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    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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    Whistler is recognized worldwide as one of Canada's top vacation destinations, with hiking, skiing and snowboarding opportunities galore. The resort town is also known for its impressive real estate.

    And now, it's home to Canada's most expensive vacation chalet.

    Listed for exactly $22 million, the 9,800 sq.-ft. home sits on more than five acres of land just a few minutes from Whistler's buzzing village. The property's realtor says the asking price makes it the country's most costly resort home.

    The house takes full advantage of its mountainside perch, with massive windows framing some serious tree-lined mountain views. Walls featuring locally sourced stones hug the fireplaces, and we must say it all looks rather cozy.

    whistler most expensive

    The future owner can take advantage of a full chef's kitchen smack-dab in the middle of the house. There's also an outdoor living room, gym, yoga studio, media room and a special suite just for the kids.

    At at the centre of it all, a hand-forged iron staircase swirls its way up the grand 40-foot entrance.

    whistler most expensive

    It also has eight bedrooms and seven bathrooms, including a three-bedroom guest house in case you have friends and family lining up to spend the night.

    Which, quite frankly, wouldn't be all that surprising.

    Check out more photos of the chalet below:

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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    TORONTO - Airbnb may seem like a fast route to a quick buck for Canadians who own properties in popular travel destinations, but renting out a home to strangers can be perilous.

    A Calgary family learned that lesson the hard way last weekend, when their home was trashed amid a "drug-induced orgy" by hard-partying renters and deemed unlikely to be habitable for months due to biohazard concerns. Property damage was assessed at around $75,000.

    While the U.S.-based company is covering the costs, insurance companies are urging those who are pondering going the Airbnb route this summer, especially in cities like Toronto where an influx of visitors is expected for the Pan Am Games, to slow down and get informed.

    A reality check is particularly important since the vast majority of property insurance policies don't bank on people handing over the keys to their homes to complete strangers, Steve Kee of the Insurance Bureau of Canada said in a telephone interview.

    "You really need to check with your insurance representative to find out what you're covered for and what some of the risks may be," he said. "Each company may have slightly different ways that they would apply this."

    The occupants of a home, Kee added, have to level with their insurance companies about their plans.

    There are usually specific coverage options for properties that are known to be available for rent, he said. The policies typically protecting a person's primary residence, however, are based on a vastly different set of assumptions.

    "If you have a home policy, you are covered for the fact that you are living there, and from time to time friends and family may come and stay with you," Kee said, adding that coverage rules can cease to apply the moment the homeowner vacates the premises and leaves it in the hands of others.

    At least one Canadian province has begun mulling the idea of regulating an industry that has up until now been something of a Wild West. The lack of regulations governing the evolving shared rental economy has landed on Quebec's political radar.

    Earlier this week, Tourism Minister Dominique Vien said the province wants to make people pay taxes if they rent out their homes or rooms for profit, and subject them to the same regulations as registered hoteliers.

    Some industry-watchers believe the time is right to start drafting guidelines for a business model that, despite the odd bout of bad press, shows no signs of flagging.

    Gabor Forgacs, associate professor with Ryerson University's School of Hospitality and Tourism, said companies like Airbnb are founded on a universally appealing principle -- the desire to either make or save money.

    People renting their property stand to turn a tidy profit, while consumers taking advantage of their offers often wind up paying far less than they would through a more traditional arrangement.

    "I don't expect any major changes in the business model," Forgacs said. "As long as the economic reasons are there, these business models are sensible to a growing number of people."

    Airbnb itself said it welcomed a chance to put guidelines in place for renters and consumers alike.

    "These rules should be straightforward and clear for regular people to follow, and recognize that the vast majority of Airbnb hosts only rent the homes they live in to visitors on an occasional basis," the company said in a statement.

    The insurance bureau, meantime, has not tracked the number of complaints filed as a result of arrangements made through Airbnb or similar services.

    While Kee was unaware of any existing policies designed to cover such agreements, he added change may be in the offing given the growing popularity of Airbnb.

    "The industry is looking at these things with great interest, and with a competitive marketplace, I guess anything's possible in the future."

    Follow @mich_mcq on Twitter

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    VANCOUVER - A U.S. passenger flight has made an emergency landing at Vancouver International Airport.

    Alaska Airlines Flight 76 was en route between Juneau, Alaska, and Seattle, Wash., when problems arose with one of the plane's two electrical systems.

    The Boeing 737-400 touched down in Vancouver shortly before 5 p.m. on Sunday.

    A spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines said there were 120 passengers and five crew members on board, none of whom were injured.

    She said the pilots remained in control of the aircraft at all times but that company policy required that the plane land at the closest airport.

    The spokeswoman said a replacement aircraft would take the Seattle-bound passengers on the final leg of their journey.


    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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    If it cost the same, what would you rather spend: seven days in San Francisco, or seven days in Madrid? I know what my husband and I chose for our special occasion vacation. Here are my travel tips so you can create special memories abroad with your loved ones too-on a budget and without sacrificing your travel experience.


    When it was time to book a trip for our fifth wedding anniversary, my husband and I took the time to research the best option within our budget.

    After two months of headache-inducing, torturous research analyzing historical weather data (these Canadians want sun, dammit!), looking at the length of travel time, the total cost and teetering back and forth between San Francisco and various destinations in Europe, we chose Madrid.

    Madrid was one of the cheapest options, gave us the most value for money, on a different continent and a city we hadn't visited.

    Spending a week in San Francisco for that exact same week would have cost us the same amount. And it's only a two and a half hour flight from us.


    With this deal to Madrid, we were flying to a different continent, experiencing a different culture and would have better weather than flying somewhere closer to home. We've gone on long trips before so a 13.5-hour journey to Madrid vs. a 2.5 hour journey to San Francisco wouldn't be an issue.

    We only had one week to spare. Could we make Madrid work? Will it feel too rushed? Whenever we've gone to Europe or Asia, we've stayed for a minimum of two to three weeks, never only a week.


    Well, here are my tips for travelling to Madrid for seven days on a budget and without feeling rushed:

    Search for Travel Promo Coupon Codes Before Booking
    After comparison-shopping on various booking sites we came across our package deal for Madrid on Travelocity. We researched the hotel's location, knew it was central and close to transit, read reviews and when we were about to book, my husband typed in Travel Promo Codes for Travelocity into Google and we found a valid one. If you're not carefully looking, these coupon codes can be often missed even on the site itself. Most are sent to subscribers in e-newsletters and even then, how many people hit the delete button on this junk mail.

    Tip: Google for a promo code before checking out with your final payment online. We did, saving another $100 on this already awesome deal.

    Book Shoulder Season or Off Season
    March-May or September-October are good months to travel to Europe. Our anniversary is at the end of October, a usually colder time in northern Europe, but Madrid was unusually warm with busy sidewalk patios and 25-30 C -- perhaps thanks to global warming. Beats the rain in Vancouver.

    You may not always be lucky with weather, but what you can count on are less tourists and lower prices.


    Slow Down and Stay Put in One Place
    I'm not going to lie -- travelling to Europe from North America for only one week can be exhausting. There were some nights where we had trouble sleeping, our luggage didn't make it until the next day and we almost missed our connecting flight.

    No matter what your mind is telling you, slow down and stay put in one place. Thinking of spending two days in Madrid, three days in Barcelona and two days in Toledo? Forget about it, no matter what your itchy feet are telling you. We trained ourselves to do this for this particular trip.

    You want to get the most out of your trip, I get it -- especially if it's your first time, but rushing through three or four cities in seven days will only leave you with a blurred image of Spain. You will be tired and irritated.

    Slow down. Don't overschedule. Although we were thinking of doing a day trip on one of our seven days, we didn't. We were having such a good time exploring Madrid, we stayed put for the whole week.


    Focus on Experiences, Not Sights
    For a memorable time on a short seven-day long haul travel trip for a special occasion, focus on experiences, not sight seeing.

    On our seven-day trip to Madrid, we experienced:

    1. A private tapas tour with a local taking us to places we wouldn't have found ourselves.
    2. Went to our first live European football game to experience the fan atmosphere in a stadium and watched a second game in bar filled with chanting fans.
    3. Felt the heat and passion of flamenco up close and personal in the front row of a small tavern.
    4. Rented cruiser bikes and leisurely rode around Parque del Retiro on the afternoon of our anniversary.
    5. Relaxed in an underground, candle-lit Hammam, built on top of a century old well, soaking our sore muscles in hot and cold baths.
    6. Experienced the "Taste of Madrid" food festival featuring the best of the best tapas in the city. After all, food is a way to understand cultures.
    7. Relaxed on outdoor patios in the sunshine, watching the world go by. Or at least, watching Madridelenos walk by.


    Experiences are about the feelings and meaning you want out of your trip. Sightseeing is about inanimate things and checking off lists, void of feelings and meaning you want to experience.

    Instead of shopping or visiting every single museum or historical building in the city, experiences like taking a cooking class, a language class, watching a dance performance, going on a bike or walking tour of hidden areas and enjoying special events and festivals abroad can make for enriching memories.

    Travelling abroad for a short trip, especially for a special occasion, doesn't have to be a daunting task. And you don't have to just settle for the nearest place to you.

    With some research, applying a few travel tips and focusing on experiences, you too can have a memorable time with your loved ones.


    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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    The last time I was in Singapore was January 2010. I was with my brother on a stopover between Bangkok and Bali. We ate really well and visited the zoo, which were both very memorable activities.

    Since 2015 celebrates the country's 50th birthday, and since I love the idea of a layover in a cool city, I figured it was time to revisit on my way back from New Zealand. Turns out, one can manage to do quite a lot in a very short amount of time.

    April 7th -- 7 a.m. Arrival. Landing after a 10-hour flight from Auckland, I am greeted by a cheery Shangri-La hotel representative, who guided my tired feet to the limo that was waiting with its equally cheery and chatty driver. A girl has to treat herself once in a while.

    7:45 a.m. Check-in to my Garden Wing room. Having opened in 2012 to offer a more resort-type atmosphere, it's very un-business-like compared to the Valley Wing where the likes of Bill Clinton and international dignitaries often stay.


    8:45 a.m. Despite the heat, there is absolutely no one in the pool at this hour and I know what my first move is going to be.

    After a quick workout and steam (a ritual after so many hours in the air), I'm poolside and soaking up some vitamin D. This is surely better than napping in my room, lovely as it is.

    10 a.m. Thankfully I don't have to go far to enjoy breakfast at The Waterfall Café. It's mere steps from my lounge chair to the buffet. Perfect.

    11 a.m. Showered and ready to hit Orchard Road, which is just a short walk away. The tree-lined main drag is just as grand as I remembered. It's a virtual gallery of every celebrity-endorsed campaign out there. I'm in and out of the shops at ION before noting the neat eateries (EWF) and appealing stores (Miss Selfridge, Typo) throughout Orchard Gateway.


    12 p.m. I have every intention to hop on Air Singapore's tour bus (a complimentary service for anyone who has booked travel with the airline), but I've got a map so I just keep walking: through historic Fort Canning, past the National Museum of Singapore, and eventually down Raffles Avenue before I'm on Esplanade Drive.


    1 p.m. I consider making my way to the David Beckham-endorsed MarinaBay Sands, but it's clouding over and that epic view will have to wait for next time.

    1:20 p.m. I'm at Merlion Park when the heavens open for the 30-minute torrential downpour that is an everyday occurrence this time of year. It's not the sort of rain where an umbrella will help you much, so I purchase a fresh watermelon/lemon popsicle from Frostbite and wait under Anderson bridge.


    2 p.m. Back on Raffles Ave and into Raffles City Shopping Centre, where I pick up satisfying (and cheap) sushi from the ground floor marketplace. A great place to grab healthy goods to-go!

    2:30 p.m. Taxi back to the hotel (SGD$10) and catch the last of the afternoon sun by the pool.

    4 p.m. I'm ready for some quality snooze time.

    7 p.m. Meet up with Li and Andy from #SGEatWithUs at the hotel's BLU Lounge. While enjoying the sweeping city view from the 24th floor, they fill me in on the program they launched in August 2014.

    As a way to disconnect Singaporeans from the big food brands, and re-engage them with healthier home cooking, this initiative brings people together over good stories. There's the one about the Indonesian who married a Singaporean and learned to cook duck to aid her understanding of the culture, and to endear herself to the in-laws. Sound familiar?
    It's stories like these that are told while participants enjoy delicacies that are unique to this part of Asia. And their carnival-type events have gotten so popular that #SGEatWithUs is now supported by SG50. From August 7-9, 2015, you will find 12 of their home chefs at the National Day celebrations.

    8:15 p.m. After all the food talk, I'm hungry to check out one of the food courts that Singapore is known for. A taxi (SGD$5) drops me off in front of Newton Food Court and I'm immediately amazed and overwhelmed by the choice. Once I've browsed every stall, I settle on chili squid, a plate of sautéed something green (possibly broccolini), as well as "carrot cake." The latter is really a radish omelet, so absolutely no clue what it's got to do with carrot. Nevertheless, the chosen trio (purchased for SGD$21) hits the spot and is far too much for one person.


    9:30 p.m. Back at the hotel and sinking into a sweet sleep.

    April 8th -- 7:30 a.m. Up for another run/steam/swim session before breakfast.

    10 a.m. A last wander around the Shangri-La property leads me to The Line Shop, where I admire the lovely 3-D cakes that have been expertly crafted by an award-winning pastry chef.


    10:30 a.m. Sneaking in a final dose of sunshine poolside.

    11:30 a.m. Off to the airport for the final 14-hour leg of my journey home to Prague. Grateful for a proper night's rest and making notes for what to do on my next sojourn in Singapore.

    If you have any travel tips on Singapore please leave a comment below!

    Images courtesy of Sara Graham's Instagram and #SGEatWithUs.


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    The thing about a vacation is that it's meant to be relaxing and fun. But that's not the reality for many of us when it comes to coordinating a family trip (ahem, March break??). Sure, a safari can sound like a romantic idea, as does my recent obsession: a family journey to Jaipur. But guess what? Travelling with little ones is exhausting. Yes, it's rewarding and definitely educational, but it can be a grind.

    Fortunately, there are easier ways to provide a positive family experience.

    We recently had the pleasure of enjoying a proper vacation. Well, technically speaking, it was a staycation. We didn't have to fight our way through an airport and weren't burdened down by excessive baggage. Instead we packed a few duffles, called an Uber and checked into our temporary home-slightly-away-from-home. What followed were three days of total relaxation and quality family time. Think: movies in bed, room service, swims/saunas, and sightseeing. If this sounds appealing to you, here are some great local options of hotels that really roll out the red carpet for you and your little ones.


    Downtown: Looking for luxury? The Shangri-La offers ample zen with a signature Asian flair. The hotel has some of the most spacious guest rooms in the city (pro-tip: with the airfare you saved, splurge on a deluxe suite with separate living and sleeping quarters). Once settled in, the seasonal high tea, epic champagne wall (if you need something a little stronger), and delish dim sum in the lobby earns high praise.

    The concierge will gladly recommend a kid-friendly city itinerary and housekeeping will stock your room with a bottle warmer or a potty (upon request).

    Whenever hunger strikes, the 24-hour children's room-service menu is a savior. There's also an extensive selection of books, toys, and games that will make venturing outside of the room a struggle -- not to mention the over-sized bathtub. It's perfect for family bubble baths. For a larger splash, head on down to the stunning pool area. It features private poolside cabanas complete with top-choice movie options. Perfect for family chill-out time. If mom and dad are craving some alone time, you don't have to stray far for a romantic dinner. Bosk, located inside the hotel is an ideal option. Bonus: a babysitter can easily be arranged by the front-desk team.


    One of the very first boutique hotel concepts to land in Toronto is Le Germain. It has remained a favourite of many a stylish traveller.

    You might be surprised to know that this chic retreat is also well-prepared to welcome children. And welcome them in style. Special pillows, mini robes, warm cookies and milk are just a few of the special touches upon arrival. Cribs are available, as are cots for toddlers, plus baby monitors and change tables. It's central downtown location offers guests a true TO experience with so many museums, boutiques and attractions within an easy walk -- perfect for little feet. The hotel even offers a special Family Fun package to visit the nearby must-see Ripley's Aquarium.


    Go West. For hipster family fun, venture to Queen West till you hit The Drake Hotel. Recently named by the Guardian as one of Canada's Most Stylish Boutique Hotels, it is a surprisingly family-friendly affair.

    Who'd have thought that pack'n'plays would be so easily accessible at this bastion of cool? There's even appetizing kid's menus in the hotel's must-try restaurants. All you have to do is pack an overnight bag and show up on their (trendy) doorstep. Your kids will love the frequent live musical acts as well as the conversation-provoking contemporary art that lines the walls.

    Sample all the great new restaurants and boutiques that line the Queen West West neighbourhood or don't leave the property. Thanks to the Drake's thoughtful programming, delicious dining options and a cocktail list that will make mom and dad weep, you won't have to venture far before wanting to return. All rooms have a comfortable queen bed and cots can be arranged upon request. Book the suite for extra space and a small den where your kids can snooze. Be sure to drop by the Drake General Store for fun and quirky gifts for the whole family.


    Yorkville. The Four Seasons is a hallmark Toronto property that has set itself apart by continually reinventing the definition of luxury.

    Over the years the acclaimed hotel group has pioneered many of the best hotel amenities and services we now know and expect from luxury hotel stays around the world. The Four Seasons was the first hotel chain to offer mini toiletries, twice daily turndown, 24-hour room service and free daily newspapers. Their family-friendly approach is legendary. They have been welcoming tiny travellers since their inception.

    Today, the welcome wagon starts with a retro vending machine that gets rolled out for little guests (choice of sweets or knickknacks). Mini robes and slippers, cribs, cots, baby products and diaper genies are de rigeur, as well as a curated list of kid-friendly movies in case you fancy a rainy night in. Popcorn and cookies sent to the room are a thoughtful touch and certainly add to the indulgent experience. Talk to the well-connected concierge team for custom itinerary suggestions. They're always happy to share the best ideas for things to do and experience in the city as a family.

    Sometimes it just takes a slight shift in perspective to gain maximum enjoyment from your own city.

    By exploring Toronto from a different neighborhood than our own, and indulging in room service, special meals out, and different parts and parks within the city, we returned from our weekend-long getaway feeling more rested and rejuvenated than we did during weeklong vacations elsewhere that required more packing and much more planning. Instead we explored our city like tourists and took pleasure in seeing some of the sights we otherwise rush by in the daily grind.

    We want 2015 to become the year we really get to know all the hidden corners of Toronto and a staycation is the ultimate start.


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    Who would have guessed that a short weekend trip to Stratford Ontario to see Sound of Music would culminate in a story of spirits and ghost busting?

    For middle spring it was a beautiful Saturday morning, sun shining brilliantly temperatures hovering at around 22°C Sunday threatened to be very similar. Three couples, old friends, met first in St. Jacobs, the picturesque town just south of Waterloo Ontario renowned for its old order Mennonite farmers who set up every Saturday morning to sell their wares.

    Everything from vegetables to apple and rhubarb pies, from freshly baked breads and cheeses to fine sausages assault your senses in the open market. With bloated stomachs we meandered through the county roads on our way to the Stone Maiden Inn that would be our home away from home while in Shakespeare country.


    The Inn itself is touched by history and splendor.

    Built in 1873, it was first a stately private home until after its sale in 1914 when it became the Sanders Hotel. An 80-year-old "Guest Register" is situated on a coffee table in the front hall that positively reeks of the past. Little did we know.

    As you enter the Inn you are struck by high ceilings, grand chandeliers, original plaster moldings that today are priceless. In the enormous parlor is a lovely fire place, grand antique furniture, a library of well chosen books and a well preserved chess set whose crafted pieces I found stunning.

    2015-05-05-1430840504-6597781-entranceway2.jpg Entrance to Stone Maiden Inn

    2015-05-05-1430841583-2964657-Chessset2.jpg Exquisately carved Chess set

    2015-05-05-1430840851-7701807-guestregister2.jpg The Guest Register dating from 1932

    Then there are the bedrooms. Walk up the beautiful staircase to the second and third floors where rooms named after, princesses, archangels and literary characters are so cozy you could spend the entire day lounging about.

    2015-05-05-1430841159-6973826-Bedroom2.jpg The Princess Diana Room

    But then you would miss the comfy outdoor patio, amidst budding flowers and shrubs you could just as easily spend the afternoon drinking wine and chatting as we did before dinner.

    Tim and Johanne Adlington had just purchased the Inn a couple months back. They are new to Bed and Breakfasts but along with their 17-year-old son Marshall and 20-year-old daughter Marilyn, they run the establishment like they were old hands.

    Tim joined us on the patio before dinner. I remarked how taken I was with the way in which the past plays a role in the elegance of the Inn. It was then that Tim smiled and said, 'you don't know the half of it." We were already late for dinner but Tim promised to tell us the entire "story" of what he recently learned when we returned from our evening of theatre. "Wait", he said, "it will give you the shivers."

    Sound of Music has always been one of my favorite musicals and this year's Stratford production was one of the finest I have seen in a while. We returned to the Stone Maiden Inn humming the melodies of the classic musical. Tim joined us on the patio for an evening tea and he began the story of his first two guests last month, Judith and Catherine from Boston.

    The Inn had just opened under his management and both women, old friends, booked a couple days stay. They were originally given the "Barachiel" room on the second floor. Barachiel is the archangel traditionally associated as a guardian and the angel of lightning. When Tim went to check on the women he noted that Judith was sitting on the bed with a strange look in her eye.

    2015-05-05-1430842011-6888823-BarachielRoom2.jpg Barachiel Room

    "I asked her if she was alright" Tim told us, "she looked at me and said in a shaky voice that there was 'bad energy' in this room. I told her we were the new owners", Tim went on, "and that I would happily switch her to a room of her choice."

    The women moved down the hall to Arkial room, the archangel of love. Both were pleased with the change.

    2015-05-05-1430842295-9387525-Arkial2.jpg Arkial Room

    A short time later Tim noticed that the door to the Barachiel room was ajar. He walked in only to find Judith once again seated on the bed this time with a beatific smile on her face. "I was pulled back to this room", she explained, "I simply had to ensure that I did my job. I was able to rid this beautiful room of its bad spirits. In fact from this day forward your beautiful Inn will be surrounded by angels" she noted with a look of satisfaction on her face.

    Judith and Catherine departed the next day. They left the following note:


    Correction: An earlier version of this blog mistakenly used the wrong names of the "ghos-tbusters," Emma and Charlotte instead of Judith and Catherine.


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    Summer is coming and, for many, that means Europe is on the travel wish list. Just because the Canadian dollar has lost a little punch overseas doesn't mean that London, Paris or even Rome are out of reach. has done a data deep dive and compared the average airfares (round trip and including taxes) to the 25 European airports our users search the most in the first three months of the year. We calculated the average airfare based on flight prices from half a dozen airports in cities across Canada. And, those perennially favourites, along with Dublin, Brussels and Amsterdam, come out on top in terms of affordability. Pay attention -- there are some big differences between cities that aren't that far apart.

    As is the case when we compare the affordability of Canadian airports, these airfares are snapshot, and prices will vary with exact dates and departure points. However, we are here to show you that travel comparison matters and that, with a little homework and flexibility, your loonie may go farther than you thought.

    Take a peak and see what we mean:


    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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    Staying connected will soon be even easier (or disconnecting will be harder, depending on how you look at it) from the back of a Vancouver taxi.

    Yellow Cab and Telus are partnering up to offer passengers free Wi-Fi, the first such service in Canada, according to a news release Tuesday.

    The Wi-Fi will be free to cab customers regardless of their provider, said Telus. No passwords are required, and no personal data will be collected.

    Fares with the fleet's 350 taxis will not go up with the introduction of the technology, promised Kulwant Sahota, president of Yellow Cab.

    It will be offered for one year, and "may be extended if the program is successful," said Telus.

    The City of Vancouver recently announced that Telus would also create free public wireless hot spots at 43 locations, including community centres and outdoor pools, in the city.

    The infrastructure is being installed and maintained by Telus, at no cost to the city or the public, reported The Vancouver Sun.

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    Sin City. City of Lights. The Gambling Capital of the World. If you're the kind of person who doesn't need what happened in Las Vegas to stay in Las Vegas then you may want to consider these seven fun activities.

    Get Married
    Think beyond the cheesy chapel and Elvis impersonator. The Valley of Fire is just an hour north east outside Las Vegas and there are many wedding packages available to tie the knot in this majestic landscape.

    Channel Your Inner Rambo
    There are numerous gun ranges in Las Vegas that are only a short taxi ride off the strip. At The Gun Store even beginners can choose automatic or machine guns.

    Test Your Skill at the Pinball Hall of Fame
    With no admission fee it's worth a stop by this arcade, which is home to over 200 games. You're sure to relive old memories when you find an old childhood favorite and see just how far technology has come in the pinball world.

    Indoor Skydiving
    If you've always wanted to parachute out of a plane but are afraid of heights this is the perfect activity. Indoor sky diving simulates the experience without the fear of plummeting to your death.

    Satisfy Your Need for Speed
    Feel the thrill of five laps around a race track without all the costly car payments. Exotic cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin and are available to rent with beginners classes included.

    Take in a Spectacular Fountain Show
    A fountain show doesn't sound appealing but it's more like fireworks with water. In the evening the show runs every 15 minutes and is worth popping by.

    Take a Break from the Party
    One of the biggest complaints about hotels on the strip is that you need to walk 20 minutes to through the casino to leave the hotel.

    The endless excess continues at the pool where many are more like a water-themed dance club. While the strip attracts wild parties you can choose a hotel not attached to a casino like the Hilton Elara and you'll find a much more laid back atmosphere and a pool that is relaxing.

    Shop 'Til You Drop
    The pricey designer clothing stores on the strip may leave your credit card with a questionable balance. Instead check out the premium outlet stores for a better deal. With one located in the north and one in the south you can find many brands at a discount price.

    Visit the Neon Boneyard
    Where neon signs retire with dignity, take a tour of vintage neon signs in the two-acre campus of restored electrified history.

    Take Mini-Golf to the Next Level
    The KISS-themed Monster Mini Golf is a sensory overload with a glow in the dark indoor experience. If you're a KISS fan, or just want a good laugh, you're sure to find it here.

    Master the Art of All-You-Can-Eat
    The Buffet of Buffets pass gives you 24 hours access to five buffets for $54.99, and valid at Harrahs, Flamingo, Paris, Planet Hollywood and Rio. Think you can eat your money's worth?


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    When I travel I like to do what I call "going on eat-about." It's a combo of eating any local food that appeals to you without restriction (Eat), and exploring the city on foot so as to be affected by its essence (Australian Walkabout).

    When I announced my trip to Tel Aviv, Israel more than a few people told me the food would be a highlight. And they weren't kidding. The bread, the veggies and hummus are all so good I found myself asking, "Why are we eating what is comparatively garbage in North America?"

    Food crisis aside, here are a few highlights from the feast in the Middle East.

    The Tiny Iced-Coffee. Coffee culture in Tel Aviv is huge. In fact, Israel is the only country in the world where Starbucks has failed. In Tel Aviv, coffee is a verb, it's something you do. One way to experience this culture is to visit one of the tiny coffee stands on boulevards downtown. I recommend the Tiny Iced-Coffee paired with people watching in the sun.

    The French Fry Falafel. There aren't too many things that don't taste better with fries on them and falafel is no exception. Falafel is a staple in Israel and there is much discussion about who makes it best. Because I have a mouth that has been destroyed by bland, genetically violated food, all falafel in Tel Aviv tastes excellent to me. The bread is doughy and chewy, the falafel is crispy and flavourful and the fries add a satisfying crunch.

    Never Eat Western Hummus Again. If you want to be able to eat hummus in North America ever again, do not eat hummus in Tel Aviv or anywhere east of Italy. Just don't. It doesn't matter where you get it, but hummus here is always is creamy, spiced to perfection and could literally be eaten with a spoon.

    Street Juice. One of the many perks of living in a warmer climate: better fruit. In Tel Aviv, you can find juice bars, stands and market vendors who will blend all manner of fruit combinations into a refreshing life-affirming juice. Most juices are made with world-renowned Jaffa Oranges and are brimming with flavour.

    Sweet Traditions. Malabi is a Jewish dessert that is considered in some circles a street food. A base of milk pudding perfumed with rosewater, this sweet treat is usually topped with pomegranate seeds. Fresh and delicious this dessert is sold in markets and high-end restaurants alike. Toppings may vary.

    This Little Piggy Went to Shuk. The more contemporary of the city's many shuks (markets), the Tel Aviv Harbour Market meets the needs of forward-looking Tel Avivians. If the old-world techniques are present here, they are masked behind modern pavilions, young vendors and point of sale machines. Open only on Fridays, this market signals the coming of Shabbat for many locals looking to leave the workweek behind. Young families and couples stroll the stalls buying wines, cheese and fruits all before taking a beer beachside with friends.

    Breakfast on the Beach at Cassis.Just West of Tel Aviv is the ancient port town of Jaffa. Here you will find Cassis: a beachside restaurant of white and turquoise that offers a sun-filled dining experience. Diners can watch their food creations come to life through the open kitchen. Run by Executive Chef and Owner, Ayelet Perry this popular spot uses fine food and fresh ingredients to put a new spin on traditional Israeli dishes. One of those dishes is a beautiful stacked Israeli breakfast on homemade flat bread.

    I have to say, Cassis is a dream. The atmosphere, décor and Mediterranean views paired with fresh inventive dishes could melt the hours of any day or night.


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    For years, Cary Pinkowski has had a view of more than he bargained for, and now he's suing nudists who have been allegedly trespassing on his waterfront property in Penticton, B.C.

    Pinkowksi's company, Hermitage Vineyards, filed a lawsuit last week against six people, reported Castanet.

    The property owner said he's been trying to stop nudists from trespassing on his land at Three Mile Beach since 2006. Warning signs have been torn down, and one of the security cameras he installed was actually stolen, according to the court action.

    Pinkowski is seeking damages for trespassing and theft, as well as an injunction against the naturalists, punitive damages and costs, said Castanet.

    Ken Shaw, one of the defendants named in the lawsuit, said he only found out about it through a local newspaper article.

    “I have only been down there twice,” Shaw told CBC News. “That was on the secluded beach that is still public, because it is below the high water mark.”

    Other neighbours have complained to Penticton city council about sexual activity at the beach. "Most of these people are drinking etc. and it just turned into a kinky swingers type beach/area," longtime resident Matt Fraser wrote in a letter to Penticton council in February.

    Last month, city council declined to officially designate Three Mile Beach as clothing-optional, reported Penticton Western News.

    According to the Federation of Canadian Naturists website, there are 12 nude beaches in B.C., but only Vancouver's famed Wreck Beach is officially recognized as such.


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    With the new baseball season now under way, fans across the country are looking forward to an exciting run. Over the course of the season, the Blue Jays will travel approximately 45,000 km, spending a total of 83 days on the road, 90 hours on planes, and collectively take up 4,000 hotel rooms in cities across Canada and the U.S.*

    At, we are proud to have been the official online travel partner of the Toronto Blue Jays™ for the past six years and counting. To support our boys on the road this year, we've compiled a list of suggested activities to do in the top five cities in North America to give fans the opportunity to see some of the same great places the Blue Jays will see this year.

    TORONTO vs. BOSTON: Boston, Mass., June 12 to14
    Join the Blue Jays as they make their first trip to visit one of their most-heated rivals. Watch as they take on their former manager and battle the famed "Green Monster." If you're lucky enough to sit in the famous area and a Blue Jays homer comes your way, you may walk away with one memorable souvenir.

    Want to explore the city? Taking a hop-on-hop-off, bike or Segway tour is a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Finish your day with a romantic dinner cruise to see moon-lit views of the harbour islands and the Charlestown Navy Yard.

    TORONTO vs. KANSAS CITY: Kansas City, Mo., July 10 to 12
    Follow the boys in blue down to Kansas City and watch the Blue Jays take on the Crowns at The K. Kansas' famous mascot has been known to fire hot-dogs out of a cannon to get the hometown crowd fired up.

    Of course, there's more to Kansas City than just baseball. The Heart of America is also home to the SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium, home to over 5,000 creatures, including sharks. Kansas City is also known for its authentic southern BBQ; ask a local for the best spot and you're sure to get plenty of delicious recommendations. Take the day to explore the city and its museums like the American Jazz Museum or the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum where you can learn more about the important role Kansas City and Jackie Robinson played in breaking barriers in baseball.

    TORONTO vs. TAMPA BAY: Tampa Bay, Fla., July 22 to 24
    Take a trip to the west central coast of Florida and let the Gulf Shore breeze prepare you for a weekend of fun in the sun. Tampa Bay is just as lively as its inter-state neighbours, like Miami. After you see the boys in blue face off, there are loads of other activities to occupy you for the rest of the weekend.

    Busch Gardens and Lowry Park have been known to draw crowds eager to view exotic animals, while Boca Ciega Bay is renowned for its gorgeous sunsets. You can also visit the Morean Arts Center for a tour of the famed Chihuly Collection (it's also good for a much-needed break from the sun).

    TORONTO vs. NEW YORK: New York, N.Y., August 7 to 9
    Fly down to the Big Apple and sit among some of the most enthusiastic baseball fans in the world. With so much to do in New York City, it's a good thing you'll be able to visit again when the Blue Jays are back in September.

    The city that never sleeps is known for its incredible nightlife, entertainment, shopping and museums. Spend the weekend riding bikes over the Brooklyn Bridge, rubbing shoulders with celebrities and historical figures at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum or relive the Harlem of the 1920s and enjoy the thriving jazz movement on a Harlem Soul Food & Jazz Tour.

    TORONTO vs. LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles, Calif., August 21 to 23
    Fly down to the City of Angels and watch the Blue Jays take on one of baseball's most exciting teams. Who knows? You might find yourself sitting next to a celebrity.

    After the game, take a glimpse into the lifestyle of the rich and the famous with a bike tour to visit the homes of celebrities in Beverly Hills. Catch a view from above with a helicopter tour over Long Beach and the cliffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Thrill-junkies can take the wheel behind their favourite racing car or take a joy-ride on the open road on the seat of a Harley-Davidson®.

    If following the Blue Jays on the road is on your summer travel itinerary, check out:

    *Provided by the Toronto Blue Jays™


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    Dylan Tilston plucks the head off of a live prawn, cracks the shell that covers the belly and spine, squeezes the tail to remove the remaining meat and then pitches it into his mouth. "That's the way you eat 'em," says the self-proclaimed foodie. "Try it."

    I did. My technique wasn't nearly as smooth as Tilston's, who studied culinary arts at George Brown College in Toronto before trekking to the "End of the Road," the term often used to describe Tofino. I jostle with the tiny prawn, which twitches its antennae as my forefingers and thumb clutch onto its head. Its eyes are black. It's nearly dead already when I rip off its head and toss it into Clayoquot Sound, the mesmerizingly beautiful and soulful waters that flow eastward from Tofino and the Pacific Ocean.

    Clumsily, I open it up and eat it raw as Tilston and boat captain Paul Karbouzian suggested. The morsel is full of pure flavour. The British Columbia spot prawn has spawned festivals in its honour and diners across the province are delighted when restaurants annually dream up dishes featuring the delicacy. In Tofino, the spot prawn comes into shore by the boatload, pleasing chefs and connoisseurs.

    "The quality of the product here is incredible and people know it, they care about keeping it that way," says Warren Barr, the executive chef at the Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn. On his menu, he makes what is surely the most artful use of spot prawns in Canada. He plates it with a circle of smashed peas, and tops it with powdered lemongrass that looks like feta cheese, edible flowers and, brilliantly, dots of white chocolate. It's one of the most interesting and delicious dishes I've had in the province.

    See for Photos of BC Spot Prawns

    And while that dish was the best I tried during a recent visit to Tofino, it was far from the only highlight. When I first visited Tofino in 2003, there were few restaurants besides the opulent Pointe. Now, the city is teeming with choice establishments, including Wolf in the Fog, the year-old hot spot run by former Wick Inn chef Nicholas Nutting. SoBo remains a standout and the original Tacofino food truck does heavy business daily. For a village with a population of only 2,000 people, Tofino eats exceptionally well.

    "One of the important things that has kept the quality so high is there are no chain stores allowed in town. The community has been very active in keeping them out," says Daan Delen of Ocean Outfitters, which leads whale-watching tours and chartered fishing trips of the region. "There's one popular place in town that serves fried food. It's the Wildside Grill and even though you'll get your French fries, you still know that the fish they're serving you is caught that day. They're run by local people who care about the community."

    That community love for food explodes into euphoria on May 8. The two-week Feast Tofino festival features 17 events, several of which include visiting chefs from Vancouver. Among the culinary stars attending is David Hawksworth, who is scheduled to team with Nutting for a night of fine dining at Wolf in the Fog on May 22.

    "Even though Tofino is a laid-back place, people really care about good food and they know what it takes to make good food. Plus, there's a real culture of collaboration here among chefs and restaurant owners," says Ashley Adams, owner of Feast Tofino. "The festival is a way of bringing people together and making food the centre of a celebration of Tofino culture."

    While the spot prawn will likely be the most visible sea favourite during the festival, it's far from the only sweet find in this village just outside of Pacific Rim National Park. The Clayoquot Climax, a rare oyster found only in the waters near Tofino, is heralded by both Tilston and Karbouzian as the best oyster they've ever enjoyed. Tilston's employer, the Fish Store and Oyster Bar, is the only place that retails this particular variety farmed in Lemmens Inlet. Gooseneck barnacles, the hard-to-source delicacy that has become popular in Europe and Asia, can be found here, although it hasn't made it onto menus yet. Dungeness crab pots float from the town docks. Wild Pacific salmon, halibut, black cod (or sablefish) and steelhead trout are among the catches that can be found in stores.

    Tilston, a former Torontonian who has settled easily into life on British Columbia's west coast, seems as though he can't believe his luck to have ventured into this food-lover's haven. "There isn't anywhere in the world where you can get product like this," he says as our WardoWest fishing boat speeds through waters dotted with islands thick with century-old trees populated with eagles' nests and needles that catch the wind. "There is product here that gets shipped all over the world, but if you're in Tofino, you can have it right here, right now. Straight from the sea."


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    Travellers dream of slow food and fast cars in Italy but few make it to what many Italians consider the breadbasket of the country. Most visitors stick to tourist-laden Rome, Florence and Venice and are missing out on some of the country's best exports -- art, food and cars. These are found in Modena, a city often forgotten on most Italian holidays.


    Located in the Emilia Romagna region of Northern Italy, Modena is a quick train trip from
    Florence, Milan and Venice. This small city just outside Bologna, is home to so many incredible food products like pasta, air cured prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggiano and the incomparable Modena balsamic vinegar. Incredibly it's also the birthplace of Ferrari and Luciano Pavarotti.

    More recently, Modena has piqued the curiosity of culinary travelers as it is also the home of Chef Massimo Bottura's Osteria Francescana, ranked third best restaurant in the world by the S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants.

    A relatively wealthy city, crime remains quite low. The historic centre is a vehicle restricted zone, only allowing residents with cars to enter, which makes it perfect for tourists to stroll with ease. But what makes Modena truly special is that the city centre doesn't exist for travelers and there is no tourist zone. You don't need to worry about walking into an expensive tourist restaurant. Eat in Modena and you'll be shoulder to shoulder with locals in all the popular markets, bars and food market.

    While Chef Bottura has shone a light on this prolific region, it continues to remain a hidden gem for many culinary travellers if they aren't seeking out his 12-seat gastronomic adventure. Like many smaller towns in Italy, Modena may be overlooked due to the language barrier with visitors hesitant to visit cities outside the established Tuscan trail. While it can be intimidating to venture into the unknown it can also easily overcome with help from the local tourism board.

    Modena Shuttle Bus

    To attract travellers to the region, the city of Modena has launched a new 48-hour Discover Ferrari & Pavarotti Land Passport just in time for Expo Milano 2015. The passport provides access to the two Ferrari museums, the Pavarotti House and Museums as well as a shuttle to the surrounding areas to visit the famous balsamic vinegar producers, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese makers, cured-meat artisans and Lambrusco wineries.

    The shuttle enables visitors to hop on and hop off at each stop for an hour to experience a free English guided tour and tasting. The goal is to encourage travellers to stay overnight to explore the city, check out great food in Modena and discover an authentic Italian experience.

    Many of the premier producers in the region are located outside the city centre, making it difficult to reach without a car rental or tour operator. This shuttle system travels to these attractions as well as the towns of Maranello, Sassuolo, Nonantola and Carpi, giving visitors the freedom to visit producers independently, choosing what is most interesting to them.

    For more information on the pass visit


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    No matter where you live or what form of transit you take, “normal" commutes are a rarity.

    There's always that one odd person on the bus, or that very annoying guy on the train. You know, the mouth breather. Or the shoulder sleeper.

    Well, here's what it'd be like if those transit characters showed up in the office. (Watch video above.)


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    I'm always drawn to cities that have easy access to nature. Having lived in Vancouver for the past 13 years -- steps away from the ocean -- I don't think I could exist in a proper concrete jungle, despite my urbanite tendencies.

    Los Angeles is a lot like Vancouver, although I'm sure some people might disagree. As I type this, I'm sitting on a rooftop deck surrounded by humming birds -- literally, little rapid-fire wings buzzing in my ear -- with a view of our quiet street, lined with purple jacaranda trees in full blossom. Nature, only a few blocks south of the Sunset Strip.

    The first thing I wanted to do on a recent trip to West Hollywood was to seek out the Wisdom Tree. It sounds like something you'd be more likely to stumble upon in San Francisco rather than L.A., but I was fascinated by the story that has transformed this lone tree into a budding tourist attraction.

    As legend would have it, the beautiful old pine was originally someone's Christmas tree, which they planted at the peak of the Cahuenga trail. In 2007, a devastating 160-acre fire ripped through the Hollywood Hills and the Wisdom Tree was the only tree left standing.

    There wasn't always a hiking trail to Cahuenga Peak. The land was privately owned by Howard Hughes' estate until 2002, when it was purchased by a group of investors. Apparently, Hughes purchased the picturesque mountaintop to build a home for him and Ginger Rogers to shack up in, but she was having none of it. So the land was left undeveloped.

    The investor group had plans to subdivide the property to build mega-mansions -- only a short walk from L.A.'s sacred Hollywood sign -- but when the public caught wind of this, activists got to work.

    The non-profit organization Trust for Public Land raised $12.5 million with the final $900,000 coming from none other than Hugh Hefner. This was enough to purchase the land from the investor group and convert it into a public park.

    At some point, someone left a tin box full of blank journals and pens for people to write their thoughts and leave with the tree. It's been there for several years now and hasn't been bolted down in fear of someone stealing it. There's no one there to monitor it. It's just a wonderful box overflowing with people's poetry, thoughts and dreams.

    If you visit the Wisdom Tree, be kind to it. Don't climb it or pull on its branches. Just savour the much-needed shade it provides and soak in the energy of everyone who discovered it before you. And leave something in the journal box. Who knows, maybe there really is something mystic about it? I like to think so.

    Visit for information on where to park and how to find the trailhead.

    "It's like saying let's build a house in the middle of Yellowstone Park. There are some things that are more important. The Hollywood Sign represents the dreams of millions. It's a symbol. It is as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. It represents the movies." - Hugh Hefner


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    Canada's wild is vast, and full of animals who can survive in some pretty extreme conditions.

    They thrive despite frigid winters and tough terrain, and know how to bring down the world's biggest animals in packs. And give no f&$%s about it.


    With the help of the Canadian Wildlife Federation — creators of the popular Hinterland Who's Who videos — we've compiled a list of some of Canada's most fearsome predators.

    Here are 15 Canadian animals that should not be f&%$ed with:


    Forget those happy images of orcas leaping out of B.C.'s coastal waters: there's a reason we call them "killer whales."

    They track their prey using "echo-location," clicking sounds that bounce off other fish in the water. But they also eat land-based creatures such as moose, deer and pigs.

    Forget that blue whales are the world's biggest creature — orcas will hunt in packs to take them down.

    F&%$s given = zero.

    Range: All of Canada's oceans; Hudson Bay; the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

    Little Brown Bat

    Batman merely adopted the dark; the little brown bat lives in it.

    Like the orca, this predator uses echo-location to hunt its prey. Like a vampire, it is nocturnal, eating about half its weight each night in creatures such as flies, moths and beetles, from dusk until dawn.

    Range: All provinces and territories except for Nunavut.


    Cute. Furry. Fierce. And one of the world's most aggressive animals.

    There are no documented attacks on humans ... and maybe that's because they save energy for their prey. They can take down large victims such as caribou and moose. Their jaws are strong enough to crush bone and cut down to the marrow. They're defensive of their kills and will fight off bears to keep it.

    And there's no rest for the fierce: while hunting they can travel over 40 kilometres in a single day.

    But they're also vulnerable. Over a third of their range in North America has disappeared, and they've vanished from areas that have seen heavy human activity. Wolverines found west of Hudson Bay are considered to be of "special concern," while animals still found in Quebec and Labrador have been called "endangered," according to the CWF.

    Range: Wolverines are known to inhabit the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia and parts of Alberta.


    The cougar doesn't discriminate among its prey.

    The second biggest feline in the Americas is known for eating deer, elk and bighorn sheep, but they've also been known to munch on birds, beavers, rabbits, squirrels and even coyotes.

    It suffocates its prey by biting their throats and smashing their windpipes; it breaks the necks of smaller victims. It even cover up the leftovers with debris to ensure scavengers don't come along and steal it.

    Range: The Yukon border, British Columbia, Alberta.

    Canada Lynx

    Unlike the cougar, the lynxes is particular in its taste.

    Over 75 per cent of its diet is snowshoe hare in the winter, and it will devour an entire rabbit in a single meal. It will still eat hares in summer, but also mice, squirrels, foxes and grouse. The lynx stalks its prey from close by, waiting where it knows the rabbits are hopping by.

    But when it comes to survival, the lynx bows down to the bobcat, which tend to edge it out of its habitat.

    Range: North America's boreal forest, anywhere the showshoe hare is.

    Great Horned Owl

    One of Canada's most common large birds of prey.

    The Great Horned Owl hunts in stealth mode, thanks to soft feathers that make little noise when it flies. It consumes small prey whole and coughs up body parts it can't digest.

    It's also been known snap up more than it can handle. Owls have emerged from hunts smelling of skunk or pricked with porcupine needles. Like orcas, they give no f$%&s.

    Range: Almost all North American forested regions.

    Snowy Owl

    Snowy owls don't exactly pick on animals their own size.

    They hunt small mammals such as lemmings, hares or foxes by flying from a perch before swooping down and grabbing their food with claws measuring anywhere from 25 to 35 mm.

    Their hearing is aided by stiff feathers around their eyes that can send sound waves to their ears. The sense is strong enough that they can hear rodents beneath the snow while flying.

    Range: Their breeding range is Canada's Arctic tundra, from the Arctic Archipelago, to Ellesmere Island, Baffin Island, Bnaks Island, and the northern coast from Labrador to the Yukon.

    White Shark

    Great white sharks are the second biggest fish that have been recorded in Atlantic Canada's waters.

    They're known to grow up to 6.6 metres long, though there are accounts of one in Australia that was as big as eight metres.

    White sharks attack their prey from below, feasting on animals such as salmon and halibut, though they also have a taste for seals and porpoises.

    National Geographic has noted that the sharks have little interest in humans, preferring them only as much as we do lima beans. But they're curious creatures who love to taste things that interest them, including boats ... and, sometimes, people.

    Range: Atlantic Canada's waters.

    Greenland Shark

    The Greenland shark, the largest fish in the Arctic, is an equal-opportunity predator.

    It eats almost anything, such as fish, eels, seals, squid and other sharks. But land-based prey aren't safe either; there are reports of Greenland sharks feasting on caribou and reindeer standing close to cracks in ice.

    Even polar bears have fallen victim to their appetites; remains of the ursine creatures have been discovered in a shark's stomach.

    A Greenland shark became national news in 2013 when it was found choking on a moose hide on a Newfoundland beach. Two men managed to pull the hide from its mouth and help the shark back into the water.

    Range: Baffin Island, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Scotian Shelf.

    Polar Bear

    Polar bears are beautiful creatures that are adorable when they're young.

    But when it comes to eating, they're ruthless. Polar bears hunt for newborn seals by breaking into their birth lairs, killing them, eating their fat and skin and leaving the rest for scavengers to pick up later.

    They also wait for seals to come up for air in sea ice. Once there, they whip them out of the water and kill the mammals with one strike.

    Climate change, however, is proving ruthless to polar bears. Sea ice cover has been falling in the Arctic, and freeze-up and breakup patterns are changing in areas like Hudson Bay.

    Range: Arctic polar basin pack ice, northern Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador.

    Peregrine Falcon

    Speed is key to the Peregrine falcon's hunting habits.

    It dives for meals at a speed of more than 300 km/h, killing medium- and large-sized prey by striking them with a half-closed foot.

    When a target is too heavy, a Peregrine will drop it to the ground and then feed later. It will also kill sandpipers and swallows in flight.

    Range: Coastal British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, northern Quebec.


    Keen observation.

    That's the secret to the osprey's hunting abilities. It will fly over a body of water, watching carefully for fish swimming slowly near the surface. Once it spots a fish, it will fly at an altitude of 10 to 30 metres and patiently stand by as it moves into an ideal position.

    The osprey then dives, wings partially closed, right under the surface, creating a sizable splash before emerging with its lunch in its talons. It doesn't even become too soaked in the process.

    Its natural bully is the bald eagle, which will sometimes pester a flying osprey until it releases its food from its claws. Jerks.

    Range: All over Canada, but they're known to nest in Ontario, Quebec and on the East Coast.

    Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

    Ontario's sole venomous snake.

    The Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake senses its prey (usually small mammals) thanks in part to heat-sensitive pits that lie between its nostrils and eyes, says Ontario Nature. It's a docile snake that many can walk by without taking notice of, but when threatened, it will bite as a last resort.

    While a menace to small animals, the Eastern Massasauga is facing perils all its own. Both the federal Species at Risk Act and the Ontario Endangered Species Act list it as threatened, and the latter also gives it special protection under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

    Range: Ontario's Great Lakes region.

    Giant Pacific Octopus

    This intelligent cephalopod can learn to open jars and solve mazes, according to National Geographic.

    It would also make one heck of a mercenary. The chief advantage of a giant Pacific octopus while hunting is its ability to change texture and colour, thanks to skin pigments that help it hide among rocks, corals and plants.

    The octopus mostly eats shrimp, lobsters, fish and clams, but it has also gone after birds and sharks. See above what happens when an octopus disguises itself, and a shark is none the wiser.

    Range: Coastal British Columbia.

    Leatherback Seaturtle

    You know that moment when you realize you're totally screwed? That must be how a jellyfish feels the moment it find itself down the throat of a leatherback seaturtle.

    This reptile's esophageal tract induces nightmares the way horror movies do. It is lined with sharp spines that stop jellyfish, its prime prey, from escaping. Those spines also tear jellyfish apart as they're digested.

    But like a number of predators on this list, the seaturtle is an endangered species, having declined by over 60 per cent since 1982. In Canada, they're protected under the Fisheries Act, which prohibits people from capturing or killing them without a permit.

    One of the reasons for its status is that many leatherback babies don't survive due to other predators eating them — they move slowly on land and can't easily defend themselves — as well as humans consuming their eggs.

    But if you're a jellyfish, yeesh, watch out!

    Range: Coastal British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island. Sightings have been recorded off Baffin Island and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence close to Quebec City.

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    British Columbia's wild, rugged coast has inspired countless adventurers and artists. Now, you can count poet Shane Koyzcan among them.

    Koyzcan, who rose to prominence when he performed at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony, has written an ode that captures the beloved beauty of his home province.

    walking through words

    A YouTube video of Walking Through Words flows through descriptions of the "untameable" ocean near Tofino, and then back into Vancouver Island's rainforest.

    "It's just a tree... until you need shade from the sun or reprieve from the rain.
    Until the night steals the warmth in your blood and a cedar sacrifices its own flesh to give you fire."

    “It’s amazing that something so ancient feels still so alive — and wildly alive,” the poet told Destination B.C., which markets the province's tourism industry.

    walking through words

    Koyzcan is known for his powerful performances including an anti-bullying poem, titled Trolls. That piece struck millions of hearts with its accompanying YouTube video, sealing Koyzcan's status as a skillful storyteller.

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