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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    I've lived in Calgary for 5 years now. I grew up in Vancouver.

    I'm finally consistently saying C-Train instead of SkyTrain, I know more about the Flames' prospects than the Canucks', and I love the Calgary Stampede like the summer Christmas that it is.

    But I still miss the coast.

    So I've found little pockets of my adopted hometown where I can go and imagine I'm in Vancouver. I'll admit, some of these are a stretch, but when you're homesick you look for any glimpse you can find.

    So squint a little bit, use your imagination and see if you can see what I mean with these 13 Places In Calgary That Feel Like Vancouver:

    1. The Douglas Fir Trail at Edworthy Park and Bowness Park feels like Lynn Valley.

    2015-07-17-1437148516-1206395-douglasfirtrail21024x768.jpg
    Image via Buzz Bishop

    2. With cranes in the skyline and the water still, this little patch near Prince's Island feels like Lost Lagoon.




    3. There is sailing in Calgary, on the Glenmore Reservoir. From the right angle, it can look like the parks and beaches of Point Grey are stretching off in the distance.

    2015-07-17-1437148157-3265512-3659122306_38a7299d73_b.jpg
    Image via Malcolm on Flickr

    4. An hour away from the city are many heart pounding hikes to the top of the Rockies. Vancouver has the Grouse Grind, Calgary has Ha Ling Peak, Powderface Ridge, Sulphur Mountain and dozens of others.

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    Image via Buzz Bishop

    5. Wandering the old brick buildings of Inglewood can feel a little bit like Gastown. As with Vancouver, this neighbourhood was the original heart of Calgary.

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    Image via Dave Bloggs on Flickr

    6. Calgary doesn't have a Lion's Gate Bridge, but it does have a downtown bridge with lions guarding it. I take the Centre St Bridge everyday and pretend I'm heading to the North Shore from downtown.




    7. Water. Anything along the water and imagine you're on the coast. That water is hard to find, though. My wife imagines she's crossing Granville St Bridge when she goes over the Glenmore Causeway. The pathways along the Bow River and Elbow River, and Glenmore Reservoir are the closest we have to a seawall in Calgary, and I love them.

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    Image via Dave Bloggs on Flickr

    8. There is a strong Farmer's Market culture in Calgary and any of them feel like Granville Island on a weekend.

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    Image via Mack Male on Flickr

    9. Australians in the mountains are a mainstay whether you're skiing in North Vancouver, Whistler, Banff, Lake Louise or K Country. It's almost at a point where G'Day feels like a truly Canadian winter greeting.

    2015-07-17-1437149068-412879-norquaychair.jpg
    Image via Buzz Bishop

    10. Calgary has a Mount Pleasant, so does Vancouver. Both have neighbourhoods named Killarney. They both even boast a Stanley Park. Now, the Stanley Park in Calgary is much smaller (of course) but it's still pretty, don't you think?

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    Image via James Tworow on Flickr

    11. Calgary's Chinatown is nowhere near the size of it's coastal cousin, but the signs are just as unreadable to me, the architecture is just as ornate, and there are tiny little bakeries where I can sate my urge for a siao pao. Good enough.

    2015-07-17-1437147820-4341671-jingjingbakeryincalgary.jpg
    Image by Buzz Bishop

    12. A midway is a midway is a midway. Many of those people you see working the Calgary Stampede in early July will ride the carnie caravan to Vancouver by the end of August. Mini donuts are mini donuts whether in Alberta or BC, they're awesome.

    2015-07-17-1437149748-7638614-5888970240_aae7c584be_b.jpg
    Image via Calgary Reviews on Flickr


    13. There is Vancouver food in Calgary too. Rodney's Oyster House is here, so is Cafe Artigianno. On summer weekends, my back deck makes me feel like I'm in Vancouver. I pour some Granville Island Brewing into my frosted Vancouver Canucks pint glass and wonder how things could have been for that team.

    2015-07-17-1437150045-4574414-gibtwotides768x1024.jpg
    Image via Buzz Bishop

    Because in Calgary, they've got a darn exciting hockey team. They've reloaded for the future quickly, and my boys are fans. As much as I miss Vancouver, and look for it in hidden places in Calgary, it's good to be here after all.

    What about you? Do you have favorite places in Calgary that remind you of Toronto or Saskatoon or Houston or Vancouver or wherever you're from? Share them in the comments below.

    This post originally appeared on The Blog According To Buzz. Follow Buzz on Twitter to find more of his discoveries in and around Calgary.

    ALSO ON HUFFPOST:


    -- 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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    On a recent visit to Montreal, I had the very good fortune of being hosted by the Marriott Chateau Champlain and Tourisme Montreal. I was in perfect company to compile this top 10 list.

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    1. Poutine, any kind of poutine but if you can get your hands on duck poutine, even better!

    Upon arrival, I was invited to a welcome to the Marriott cocktail reception. We were high up in the Presidential Suite with a gorgeous view of the cityscape with Mount-Royal on the horizon. What a wonderful way to start the weekend.

    The next morning I indulged in the sumptuous offerings of the Marriot Chateau Champlain's breakfast buffet in the Restaurant Samuel de Champlain. The made to order omelet was so terrific that the next morning I had another!

    2015-07-17-1437143269-2658082-montreal11.jpg

    2. Thirst quenching kombucha at raw food sensation Crudessence.

    We were off on a scooter tour of the Montreal neighbourhoods of Plateau Mount-Royal, Mile End and Little Italy. After winding our way through the beautiful trails on Mount-Royal we had worked up a thirst. Kombucha made from fermented green tea, rose and schizandra berries was just the ticket.

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    3. Foraged wild mustard greens at Fou du Chef in Marche Jean Talon

    We only had time for a quick stop at one of the largest fresh markets in North America: Marche Jean Talon. I could have stayed for hours meeting the multigenerational stall keepers and perusing their succulent offerings.

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    4. Sesame bagel from the Fairmount Bakery in Little Italy.

    With another stop at this 65-year-old bagel stop I learned that a Montreal bagel is distinguished by three characteristics: they are hand-rolled, they are put into a bath of honeyed water and then baked in a wood-fired oven. This resulted in a texture that was crispy and chewy. Sesame seeds have adorned the bagel since a regular customer complained that the original poppy seeds got stuck in his teeth.

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    5. Chocolate dipped strawberries at the Marriott Chateau Champlain.

    After the scooter tour we had the opportunity to stretch out back in our beautifully appointed rooms at the Marriott Chateau Champlain. I had just closed my eyes when there was a knock on the door. When I opened it I grumpily told room service that they must have the wrong room because I hadn't ordered anything. He politely responded "No Madame, these are courtesy of the hotel"!

    2015-07-17-1437143523-4918063-montreal15.jpg

    6. Pasteis de nata at Cantinho de Lisboa

    The next morning we were off on a walking/tasting tour of Old Montreal stopping first at this gorgeous Portuguese "Canteen" where we tasted a version of cappuccino using Brazilian coffee beans and these traditional tarts that tasted to me like a luxurious crème brulee.

    2015-07-17-1437142158-5199875-montreal16.jpg

    7. Macaroons (or any of the exquisite pastries) from Maison Christian Faure.

    The highest compliment that I can pay to Chef Faure, who was visiting with friends at a nearby table in the Maison was that his macaroons surpassed my memories of those eaten at the legendary Laduree on the Champs-Elysees in Paris!

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    8. Award winning Quebec artisan cheese at Bourlingueur Bistro.

    I am well aware that Quebec cheese makers are amongst the greatest in North America and certainly the best in Canada. I understand that it is because their ancestors brought their cheese-making skills with them from Europe. The Bourlingueur presented them perfectly with a simple torn baguette so as not to camouflage any of the taste.

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    9. Maple syrup from Haut Bois Normand.

    This is the maple syrup brand that friends from Quebec bring me as gifts. I love the vintage look of the cans. The purity and clarity of their product is unsurpassed, in my humble opinion. We visited with one of the handsome family members at his shop in Marche Bonsecours.

    2015-07-17-1437143737-9131596-montreal20.jpg

    10. Montreal Imperial Cookies!

    Our family loves the Imperial cookies (we also call them dream cookies) that are made by Manitoba bakeries, but (dare I say it?), I liked these even better. They follow the protocol of raspberry jam between two sugar cookies but they are dusted with icing sugar instead of being covered with a white glaze and the former is my preference. I saw them often from downtown coffee shops to the airport. Of course the heart shaped cut out, captured mine. This sighting at the airport made me feel loved by Montreal.

    ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

    -- 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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    It's a dawn on a warm June morning when I head into the RCMP Depot for a day of education. I'm learning what it takes to be a Mountie. Mine is a crash course -- in more ways than one.

    06h30 - Parade Square

    "You can breathe, blink, shiver and sweat," barks Corporal Penny Hermann. "Anything else, you will be paying for it."

    I'm with a group of writers at the RCMP depot in Saskatchewan's capital city, finding out first hand what training is like for cadets in Canada's iconic police force.

    "Push-ups are not part of Drill, they are part of screw-ups."

    Needless to say we do a lot of push-ups.

    07h45 - Drill Hall

    I doubt our drill sergeants have ever seen a more uncoordinated, directionally challenged group of misfits under their command. We make the oddballs in the Police Academy movies look like an elite force. As much as they yell (and they yell) and as many push-ups we do (and we do a lot), we can't get anything right. Hand and thumb positions, turns, and even counting proves to be insurmountable challenges. There are 12 of us but as we take turns calling out our numbers, we repeatedly end up at 13.

    The drill sergeant is losing his head, and I'm trying desperately not to laugh. I must have smiled though because the drill sergeant zeroes in on me.

    "Is something funny?" he bellows.

    I croak out a "No, sir." More push-ups.

    Comical, yes, but also stressful -- even more so for the cadets whose careers depend on graduating from this phase of the program. A recruit tells me later how desperately she wants to get it right. "When you get even the smallest amount of praise, it means so much," she says.

    "It may seem harsh," says Sergeant Andre Clement, going on to explain that cadets will have to deal with worse when they start policing. "We are teaching them to have discipline and composure in difficult situations."

    09h05 -Police Defensive Tactics

    Once again we're put through our paces, this time punching and kicking our way through a series of stations. I have to admit, unlike Drill, this class is actually fun, though we realize our efforts are not quite up to par when the instructor shouts, "Do you think this is a day care?"

    There are five minutes to change back into our uniforms and run to our next class. Cadets are always running or double-timing it as they call it at the Depot. In fact, they're not allowed to walk or be on the sidewalk. Everything has to be earned from the stripes on their pants to the black shoes and, finally, the prized Mountie boots.

    10h10 - Applied Police Science

    At last a chance to sit down, and finally the chance to do something we're decent at. Our journalist troop shines as we learn the importance of detail in Notebook Training class.

    11h15 - Fitness and Lifestyle Unit

    Though completely exhausted we change and double-time it for more physical punishment -- I mean training -- which includes an obstacle course and even more push-ups. Face completely red and arms shaking, I try to keep going, wondering how on earth these cadets do this for six months.

    Story by Jennifer Merrick, Vacay.ca writer. read more on Vacay.ca, here.

    ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

    -- 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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    When we think about tropical all-inclusive holidays, it's often done with the filter of escaping from another one of Canada's harsh winters. While that will always be a popular time to hit the beaches down south, it will also always be one of the most expensive times to travel to warmer climates. Getting more for your dollar is just one of the benefits of considering travelling to a hot spot when it's also hot at home. Other benefits include:

    1. Planes and resorts can be less crowded when you are traveling from North America to a destination frequented by Canadians and Americans in the winter. East coast and central tend to travel to Jamaica, Dominican Republic, other islands in the Caribbean, and the Yucatan region of Mexico. Westerners head to the Pacific coast of Mexico and Hawaii.

    2. Resorts will often have special deals and upgrades available due to less than 100 per cent occupancy. Check when you arrive.

    3. Kids clubs, restaurants, and beach and pool chairs are more readily available.

    4. The same great resort food is on offer, with the added benefit of shorter line ups and more customer service care.

    5. A swim up bar is always a good idea, no matter what time of the year.

    6. Travelling in your summer clothes, and back in your summer clothes is less shattering than arriving in your summer dress to -30 degree weather. The kids' summer clothes fit in the summer too, unlike trying to find a pair of size 6 shorts in February.

    7. It's often easier for us to get time off work in the summer, which is more traditional in the summer and things can be a bit quiet, and the kids are off school. Take the day camp savings and apply it towards your vacation budget.

    8. It can be easier to travel mid-week to mid-week in the summer, vs Saturday to Saturday.

    9. A hot winter holiday can be extremely pricey. Trying out a hot holiday during the summer can be a great way to see if your family will enjoy this type of vacation.

    Of course, many tropical climates also experience their hurricane seasons during the summer and early fall months. Check weather patterns and predictions on-line. Don't be afraid to book at the last minute if you are not choosy about where you want to land on a beach; travel advisories are more up to date. Investigate getting cancellation travel insurance if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

    Do your research by checking deals on-line and get ready to turn up the heat even more, this summer.

    Listen to Kathy's "How She Travels" on "What She Said" on SiriusXM Canada Channel 167, Friday's at 10:45 a.m.

    ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

    -- 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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    2015-07-02-1435868008-5660686-seoul.jpg

    There's something magical about the East, and Seoul is no exception. Only have a day and night to spend in this dynamic city? Here are some 24-hour itinerary musts:

    Stay: For a unique experience, stay in a hanok--a traditional wooden house with a small garden -- at WWOOF Korea Guesthouse, nestled between Gyeongbok Palace and the Bukchon Hanok Village. Looking for something a little more modern? Hotel PJ offers comfortable digs in downtown Seoul with a handy shuttle bus to popular spots.

    2015-07-02-1435868059-30905-seoul1.jpg

    See: Gyeongbokgung Palace can't be missed. Today, this 14th century royal structure includes a garden and museum but when it was first constructed, it boasted more than 500 buildings. Stroll through and spot the throne room, marvel at the impressive gates or spend a quiet moment by the pond. After, take a walk to the Bukchon Hanok Village to see traditional hanok houses. Head to the top of the hill for a great photo opp.

    2015-07-02-1435868110-8883813-seoul2.jpg




    Shop: Visitors and locals alike flock to Myeongdong to get the best Korean beauty products, which are said to be years ahead of North American goods. Shop brands like Holika Holika, Etude House, Tony Moly, THEFACESHOP and more. Snap up some wildly popular face masks, sold in singles or packs of 100, that do everything from moisturize to even out your complexion. Bonus if you can get a mask with snail essence.

    2015-07-02-1435868167-3012506-seoul3.jpg


    Snack: You can't leave Seoul without sampling the city's street food. Boiled or fried Mandu dumplings are filled with juicy ground pork or tofu. Deep-fried potatoes are spiraled on a skewer and then doused with powdered cheese. Want to rest your legs? Relax in a stylish or themed café. We recommend Cath's Café, kitschy and decked out in Cath Kidston florals. Curl up with a cup of honey grapefruit tea and indulge in a pastry.



    Even on a stopover, Seoul's got soul. --Amanda Nunes

    MORE ON HUFFPOST:

    -- 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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    Fun fact: This country boasts an astounding 774 soup varieties.

    If you fancy yourself a globetrotting food lover, then you shouldn't be surprised to know that it is Ecuador that offers this grand amount. While I haven't had the pleasure of visiting this South American country (yet!), I was able to live vicariously through its cuisine the other day.

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    In fact, the hospitality and friendliness was palpable from the outset. The Embassy of Ecuador and Pro Ecuador staged an edible affair for us at The St.Lawrence Market in Toronto; they flew in revered Chef Andrés Dávila -- executive chef of Casa Gangotena (rated 6th best hotel in the world) -- to prepare and cook a multitude of dishes for us to taste. The objective of the event was to show us how accessible and easy it is to cook Ecuadorian fare at home. In fact, all the ingredients presented in front of us such as chili peppers, cod, and cacao nibs, were all purchased at our local market.

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    As well, a recurring trend with Chef Dávila's dishes was the swift simplicity in prepping ingredients and the cooking method itself. Most noticeably, raw ingredients are blended and either used as a base or as a marinade. Proteins are always served with a sauce riddled with an aromatics base (Educador's rendition of a Spanish sofrito) of garlic, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme, or parsley. I noticed that there's always a harmony between sweet, heat, acid and fat in the form of cream or nuts.

    Considering that Ecuador is a small territory with four regions including the Pacific Ocean coast, the Andes Mountains, the Rain Forest and the Galapagos islands, our menu centered on coastal favourites and Chef highlighted the ease in transforming the colourful bounty before us. We started out with Bonitisimas: pillowy lozenges made of potatoes and toasted corn flour, then stuffed with a mixture of goat cheese and fresh cow's cheese. They were toasted on both sides in a saute pan and finished in the oven. A smear of avocado cream and smoked salmon tartar is added on top. It was definitely one of my favourite dishes and something I'd want to recreate at home.

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    Along with a zesty ceviche, one of the showstoppers was a Pernil: a mahogany-brown pork shoulder. The squeal-worthy protein was marinaded in aromatics along with orange juice and beer; the hefty slab was then slow-roasted. Served with a cheese stuffed patty and slivers of palm tree hearts, it was not only easy to assemble, but for practical purposes, you'd have an ample amount of leftovers for the work week.

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    One major issue with cooking at home is getting into the same rut and recycling dishes till your taste buds tire of them. Not so with a flexible achiote base Chef introduced us to. He divided the amount and utilized it in both his Encocado and swordfish dishes. The former showcased cod with a sweet coconut sauce and the latter was transformed into a green plantain sauce.

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    A meal wouldn't be complete without dessert. Bananas are a staple almost everyone has at home. Freeze overripe bananas and use them in this cake recipe Chef crafted. Most noticeably, it was not the texture of a traditional banana cake or bread. Rather, it was soft and pliable like a sticky toffee pudding; to finish the dish, a stout slice was dolloped with dulce de leche. Infectiously pleasurable? Indeed, it was.

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    The featured recipes below were created by Chef Andrés Dávila.
    Note that there's always an underbelly of heat to his dishes, but they're not so hot that they sear your tongue off. Rather, its presence provides an added depth of flavour.

    Shrimp Ceviche Ecuadorian style

    To cook the shrimp
    • 1 kg shrimp
    • 1/2 red onion
    • 1 carrot
    • 1 branch of cilantro
    • 10 gr. celery
    • 1 lt. water
    • 20 gr. salt
    • 2 gr. grind pepper

    Ceviche
    • 3 tomatoes
    • 1 onion
    • 5 limes (juice)
    • 3 lemon (juice)
    • 1/2 lt. Orange juice
    • 5 gr. finely chopped cilantro leaves
    • Salt and black pepper

    Side dish
    Plantain chips

    Instructions:
    Pre Heat the water to cook the shrimp with all the ingredients. When is boiling, add the shrimp and cook it for 5 minutes.
    Chill the shrimp with ice and separately preserve the liquid.
    Cut the tomato in large dices.
    Cut the onion really thinly.
    Mix all the ingredients adding 1/4 of the liquid where you had cooked the shrimp.
    Put the shrimp on the marinade for 15 minutes.
    Serve in a bowl with sides of plantain chips and Manabi province hot sauce. (recipe follows)


    Manabi's province pickled hot sauce
    • 5 green Thai peppers
    • 5 wiri-wiri peppers
    • 1 big red onion
    • 2 carrots
    • 1 red bell pepper
    • 1 yellow bell pepper
    • 1 green bell pepper
    • 10 coriander seeds
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 5 gr. of chopped cilantro leaves
    • 1 tbsp of sugar
    • 1 lt. fruity vinegar (I used pineapple vinegar)
    • 15 gr. salt
    • 2 gr. black pepper

    Instructions:
    The hot chilies may be lightly steamed and chilled.
    Cut the red onion and the bell peppers in small diced (brunoise).
    Grate the entire carrot.
    Mix the vinegar with sugar, salt and black pepper. Add the bay leaves, coriander seeds.
    Put all the ingredients in a large glass container and preserve at least for 1 day before serving.

    To request any of the other dishes featured at the event, you can contact Chef Andrés Dávila
    aedavilaz (at) yahoo (dot) com

    Bonitisimas (corn flour patty)
    Quiteño style tamarillo hot sauce
    Pernil (roasted pork leg) with potato llapingachos
    Pumpkin seed hot sauce
    Encocado (cod with coconut sauce)
    Swordfish with green plantain sauce
    Salprieta (The dark salt)
    Banana cake


    *all photos by Tiffany Leigh*

    -- 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 One And Only way to see the Whitsundays? With a visit to Hayman Island, say Colin and Justin.

    Finally: after three glorious weeks in Australia, we're back on North American soil. Sure, we had a ball down under, but ain't it always good getting home, no matter how successful the jaunt? That said, there's no rest for the wicked: in just a few short days we're off to Scotland for a family wedding and a spot of TV work. So we're still running. On fumes, sure. But we're still running...

    So what took us down under? Well, rather a lot, actually. A bag of meetings for future antipodean projects, for starters, and a filming gig on The Block, Australia's biggest property show. Being cast as guest judges on the wildly popular series is a coup: we've long since been fans of the juggernaut TV show and have been watching the action -- online from Canada -- for years.

    The premise on The Block is simple, as is often the case with many successful formats. Competing couples are "given" a similar property in the same block and, over the course of the series, each homes is renovated, room by room, and then sold at auction during the season finale. A reserve price is put on each apartment and residual profits (over this figure) are won by each duo. It's no small game: last season's winners bagged an astonishing $900,000, so the stakes are wonderfully high.

    With our filming days wrapped, we were due to head to Sydney for further meetings but a chance convo with Scotty Cam (The Block's principal host) drew our attention to the Whitsundays. Scotty suggested we treat ourselves to a little time off and, on his suggestion, we scoured Expedia until we found what we thought was a good deal. It rapidly turned into a great deal.

    From Sydney we flew to Hamilton Island and then sailed, for 90 minutes, to the smaller -- but utterly beautiful -- Hayman Island and One&Only hotel. Built originally in the 1980s and remodelled recently, the hotel remains true to its original architect's vision. Low rise, and spread across several acres at the side of the Coral Sea, the white painted façade is home to beautifully manicured guest accommodation, verdant grounds, a choice of restaurants and more cockatoos than we've ever seen in one place at one time. Remarkably tame, several of the sulphur-crested beauties gathered on our terrace as we checked in. An avian welcoming committee? Who doesn't like that?

    Take a tip: if Australia features in your travel plans, massage the One&Only into your itinerary. Relaxed service makes it a joy: a particular highlight was dinner at the Chef's Table, a dramatic group sitting that felt for all the world like being lost in a scene from bacchanalian cinematic frenzy "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover." During dinner and discourse, ingredients, preparation and inspiration were explained in a feverishly convivial atmosphere. In partnership with Perrier-Jouët, the main kitchen is decorated to reflect the label's delicate, yellow, white and green anemone flowers. Immersed at the very heartbeat of cooking operations, we sampled a host of elegant cuisine accompanied by a precisely tailored wine "flight." Chef Karim Hassene (previously of The Saint Geran, Mauritius) created a delicious tasting menu that fused seafood, wagu beef and a host of delicate comestibles that pretty much sent our table into epicurean orbit.

    But hold it: before sidetracking ourselves with matters gastronomic, we set out, today, to expound the virtues of Australia's modernist architectural scene. Across cities like Sydney and Melbourne, the property market has gone into orbit. With values beyond even those in Canada, investors are seeing huge capital gains, particularly where contemporary architecture is concerned.

    Little wonder then we espied some of the most striking modern architecture as part of the One&Only resort. To one side of the hotel, perched high on the hill -- with breath taking vistas to the ocean -- are several building plots, some of which have already been developed into remarkably beautiful homes.

    Inside, great swathes of glass illuminate, whilst affording unobstructed views over Hayman and out across the still blue waters. Built on metal frames, and almost Bauhausian in vernacular, the homes appear to hang in mid air above the rugged landscape. It really is another world: as we surveyed the hilly landscape, a Wallaby bounced by, its little Joey peeking out from its maternal pouch. As we quickly snapped a picture, it stopped, as if to smile and pose, before bouncing off into the undergrowth. Ah, nature: at one with the land. Beautiful.

    Indoor and outdoor spaces are blurred by timber boardwalks, woody plains that travel on both sides of the glass, imbuing proceedings with a modern, almost nautical, vibe. In one villa, a swimming pool is set deep into the architecture, its "infinity" construction affording bathers direct sightlines over the water to the ocean beyond. Had a bevvy of Bond Girls appeared, with 007 in hot pursuit, we'd have been unsurprised: these properties, after all, feel like they've been snatched from the set of an Ian Fleming novel. Cubby Broccoli would almost certainly have been enamoured -- as were we -- by the indulgent excess.

    Finishes throughout are beautiful: and so they should be -- with land prices starting at $6 million Australian (and construction costs thereafter) these are investment homes for a certain wealthy elite. But with Australian property prices spiralling as they are, we imagine these homes will surely yield a fantastic return in the long run. In the meantime, investors can always position their property in the One and Only 'rental pool' to soften the initial investment costs. The appetite for world-class accommodation such as this is already significant for travellers who want to experience that little bit more as they navigate their way around the globe's most beautiful destinations.

    Our Whitsundays adventure concluding, we travelled by helicopter to Hamilton for our Sydney connection. Choppering low over the Great Barrier Reef was an experience we'll never forget: as we peered from above, we espied whales, rays and dolphins sliding through the calm, turquoise waters. It was as if the oceanic denizens had gathered in sequence, to bid us farewell. We almost wept.

    To say the Whitsunday's -- and in particular Hayman Island -- blew us away is an understatement. The food, the attentive staff, the climate and the avian population are just part of the destination's unstinting allure. The mostly manicured -- but in places beautifully jungle like -- landscape within which the One&Only sits, the stunning modernist architecture, as witnessed in the nearby modernist villas, and of course the Whitsunday's crowning glory: the Great Barrier Reef, are literally breathtaking.

    We're certain Captain Cook must have held his breath as he charted the coast, in the same way we did whilst surveying the landscape for the very first time. We'll certainly revisit our newly found paradise when schedules permit, and, in the meantime, we're considering "crowd funding" to buy one of the remaining Hayman plots. Well, we can but dream...

    To read more about the One&Only Hayman, visit www.hayman.oneandonlyresorts.com.


    To Infinity Pool and Beyond...

    2015-07-18-1437238767-3897451-016OOHaymanResidenceLRCMYK.jpg



    A Hayman Residence Kitchen

    2015-07-18-1437238829-2996502-014OOHaymanResidenceKitchenCMYK.jpg



    Stay Cool at the Pool

    2015-07-18-1437239025-3220670-007OOHaymanResidencePool1CMYK.jpg



    Poolside cabana chic...

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    Helicopters are the only way to travel on the reef...

    2015-07-18-1437241103-850218-photo4.jpg



    Love is all around... Heart Island in the Great Barrier Reef

    2015-07-18-1437241202-4567555-photo5.jpg


    Photos courtesy of One&Only, Colin and Justin

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    Toronto is gorgeous. And that shouldn't be news to anyone.

    But once in a while we like to brag about it.

    Toronto-based cinematographer Chris Hau does exactly that in his video 'Show Me - Toronto', which is part of a travel series he produces. Previous locations have included Ireland and Arizona.

    From a glimpse at the people who actually do water sports in Lake Ontario to the historic St. Lawrence Market — and of course, the iconic skyline —this video covers both local and tourist favourites, and makes us want to visit them all right now.

    Drake would be proud.

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    JASPER, Alta. - A wildfire that has been burning in the picturesque Maligne Valley of Jasper National Park is now under control.

    The flames were sparked by lighting July 9 about 15 kilometres from the Jasper town site.

    Parks Canada says crews continue to look for and extinguish hot spots.

    The wildfire burned an area of around 10 square kilometres.

    The Maligne Road beyond the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Hostel remained closed Monday.

    Officials hope to reopen the popular road to Maligne Lake by the weekend.

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    CALGARY — WestJet pilots start voting this week to decide if they'll form the airline's first union.


    The WestJet Professional Pilots Association, which is pushing to unionize the company's roughly 1,300 pilots, says a Yes vote will create a legalized structure that will better address their concerns.


    "The pilot group is concerned that the increasing burden placed on all employee groups in pursuit of corporate profits is damaging our product," wrote the group, which did not respond to a request for comment, on their website.


    Ian Holloway, a labour expert and dean of the University of Calgary's law school, said that if WestJet employees opt to unionize, it could restrict how the airline operates.


    "The attraction of having a non-unionized environment isn't typically the wage rates, but rather it's the flexibility," said Holloway.


    Such flexibility was one of the key advantages WestJet had over Air Canada when it entered the market, but that nimbleness is eroding.


    "WestJet is no longer the little guy," said Holloway.


    "It's a huge pan-Canadian airline, and the growth and success has brought with it the same attended challenges that any other big airline has."


    WestJet has been expanding from its Calgary headquarters in recent years, opening bases of operation in Toronto and Vancouver. The company also launched its first trans-Atlantic flights last year and is expanding those offerings this year. 


    But the pilots association says it has "serious concerns" that the level of representation has not kept pace with the immense changes that have taken place at the airline.


    WestJet declined to comment on the vote, but the airline lauded the fact that its employees weren't unionized in its 2014 annual report.


    "We have a non-union workforce that we believe gives us a competitive advantage and helps foster our unique corporate culture," the company wrote.


    The company also expressed concern in the report that collective bargaining could lead to service disruptions, increased labour costs and a change in company culture.


    "Unionization could also fundamentally change the dynamic of our relationship with our employees and may diminish our employee-friendly corporate culture and reputation, which could ultimately have a negative impact on our earnings."


    David Tyerman, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said he isn't overly concerned about the notion of unionization on the company's stock. 


    "They have tried to unionize before, and nothing has happened, and it's completely possible that's what will happen again this time," said Tyerman.  


    But he added that while successful unionization would introduce a level of risk for the company, he didn't anticipate major changes, especially on the compensation front since WestJet employees are already fairly well-paid.


    The WestJet Professional Flight Attendants Association is also pushing to have the airline's approximately 2,700 flight attendants unionize, but they are still working to have a majority of members sign up so they can cast their votes.


    The confidential WestJet pilot vote runs between July 22 to Aug 5.


    ---


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    Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press

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    Where I stay when I travel is just as important as the destination. I choose my accommodation based on two factors: how I can experience a specific part of a culture or section of a city; and more importantly, how I can create an experience that as a writer and digital nomad will help me rest, be productive, and be inspired to build something new in my work.

    Why is this type of experience important? For two reasons:

    1. You'll be inspired by new landscapes and living spaces: How have the owners decorated their home? How does the space help you do your work? Staying in a bush cabin made me realize that I might want to live in a quiet landscape one day: the environment suits me well for how I need to create.


    2. You'll experience the unexpected: This creative duo bought a school bus, made it into a studio and living space, and road tripped across the United States for three months. On their website they said, "Being uncomfortable pushes you to try to make things work in new ways and often you can create something new and unexpected."


    I've gathered some of my favourite stays throughout the world to encourage you to take a creative getaway:

    1. Bush cabin retreat, Wedderburn, New South Wales, Australia

    The owners started building this property in the late 1980s as their own artist retreat. The two-bedroom cabin rests at the bottom of a hill surrounded by eucalyptus trees.

    It's a place where you'll immediately feel at home. Its big wooden porch is the perfect place to sit in the morning with a tea. There's a wood-fired oven out back for slow all-day cooking; and the owners, who live up the road, welcome guests to walk through their garden and pick lemons, oranges, and rosemary.

    2015-07-21-1437488118-6078505-bushcabin.jpg

    The kitchen of the bush cabin is stocked with pots and pans and recipe books.


    Photo credit: Kristen Marano



    Stay type: It's a great space to use as an indoor or outdoor workshop. There are several different spaces to work from in the house including a desk and beanbag chairs in an upper-level cove.

    2. Italianate-Victoria bed and breakfast, Penn Yan, Upstate New York

    In 2008, the owners of La Belle Vie Bed and Breakfast left their former city lives in Manhattan and Brooklyn to start their Bed and Breakfast. La Belle Vie is a charming Victorian home with sweeping staircases, grand bedrooms, and big lounge areas filled with books.

    One of my favourite parts of our stay was the breakfast; it's usually a three-course affair with fresh fruit, homemade muffins, and delicious sweet breakfasts like poached pears with raspberries and whipped cream.

    Stay type: This place is for people who might not want complete solitude or care for outdoor activities; rather they want to be inspired by the home itself and fellow guests. The large lounge rooms are perfect to play musical instruments like a piano, or sit and read and write.

    3. Cabin camping, Big Sur, California

    I've never really enjoyed camping, but I like the outdoors. For me this often means sleeping in something other than a tent. In 2014, a trip to Big Sur prompted an idea to have an authentic experience sleeping among the ancient redwood trees. My partner and I stayed on the Big Sur Campground, but rented a cozy yet basic one-room cabin.

    2015-07-21-1437488826-8374580-BigSur.jpg

    The cabin had what we needed for our weekend: a fireplace, kitchenette, toilet, and outside fire pit.


    Photo credit: Kristen Marano



    The campground is walking distance from a great bakery, restaurants, and pub.

    Stay type: This is a great place to be influenced by the outdoors. Get your creative tools and go to the nearby white and purple sandy beaches or take in exquisite coastal views--I drew by the water one day.

    4. House on the hill, Dalasysla, Iceland

    This tiny house on the hill is a good example of why travel to Iceland is becoming increasingly popular. I haven't stayed here yet, but a friend recently visited, and her photos are magical. Its beautiful backyard is 500 acres of snow-capped mountains and golden remote valleys filled with mist and sunshine, where horses and foxes play.

    2015-07-21-1437487800-89547-image1.JPG

    The house--newly built but designed to suit the old Icelandic cottage style--is located about 120 kilometres from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland and the largest city in the country.


    Photo credit: Sheryl So Ross



    Stay type: This tiny house will offer you a remote and private experience to be inspired by the outdoors. Either stay in the house and work while enjoying the wood burning fireplace, modern kitchen, and cozy attic-like bedrooms, or take to the outdoors to trek and then soak in thermal swimming pools and tubs located about 30 minutes away.

    For more stories about creativity and business, sign up for my newsletter, Creative Women Weekly.

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    A recent baby boom has brought hope to a fragile killer whale population off the B.C. coast. Plus who doesn't love baby photos?

    Photographer Clint Rivers recently captured several great pictures of J50 on a recent whale-watching trip with Eagle Wing Tours, based on Vancouver Island.

    The second-oldest of four young orcas breached more than 60 times in one afternoon in front of Rivers' camera.

    What a show off!

    orca breach


    killer whale breach


    So cute.

    killer whale


    In total, four babies were born to three different pods between December 2014 and March this year, bringing the population to 81 for the southern resident orcas.

    Listed as endangered in both Canada and the United States, they spend most of the summer in the waters around southern Vancouver Island and northern Washington.

    According to the Vancouver Aquarium, the southern residents' population is declining because their diet depends on chinook salmon, a food supply that has dwindled in recent years.

    With files from The Canadian Press

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    Welcome to our summer series of family friendly getaways. First up, Boston, a town known for its Ivy League pedigree, lobster rolls and of course it's battles, revolutions and tea parties. It is also a fantastic urban getaway for a traveling family looking for great food, culture, and maybe even a visit to the ball game.

    Sleep:

    Luxe: There are few hotels more synonymous with luxury than the Mandarin Oriental. This particular property feels both intimate and grand. It's the type of place where the front desk staff greet your child by name. They also have a beautiful tradition of welcoming you at check-in with an in-room tea service. And always keeping their littlest guests in mind, ours were served milk and cookies and kitted out in a tiny and tiniest (for the baby) robe for after bathtime. Be sure to take a spin in the Tesla courtesy car, not a bad way to get around town (especially if your children are fans of Batman).

    Boutique: XV Beacon is a wise choice for both location and cool factor. The rooms are large and comfortable, like an English bachelor pad. Their soaker jacuzzi tubs produce an epic bubble bath, and the customized concierge service goes above and beyond. Our baby came down with a cold and fever during a recent visit and the team sent up some therapeutic bath salts specifically formulated to reduce congestion. Be sure to take advantage of their luxurious Lexus courtesy car for a little sightseeing.

    Here is a custom 48-hour itinerary for young families visiting Beantown:

    Day One:

    Breakfast: Bar Boulud. Mom and dad are sure to quell their cravings for all the fine breakfast classics here, but your tots are treated just as regally. Kid-friendly versions of any breakfast items are made to order. Standouts are the silver dollar buttermilk pancakes and French toast sticks.

    Playdate/Morning activity:
    Boston is a world class city full of incredible museums, but the Children's Museum is really the crown jewel for visiting families. Plan to spend at least a few hours exploring and discovering.

    2015-07-18-1437228311-1669962-boston1.jpg



    Lunching: A stone's throw from the museum is Sportello. Grab some bar seats along the large and winding counter (after all, "Sportello" is Italian for counter service), and prepare to savour the decadent onslaught of flavours. Chef Barbara Lynch really flexes her Italian muscles preparing classics from the most local and seasonally sourced ingredients -- it's hard to resist her traditional bolognese. And guess what? The team is willing to accommodate your pickiest eater with a fresh take on basic palette pleasers too.

    Snack time/Coffee time:
    Barrington Coffee -- the beans are roasted at their facility in the Berkshires and beverages brewed in-house are rich and pungent. There is a small selection of locally sourced muffins, scones and pastries if the little ones need sustenance.

    Playdate/Afternoon activity: Stop by the fire hall on Boylston St. Built in the late 19th century, it is still operational today. If the team of firefighters are not out on a rescue, they are happy to show your wee ones around. Right across the street you'll find the Prudential tower for a chance to get a great birds eye view of Boston from the Skywalk observatory. Tip -- if you dine at Top of the Hub you get the same view without a ticket price. Go for dessert or an adult beverage.

    Early dinner with your tots: Durgin-Park is a quintessential Boston dining experience. Serving up classic New England fare since the pre-revolutionary days, it is located in Faneuil Hall, a marketplace and meeting hall dating back to 1743.

    or

    Get a sitter for a night out: Opt for some beautiful hand-crafted cocktails or sip some small grower champagne at Drink. After your aperitif's, head to Mei Mei for modern Chinese-American fusion run by two Beantown siblings.

    Day Two:

    Brunching: Depending on how late your evening stretched, you may need something stronger than coffee to fuel your day. If your visit falls over a Sunday don't miss brunch at Mistral Bistro, the elegant dining room and bountiful spread will woo your wee ones and the mimosas are just what the doctor ordered for bleary-eyed parents.

    Morning activity: If the weather is nice, head to Boston Common and bring a frisbee or ball and gloves (it is the home of the Red Sox after all) or stop by the Tadpole playground next to the Frog Pond for a good romp.

    2015-07-22-1437536625-6012772-boston7.jpg



    If the weather is less savoury, be sure to hit the Boston Public Library, the new Children's Library is flooded with light, color and plenty of books, as well as cozy corners to curl up in!

    Lunching: Pizza in the park is a quintessential Boston pastime. Stroll along Charles St and stop in at a classic Boston pizza joint, Upper Crust. Grab a couple pies to-go and enjoy them in the common.

    Snack time/Coffee time: Tatte, a black and white French Cafe on a cute cobbled street in Beacon Hill is a charming and delicious stop for a mid-day caffeine fix (or a meal). All baked goods are made (with love) in house and are definitely worth writing home about.

    Playdate/Afternoon activity: The ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art Boston), located on the Boston Waterfront, the sweeping harbour views, inviting lawn (be sure to run your kids around before or after your visit) and contemporary and airy architecture paired with the colourful art make this museum a great destination for families. On the last Saturday of the month is the ICA Playdate, an opportunity for the whole family to create art projects, get inspired and take a kid-friendly tour of the galleries.

    Early dinner with your tots: Neptune Oyster. You won't find a better place for seafood. A must-order that will surely please the whole family is their famous Neptune Johnny Cake (really, who doesn't love a pancake of any kind?) -- a cornmeal flapjack served with a pile of smoked trout a dollop of honey butter and sturgeon caviar for good measure. Word to the wise: this place is always packed (for good reason) so take advantage of your children's dinner hour and go early -- don't say we didn't warn you!!

    Get a sitter: Night out for mom and dad should start in Boston's hipster South End at The Butcher Shop for beautiful wines by the glass and some serious cured meats and pickled goodness. You could easily wile away the night here, but stop by the Beehive to quaff a quick libation and listen to a live brass band.

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    Note: Travel and accommodation was provided by Visit Britain

    "It's really hard to get lost in Manchester," our walking tour guide Jean advised us as we walked this most walkable city. "And you can always find a pub to sit down at and have a pint if you get tired."

    In a nutshell, it describes this reinvigorated yet historic city. Nicknamed the "Original Modern City," Manchester strives to protect its past -- incorporating the many cotton mills which were the main source of industry in the city for many years, into its current cityscape -- while transforming itself into a city of art, culture, cuisine and sport. The best examples of this are the two English Premiere League football (soccer) teams, Manchester United and Manchester City. Extreme rivals, their stadiums are housed at opposite ends of the city, the sport comes together at the Football Museum.

    The downtown core houses a population of only about 50,000, (versus the greater Manchester area, which is over two million) as there weren't traditionally residences located in what used to be a fairly derelict area until the mid-90's. Now, buildings have been renovated specifically to attract a younger demographic of students and newly employed graduates. The city is booming with restaurants, boutiques, and a vast array of vintage clothing shops. The most well-known is Afflecks, which has vintage and gothic clothing, jewelry, piercings and tattoo offerings spread over five eclectic floors.

    The arts scene is thriving as well, with museums and galleries offered free to the public, including the renowned Whitworth Gallery.

    The food scene in Manchester has exploded beyond the traditional pub, from the Curry Mile, to the Alice in Wonderland themed Richmond Tea Rooms, and to the authentic tastes of Malaysia at the fabulous Ning Restaurant.

    Historic sites are protected and adapted across the city; most notably the Printworks Building, once home to the Daily Mirror, which relocated to London. This cavernous building's façade is still in tact, with an indoor dining and movie complex built as a faux outside street. Locals and tourists alike can take advantage of walking through on a rainy night, visiting bars and friends, without getting wet.

    One "historic" site which will not be preserved is the original studio site for Coronation Street, the world's longest running television program. The Granada Studios are still intact, and the sold out tours give fans the opportunity to see many of the show's original sets, including Britain's most famous pub, the Rovers Return. Many indoor sets have been left as is, including The Kabin and Jack and Vera Duckworth's living room. The tour continues through to the production booth, where Christmas decorations are still hung from the last days of filming, giving it a ghostly feel. Stepping out onto the street where the buildings are not quite full size proves surreal for fans, some of whom have been watching for 50 years.

    Filming of Coronation Street moved to the new Media City in 2013, and after a short period of offering set tours, the Granada Studios site will be demolished in 2016 to make room for hotels, theatres, and 2,500 apartments. The last tour is scheduled for December 31, 2015.

    Air Transat flies to Manchester from Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

    An excerpted version of this article was originally run in the Metro News.

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    If they've told us once, they've told us a million times: Stop feeding the animals in our national parks.

    Parks Canada released a video Thursday that shows a visitor feeding a black bear from a car on the side of the Highway 93 in Banff National Park last year.

    The visitor was fined $1,000 for the illegal meal share.

    While people who feed animals may have good intentions, it can lead to bad situations for humans and wildlife alike, said Parks Canada in a press release.

    "We are sharing the ... video that helped lead to these charges in order to educate people about why the feeding of wildlife is dangerous for both people and animals, as well as to seek public support in the reporting of wildlife feeding incidents, which may further deter this unlawful behaviour."

    feeding bear
    (Parks Canada is concerned with a recent uptick in people feeding animals in Alberta's national parks.)

    Jim Mamalis, park warden supervisor for Lake Louise and Yoho, told the Calgary Sun there are currently eight ongoing animal feeding investigations.

    "Five years ago even that would have been quite high," he said.

    "Compared to the last two years, it’s almost becoming the norm. It seems like the last two, three, four years it’s exploded again."

    People who witness wildlife feedings are asked to report these instances to authorities, including license plate numbers and a photo of the vehicle or person, if possible.

    To report wildlife feeding, call 1-888-WARDENS (927-3367).

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    2015-07-24-1437767928-3496706-TexasHillCountryWine.JPG

    Fredericksburg, a tiny town of 12,000 in Texas Hill Country, is the epicenter of what is slowly becoming known as the New Napa in Texas, unbeknownst to the rest of the world.
    The reason this region is the wine community's best kept secret is that most of the wine is consumed within state borders, leaving outsiders oblivious to what may become North America's greatest wine region.

    With hours upon hours of sun and great soil, Texas Hill County has perfect growing conditions for varietals better known in central Italy and France's Rhone Valley. Yet winemaking in Texas is a relatively new venture. Up until the mid-1970s the only wine coming out of Texas was by Franciscan monks on the coast, until a chemistry professor decided to experiment with winemaking in the university basement.

    Today, Texas Hill Country is the second most visited wine tasting region in North American and top 10 in the world. Yet the region is just a fraction of Napa Valley with fewer than 50 vineyards and less than 300 in the entire state of Texas.

    Much of the growth in wine development occurred during the recession. Fredericksburg has always been a destination dependent on tourism, but people visited to shop or experience the German heritage.

    Beginning in the early 2000s a number of people moved from the West Coast to Texas Hill Country and bought land to develop ito vineland. Ranchers also realized they could profit by leasing their roadside property for wineries to plan vines and build tasting rooms, benefiting from the new industry while protecting a legacy of ranching tradition.

    Winning numerous awards, Texas is making its mark in the international wine community. Yet to meet the new debutant requires a visit to Fredericksburg as product from great wineries like Pedernales Cellars is not available in Canada. If you were ever curious about Texas, here's another reason to go.

    How to Get There: Fredericksburg is less than an hour and a half from both San Antonio and Austin. It's an easy day trip and makes for a great weekend away.

    Where to Stay: For the full country experience stay at Rose Hill Manor, walking distance from Pedernales Cellars. There are also a number of great hotels and B&Bs right in Fredericksburg.

    How to Get Around: If you don't have a designated driver it's best to leave the driving to someone else. There are a number of minivan and limousine tours that visit Texas Hill Country wineries, or the 290 Wine Shuttle offers a hop on hop off bus that runs every 20 minutes and stops at six wineries for only $20.

    Taste Wine Like a Pro: Consider taking a wine tour mid-week, while the wineries are moderately busy during the week there are crowds up to four people deep looking for wine tastings. Take the civilized route and go on a Tuesday to avoid the crowds.

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    Ryan Vit watches the rushing waves of Blackcomb Creek cascading down rocks and cutting through the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club course. He nods with appreciation for what is an increasingly rare and important natural wonder -- nourishing, glacier-fed, drinkable water. The creek flows beneath a bridge on the front nine of the only Audubon-certified course in Whistler. On this day, it is flowing faster and harder than it should for July, says Vit, the Fairmont property's Whistler Experience Guide.

    "I'll direct some of our guests down to the rocks," Vit says, pointing to the boulders on the shoreline, which on this July evening is being bathed by the waters streaming from Blackcomb Mountain. "Most can't believe it's actually coming from a glacier or that it could be so clean."

    He recounts the story of a pair of sisters from Taiwan who were so moved by the phenomenon they filled two empty plastic bottles with the water and planned to pack it in their checked luggage to take home as a souvenir.

    "They were amazed you could drink water from a creek," Vit says. "It gives you an appreciation for what we have here and why it's important to protect it."

    That sensitivity for the environment was a reason the Chateau Whistler launched a new product this summer, the Clubhouse Dinner and Nature Tour. The idea is for couples and families to learn about the flora, fauna and wildlife occupying the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course that was opened in 1993.

    While we didn't see black bears on this tour, they are a common sight -- and one of the draws that entices players to challenge the course. We did spot a family of grouse and learned about the course's environmental initiatives, including a reduction in the amount of water it uses on its greens and fairways.

    "If golf is going to survive, players are going to have to get used to playing on brown grass," Vit opines. "Water is an increasingly rare commodity. There are water bans in a lot of places, especially the southern US. It becomes harder to justify using sprinklers on golf courses as often as they've been used in the past."

    Check Vacay.ca for More Whistler Travel Tips

    Visitors on the nature tour also get to spot the Bat Cave, a small, birdhouse-shaped structure on a tree that houses a population of the nocturnal flying mammals. The bats help pollinate plants and reduce the population of insects that can infest fruits and vegetables.

    Aside from the bears, the best part of the nature tour for golfers and non-golfers is the scenery. The Chateau Whistler course is reputed for its elevation change, which tops 400 feet. Surrounded by mountains, it is an idyllic and impressive setting for a round of golf, or simply a pleasant drive in a cart.

    Summer Happenings in Whistler

    The village -- the largest and arguably best ski resort in North America -- is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary, honouring the launch of the 1965-66 ski season. The celebrations are already beginning, however. Here are some highlights of summer happenings in and around the village.

    Crankworx: The acclaimed mountain-bike competition and festival runs from August 7-16. More than 150,000 visitors are expected as the mountains become filled with daredevils hurtling downhill on two wheels and a prayer.

    Araxi Longtable Series: Arguably Whistler's finest restaurant, Araxi continues its annual Longtable Dining Series with an al-fresco experience in the fields of North Arm Farm in nearby Pemberton. Executive chef James Walt teams with his peers from the TopTable Group of restaurants to create an immaculate dining experience focused on locally sourced, sustainable and organic products. The Pemberton dinner takes place September 5, while a Vancouver version is set for August 3 on the Bard on the Beach grounds at Vanier Park. The cost for either experience is $159 per person. Click here for details.

    Wanderlust Whistler: The yoga-inspired festival that features the good vibes of Michael Franti hits British Columbia's favourite resort town from July 30 to August 3. Between performances from the likes of Thievery Corporation and the Barr Brothers, attendees can participate in yoga and meditation classes throughout the village. Single-day tickets start at $11.40 per person. Click here for more information.

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    Nunavut has been a Canadian territory for 16 years, but Alberta's tourism agency let it slip their mind, apparently.

    A recent advertisement from Travel Alberta, extolling the province as an affordable option for U.S. travellers, forgot to include Nunavut.

    Of course, Reddit users had a field day with the ad, after it was posted to the popular sharing site under the headline "This Travel Alberta ad forgot Nunavut exists."



    "Travel Alberta: wait, there's stuff other than Calgary?" joked apjane.

    "Their existence is not irrelevant at all. I'm from the Yukon and being forgotten about would be shitty. Just because you don't personally care doesn't mean it's fine," wrote chewp911.

    Nunavut, however, isn't the only area that got flubbed on the map. Redditors pointed out several other inconsistencies, including a secluded Cape Breton Island, seemingly adrift from its usual position close to the Nova Scotia mainland, and a forgotten Ellesmere Island, which was also left off the map entirely.

    Travel Alberta apologized for the map Monday.

    "It was an error on our end and we do apologize if it causes any concern or confusion for anyone. We are correcting the imagery to ensure it doesn't happen again," spokesperson Jennifer Anderson told the Calgary Sun, adding the advertisement appeared in the June edition of United Airlines' Hemisphere Magazine.

    "We hope that our tourism friends in Nunavut understand this was a mistake and we're going to be reaching out to them as well," she said. "We want to always ensure the accuracy of our marketing."

    Travel Alberta has produced some stellar marketing spots in the past, including several videos that highlight Alberta in a beautiful light. Here's hoping this was a one-time mistake and we'll continue to see only the very best from them in the future.





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    2015-07-28-1438047947-1541473-southerleighinterior.jpg

    San Antonio is known as a city with friendly people and a beautiful River Walk, but beyond the downtown core one of the oldest neighbourhoods is being revitalized and becoming the hottest neighborhood for shopping and eating in the city.

    The Peart district, or Pearl as locals call it, was once home to the Pearl Brewing company in the late 1800s. It has a fascinating evolution through prohibition, competition, power struggles and finally new life as a cultural hub.

    The area is now home to over 300 apartments, 15 restaurants and cafes, 13 locally owned storefronts, a farmers market and the third outpost of the Culinary Institute of America. In October Hotel Emma will open in the original Pearl Brewhouse tower, giving visitors an opportunity to stay in the neighborhood and further cementing the neighborhood as a tourist destination.

    For those staying more central, Pearl is only a short stroll down the River Walk and is home to some of San Antonios most interesting restaurants and cafes:

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    Southerleigh
    Located on the ground floor of the historic brewery, for which the neighborhood is named, Southerleigh is one of the new gorgeous restaurants in Pearl with its own on-premise brewery.

    Led by Chef Jeff Balfour, the food represents a modern interpretation of the diversity of Texas and coastal Texan fare including classic Southern comfort classics and incredible craft beer.

    2015-07-28-1438048011-2378350-bakerylorraine.jpg

    Bakery Lorraine
    A modern patisserie with all the comforts of an urban coffee shop, aka strong wifi, Bakery Lorraine is owned by Jeremy and Anne a couple who met at Bakery Bouchon in California.

    Today they are known for their macarons and lauded by many as one of the best pastry shops in the United States.

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    Cured

    Chef/owner Steve McHugh is originally from Wisconsin but arrived in San Antonio to open John Besh's Luke and left to open Cured when the Pearl district of the city began to redevelop.

    A charcuterie focused menu with an emphasis on local and whole-animal cooking, it's located in a beautiful restored historical building. Go for lunch and splurge on the charcuterie board as you'll want one of everything.



    Want to know more about eating in San Antonio? Check out my free culinary travel guide to San Antonio.

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    BC Ferries has announced the names of three new vessels — after British Columbians hijacked a public contest with hilarious results.

    Not surprisingly, BC Ferries declined suggestions that included Spirit of the WalletSucker, S.S. ShouldveBeenABridge, Queen of No Other Choice, and The Christy Clark Ark.

    The three winners revealed Tuesday do have a nice ring to them:

    • Salish Orca

    • Salish Eagle

    • Salish Raven


    Each name pays homage to the Salish Sea, which the ferries will be sailing through on a regular basis, and the Coast Salish people. They also honour the West Coast travel experience and the culture of B.C., said the corporation on Twitter.

    The winning entries out of 7,000 submissions came from Brian Douglas, Pat Burns, and Mark Crawford, who will all receive $500 worth of ferry travel.

    BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan thanked "all the people who embraced the contest and enthusiastically submitted their suggestions."

    The first of the new intermediate class ferries is expected to roll out in August 2016 on the Comox-Powell River route, while the Salish Eagle will be sailing the Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands in early 2017. Both replace aging ships.

    The third, the Salish Eagle, will be used to augment service in the Southern Gulf Islands.

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