of history, from Rigaud's Louis XIV to the society ladies of Vigee-Lebrun.


    At the opening. Image by Genevieve Michaels

    One thing I've always loved about art history is the way it's showed me that the more things change, the more they really do stay the same -- at least when you're talking about human nature and society. That's why, although I wouldn't necessarily call Warhol one of my personal favourite artists, I jumped at the chance to see 80 of his pieces in one place at the new exhibit, which opens to the public on March 1 and is located at 1280 Homer St., a white-cube warehouse in Yaletown.


    Truman Capote, 1979, screenprint on paper. Image by Genevieve Michaels

    The space where the pieces are shown is not huge, and many of the screenprints and paintings are quite large in format, giving the show the feeling of a collage of important faces from the time -- some immediately recognizable, some less so. I found it pretty interesting just to see who was enough of a VIP to have their portrait done. There's a portrait of Edward Kennedy, with lines of red and blue laid over a black and white photograph, that was done to help raise money for his 1980 presidential campaign. There's not one, not two, but five screenprints of John Gotti, the most infamous Mafia don of all time. There's even a portrait of Georges Marciano, the founder of GUESS? Jeans. Some of the names were very familiar, like the portraits of Truman Capote, who Warhol is said to have been fascinated by, and modern artist Jospeh Beuys.


    Portraits of the Artists, 1967, screenprint on polstyrene boxes. Image by Genevieve Michaels

    I smiled when I saw the very '80s-style portrait of Wayne Gretzky -- maybe it's just my age, but I always forget what a legitimate celebrity he was in that decade. Warhol is quoted as saying of the athlete, "he's more than just a hockey player, he's an entertainer." There's also selections from his Ladies and Gentlemen series, which depicts drag queens and other queer folk, that certainly added to the glamorous vibe of the show -- it's a bit like a party on the walls.


    >Kimiko, 1981, screenprint on paper. Image by Genevieve Michaels

    There are also some welcome surprises, whether it's lesser-known subjects, or material or style you might not associate with Warhol. I definitely didn't walk in expecting to see a quartet of pop-art portraits of the patron saint of dentistry. The "Plains Indian Shield," one of the few non-portraits shown, was a nice change from rich and famous faces.

    In addition to being "good art," artists and their work sometimes enter the canon because they say something important about the time and place they come from. That's definitely the case with Warhol: A Different Idea of Love -- it's a total time capsule. Everyone in Vancouver should go see this show while it's here. It's free, and you're basically hanging out with famous people and travelling through time all at once.


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    Catching the northern lights in B.C. takes a little planning and a little luck, but B.C. photographer Derek Flynn proves that it's oh-so-worthwhile.

    Flynn, who lives in Terrace, B.C., posted a stunning time-lapse video on Monday (March 2) that shows how the aurora borealis really move in the Skeena region, about 1,200 kilometres north of Vancouver. (Watch it above!)

    "I never really paid attention to the northern lights until I was helping build a cabin in a place called Maxhla Didaat," he told The Huffington Post B.C. in an email. "Never to this day have I laid eyes on more vivid and intense northern lights... I was hooked."

    Flynn said the film was shot over several nights during the past couple of months, and adds that a longer video is in the works.

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    VANCOUVER - Much of the headline-grabbing movie "Fifty Shades of Grey," released last month, was shot in downtown Vancouver, a fact that Tourism Vancouver is playing up.

    The marketing agency's blog lists locations used in the raunchy film, suggesting that tourists "rub up against these sensual spots" on their next trip to the city.

    The sites include the Gastown cafe Rainier Provisions, the Bentall 5 downtown office tower and the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, scene of a steamy elevator episode.

    A jogging scene was filmed in Coal Harbour near the Westin Bayshore Hotel.

    During the production, the cast and crew used Shebeen Whisky House in Gastown to unwind, according to the Inside Vancouver blog.

    The Vancouver Sun has also published a list of "Fifty Shades" locations. One of them, not promoted by the blog, is near Burrard Iron Works under the Main Street overpass. The location was used for "a scene involving Ana vomiting on the ground after a night of heavy drinking," the paper reported.



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    Last week, we told you about a stunning Montreal castle you could rent through Airbnb.

    So we asked ourselves: what are some of the most luxurious Airbnb rentals you can find across Canada?

    The rental website is full of incredible-looking properties that can be had in some of Canada's most beautiful communities, such as Whistler, B.C., and Ontario's Muskoka region.

    We can't really afford most of the ones we saw. But a wanderer can lust ...

    Check out some of Canada's nicest rentals available on Airbnb:

    This story has been translated from a version by Le Huffington Post Québec.

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