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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    Sometimes it only takes a visitor to remind us not to take the Canadian Rockies for granted.

    Loup Foussereau backpacked his way through the mountain range last month, and created a short film of his travels "just because."

    The footage is absolutely ethereal. (Watch above.)

    "It was extremely impressive. What's amazing is the mix of natural landscapes and wildlife. There's amazing mountains, amazing lakes, amazing glaciers, and great rare animals," said Foussereau, who is originally from France and now lives in Montreal, in an interview.

    "You can walk on the glacier, then walk a few metres from a grizzly... It's incredible."

    Foussereau's video showcases parts of the provincial parks in Mount Assiniboine and Mount Robson in B.C., as well as Banff and Jasper in Alberta.

    He also included Calgary, Vancouver, and the B.C. town of Golden towards the end.

    "I just wanted to live a great adventure — and I did!"

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    The new season of "American Horror Story" may be based on the mysterious death of B.C. student Elisa Lam, whose body was found at a Los Angeles hotel.

    Show creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk talked about the show's fifth season, "American Horror Story: Hotel," as part of the Television Critics Association press tour on Friday.

    Murphy said the new season was inspired by a surveillance video that showed a woman acting erratically in an elevator — though he didn't mention precisely which footage.

    "A girl got in an elevator in a downtown hotel," he said. "She was never seen again."

    In 2013, Elisa Lam, who was visiting L.A. from Vancouver on her own, was reported missing. During the search, Los Angeles police released video shot from a surveillance camera at the Cecil Hotel that showed the 21-year-old woman behaving strangely.

    In the footage, Lam peeks into a hallway and steps in and out of the elevator several times.

    She was found dead in a rooftop water tank at the hotel (now known as Stay on Main), three weeks after she was last seen in the lobby. The coroner ruled her drowning death as accidental, and noted bipolar disorder as a "significant condition."

    Rumours have persisted for months that the new season of "American Horror Story" is based on the Lam case.

    Last month, series assistant Sara Stelwagen posted an Instagram shot from the set.

    And so it begins

    A photo posted by @sarastelwagen on

    Tumblr user Pepper for President speculated that the "C" could stand for "Cecil Hotel."

    Vanity Fair has also posited that the new season could be based on the Lam case.

    The magazine added that guests of the Cecil Hotel have included serial killers Jack Unterweger and Richard Ramirez. Beth Short, the victim in the mysterious "Black Dahlia" murder from 1947, also stayed there.

    Murphy has said all the show's seasons are connected; actress Mena Suvari played Short in "American Horror Story's" first season.

    This wouldn't mark the first time that Lam's story has been dramatized.

    The 2013 season finale of crime show "Castle" told the story of a student who was found dead in a water tower, in what seemed to be a reference to the Lam case.

    Her death also inspired a 2014 spec script titled "The Bringing," as well as a music video by Canadian duo The Zolas.

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    Over the past 10 years, it has become easier and easier to book flights online. Although this has been great for consumers in many ways, it has also resulted in many mistakes being made by consumers when booking flights that can turn out to be very costly.

    While some love the ease and convenience of searching and booking flights online, there are a few simple mistakes that, while easy to make, can be costly to fix.

    Canadian travel agent,, did an analysis of over 400,000 flight bookings to determine the most common mistakes travelers make when booking flights. The most common mistake was forgetting to check passport expiry dates, followed by entering incorrect names of passengers. Getting a name corrected or changed, if allowed by the airline, can be costly. It's important to carefully enter your name as it appears on your passport and to check it over before hitting confirm.

    The remaining common mistakes in the list:

    Not checking required travel documents
    If you don't have the proper documentation you'll surely be denied boarding at the airport. You'll need to change your flight, likely incurring change fees, to a time that you'll be able to attain the proper documents to travel.

    Not checking airline baggage fees
    Baggage fees are now very common for airlines to charge passengers. It can all depend on the airline and where you are traveling to. It's always a good idea to know your weight allowance as well.

    Showing up to the airport at the wrong date or time
    If you get the airport 12 hours early, consider yourself lucky as you'll be able come back for your flight. If you get to the airport at the wrong time and miss your flight, you will be considered a no-show and the ticket is non-refundable.

    Entering the wrong credit card expiry date
    When the wrong expiry date is entered, the booking doesn't go through and usually that means you've lost the seat you were trying to purchase. By the time you've realized this, there's a good chance the price would have gone up.

    Booking the wrong city
    It's surprising how often this type of mistake actually happens. There need to be fewer cities in the world with the same name, right? Although the unplanned trip would make an amazing story, let's just hope you figure out the mistake before you get on the plane since you'll have to pay for a new flight to your desired destination.

    Not booking in time and paying more
    The closer you get to departure, the chances are that you'll be paying TOP DOLLAR for your ticket(s).

    Ignoring terms and conditions
    Who actually reads the fine print right? It could actually help save you a lot of money. The cost to change or cancel a flight can be $250 plus any fare difference. This depends on rules set by the airline.

    Opting out of travel insurance
    Out of pocket expenses can vary depending on each situation. Most international countries require full payment for medical bills up front in the case of an accident.

    Be careful when booking that next flight. Check spellings, times, dates, cities to ensure everything is exactly how it should be.


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    Friendly reminder, courtesy of the video below: your palms can sweat.

    Spencer Seabrooke broke a slacklining world record by making his way across a 1,000 ft.-deep gully at the Stawamus Chief in Squamish, B.C. on Aug. 2.

    It was a "free solo" walk, meaning Seabrooke wasn't wearing safety ropes of any kind.

    A drone video, shot by Whistler videographer Zachary Moxley, shows the daredevil stumbling not once, but twice during the pass, before clutching the rope for dear life.

    "Without a doubt, it's the fear of falling that keeps you alive," Seabrooke told The Huffington Post B.C. in an interview.

    "There's no lines at all, so if I hadn't caught the line in those moments, I would've been mashed potatoes after a seven-second free fall."

    squamish chief spencer seabrooke

    Seabrooke said he set his sights on the 64-metre wide pass three years ago: "The day I started slacklining was the day I started training."

    The previous free solo slackline record was held by California's Andy Lewis, who walked 57 metres over a 91-metre drop in 2011.

    spencer seabrooke

    Seabrooke, 26, said he doesn't think he's glamourizing the dangerous sport.

    "When you're at the edge, it's so grippingly terrifying that your body wouldn't even let you do it unless you were ready. It's 100 per cent a mental thing," he explained.

    The best thing experienced slackliners can do, he said, is to tell stories and "put a little fear in" athletes new to the activity so that they approach it cautiously.

    In April, Seabrooke walked a line over Vancouver's seawall out to Siwash Rock — but the Vancouver Park Board considered it trespassing.

    Seabrooke said he didn't obtain a permit for his latest stunt. HuffPost B.C. has reached out to BC Parks for comment.

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    Little sister to Mexican resort Mecca Cancun, Playa del Carmen is so much more than balmy waters, sandy beaches and ancient Mayan ruins. In fact, this Quintana Roo town of 150,000 is deftly coming into its own as a foodie destination -- here's our recipe for the perfect stay:


    Breakfast: Though lodging right in Playa will likely mean trading the typical all-inclusive experience for accommodations that give you far more independence, we promise you won't miss the 24-7 buffet. Hotel La Tortuga, with its proximity to the beach, its pretty, meandering swimming pool, its rooftop terraces and, above all, its delicious complimentary breakfast service (the best, we think, in town), makes a perfect home base. Take a seat at the hotel's breezy Como Como café from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily and choose from the free-for-guests menu of heaping, Mexican-inspired egg dishes, homemade croissants and fresh-squeezed jugo de naranja (OJ). Hotel La Tortuga, Avenida 10, esq Calle 14, Playa del Carmen, +52 984 873 1484,


    Brunch: After several hours strolling bustling, vehicle-free Fifth Avenue under a blazing sun in search of souvenirs, a food refuel will well be in order. Madrez! Café, just off the strip, houses several shaded wooden patio tables with a killer view of the sparkling Mexican Caribbean, not to mention cold drinks (try a tasty fresh-fruit-infused lemonade or a refreshing iced chocolate) and such light fare as savoury waffles with egg, bacon and Oaxaca cheese, tasty bagel sandwiches with a side of spicy salsa or house-made preserves, and chorizo-and-jalapeño-stuffed tortillas that will have you saying "Seconds, por favor." Madrez! Café, Mz 4 Lt 10 Loc 5, Calle 8 Norte, Playa del Carmen, +52 984 187 3605,


    Lunch: When it comes to finding the best food, follow the locals straight to El Fogón, trusting that all those hungry construction workers and bank tellers haven't led you astray as you take a seat in one of this down-home taco joint's white plastic lawn chairs. Order from a variety of tasty tacos, fajitas and quesadillas, all of which arrive fresh-but-fast to your table along with housemade chips and a trio of salsas in clay pots. Also worth a try: a side of frijoles charros (traditional "cowboy beans," made of pintos stewed with onion, garlic and bacon) and, to drink, a Mexican flag cocktail that's as nice to look at as it is to down on a hot day. Taqueria El Fogón, Av Constituyentes, Playa del Carmen


    Dinner: With a dizzying array of dining options available throughout Playa del Carmen, it can be difficult to choose just the right resto for supper. We suggest hitting up Kaxapa Factory, where a mainly female crew serves up mainly corn-based Venezualan cuisine -- the best you'll likely have outside that country's borders. Our must-have menu picks from this unpretentious spot: a savoury arepa sandwich, a black-bean empanada or a sweet, cheese-filled cachapa, any of which should be washed down with a fresh soursop juice. It may take more than one visit, but it's worth it. Kaxapa Factory, Avenida 20 Sur 2, Playa del Carmen, +52 984 803 5023,

    Diy: For those who'd rather earn their fill in order to eat it, Co.Cos Culinary School offers one-off cooking classes that'll see you make (and, yes, wolf down) a multi-course Mexican meal before the night's out. Our hands-on experience opened with traditional tortilla soup (with all the fixins), followed by three types of salsa (with a built-in lesson on chile pepper varieties), grilled flank steak with a silky smooth pablano-pepper cream sauce and, for dessert, a south-of-the-U.S.-border play on Bananas Foster. After dinner, enjoy an informative tequila and mezcal tasting courtesy of your instructor (fyi: that worm-in-the-bottle thing? So not Mexican). Cocina Cosmopolita Culinary School, Condominio Aldea Thai Local 23, Calle Cozumel Mza 18 Lote 1, Col. Xaman-ha, Playa del Carmen, +52 984 803 0743,

    ¡Comiendo feliz! (Happy eating!) By Noa Nichol


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    WestJet doesn't do flying the way other airlines do.

    Their attendants love to sing and dance.

    And some, like Michael McAdam, take the safety demonstration to heights we've never seen before.

    Flying home from the fabulous TPLO conference.... We had the best in flight crew on West Jet. Laughed so hard. Only had a chance to video the French portion of the pre flight instructions ! Enjoy, we certainly did !

    Posted by TM'z Veterinary Clinic on Saturday, 1 August 2015

    A video of McAdam delivering a hilarious safety demo on a trip from Las Vegas to Regina was posted to Facebook by Saskatchewan-based TM'z Veterinary Clinic on Aug. 1. Since then, it has drawn almost five million views.

    "We had the best in flight crew on WestJet," the post said.

    This isn't the first time that McAdam has been filmed delivering a standout safety demo. Here's another video of the attendant that was posted to YouTube in 2011.

    But WestJet attendants don't just demonstrate. They can also do a mean dance to "Uptown Funk."

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    As a frequent flyer and having relocated to two different countries in as many years, I am always hyperaware of where the important things are. Whether in transit or working at a local café, I am constantly checking that I am in possession of three things at all times -- my smartphone, my wallet and my MacBook Air.

    The last time I lost a credit card was when I absentmindedly left my purse in a taxi that was taking me from chapel to wedding reception. In Las Vegas of all places and, yes, Elvis married the happy couple. But without any ID I was left out of the late night celebrations.

    Then I lost one mobile phone on a plane (misplaced among too much stuff, including a cat), and had another stolen while at a restaurant in Prague. These are all situations where I was seemingly in control, but perhaps just had a bit of bad luck. Or temporary loss of my mental faculties. In any case, I was able to cancel bankcards and file police reports with relative ease.

    This kind of tangible loss is quite different from having one's identity stolen in the online space. Indeed, identity theft is a far more elusive threat. It is something I think about often as I'm using my debit and credits cards at shops and in ATMs internationally.

    How do cyber crooks get past the sophisticated firewalls that are supposed to protect us? The answer is not always very complex. From old-school thievery to what U.S. News calls "visual hacking" it seems everyone is at risk.

    In light of those major data hacks headlining the news reports, I wanted to scale it down to what I can do to protect my personal information while traveling. To get ahead of the deception and scams, I reached out to Sean Trundy, founder of

    1. "When checking personal information such as bank account or email whilst abroad, always ensure the data connection is encrypted with a password on a secure device," advises Trundy. So while you are enjoying your lazy mornings in charming European cafes, avoid checking your credit balance. Crying in your cappuccino isn't cute anyway.

    2. "Take extra precautions in cities and countries that have rampant organized fraud. One example is the state of Florida, which ranks first in identity theft cases and makes a significant contribution to the hundreds of thousands of fraudulent tax returns filed every year that cost the U.S. government billions."

    And that is no exaggeration. George Piro, special agent in charge of the FBI's South Florida office, told the Associated Press, "In many cases criminal organizations are shifting from violent crimes to those involving mostly digital data." And it's happening the world over. Cities such as Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hanoi and (surprise, surprise) Prague consistently make top 10 lists as places to beware of pickpockets.

    3. "Never assume that your hotel room is safe, either hire a safe or keep important documents on your person." If choosing to do the latter, make sure to check out Amazon for a wallet or money belt before you take off.

    4. "Minimize your personal details before traveling, keep only what is essential for your trip." Trundy gives the example of if you're not hiring a car while abroad, don't take your drivers license.

    "Also try to limit how many cards you take away with you, knowing that credit cards offer more protection from fraud."

    Trundy believes the future of identity verification lies in mobile solutions.

    "If mobile verification is in place, the ability to defraud is dramatically reduced because it facilitates real-time identity verification systems already in place."

    So while I was lucky to have that smartphone tracked down by Czech police, who arrested the thief and returned the phone to me about two months after the heist, I am going to make sure I am protected on all fronts -- especially the ones I can't see.

    Fraud Fighter develops risk prevention solutions for the hospitality, retail and financial industries. Sean Trundy and his team have worked with Marriott, Kohl's and Chase Bank, to name a few.


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    It's no surprise that Canadians are in love with travel. According to one recent global study, Canucks take an average of four trips a year, making room for three domestic jaunts and one international long-haul. We're also among the top 10 travel destinations for foreign adventurers.

    Of course, departing and arriving from airports -- big or small -- are a necessary part of anyone's travel itinerary. But what's becoming increasingly clear is that the days when airports existed solely to move us from point A to point B are long gone. Airports are a lot more than just a corridor to drag your stuff through, or a place to hang your hat for a few hours.

    Here are three little-known facts that prove airports are more than what you might think:

    1. Airports are becoming a destination on travel itineraries.

    Let's face it, some airports are more attractive than others. Most of us participate in some form of shopping or dining when on the move, and now more than ever, airport amenities matter. Whether it's purchasing some light reading for the flight, indulging in a favourite meal before heading overseas, or grabbing that steal of a deal at duty free, we're all looking for that special experience -- the cherry on top of our vacations -- and airports are delivering.

    Locations like Heathrow in London, O'Hare in Chicago and Shanghai Pudong International in China are destinations within themselves, offering luxury travel experiences that go above and beyond.

    Full-service airports are typically larger, globally-focused operations that offer guests travel to seemingly endless destinations and unique experiences before you even take flight, for example:

    • At Heathrow, you can sip one of over 26,000 cups of tea served at the airport every year, or purchase a bottle of Chanel No 5 perfume- one is sold every nine minutes.

    • Visit China's Shanghai Pudong to check out the architecture -- the building was designed by French architect Paul Andreu to resemble a seagull in flight.

    • Foodies can rejoice at Chicago's O'Hare International with the arrival of Rick Bayless' popular Tortas Frontera, voted the best airport restaurant in America by GQ magazine.

    • Weary travellers can rest their heads in luxury nap pods that are popping up in airports located in Munich, Dubai and Russia. At a small price for comfort, you can also get a bedside table and a lamp.

    These factors might not sway your entire travel itinerary, but they might make you want to organize a layover that'll land you in one of these bustling hubs.

    2. Airports give us access to global markets, and build our reputation on the world stage.

    Access to other cities, countries and cultures is often taken for granted, but the truth is that we're incredibly lucky to be able to prosper from it.

    In 2014, Canada imported more than US$462 billion worth of goods from around the world, over 74 per cent of which came from the U.S. and China. We exported nearly the same, sending more than US$474 billion to other countries within the course of the year. Toronto Pearson International Airport handled over 42 per cent of this cargo.

    Thriving countries rely on the ability to import and export goods, including industrial and technical machinery used in manufacturing and medical fields, vehicles, plastics, iron and steel products, natural resources, toys, games, and clothing. But without air travel, we'd be shipping everything by rail or boat -- a relatively lengthy process in comparison, and not without significant challenges.

    There is a critical cultural impact that stems from this access, as well. Cities are vibrant, multicultural environments built up by their ability to host things like world-class sporting events, performances, conferences and other cultural events. The Internet certainly keeps us connected virtually, but nothing replaces the ability to move physical goods (and people) worldwide.

    3. Airports are powerful economic engines.

    The ability to move goods around the world is critical to driving local, national and international economies, but strong economies rely on skilled individuals to help steer the ship, and this is where people movement comes in.

    A study by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) lists wealth creation and employment generation as two major economic benefits of air transport. The two are interdependent, with international patterns of trade driving the development of communities around it.

    This means that the opportunities available to us in terms of employment -- things like livable proximity to work, employment, and career growth -- are all a result of business patterns created by airports.

    So, the next time you're planning a trip, maybe you'll think about airports a little differently, and recognize that they're more than just a means of getting from point A to point B: they're actually one of the major reasons we're able to grow and thrive around the world.


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    With summer well and truly upon us, outdoors is the only place to be. Hiking, biking, basking in the sunshine, we're out there making it count -- at our fave winter destination, no less. Trust us, Panorama Mountain Resort's got all the good stuff you need to get your fill of sunshine and fresh air.


    Do: Kick off your summer weekend in the beautiful B.C. Rockies with a mountain yoga class. Zen out atop Panorama, saluting the sun and the unbeatable vistas, as you prep for more heart-pumping activities ahead. If mountain biking's your bag, the area boasts trails for every skill level (try the beginner-friendly -- and recently improved -- Let it Ride downhill track with smoothed-out bends and chill slopes). Prefer two feet over two wheels? Panorama's many hiking trails, spectacular this time of year, include everything from a 45-minute jaunt 'round the resort to a six-hour expedition.


    Spa: Once you've thoroughly explored the great outdoors, head to the hot pools at Panorama Springs Lodge, where four pools of varying temperatures and a sauna make for easy, breezy relaxation. For those craving pro bodywork, the resort's on-site Pure Massage day spa offers a full menu of beauty services: choose a mani, pedi, massage or scrub -- or all of the above. 250-341-6977,


    Dine: After a full day's activities, satiate your appetite at one of the Panorama's top-notch eateries. T-Bar & Grill, for one, offers laid-back bites and pints, while Monticola Restaurant serves up rustic fare and mouthwatering craft cocktails. Either way, your meal will surely mark the perfect end to an incredible summer weekend, mountain-style.

    By Amy Dillon

    Panorama Mountain Resort, 1-800-663-2929,


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    Trips across the border are becoming more expensive as the dollar continues to drop, but that isn't making our closest neighbour any less popular with Canadian travellers looking for that last summer vacation. With the lowest average hotel prices from amongst Canadians' favourite U.S. destinations for August, has found 10 U.S. destinations that will make the most out of every loonie and toonie.

    Sneak in a wallet-friendly getaway before school starts!

    1. Grand Forks, ND
    Average hotel price: $132/night


    Grand Forks via Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau

    2. Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Average hotel price: $170/night

    Fort Lauderdale via Pixabay

    3. Plattsburgh, MO
    Average hotel price: $173/night

    Plattsburgh City Beach by Enrica via

    4. Golden, CO
    Average hotel price: $174/night

    Golden by Seanmugs via

    5. Bangor, ME
    Average hotel price: $184/night

    Downtown Bangor by Michel G. via

    6. Orlando, FL
    Average hotel price: $190/night

    Disney World via Pixabay

    7. Frankenmuth, MI
    Average hotel price: $207/night

    Frankenmuth via Frankenmuth Convention and Visitors Bureau

    8. New Orleans, LA
    Average hotel price: $215/night

    French Quarter via Pixabay

    9. North Conway, NH
    Average hotel price: $219/night

    White Horse Ledge by Robbie Shade via

    10. Buffalo, NY
    Average hotel price: $220/night

    Woodlawn Beach via Visit Buffalo Niagara

    For more summer travel information and inspiration, visit trivago Checkin.


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    The Chilean port city (and UNESCO World Heritage site) of Valparaíso has stolen our hearts. Wander around its bustling plazas, get lost in its hilltop neighbourhoods and gaze at a myriad of intriguing street art.

    Stay: Rest your head at the Palacio Astoreca Hotel in the trendy Cerro Alegre district. A converted Victorian mansion, this inn is the epitome of elegant luxury, complete with a vintage velvet armchair-furnished piano lounge and impeccably curated library. Indulge your vino fancies in the hotel's exclusive wine cellar, stocked with South America's finest. Sip your selection on the terrace facing unbeatable vistas of Valparaiso. Palacio Astoreca Hotel, Calle Montealegre 149, Cerro Alegre, Valparaíso,

    Savour: The Palacio Astoreca's Restaurant Alegre just so happens to be one of the city's most talked about eateries. Offering delicious and imaginative cuisine, this resto relies solely on local produce (try the violet ice cream!). Beyond the hotel, Café Turri boasts one of the best views in town and specializes in both Chilean and international dishes. Café Turri, Templeman #147 Cerro Concepción, Valparaíso,

    Sip: You can't visit Chile without trying a pisco sour (or three), and Bar Cinzano is the place to do it. Live music every night makes for a tip-top atmosphere while you sip tangy citrus libations. As Valparaíso's oldest bar, Cinzano is a must-see while in town. Cinzano, Plaza Anibel Pinto 1182, Valparaíso,

    See: Jump on one of the many old funiculars (cable-car elevators) and make your way into the hills to discover vibrant local street art. Another of Valparaíso's best sights is La Sebastiana, home of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Naruda. This eclectic and indulgent building is now a museum -- wander up through several stories of rooms, each with their own theme. La Sebastiana, Calle Ricardo de Ferrari 692, Valparaíso,

    Colour and culture at every turn. Immerse yourself. --Amy Dillon


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    A sarcastic Twitter account is calling out potential Darwin Award winners who walk too close to the edge of Peggys Cove, N.S.

    "Morons of Peggys Cove" began tweeting in early August about people who come close enough to the water that they could be swept away by massive waves.

    "Stay away from the edge of the water. Don't get killed. Don't be a moron. Don't do this shit," its profile reads.

    Peggys Cove is a popular tourist attraction known as much for its lighthouse as for the large waves that roll in off the Atlantic Ocean.

    peggys cove

    It's a breathtaking site. But it can also be dangerous.

    In April, Ontario man Jamie Quattrocchi was pulled into the ocean as he stood on some rocks close to the water with his girlfriend standing by, CTV News reported.

    His body has not been found. But his disappearance has not deterred tourists from risking their own lives, despite warning signs that have been posted there, the network said.

    "It's very mesmerizing, and you kind of ignore ... all the cautionary signs," tourist Aaron Spitzer told CTV in May.

    The provincial government plans to install bigger signs at the site, CBC News reported.

    But for now, the Twitter account hopes to succeed where previous warnings have failed.

    It has tweeted a mix of photos ...

    Memes ...

    And images from other users.

    And while many posts are sarcastic and humourous, there's a serious message beneath them.

    This is one place where it would be better not to live on the edge.

    (Photo of Peggys Cove via Wikimedia Commons user Dennis Jarvis)

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    A retired social worker from B.C. was prevented from boarding his flight when his artificial hip set off the metal detector at airport security and the all-female security crew refused to frisk him. 

    Robert Hart was blocked from boarding his Air Canada flight on July 26 while he was on his way to a family wedding in Ontario.

    It's not the first time he has flown and he knew his artificial hip would set off the metal detector, but it is the first time he wasn't allowed to fly. Hart and his wife checked in at the Northwest Regional Airport near their home in Terrace, B.C. 

    "I smiled at the ... lady who was holding her [security] wand," he said, adding that he told the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) employees he had an artificial metal hip. 

    "And the words that came out of her mouth were, 'You're not going to be able to board this flight. You can't take this flight. You have to be patted down by male CATSA staff and one is not available.'"

    Hart asked security staff to contact their supervisor and he says he also offered to be patted down by a female CATSA screener, a male Air Canada agent or an RCMP officer.

    "I said, 'What can we do here?' And [the CATSA screener] said, 'I'm sorry you're just going to have to book another flight. We're not prepared to negotiate at all on that.'"

    Hart says he was told the small airport's CATSA crew had only two male screeners, one of whom was on holiday and the other was off duty. He was asked to come back when a male CATSA agent would be on duty, and as a result, his trip was delayed by nine hours. 

    "It was just so stunning," he said. "I couldn't believe this was happening."

    CATSA apologizes

    The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority website states that "a physical search is always done by a screening officer of the same gender as the passenger."

    But CATSA spokesman Mathieu Larocque says there are exceptions and says Hart should have been allowed to board his flight.

    "I can't disclose these procedures specifically, but there are procedures to have passengers screened when there are no same sex officers," he told CBC News.

    "We will apologize because it was our mistake. [Hart] should have been screened, he should have been able to get on that plane."

    Larocque says the agency is now ensuring CATSA staff in Terrace and across the country are aware of these exceptions "so a similar situation does not occur again."

    Hart has accepted CATSA's apology, but he says he's still worried about overly zealous security keeping Canadians grounded.

    Hear the full interview with Robert Hart.

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    TERRACE, B.C. — The agency responsible for screening at Canadian airports says a "big mistake" was made when a retired social worker was prevented from boarding a flight because an all-female security crew refused to frisk him.

    Robert Hart has an artificial hip that set off the metal detector at the airport in Terrace, B.C. in July. He was on his way to a family wedding in Ontario.

    He says he agreed to be patted down by one of the four female Canadian Air Transport Security Authority officers on duty, but they cited a same-sex pat-down policy and refused. They wouldn't take him up on his offer to have his wife chaperon the search and there were no RCMP officers on duty to step in.

    The only solution was to book another flight for when a male officer was on shift.

    "It was a surreal experience," Hart said Wednesday from his home in Terrace. "I said to the lady, 'I always beep,' and she replied, 'You're not going to be on this flight.'

    "You instantly get that feeling of this is too crazy for words ... This is just going to go sideways right now. I know it is."

    He left the airport and took a later flight that departed when a male officer was on duty.

    Hart complained to the security authority, which found his concern was justified.

    "It was pretty easy," said the agency's Mathieu Larocque. "We made a big mistake. The screening officers at the airport should have been screening that passenger. He should have been allowed to get on his flight."

    Larocque said the same-sex screening policy has been in place since 2010, but there are directives in place for situations such as Hart's. He declined to say what those were, but said that staff have been reminded of the procedures.

    The agency apologized to Hart in a letter and suggested he file a compensation claim for the $100 the delay cost him.

    Hart was impressed with how his complaint was handled and hopes nobody else will have a similar problem.

    "The letter came through and was unequivocal: 'We have a policy and it wasn't followed,'" he said.

    "They said that airport won't ever err on that side again and, in fact, they were going to make sure all other airports get that policy refreshed as well."

    — By Bill Graveland in Calgary. Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter


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    There are only a few weekends left in the sunny season.

    We have this one, the following one, and then Labour Day. If you haven't enjoyed some time away from home yet, now's the time to make it happen.

    Luckily, Airbnb offers plenty of options in some of Canada's most breathtaking destinations.

    Here are 14 awesome Airbnbs you can still rent in Canada this summer:

    Take Whistler, for example. Most people know it as a winter ski resort. But it's also a great summer hangout, where there are ample opportunities for biking, swimming and hiking.

    You can do it all while staying in a lovely chalet that has two bedrooms, a vaulted ceiling and a wood-burning fireplace to help you relax.

    Or head east to Twinlingate, N.L., the "iceberg capital of the world," and stay in a guest house that's been outfitted to look like it might have in the 19th century.

    These rentals offer a chance to see parts of Canada you might not have otherwise.

    Don't miss a great chance to get away.

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    As a lover of food, and a tourism professional, the fall holds a special place in my heart. The summer air cools, the season's bounty is gathered and celebrations abound. This fall, I'm particularly excited because I'm also returning to Galway, Ireland for the inaugural Food On The Edge Symposium -- where I'll experience a second harvest, of an idea planted by Chef Jp McMahon.


    Photo by Wonderful Life Productions

    Chef McMahon has always enjoyed cooking. Inspired by his mother and grandmother, Jp took home economics in school and started cooking at an Italian Restaurant in Galway at age 15. His education was practical, culling knowledge from the "school of life," culinary training, and his extensive travel, where he always ended up working in kitchens. At 24, Jp. returned to Ireland to attend University College Cork, where he earned a degree in both English and Art History, while continuing to work in the restaurant industry to pay the bills.

    In 2008, Jp had the opportunity to open his own restaurant and with a strong affinity for Spain and their tapas culture, he opened Galway's first tapas bar, Cava Bodega. Three years later, the restaurant next door to him closed and he decided to take on a second project, Aniar Restaurant, a fine dining establishment focused on fresh, seasonal Irish ingredients inspired by Nordic culinary techniques.

    I first met Chef McMahon back in 2012 in Toronto, while hosting a Canadian best practice mission with Failte Ireland, in my role as Executive Director of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance. I toured the province with delegates that included chefs, accommodation operators, farmers, food retailers and event organizers from across Ireland to learn about the benefits of connecting agriculture and tourism. The goal was to showcase best practices in tourism innovation, meet the community involved, and expand their collective knowledge and networks. The group left with practical knowledge, inspiration and most importantly new Canadian friends.

    The seeds of many ideas sewn during that visit began to germinate upon Chef McMahon's return to Ireland. After a follow up visit to Canada in 2013, where Jp spoke at the Terroir Symposium, a global hospitality summit hosted in Toronto, he joined the Cook It Raw initiative in Charleston, SC. All the while working on his first book, "Tapas: A Taste of Spain in Ireland", which was finally published in 2014 to much acclaim. Jp's love of food and Irish culture have lead him to become the commissioner of Euro-Toques Ireland, Founder and Director of the Galway Food Festival, as well as, a contributor to the Irish Times as a food writer.

    All of these experiences and his expanded network culminated in his biggest project to date, Food On The Edge -- a culinary symposium featuring top international chefs and food thought leaders. Combining his favourite elements from the Terroir Symposium and Cook It Raw with his own personal vision, he has invited over 40 chefs from around the world to share the stage in Galway on October 19 and 20 to inspire, inform, entertain and provide a platform for networking. It is an opportunity for Ireland to shine as a food destination, while bringing together over 300 delegates from around the world.

    Chef McMahon's career has grown remarkably in the four short years since we first met. I am constantly impressed with how he manages to balance his restaurants (did I mention he also has EAT Gastropub?!), young family (he and his wife have two beautiful daughters), newspaper column, development of a second book (to be released this Christmas), and now Food On The Edge. If this were not enough, he's also training for his first marathon taking place in Dublin the week after the symposium-talk about a type A personality!

    I look forward to another reunion with Jp and some of the other good people from the Canadian best practice mission. Interestingly the mission's impact has gone beyond Jp's symposium and also include the development of the Burren Food Trail and St. Tola Irish Goat Cheese on-farm experience adding retail, to name just a few. Inspiration is powerful stuff and if you happen to be looking for some please make the journey to Galway this fall to celebrate the harvest of passion for taste of place. The cherry on top? Extend your stay and tour the Wild Atlantic Way -- it's more than beautiful, it's delicious!


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    The prize home draw at Vancouver's Pacific National Exhibition has been an annual tradition for years — 81, to be exact.

    Now one of B.C.'s biggest lotteries, the contest was dreamed up during the Depression, when PNE organizers wanted to get people excited while also promoting local building products and design.

    Unveiled in 1934, the first PNE prize home was North America's only lottery giveaway of its kind, according to the organization. The dream bungalow was valued at $5,000, and came with a free lot on Renfrew Street, $500 in furnishings from Eaton's department store, and a "state of the art" electric stove.

    That year's winner was Vancouver mechanic Leonard Frewin. As the story released by PNE goes, Frewin wanted to marry his girlfriend, Emily Leitch, but her father felt the young man couldn't provide properly for her and wouldn't give his blessing.

    On the last day of the PNE, Frewin bought a dream home ticket for 25 cents. When he heard on the radio that he had won, he waited on the stoop of Emily's home until she came out in the morning for work. Then, he proposed to her.

    The Frewins lived in the original 800 sq.-ft. prize home for more than 60 years until they passed away within months of one other in the 1990s.

    This year's prize home is an environmentally friendly, 3,080 sq.-ft. house that comes with a lake-view lot in Naramata, B.C.

    The property — including the land — is valued at a cool $2.1 million.

    Take a look at how much the PNE prize homes have changed through the decades:

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    Born and raised in the landlocked Canadian Prairies, Dan Lundy had never seen the ocean. And he feared he wouldn't get a chance to get to the coast before he went blind.

    Lundy, a married father of three, was born with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic condition that will eventually rob him of his eyesight. dan lundy

    Now 34, Lundy has already lost his peripheral vision and is completely "night blind."

    In July, his doctor in Saskatoon told him the condition was progressing quickly. So Lundy sat down and made a list of all the places he wanted to visit before he went blind.

    "I always wanted to see the mountains and oceans," Lundy told The Huffington Post B.C. in an interview. "It was always kind of a dream."

    He posted the list on Facebook, where his sister-in-law, Jean Lundy, read it from top to bottom.

    One thing jumped out at her: see the ocean before it was too late.

    A secret plan

    Jean decided to secretly launch a GoFundMe campaign to cover the costs of food and accommodation to make the road trip a reality.

    "My birthday is coming up soon," she wrote in the page's description. "So instead of buying me anything, how about you help me get [Dan] and his family to B.C. this summer?"

    Within 24 hours, the campaign hit its goal of $3,000, so Jean upped the limit, hoping to pay for repairs to the family van.

    Just three days later, strangers helped meet that goal too, and Jean surprised her brother-in-law with the news.

    "You just don't expect people to care that deeply about you," Dan said. "You read stories all the time, but you never think it'll happen to you," he said.

    On July 30, the Lundys packed up and set off from their Saskatchewan home towards the West Coast.

    dan lundy

    "Every turn through the mountains was just, 'Oh my goodness,'" said Lundy of driving through the Rockies. "Just those mountains, they changed every turn you took."

    Lundy has a vivid memory of stopping in picturesque Lake Louise.

    "I'd seen the classic picture with people standing in front of the blue lake and the mountains... but then you see it in real life, and it's just, wow," Lundy said.

    Just when they thought the trip couldn't get better, a surprise guest joined the family en route to Victoria, B.C.

    "My son, he's autistic, and he's always had this fascination with orcas," Lundy explained. "Everyone was saying there's a small chance you'll see one when you cross on the ferry, but we were like, 'Nah' — but then, halfway through, a pod of orcas surfaced right by the ferry.

    "That made his trip."

    The Lundys spent a day at Clover Point beach near Victoria, B.C., which Lundy said was surreal.

    dan lundy

    "It was more than what I thought it would be. The pictures I'd seen and the way people discussed it just doesn't do it justice," Lundy said.

    "It just became real at one moment: the tide was coming in and the waves were crashing on the rocks... it was just amazing."

    Leaving to go back to reality, on the other hand, was tough.

    "That was hard. Way harder than I thought it would be," Lundy said. "All of us were emotional."

    After they got home, the family created a Facebook page to post photos of their trip as a way to thank everyone who made their trip possible: "It was all so unexpected, but just such a blessing."

    As for what's next, Dan said the family will be taking a break from travelling for the next while as the kids head back to school -- but that doesn't mean he's giving up on his list.

    "I mean, there's obviously still stuff you want to do," he said. "But we'll just have to get there when we get there."

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    As the world's second largest country, there are countless places to visit in Canada, many of which are widely overlooked. While metropolitan cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are all great travel destinations, don't miss out on the numerous underrated destinations that the country has to offer. Our team at Flight Network has put together our top picks for Canadian destinations not to overlook.

    1. Nahanni National Park, Northwest Territories
    Adventure seekers are sure to appreciate the stunning raw beauty of Nahanni National Park. This national park offers a complete wilderness experience and is known as a paddler's paradise. Enjoy the Virginia Falls (twice the height of Niagara), relax in the sulfur hot springs or camp under the stars at Nahanni.

    2015-08-19-1439998835-342988-9945109673_7ea3b74d27_k.jpg Image Source: Alison and Fil

    2. Twillingate, Newfoundland and Labrador
    If watching fishing boats swaying softly over the waves of the pristine Atlantic ocean sounds appealing to you, you'll love Twillingate. This small town fully captures the charm of Newfoundland and has even earned itself the title of "Iceberg Capital of the World."

    Image Source: iStock

    3. Joffre Lakes, British Columbia
    Some of the most stunning lakes are found at Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. This park is often considered one of British Columbia's most beautiful hikes. The three turquoise lakes get more and more beautiful as you go along so make sure you make it all the way to the end.

    Image Source: McKay Savage

    4. Kluane National Park, Yukon
    If you've ever dreamed of finding yourself amidst a landscape of glaciers and mountains, you'll want to book yourself a flight to the Yukon. Kluane is often called "a land of extremes" and is home to Canada's highest peak.

    Image Source: iStock

    5. Big Muddy Badlands, Saskatchewan
    For a complete change of scenery, explore the Big Muddy Badlands in south central Saskatchewan. The Big Muddy Badlands are considered one of Saskatchewan's best kept secrets.

    6. Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
    If you're into feeling like you've left planet earth, you'll want to add Dinosaur Provincial Park to your bucket list. Here you can admire the badlands, camp under the stars or check out dinosaur fossils. Remember that dinosaurs roamed this place 75 million years ago as you bask in the views of one of Canada's most dramatic landscapes.

    Image Source: Kevin Saff

    7. Prince Edward County, Ontario
    Prince Edward County awes visitors with its atmosphere and its wine. This rural oasis has become known as "the new Hamptons." Plan a visit to Prince Edward County if you're into art, wine, beaches and fresh food.

    Image Source: Rick Harris

    8. Auyuittuq National Park, Nunavut
    Nunavut is home to some of the country's least spoiled natural paradises. Specifically, Auyuittuq National Park is a guaranteed head-turn. You'll find yourself in a landscape made of 85 per cent rock and ice and there's a chance you catch the dancing hues of the Northern Lights.

    Image Source: Mike Beauregard

    9. Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba
    This prairie province is full of widely overlooked natural wonders. Riding Mountain National Park has more than 3,000 square kilometers of scenic lakes, picturesque forests, and rushing rivers. You might even catch a glimpse of a bear or a moose.

    10. Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec
    When it comes to Quebec, Montreal and Quebec City typically come to mind, leaving behind the islands off the coast. Iles de la Madeleine is a dreamy place filled with endless beaches and colourful homes. Located east of P.E.I., these islands feel very much like P.E.I. but with massive cliffs.

    Image Source: iStock

    11. Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia
    Immerse yourself in earth's beauty with Kejimkujik's crystal clear lakes and lush forests. Kejimkujik National Park is one of a kind, being both a National Park and National Historic Site. This tranquil escape is a two-hour drive from Halifax.

    Image Source: iStock

    12. Grand Falls Gorge, New Brunswick
    Adrenaline junkies will want to stop by Grand Falls Gorge. Soar through the sky on a zipline adventure as you admire New Brunswick's top waterfall. You can also explore the gorge by boat or hike.

    13. Cavendish, P.E.I.
    Cavendish is a picturesque beach town on the north coast of P.E.I. Cavendish beach features 25 miles of sand dunes met with an endless sky. Enjoy the the town's charm, slow-paced lifestyle and genuine hospitality.

    Image Source: iStock

    Story by Deanne Wong, writer.


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    Whether you're a returning student or a parent to one, September means early mornings and late nights and with school routines ramping up, you may find you need a bit more caffeine than usual. Lucky for Ottawa, the city is enjoying a bit of an independent coffee revival that includes new cafes, small-batch roasters, and knowledgeable, artistic baristas. It's worth noting that this trend isn't just hitting the downtown core, but is also spreading to the suburbs and rural areas as well. East or west, downtown or outskirts, we've found some of the city's best coffee to quell your caffeine craving.

    Ministry of Coffee (Elgin Street)
    Easily one of the city's trendiest coffee shops, Ministry may be small, but their knowledge of coffee, and the drinks they serve are impressive. One of the first places in the city to jump on the cold brew train, their nitrogen-infused coffee is pulled from a stout faucet and is perfect for September sipping. This Elgin Street business also makes their vanilla bean and chocolate syrup in house, so rest assured that your vanilla latte and mocha are preservative free, and made with love. They recently opened their second location, in Wellington West, The Ministry of Coffee and Social Affairs, which features coffee during the day, and a licensed lounge by night.

    Happy Goat Coffee Company (Little Italy)
    Happy Goat has been providing Ottawa area food shops and restaurants with high quality, organic, fair trade coffee since 2009. In addition to a passion for supporting small-scale farmers, they are also enthusiastic about coffee education. Find their coffee at various shops around the city including Herb and Spice, The Piggy Market and Nature's Buzz, and sip it by the cup at restaurants like Fresco Bistro Italiano, Aperitivo and Chez Edgar. Want a little more education about their products? Pop by their Little Italy warehouse café to pick up your own beans and learn about the process of home roasting. They stock great coffee makers, grinders, and of course their whole beans and blends. Happy Goat also runs a subscription service for those who need their dose of coffee delivered to their door every three or six months.

    Morala Specialty Coffee
    Located in a neighbourhood where coffee shops are a dime a dozen, this unassuming spot stands out for its warmth, cheerful décor and outstanding service. The owner, Miriam, welcomes customers with her trademark smile and sunny personality, and the food is wholesome and delicious. They rotate their coffee supplier, but have most recently been using Happy Goat Coffee, much to the joy of locals. Try the Café Maya made with espresso, cocoa, spices and steamed milk, or the beloved Baires featuring espresso, dulche de leche, steamed milk and coconut. It's also worth noting that this café has some of the city's most authentic empanadas, so be sure to sample one on your trip.

    Joe The Dog Coffee (Old Ottawa South)
    This organic, fairtrade, and locally roasted coffee started out as a concept by Joan Garvey, the former owner of Wag Pet Shop and Café. Wag's cafe is the only one in Ottawa where you can sip your favourite cup of Joe and hang out with your furry best friend. With names like Bad Dog, Best In Show, Gotta Go, and Diggin' It, these whole roasted beans have started to gain a loyal following in the Ottawa community. Find them at Cedars & Co., Life of Pie, Glebe Meat Market, Wild Oat, Herb and Spice, and Bouchey's. In addition to a great cup of coffee, you can also feel good about your purchase, as a percentage of the profits go to helping local dog rescues in the city.

    Bridgehead Roastery (Little Italy)
    If you live in the downtown core, chances are you know and love Bridgehead coffee. Established in 2000, this Ottawa business has grown to include 16 coffee shops, and has a history steeped in supporting small-scale farmers and artisans. The roastery in Little Italy is a testament to the growth and success of the company, and its beautiful and expansive industrial space is a community hub for those looking to learn about the roasting process. The roastery imports green beans from co-ops across the world and roasts about 6000lbs of fairtrade, organic coffee every week. Tours and workshops are available, and the staff are always willing to chat with you about the roasting process.

    Quitters (Stittsville)
    When local singer-songwriter Kathleeen Edwards announced she was quitting music, it was a sad day for the Canadian music industry. Fortunately for Ottawa coffee drinkers, her decision to end her music career meant the opening of a local coffee shop in Stittsville, aptly named Quitters. With no website, and no phone number, this community gathering space in unpretentious and unique among the big box stores of this Ottawa west suburb. Serving up Pilot Coffee and delicious sandwiches, they also bring in and support other local businesses like Fiesta Ice Pops and Big Rig Brewery. Another bonus? Quitter's hosts a wicked trivia night every Saturday.

    I Deal Coffee (Byward Market)
    Located on Dalhousie, you'll often find university students flocking to this trendy, barebones café. With canvas bags of beans overflowing in the corners, you can tell they have a passion for their product. They roast twice a week for optimum freshness, and source their beans from Royal Coffee, a Seattle and Madison based fairtrade company. With around eight different blends to choose from including espresso, light organic, and dark roast, there's certainly something you'll enjoy. Try the iced latte with coffee ice cubes for an extra bit of java without watering down your favourite drink.

    Equator Coffee (Almonte and Westboro)
    This Almonte company has been roasting since 1998, and not only is their coffee delicious, it's an enterprise you can feel good about supporting. As a member of Northern America's Cooperative Coffees, you can be sure their products come from small-scale farms, are fairtrade and 100% organic. They also work with SchoolBOX, an Almonte-based charity that helps make education possible for children in Central America. Ten cents from every pound of Equator coffee sold goes to this initiative. In addition to the roastery and café in Almonte, they recently opened a coffee bar in Westboro. Can't make it to either location? They'll deliver their beans right to your door!

    Morning Owl Coffee (Little Italy and Centretown)
    If you're a fan of Equator, head to one of Morning Owl's locations for a dose of deliciously brewed coffee. The two local businesses worked together to create a custom espresso blend that delights the senses, and the tastebuds. Morning Owl's owner, Jordan O'Leary, has family roots in Abruzzese, and you can see the distinct Italian influence in his love of a perfectly brewed cup. Their espresso and cappuccino are flawless. If you're looking for something a bit more decadent try their Sweetbird latte, which come in indulgent, flavours like Snickers, Peppermint Patty, Crème Caramel, and Nutella.

    Café Cristal (Barrhaven)
    Barrhaven residents, rejoice! You no longer have to make a trek downtown to find an independent coffee shop serving up a superb menu and drool-worthy coffee. In addition to a gorgeous interior design and perfect latte, they also boast homemade soda, gelato, divine baked goods (try the apple pecan crepe), and savory soups and sandwiches. They also host live music nights, which is a perfect fit for this elegant, Parisian-style venue.

    This article was compiled by Andrea Banks, Yelp Ottawa's Community Manager. Follow her on Yelp and on social media @yelpottawa.

    Correction: A previous version of this blog incorrectly stated that Happy Goat Coffee opened in 2010, when it actually opened in 2009.


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