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Canada Travel news and blog articles from The Huffington Post

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    Last March, my $2,000 camera was stolen from my checked luggage.

    I made the huge-ass mistake of packing a valuable item and trusting that it would arrive on the other side. Arriving in Dublin, the camera was missing. In talking with the police, it's quite likely that airport staff at either Toronto Pearson or Dublin International rifled through my suitcase and pinched it. Luckily, theft was covered by my travel insurance on my American Express credit card.

    Or so I thought. Over the phone, the insurance representative regretfully informed me that although stolen baggage was covered, my claim wasn't eligible.

    "The whole suitcase has to be taken," she explained. "We don't cover individual items lost or stolen from your checked baggage."

    It was a baffling and maddening situation, but one that got me thinking: what other insurance loopholes are lingering out there? From speaking with a few industry experts and seasoned travelers, here are six questions to ask before buying your next travel insurance policy:

    1. What Will You Be Doing?

    Don't assume that a basic plan covers everything on your trip. If you're engaging in adventure activities that could be deemed "high risk," make sure it's covered by your plan.

    "High risk sports are usually excluded from the policy," says Patrick Lavoie, Sales & Development Vice-President of Securiglobe, a travel insurance distributor in Canada. "Other sports, such as motor or contact sports are also excluded."

    According to Lavoie, activities ineligible for coverage from basic plans can include skiing or snowboarding "out of bounds," skydiving, scuba diving, whitewater rafting, mountaineering, or participation in any rodeo activity.

    To avoid hassle later, ask questions and get specifics before purchasing a policy. For instance, Kelly Michelle, a UK travel blogger of Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes, can attest first-hand to the importance of "know before you go."

    "A few years ago, my partner suffered from compression sickness caused by diving," she says. "When he was purchasing the insurance, the company tried to sell him the normal travel insurance, which only went to 30 metres."

    Luckily, Michelle's partner played it safe and purchased a policy that covered up to 40 metres.

    "The dive that made him ill was actually at 31.8 metres," says Michelle. "So that extra £8 ($16 CAD) saved us £100,000 ($200,000 CAD)."

    2. Where Will You Be Going?

    Just before I departed for Tel Aviv, the ever-tenuous relationship between Israel and Palestine further deteriorated. I got worried: would my travel medical insurance cover me in a conflict zone?

    As it turns out, most policies don't cover travel to unsafe areas, conflict zones, or "excluded areas." My insurance provider would not cover me if I travelled to a region or nation with a "do not travel" advisory issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.

    Now here's the rub: since no nation-wide "do not travel" advisory was issued for Israel at the time, I was in the clear. Not only that, my provider confirmed that if circumstances changed and the government issued a "do not travel" advisory during my trip, I would be covered.

    So sometimes, the hassle of a little research and making a phone call can give you peace of mind.

    3. What's the Policy's Maximum Payable?

    The bills add up during an emergency. What's the cap on your travel insurance?

    "Look at the maximum payable on the policy," says Lavoie. "Some policies will cover only up to $200,000, but we recommend travelers to have a minimum of $1 million maximum payable."

    4. What's in the Fine Print?

    Every policy has a list of situations in which coverage is not provided, otherwise known as "exclusions." For instance, many exclude "losses incurred while the insured is legally drunk or under the influence of drugs." So if you've had a drink and broken your toe, there could be just cause to deny your claim, even if the two are unrelated. And sometimes, certain procedures or treatments aren't covered under the policy at all.

    "On our honeymoon in Mexico, my husband felt really ill," says Brianna Bell, a freelance writer from Guelph, Ontario. "We called the resort doctor, who offered injections to help my husband recover faster. They were $450, but we had insurance."

    "We returned home to find out that these injections weren't covered."

    Review the exclusions carefully before buying insurance. If you have questions, call the company.

    5. Do You Have a Pre-Existing Condition?

    This is where things get tricky.

    According to the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers, a pre-existing condition is "something that happened (or started to happen) before you were insured." And if you don't declare a condition, the entire policy could be invalidated.

    "If you have health conditions or have had them in the past, finding travel insurance that includes coverage for those conditions can be difficult," says Lavoie. "Many plan designs don't cover pre-existing medical conditions. Others limit coverage."

    So what can you do? A waiver to the pre-existing condition exclusion can be included with many plans. To get this, you usually need to buy insurance soon after your first trip payment; be healthy when you buy insurance; and insure the full amount of your trip.

    The bottom line: if you have any health conditions (past or present), get a policy that covers you with comprehensive emergency medical coverage.

    6. Will Your Home Insurance Cover It?

    As it turns out, my stolen camera was covered under my home insurance (with a $1,000 deductible, of course). I was surprised to learn that many home insurance policies cover personal property that's stolen while travelling. Your best bet: call your home insurance provider and ask about covering high-value items in full before you leave (meaning, pay no deductible). It may only cost a little more per month, but it could majorly pay off if shit happens.

    The original article appeared on Eat Drink Travel Magazine. For more travel advice and inspiration, click here.


    -- 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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    Photo credit: Cali4beach

    The emergence of fall and approaching cooler temperatures doesn't mean you have to stop taking road trips. Fall is one of the best times of year to hit the road with your furry friends. Campgrounds are less crowded, hotel rates are lower and cool fall weather is easier on your traveling pets.

    These five destinations in Canada and the United States promise breathtaking scenery and unforgettable adventures for you and your furry friend this fall.

    1. Tofino, British Columbia

    Photo credit: Aaron Carlson

    Tofino, an outdoorsy district on Vancouver Island's magnificent west coast, is a pet (and pet parent's) dream destination. Tofino's unique combination of ancient rainforests, beaches, hiking trails and artsy downtown area mean you and your furry friend will never run out of things to do. Toss a tennis ball into the ocean, take a kayaking trip or enjoy a catnap in one of the area's many pet friendly cabins and hotels -- Tofino is a place where you and your furry friend can run wild without worry.

    2. Acadia National Park, Maine

    Similar to Tofino, Acadia National Park is a place where you and your pet can enjoy all of the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors. The American national park stretches along the rugged coast of Maine with hikes to granite peaks, bike trails, pet-friendly campgrounds, swimming beaches and scenic drives through some of the best fall foliage the Northeast has to offer.

    3. Toronto, Ontario

    Photo credit: Tania Liu

    Not all great pet-friendly fall vacations take place in the wilderness. Toronto is one of the most pet-friendly cities in Canada with more than 40 dog-friendly places to stay, popular Cherry Beach, the Sunnybrook off-leash dog park and an array of dog-friendly restaurants and pubs. Toronto is a city where you never have to leave your dog behind.

    4. Seattle, Washington

    Seattle is more than an ultra-hip northwestern U.S. city. It's a place where you and your furry friend can explore the outdoors, hop from pub to pub, play in the 9-acre Warren Magnuson Dog Park and even visit dog-washing stations. Seattle is home to more than 30 dog-friendly parks, farmers markets, bike paths and city attractions, so you and your pet will feel welcome everywhere you go.

    5. Banff, Alberta

    Photo credit: Norio NAKAYAMA

    The popular resort town of Banff's boutiquey feel may cause visitors to assume dogs aren't welcome, but that's not the case. Banff is more than welcoming to pets with more than 17 dog-friendly places to stay (including luxurious mountain chalets), pet-friendly restaurants and Canada's first national park, which welcomes dogs on nearly every trail. And don't forget to admire the breathtaking views from the Banff Gondola with your furry friend before you leave.


    -- 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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    orcalab whale orca

    The days of staring at animal live cams, waiting for something to happen are over. A B.C. whale research station actually has a system that will text your phone when there's movement in Johnstone Strait.

    Those waters off northern Vancouver Island are home to more than 150 orcas in the summer when they feed and give birth. Until now, mostly researchers and volunteers have been privileged to see the whales in all their glory.

    But this week, six cameras began live-streaming from Hanson Island, thanks to the OrcaLab research organization and philanthropic media group,

    Established in 1972 by Dr. Paul Spong, OrcaLab studies whales in the wild without interfering with their natural habitat. It developed a network of remote hydrophones to monitor orcas using their sounds.

    It will also text you when the whales are active and on camera. So that you can run to your computer and catch scenes like this:

    Or this. Hello!!!

    OrcaLab had set up a webcam in 2000, but the new partnership with provides six cameras from different angles, including underwater:

    Two other cameras are mounted above an area where orcas do their "beach rubbing." The behaviour is specific to northern resident whales who make shallow dives to the bottom and rub their massive bodies over pebbles.

    "Every day you tune into a live cam and observe the natural world in its purest form, you are a scientist," said Charlie Annenberg, founder of, which also runs live cams of pandas in China and wildlife along a river in Kenya.

    "You can take this science as far as you please," he added. "You can use the live cams to escape stress and simply soothe your soul, to participating in live lectures. You could study the recorded footage and actually become one of the most advanced field scientists in the world."

    Check out some of the images captured by the live cams:

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    Los Angeles is a sprawling city full of low strip malls, palmed avenues, film studios and over-crowded attractions, BUT that SoCal living is still so sweet. The city's full of beautiful parks, kid-friendly hikes, beaches (oh so many beaches!) and hip vegan restaurants with high chairs. A great destination to profile in our city series for the adventuring family.


    Here is a custom 48-hour itinerary for young families visiting L.A.


    Old-School: remember the Beverly Hills you grew up on? Brenda and Brandon's BevHills? Well, checking into the Beverly Hills Hotel is like watching an old episode of 90210. Posh, sophisticated and entertaining! They take wonderful care of their littlest guests with adorable VIP cards (access to complimentary beverages and treats on property), teddy bears and mini in-room amenities. The 24-hour concierge is on-call for any child-centric requests, be it bottle warming or babysitting.


    New-School: A stay at Mr. C is a chic holiday in and of itself. The warm but masculine Italian interiors do their best to transport you to another era. The refreshing bellini served on arrival certainly helps take the edge off a full day of travel. And the best part? The hotel has recently launched Little C, a tailored welcome to families traveling with tots. Freshly baked cookies and a glass of milk sent to the room on arrival, Honest Company bath products, complimentary cribs and an adorable euro-inspired children's menu all set the tone for a luxurious and pampered getaway for the whole clan.


    Home-away-from-home: Book a luxury home or apartment rental via Kid & Coe, the clever booking engine for smart family travel. All properties are displayed on their website with photos and detailed information about child-friendly amenities like cribs, highchairs, potties and proximity to parks.


    DAY 1

    Because a visit to SoCal wouldn't be complete without a trip to the beach, spend your first day along the coast.

    Break-your-fast: In Venice Beach at Superba Food + Bread -- beautiful, local and inspired cuisine, plus high chairs and change tables for the minis. You won't want to miss the pastry that is part croissant and part cinnamon roll. You're welcome.


    Play date | Morning activity: Plan a walk along the paved oceanfront boardwalk, starting at the epic pirate-inspired playground on Venice Beach and meandering along to Santa Monica. Make stops at the skateboard park (our kids could have watched these skater boys for hours) as well as the multiple playgrounds along the way.


    Lunching: Malibu Farm -- an old vacant pier has been transformed into a fetching farm-to-table dining experience. Head straight to the end of the boardwalk for the more casual counter service. For sit-down-style dining, be sure to book a table at their restaurant by the entrance to the pier.


    Play date | Afternoon activity: Spend a couple hours at the beach. Family friendly Paradise Cove is full of kids and has a restaurant offering basic sustenance (don't waste a meal here, but cold beverages served beachside are always a plus). We also love Point Dume -- especially if you visit between December and April when you can whale watch from shore.

    Snack time | coffee break: Joan's on Third has just opened a Santa Monica outpost. Great coffee and oh, you must try their coconut cupcakes for a treat.

    Early dinner with your tots: Gjusta is Gjelina's bakery outpost however, they excel in more than just pies and pastries (though these are divine). The salads, rotisserie, sandwiches and fish are all on point! It closes early by L.A. standards, but this jives well with the littles' bedtime.



    Get a sitter | Night out for mom & dad: If you fancy a fancy cocktail amidst hushed conversations, tinkling crystal bar ware and a piano man, the Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel should do the trick. Make a dinner reservation at nearby Crossroads Kitchen for tasty, high-end vegan cuisine.

    DAY 2

    Break-your-fast: at the Fountain Coffee Room for a quintessential Beverly Hills experience. Diner-style grub like flapjacks (in the shape of Mickey Mouse for the tots), eggs your way and bottomless coffee. We were sitting across from George Hamilton on a recent visit -- it doesn't get more Old Hollywood than that!

    Play date | Morning activity: Strap on your baby carrier, oil up the stroller -- whatever mode of transport suits you best -- and head to Runyon Canyon to work off that breakfast. The fresh air and killer views will do the whole family good.

    Lunch: at the fabulous Bel Air Hotel with chef Wolfgang Puck is always a highlight. Families are welcome -- request a private booth so when the littles get restless, you won't disturb the Hollywood royalty in residence. And be sure to stroll the grounds and visit the swans before you go.


    Play date | Afternoon activity: Love the LACMA? Be sure to add a visit to The Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM). We were suitably impressed with the Pritzker Prize-winning building designed by architect Renzo Piano in addition to the works on display.

    OR visit the Arts District, Downtown L.A. for cool coffee cafes, well-curated shops, delicious juice bars and healthy eats. It's not a huge footprint which makes it easy to stroll with or without a stroller.

    Snack time | coffee break: Coffee Commissary makes a great cup of Joe after a museum visit and don't miss Blacktop to fuel your Arts District exploration. While wandering, don't miss their neighbours, Poketo for gifts, and for cool but casual men's gear at Apolis Common (all ethically made and sourced goods).


    OR: refresh and rehydrate with a cold-pressed juice from The Pressed Juicery and Juice Served Here (multiple locations across the city).

    Early dinner with the tots: Gracias Madre for tasty vegan Mexican cuisine. It's big and loud so you won't feel like you're children are being disruptive if they get rowdy. Be sure to sample a cocktail (or two) and order the tostadas de ceviche!

    If you just can't muster the energy to leave your hotel or home rental and crave a night in with no cooking (don't blame you), we love the L.A.-based app Postmates, which allows you to instantly order food from any restaurant within a specific radius delivered to your door in under an hour. The Uber-like premise means you can dine (as we did) on Cafe Gratitude cuisine without having to sit in traffic, secure a sitter, or risk restaurant meltdowns.

    *All photos taken by Amanda Blakley; Kid & Coe home photographs provided by Kid & Coe. The authour received press rates at the hotels featured in this blog.


    -- 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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    I often think how fortunate we are to live in a digital age. Technology like computers and smartphones enable us to make purchases from the comfort of our homes. Social media digitally connects us to the world's latest news and trends with the push of a button (or swipe of a screen). All of this is convenient, but I believe it comes at a cost -- the loss of what I like to call "the human connection."

    By this I mean to truly connect with someone, even if they're a complete stranger. Strike up a conversation with a random bystander for no other reason but to be kind and make their day a bit better. Recently, I went on a trip with my wife and in-laws and discovered that the human connection does still exist, and to my surprise it was where I least expected it... New York City.

    Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

    New York is known as "the city that never sleeps," so maybe that's why for years I've heard rumours that all New Yorkers are grouchy and in it for themselves. I wanted to finally put these myths to rest and see the city for myself. My father-in-law told me prior to us leaving that he had been there 20 years ago and at that time, some areas were "less than desirable." Images of some of my favorite mafia movies popped into my head -- gangsters walking down dark and dreary alleys, up to no good.

    Still, I wanted to give The Big Apple a fair shot. I'd heard that while in office, Mayor Rudy Giuliani had really cleaned up the city. Surely this meant that the New York my father-in-law remembered from two decades earlier was a thing of the past? We packed our bags and headed off, not knowing exactly what we were in for.

    When we arrived, the first thing we noticed was that there wasn't a single piece of stray garbage on the streets. This was remarkable considering the area of town we were in was undergoing a fair bit of construction. It was around supper time and we were all getting quite hungry. We left our hotel rooms and decided to explore the surrounding areas for a good place to eat. Not five minutes into our journey, we heard a voice from behind us.

    "Can I help you guys find something?"

    A local had seen us pass him and since we looked lost, he decided to speak up. The next thing I knew, we were getting recommendations of nearby establishments, he was even breaking them down by the type of meal we could enjoy. Here was a complete stranger, taking time out of his day to connect with us and make sure we found what we were looking for. I was beginning to realize this wasn't the New York I had been told about.

    A Helpful Hand Where Least Expected

    Navigating the busy streets of the city can be a challenge for anyone. This is particularly true if, like me, you happen to use a wheelchair. The subway system (Metropolitan Transportation Authority or "MTA") is a series of mostly underground tunnels, and at times I felt like it was a riddle just to get on the right train. One sign read "Take the R train to Uptown, unless late night take seven." What? Once we figured out how to get from point A to point B, we had the added "bonus" of trying to decipher which stations had elevators. We learned that on some maps, stations listed as "accessible" might mean they have an escalator but no elevator.

    Luckily for me, I am able to get out of my wheelchair and walk short distances with support. This came in handy one late night after exploring Times Square. The train we needed to catch was only available from a certain subway station, but the problem was that the station wasn't accessible. There were two flights of stairs leading to the platform. To top it off, my wife had recently had shoulder surgery and was in no position to carry my chair down the stairs. It was so late, we'd figure out something -- I hopped out of my chair, grabbed on to a nearby railing and started to make my way down.

    Within seconds I hear "Let me help you with that!" and look up to see this young 20-something (who was a dead ringer for rapper Wiz Khalifa) helping my wife lift my chair down the stairs. He was with a few friends who looked like they were anxious to go, but he insisted that he wanted to stay with us and make sure we got to the platform okay.

    I was blown away, and asked him if there was anything I could do to repay him for his kindness. He replied, "No, I was happy to help!" and with a smile added, "Follow me on Instagram." With that, he was off. Not only was he willing to connect with us face-to-face, but he expressed interest in staying connected after this one seemingly small interaction.

    A Light at the End of the Tunnel

    This same trend of human connection and kindness continued throughout our journey. Commuters offering their seat to my mother-in-law who was using a cane, others providing directions or shortcuts when they overheard we were going to be late attending a show across town. All of this for nothing more but to make our day a bit better.

    It's easy to see that no amount of technology can replace the spontaneity of providing a good deed in-person. Whether it's thanks to the leadership of Mayor Giuliani or the great equalizer of the 9/11 tragedy that has brought this city together, one thing is certain, the heart of New York City is beating strong and no matter where you're from, that is something we can all connect with.


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    "You can smell the rosemary in the air." Jean Marc Naridini is a jovial fellow with a bright burst of silver hair and sentences punctuated with giggles. In his thick French accent he tells me that he has been guiding people along the enchanting trails of the calanques in Southern France for years. He meets people from around the world who tell him that this is one of the most beautiful places they've ever been. "People come to the Calanques for an adventure," he says, "but what they also find is a story."

    The calanques -- deriving from the Occitan and Corsican word for inlet -- is just that: a series of natural inlets spanning 20 km across from Marseille to Cassis across Southern France. These emerald fingers, as Marseille's tourism site refers to them, dip between cliffs and were formed 12 000 years ago after a gradual warming during the ice age caused sea levels to rise, consequently flooding the valleys. There are several inlets that are more popular among tourists, and one of them is Calanques de Sugiton -- that's where my friend and I we were headed today.

    It's a scorching hot June day and Marseille is sizzling to life. I go with my friend to buy tickets for a Calanques boat tour. I originally wanted to hike but my friend insists it's too hard, and so I acquiesce. I bring a bathing suit not realizing these tours don't allow you to swim. We arrive at the booth when I notice the dock emptied of the usual crowds, but I count it as luck. The lady at the ticket booth is covered in a million beads of sweat. She shakes her head firmly, "not today," she says, as is typical in France, there is a strike.

    Our only option is to go home, or hike -- coming another time isn't an option because I'll be on a plane for Italy the next day. So we're off on a jam-packed bus towards the hiking trail. It starts as a russet path by Luminy University. The air is thick and hot as broth. I have one of those flimsy bags -- the one that flips inside out and becomes a towel -- in tow, stocked with a box of already melting chocolate biscuits, and that signature viscous water left to warm in a plastic bottle.

    The silence is the first thing that hits me. I walk between the walls of thickening trees and for the briefest moment, feel myself in a terra nullus -- no time, no civilization, only land and sky. I have only begun the 90-minute trek when I come face-to-face with these enormous white cliffs. It looks so one-dimensional; this utter clarity that at once flattens your thoughts into a sense of pure awe. But then I remember that I'm hot, and that somewhere 900-ft down is a cool, inviting cove that will wipe away all the sweat and heat-pain. So I continue on what is so far beautiful flat land that sizzles beneath my sneakers. Note: don't hike in sneakers. Every so often, a hiker glazed in sweat, shoulders roasting red under the noon-day sun, traverses my path. I come upon some hikers and ask which way it is to the Calanques. One lady points through the bushes where she is standing, "down there," she says, her index finger pointing perilously steep, "just be careful." I poke my head through the bushes and see nothing ahead, then my eyes drift downward, and there it is: a path plummeting into rocky precariousness below.

    Many great stories have started here. This is the mythical bedrock of France's foundation. Legend has it that in 600 B.C., Greek explorer Protis sailed towards these hibernating white beasts. He docked and found himself in an unexpected banquet held by King Nanus of Segobriges. The king sought for his daughter, Gyptis, the finest suitor. The new king, along with his queen, would reign over their new dominion. Protis waltzed right into this affair, and before you know it, Gyptis raised her cup of wine to him. He found no problem declaring an easy victory over love, and over his new land, Masallia, now known as Marseille.

    Where great tales begin, many have also ended. Anotine de Saint Exupery, famous for his enduring classic, The Little Prince, met his untimely death here after the private plane he was flying crashed off these shores in July of 1944. In 1998, a fisherman pulled a silver bracelet from his net with engravings of the author's name, and his wife's name next to it. In 2003, remnants of a plane off the shore were confirmed as belonging to Exupery. .

    The assiduous student of batteries, and one of the world's most well-known historical figures, Napoleon, got his start here when he planned out a heavy battery of artillery along the coast of Morgiou -- one of the Calanques -- to protect against invading British fleets in 1810.

    Among the greats there was me, sweating and panting until I finally reach that small cupping shore where bright waters recede into the deeper, darker depths. Young boys tiptoe to the edge of cliffs, giddy to jump, and finally, fall like spears through the deep velvety water. On the turquoise pebbled shores, a crowd has come to laze in their colourful medley of bathing suits. I crawl through the ripples of cold turquoise water and feel the thick polished stones slide against my palms. I dip my head in and let the coolness wrap around every hair follicle and slide across my neck. As I swim past the cove and turn left, the whole ocean opens up to me.

    Without the ache, the sweat, and that cursed gluey-warm bottled water; today would simply not have been the same. As I float in the water's soft drift, I let my body relax and sniff for the rosemary in the air. I realize shortly after that the trek back up is a pure, 900-ft ascent up the same, shoddy, bobbly rocks. But I'll just stop here.

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    September means shoulder season in Alberta, where it's not quite summer, but not yet ski season, either.

    But just because we can no longer frolic near the lake and it's too early to hit the slopes, doesn't mean there's nothing to do in Alberta in the fall.

    Autumn in Alberta means plenty of outdoor activities and fantastic festivals to try.

    We've gathered up a few suggestions, from new food, to nighttime wonders, to magnificent hikes — all perfect ideas to keep you busy while cooler weather heads your way!

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    There are literally thousands of film festivals worldwide and millions of people who attend them. Some consider it their annual holiday -- rather than visiting a destination to sight-see or going on a ski vacation, such aficionados go festivaling.

    And whether they're off to Cannes, Venice, Telluride or Toronto, most will say the films are the draw but a few will admit it's the pull of the stars. But why just gaze at celebrities when you can actually experience what it's like to be famous? To feel like a movie star, act like a movie star. Here's how:

    Arrive in Style

    It doesn't seem logical but the best way to get people to look at you is to show up in a car no one can see you in. There's something about a dark, slowly moving vehicle with tinted windows that whips crowds into a frenzy. Even if it's only for the doorman's benefit, show up at hotspots via services such as Uber Black Car.

    Photo courtesy of Uber

    Stay Near the Stars

    With websites such as offering hundreds of thousands of properties worldwide, accommodation options abound. To stay at one of the fancy hotels the stars are known to stay at, book early, at least two or three months in advance. To increase your odds of star encounters, and to feel like a celeb yourself, choose a hotel with a screening room -- a draw for industry bigwigs and stars alike. Also, at whichever hotel you book, ask for a room that is on one of the upper floors and away from the elevator, preferably on an executive level so you have access to the VIP Lounge.

    Photo courtesy of

    Need something more budget-friendly? Book into a nearby boutique hotel or B&B. That way you can hang out in in the lobbies and bars of 5-star places but hang your hat at a more modest place down the road.

    Interestingly, many celebs are choosing to stay in private penthouses and condos in districts and hoods that are close to the action. You too can opt for a furnished suite and may end up in the same building as an A-lister.

    Splurge on Beauty ... and the Feast

    If you're going to rub shoulders with celebrities, enjoy someone rubbing your shoulders first. Massages and other spa treatments are a sure-fire way to feel like a celeb. According to Glena Mcgreath, an aesthetician at Toronto's Purebeauty Salon & Spa, many stars come in on the morning of a red-carpet event just to get a quick half-hour refresher facial. Although more lengthy sessions are available, it doesn't take much, she says, to look and feel revitalized. Other indulges? Toronto-based hair and make-up technician, Lilo Le, suggests arranging for a make-up artist to come to your room. It's one less thing you have to fuss with before getting dressed and heading out on the town.

    Photo courtesy of Purebeauty Salon & Spa

    Food and beverage-wise, festivals bring out a city's hottest culinary stars so take advantage and wine and dine like a celebrity. Don't be surprised if the menus list specially created cocktails and dishes named after, or inspired by, film -- it's all designed to get you in celebrity mode.

    Photo courtesy of Ritz Carlton

    Of course, it's always decadent and definitely star-like to order room service at least once. The added thrill? Signing the bill counts as signing your autograph.


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    Iconic architecture, deep dish pizza and rich history aside, the currents of America's Windy City are changing constantly. We recently scoped out the newest openings, creative concepts and inventive menu items Chicago has to offer:

    Stay: Housed in an 1820s bank, the first-ever Virgin Hotel features chambers that separates spaces for sleeping and getting dressed (it's like having a walk-in closet in your hotel room). Among the many thoughtful perks at this Richard Branson pied-à-terre: apps that control room temp while you're away, yoga mats, sliding shoe racks and guest car services featuring a luxury Tesla. Be sure to spend some time in the Shag Room cocktail lounge, where the carpet matches the name. Virgin Hotel Chicago, 203 N Wabash Ave., Chicago, 312-940-4400,

    Dine: At Girl and the Goat on Chi-Town's restaurant row, Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard wows with unique sharing plates, like light and creamy goat liver mousse (if you have any trouble deciding among the menu items, the servers will happily help design a meal based on your personal palate). On the other side of the river, check out Intro's buzzworthy rotating-chef restaurant concept (we hear Aaron Martinez is taking the helm till mid-October). Intro Chicago, 2300 N Lincoln Park W, Chicago, 773-868-0002,

    Sip: Presidio may be the new bar in trendy Bucktown, but it's already winning awards for its craft cocktails created with West Coast (San Francisco, to be exact) flair. The Flash in the Pan, in particular, is an original that proves a drink can be everything at once: sweet, tart, spicy and minty. Trust us, try it. Presidio, 1749 N Damen Ave., Chicago, 773-697-3315,

    Snack: You won't find synthetic flavours or emulsifiers at Jeni's Scoop Shop -- just good old-fashioned artisan ice cream in irreverent beverage-inspired flavours like Root Beer and Mango Lassi. Or, find small-batch doughnut heaven at Firecakes in River North, where a Chocolate Hazelnut Long John, Coconut Cream and others have been known to cause lineups. Firecakes Donuts, 68 W Hubbard St., Chicago, 312-329-6500,

    Shop: Retail-wise, Wicker Park is where it's at, with offerings from Intermix, Benefit, Scotch & Soda and more. Among our faves: Mojo Spa, with its eponymous all-natural line of beauty and skin-care products (the Illuminata is a miracle lotion foundation that works for all tones), and, on Damen Street, independent boutique p.45, carrying designs by the likes of jolie-laide indie brand Creatures of Comfort.

    Second City? Not a chance. In our books, Chicago will always be No. 1. --Miranda Sam

    Miranda Sam is a freelance writer and marketer and the editor of Style by Fire. Follow her fashion and retail adventures on Instagram and Twitter.


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    Packing. That single word can bring out the worst in people. Pre-travel tasks should be exciting; booking a trip is the most amazing feeling in the world and planning the best itinerary gets the heart rate soaring. But when it comes to packing, a lot of people feel way out of their depth.

    Don't worry! Packing isn't a popular pastime for anyone, even frequent travellers who have this stuffing things into a bag malarkey down. If you're someone who breaks out in a cold sweat at the sight of an empty suitcase, here are some great tips for packing quickly, safely, and easily time and time again.

    1. Know the weight limit

    First things first, know what you have to work with. Weight limits vary from airline to airline, so it's well worth taking a moment to check how much luggage you can actually take with you. Often, this can be a blessing in disguise, as the unenviable task of whittling things down is made easier with a non-negotiable weight limit.


    2. Make a list

    When it comes to packing, lists are your friend. Instead of going in blind with a vague idea of what you need to take in your head, write it out so you have a visual note of the necessities. To really become a pro at packing, cut your list by 40% when you've written it.

    3. Buy a small suitcase

    What? I hear you ask. Why not just buy the biggest suitcase you can and stuff it full 'just in case'? This is where a lot of people go wrong with packing. Instead, seek out a small suitcase and fill it to the brim. The smaller amount of space means it's highly unlikely you'll over pack -- plus you'll always be under the weight limit. Now we've got the initial woes out of the way, let's get into the nitty gritty and discuss some ways you can really ace this packing thing.

    4. Fill straws with shampoo

    Shower products often take up the most space. Bottles are bulky and, let's face it, you're unlikely to use an entire pot or tube of shampoo on one trip. For a really neat trick that allows no wastage, grab some straws and fill them with shampoo and conditioner, tape the ends over and -- voila! -- you have miniature dispensers that save a tonne of space.


    5. Store chargers with ease

    In this day and age, it's likely you'll be travelling with an entourage of chargeable goods. Which means it's likely you'll spend the first day of your trip unravelling wires that have tangled on the journey. Packing pros use old sunglass cases to keep wires in order as well as ensure they're easy to find at a moment's notice.

    6. Shower cap your shoes

    Muddy shoes are the worst when it comes to packing. Your favourite white top? Immediately stained. The answer? Dig out some old shower caps or buy a couple of cheap plastic ones to slip over the bottom of your shoes.

    7. Get handy with the plastic wrap

    Plastic wrap is a packing pro's lifeline, especially when it comes to spillables like shampoos and conditioners. To avoid the sticky aftermath of a spilt bottle, tuck some plastic wrap over the top before replacing the lid as normal.

    8. Roll, don't fold

    By now, everyone should know that rolling not folding clothes creates more space and keeps your garments in mint condition. What's more, it's easier to see what you've packed than if you've folded and piled everything on top of each other.


    Photo courtesy of Flickr: Connie Ma

    9. Stuff spare spaces with underwear and socks

    "You'll be surprised exactly how much more room you can gain by simply filling in those numerous small spaces in the corners of your backpack," says Ronald Robbins from Active Planet Travels.
    It's true! Stuff balled socks and small clothing items into leftover gaps when you've finished packing for more space and easy access to fresh underwear.

    10. Protect breakables with socks

    Before you stuff your socks into those small spaces, fill them with breakables that are in danger of smashing in transit. Things like small perfume or aftershave bottles slip neatly into balled socks for protection and to save space.

    11. Shoes go heel to toe

    A lot of people make the mistake of laying their shoes any old way in their suitcase. Instead, place them in the bottom of your bag in a heel-to-toe fashion. This not only saves space, but it also means your suitcase is evenly balanced.

    12. Pack plenty of empty bags

    You can't go wrong with a few extra empty bags. They take up almost no room at all and are perfect for storing dirty laundry and small items.


    13. Stop jewelry tangling with plastic wrap

    Like electrical chargers, jewelry is likely to tangle in transit. To swerve a burst of frustration, wrap necklaces and bracelets in plastic wrap. First, lay down one sheet of wrap, place your jewelry on it, and add another layer of wrap over the top.

    14. Create your own packing cubes

    Packing cubes are all the rage. Not only do they create pockets of space within your suitcase, they also allow you to group together outfits for easy access. For a homemade option, use 2.5 gallon re-sealable bags to place an outfit for each day in.

    Photo by Jesús Gorriti

    "It's a fraction of the expense of 'official' packing bags", says Christina on TripAdvisor.

    15. Women can store make-up in contact cases

    Women, you can finally put those pesky contact lens cases to use. Pour in any liquid make up or cosmetic fluids and return the caps to prevent any spillage. This is perfect for short breaks and for taking small testers of different products with you.

    itely isn't the best part of travel, but with these handy tips, you'll be packing like a pro in no time at all.


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    "But I'm on vacation!"

    This is just one of the excuses we give ourselves when we decide to forfeit our fitness routines while traveling. But whether you're traveling for fun or for work, it can be one of the best times to change or ramp up your exercise, because you're not dealing with the time and obligatory commitments you have at home. Because we all know that one of the biggest challenges in fitting in a fitness routine at home is that we simply don't seem to have enough time.

    Try using this checklist to incorporate fitness into your travel plans.

    1) Check your hotel before you travel to see if they have an on-site gym or affiliate close by.
    If you are in a position to select your own hotel, make this one of your prime criteria. Also, review their gym hours; while many are open 24 hours, some are not, and if your travel schedule won't fit the gym opening schedule, that's a problem. Contact the hotel to see if there is any leeway, or enquire about gyms nearby.

    2) Some hotels offer running concierges, or gear you can borrow.
    Ask first! This is a great option if you are new to your destination, plus it forces you to run at a certain time, and you don't have the excuse of not having the appropriate work out gear.

    3) Pack your workout clothes.
    Runners take up space; you'll want to use them. There's nothing wrong with a little guilt-inspired motivation looking at those clothes every day, sitting clean in your suitcase.

    4) Create a routine for 15-, 30-, 45- and 60-minute-long work outs and fit in what you can.
    If time and budget permits, hire a personal trainer to get you started and to build the routine for you.

    5) Make room in your schedule and make it a meeting with yourself.
    Schedule one more workout than you ideally want to do, in case plans change unexpectedly.

    6) Talk to your travel companions about your fitness plan to stay accountable.
    Even if they don't work out with you, they'll ask if you did.

    7) Take the opportunity to work out during a different time of day.
    Just because your schedule won't let you do your traditional early morning run doesn't mean you can't try out an afternoon or evening option.

    8) Check the weather forecast where you're traveling to.
    If you've planned outside runs but the weather isn't cooperating, make back-up plans before you leave (checking for a gym, finding in-room fitness routines, etc.)

    9) Invest in good running shoes.
    Not in the budget? Check your reward programs to see if you can cash some in for a gift card and treat yourself.

    Post your workout plans on social media to make yourself more committed. Find other affiliated fitness folks by searching hashtags such as #fitness, #running, #workout, or for one specific to your sport.

    The biggest benefits? You'll have more energy for day-long conferences if you're traveling for work, and if you're traveling for leisure, that extra food and drink won't be quite as noticeable on the way back home.

    This blog was originally run on "What She Said" on Sirius/XM Canada,Canada Talks Channel 167, as part of Kathy's "How She Travels" column. Tune in to hear Kathy's travel tips Fridays at 10:45am.


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    From the peaks of Banff National Park to the badlands of Drumheller, Albertans live in a gorgeous province with plenty to see and do. Too bad, Alberta hasn't been doing a great job lately of telling the world.

    Case in point... well, here are five cases in point where Alberta has failed at promoting itself.

    1. There are a number of things to do in Okotoks

    The Town of Okotoks wins at failing with their exceptionally bland slogan.

    Officials intially protested that the photo above missed the full slogan — which began with "Let your summer unfold in Okotoks." But the town soon realized they might as well run with it.

    Dear person who wins this gift basket full of "things to do in Okotoks," let us know what they are, k?

    2. Edmonton: Home of garbage and gas stations

    Reality show "Amazing Race Canada" swung by Edmonton for the 11th leg of this season's race. Locations usually try to capitalize on the huge TV audience by show off their best attractions. Teams stop at places like the Humayun's Tomb in Delhi, or are challenged to tango dance in Buenos Aires.

    In Edmonton, teams were asked to ... sort recycling at the glamorous Edmonton Waste Management Centre, and shop for snacks at the exotic Petro-Canada gas station in St. Albert.

    amazing race canada
    Bet you couldn't sleep thinking about visiting the Edmonton Waste Management Centre.

    amazing race canada
    OMG, it's the Petro-Can!

    But wait, there's MORE.

    Edmonton showed its best hospitality to contestants as all but one of the cab drivers who were asked to wait took off, stranding the teams.

    To be fair, the city's Waste Management Centre has one defender on Reddit:

    3. Alberta... or Northumberland?

    Alberta is a land-locked province. But that didn't stop the provincial government from trying to pass off the North Sea coastline in the U.K. as Alberta. In 2009, two tourism ads showed the image of children running on the "Alberta" beach.

    "Children are a symbol of the future. They symbolize that Albertans are a worldly people," a provincial overnment spokesperson told the Telegraph.

    4. Come to Calgary, enjoy our illegal activities

    Calgary Economic Development's “Right Here – Calgary Destination Video" promotes a number of fun things to do in Calgary, including, in the ad's first seven seconds, slacklining. Unfortunately, slacklining carries a fine of between $100 and $1,000 under Calgary's tree protection bylaws.

    The video also features skateboarders on Stephen Avenue, where, at the time of filming, it was illegal to skateboard.

    5. Alberta forgets Nunavut exists

    Erm, we seem to be missing a territory.

    Alberta might be bad at marketing itself, but it might be even worse at promoting the rest of Canada.

    In this ad from Travel Alberta, the map designer forgot to include Nunavut — making it about 16 years behind the times.

    The map also shows an adrift Cape Breton Island, and a missing Ellesmere Island.

    But perhaps Alberta doesn't need any kind of marketing campaign. It speaks for itself.

    Like the world's largest roadside beaver.

    beaverlodge(Photo: Arthur T. LaBar/Flickr)

    'Nuff said.

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    Photo credit: Wandering World

    Travelling isn't supposed to be stressful. However, many of us embark on vacations with rough budgets for dining, activities, tours and extras in mind. Going over that budget can quickly turn a relaxing vacation into an overwhelming one. You may even find yourself wanting to check out early (and frustratedly head back to Canada's frigid winter temperatures) or cut back on meals and services, because you're quickly amassing too much debt.

    That's not how vacations should be, and it's why a huge number of travellers are opting for all-inclusive getaways rather than the poorly-planned alternative.

    Although, all-inclusive vacations aren't for everyone. They're not for travellers who like to stay, dine and experience their destination as the locals do. They're not for travellers who want to throw on a backpack and bus from one destination within a country to another. They're for those who are seeking a getaway that will be exciting yet rejuvenating at the same time -- one from which they'll return feeling relaxed and with stories to tell.

    This year's winter travellers may be seeking warm escapes like backpacking trips across Bali or all-inclusive vacations in some of Mexico's top tourist destinations. Both types of travel are rewarding, but the following are five reasons why you may want to kick back and enjoy the stress-free experience of an all-inclusive vacation when escaping the cold temperatures in Canada this winter.

    1. You Can Forget About Planning

    Many travellers think the plans associated with an all-inclusive resort are too rigid. They assume you'll have to eat at certain times and partake in activities only when they're offered. That couldn't be farther from the truth. At an all-inclusive resort, you're free to lay in a hammock from sun up to sun down or engage in activities, like snorkeling, beach volleyball and kayaking adventures, until you fall into bed at night. The plans are yours to make (or not make) at an all-inclusive resort.

    2. The Cuisine Is Diverse and Delicious

    Contrary to popular belief, all-inclusive resorts don't just offer one massive buffet to their guests. Most all-inclusive resorts offer a variety of restaurants run by top-end chefs. These resorts take pride in what they serve and always offer a broad range of cuisines, so you never feel like you're eating the same thing every day.

    3. No More Budget Stress

    You'll know what you're going to spend when you embark on your all-inclusive vacation. That means you can forget about going over your budget with those few extra drinks at night, and you don't have to skip breakfast to save up for a rainforest tour. Many all-inclusive resorts even offer packages that include off-site tours and excursions, so you can be prepared for those costs before you even board the plane.

    4. Unbeatable Service

    All-inclusive resorts are used to catering to customers needs, so they won't be surprised when you ask for flowers and a bottle of champagne in your room upon arrival. The popular all-inclusive resort Sandals offers rates that include a butler service and special amenities for travellers who want the resort to go above and beyond. All-inclusive resorts are prepared to accommodate food allergies, last-minute plans, special drink recipes and other requests that typical hotels are unable to fulfill.

    5. It's Not Lame

    Critics are convinced that all all-inclusive vacations are boring. Days are spent by the pool drinking and nights are spent gorging at buffets. That's far from the truth. You don't have to stay within the walls of your all-inclusive resort (unless you want to). Take a cab into town to explore downtown Cabo San Lucas' nightlife scene or teach your little ones to swim in the Pacific Ocean. Just as many memories can be made at all-inclusive resorts as they can on backpacking excursions.


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    I love travelling, but when I am on the road or a plane, it is easy to go for the unhealthy options. With a little planning, it is possible (and easy!) to stay healthy and eat nutritious foods on your next holiday or business trip.

    Recently, I was fortunate to speak with Fairmont Pacific Rim's executive chef, Nathan Brown. Nathan provided the top tips on how you can eat healthy on your travels.

    What are the top tips for eating healthy while travelling?

    Healthy eating while travelling is about being prepared. While some establishments do healthy eating better than others, do your research and locate establishments before you travel.

    What can you do if you have dietary restrictions?

    The best thing to do is get in contact with the chef of the hotel prior to your travels to let them know the specifics of your dietary restrictions. Most chefs have been trained to prepare a vast array of special dietary and allergy-specific meals, and many hotels will have menu options that cater to dietary restrictions, preferences and allergy sensitivities.

    Another option is to send a menu directly to the chef that has worked for you in the past, and the chefs can work with their own sense of creativity to prepare dishes that suit your tastes. If the hotel is aware, the culinary team can be prepared and offer alternative options that comply with dietary restrictions without forfeiting flavour, especially if you will be staying at a certain hotel for a longer period.

    Can you ask for room service with modified meals?

    Many hotels will have many healthy items on existing menus that contribute to overall well-being. Having dishes on a menu that are healthy, gluten free, lactose free, vegetarian, or vegan should always be available. If they are not in the actual in room dining menu, they may be available in the hotel's all-day dining restaurant menu.

    Is it a good idea to email the hotel before you leave to ask about healthy eating options?

    This is the absolute best way to ensure you get what you want. If you have specific dietary needs the kitchen will love that you gave them extra time to plan something special for you.

    What are healthy snacks suggestions for jet lag?

    Stay hydrated during and after a flight.

    Vegetable juices will give you some of the energy you are missing. Stay away from sugar, it will give you a feeling of a false high and the "sugar crash" will be worse. I find it helpful to me as well to stay away from carbohydrates.

    I love travelling healthy! Your suggestions are always welcome, as I continue on my journey to live life to the fullest. Let's have the very best 2015!

    Visit Sacha daily at


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    Autumn is upon us and summer vacation is becoming a distant memory. But with warm weather and a fall's golden hues it's the perfect time to head to Grey County for a fall colour tour.

    Only two hours north from Toronto, Grey County is often overlooked by the many who flock to Prince Edward County to get their fall colour fix.

    With fewer crowds and plenty to do Grey County Tourism has launched the Fall Colours campaign and sweetened the deal with a new contest and opportunities to win a number of great experiences including accommodation at a number of hotels, dinner at Michael Stadtländer's Eigensinn Farm and making your own cider at Beaver Valley Cidery.

    Contest or not, there are plenty of reasons to visit Grey County this fall, here's a bit of inspiration:


    1. Salmon Jumping

    Each autumn salmon migrate upstream from the Sydenham River in Owen Sound. Accessible for all ages, you can walk, paddle or drive the route which finishes in Inglis Falls.


    2. Apple Pie in a Wine Glass

    Georgian Hills Vineyard not only produces great cool climate wines, but also cider and sweet wines like its sweet wine Baked Apple Frozen to the Core, which has a surprisingly tart finish.


    3. Kick it With Alpacas

    Alpaca wool is soft, warmer than sheep and hypoallergenic. Many Canadians have recently started raising these shy animals for wool or simply as pets.

    Even if you don't have the space for one of these curious creatures you can head over to Kickin' Back Alpaca Ranch where owners Carolyn and Doug offer tours for $20 but be warned you may end up spending the entire afternoon with these loveable animals.


    4. Luxe Bed and Breakfasts

    Originally from Owen Sound, Jamie Heimbecker moved to Toronto only to return to restore this 100 year old home with Matthew MacLean. MacLean Estate has the quaint charm of a country B&B with all the modern amenities including more channels on a television than you should watch, a charging centre and iPhone alarm. If sharing a bathroom isn't your cup of tea book the Dr. J.A. Hershey King Turret Room, which has a private ensuite bath.


    5. Farm Fresh Food

    Great food isn't isolated to Toronto, restaurants here work alongside neighboring farms to get the freshest produce in season. Don't miss out on Bruce Wine Bar and Mill Cafe in Thornbury, The Falls Inn at Walter's Falls or newly opened Milk Maid Fine Cheese and Gourmet Food in Owen Sound, which started as a cheese boutique but locals support seems to be fueling a busy cafe along with it.

    6. The Apple Pie Trail

    What is autumn without a fall u-pick, caramel apples and cider? Head over to the Farmer's Pantry and try your hand at picking apples, when you grow tired stroll the animal farm and other activities that are orchestrated for children but fun for everyone.


    7. Reindeer Games

    Resting on the Niagara Escarpment, Pretty River Valley Country Inn is the perfect getaway for those wanting to reconnect with nature. Not only a European-style inn, but also an organic farm, you can wander the grounds to see reindeer, Icelandic, minis and Percheron horses and a number of other animals. It's also possible to organize treks with the Icelandic horses.


    8. Liquid Gold

    It's not surprising to see the reintroduction of incredible cideries like Beaver Valley and Duxbury as Grey County was a large cider region before prohibition.

    But the region isn't limited to cider, Coffin Ridge opened the doors for many wineries and now a number of microbreweries ranging from Kilannan Brewing Co. in Owen Sound to Northwinds Brew House & Eatery in Collingwood are worth a drive north.

    What have I missed? What else would you recommend in Grey County?


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    Most of us hope we’ll never have to use the bags that airlines provide at your seat, but one couple probably never wants to see one ever again.

    Janet Masters and her husband were returning from an anniversary trip to Hawaii on a United Airlines flight when she discovered a full barf bag covered in a blanket and tucked into the seat pocket, she told CBS Sacramento.

    When she handed it to the flight attendant, the vomit got on both her and her husband’s clothes. The staffer offered to move them to another seat, but Masters says they still had to sit with the smell for the rest of the flight.

    After CBS contacted United, the airline offered the pair a US$300 credit towards another flight.

    More nauseating, this isn't the first vomit-related issue on a United flight.

    In April, a Maryland family told WUSA9 that they were forced to sit in vomit-soaked seats after they noticed the carry-on bags they had stashed under the seats were wet.

    Scott Shirley said that the airline told them a passenger was ill on an earlier flight and the cabin crew had cleaned it up, according to the Daily Mail.

    “It was clear that no one had cleaned the area where we were sitting, because there was no evidence of any chemical smell whatsoever. This was purely that distinct smell of vomit on our hands and backpacks,” he told the news outlet.

    He said that the airline offered them only blankets to cover up the smell.

    United later apologized and offered them vouchers, extra mileage points, and an offer to make a claim for their baggage.

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    Just because you tell a bear not to do something, doesn’t mean it’ll listen.

    Mary Maley knows this firsthand after a black bear damaged her kayak during a solo trip in Alaska.

    She was eating her lunch outside a cabin when the bear appeared. What happens next is captured in a video uploaded to YouTube.

    Maley hits the animal with pepper spray and it backs away — but then ambles over to her kayak on the beach.

    “Get away from that kayak!” she yells. “Come here!”

    The bear doesn’t listen and starts to gnaw on the vessel.

    “Bear! Bear! Bear! You’re breaking it, you’re breaking my kayak!” she says.

    The animal then turns the vessel over and keeps chewing on it. By this point, Maley is pleading.

    “Bear, please stop breaking my things. It’s not, it’s not even food, it doesn't even taste good, it’s just plastic.”

    She writes in the YouTube description that the bruin kept gnawing for another five to 10 minutes after the video ends before it left. She then had to swim to a sailing vessel, which took her to a nearby community so she could fix the kayak.

    While seeing an animal wreck a beloved possession would make anyone upset, we think Maley learned a valuable lesson: bears don’t speak English.

    Watch the whole encounter in the video above.

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    SMITHERS, B.C. - The white Kermode bear is usually a rare sight in British Columbia, but a motorist on Highway 37 in the province's northwest couldn't avoid hitting the animal.

    A caller to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service hotline reported that a vehicle struck a Kermode near Smithers and that it wasn't possible to determine the bear's condition.

    The conservation service sent an officer to the area, and a mother bear was spotted meandering along the highway with her two black cubs.

    A video of all three bears has been posted on the service's Facebook site, and it shows them moving about, eating, and apparently without any injuries.

    The Kermode is a rare subspecies of the black bear and a recessive gene gives some of the animals a white coat though they are not albino or related to the polar bear.

    The Kermode or so-called spirit bear is B.C.'s provincial mammal and is found on the central and north coast.

    Related on HuffPost:

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    Avid travellers are always on the search for something new to experience. Luckily, Canadians don't always have to travel across the globe to find it. There are so many destinations to experience right here in Canada, from mountains to lakes and everything in between.

    Flight Network set out to find the top 10 fastest growing travel destinations within Canada. The team analyzed booking data over the past two years to find destinations showing the highest increase in bookings.

    1. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
    Image Source: iStock
    A world of adventure awaits you in Yellowknife. Watch the Northern Lights, go dog sledding or hike some of Canada's oldest rocks.

    2. Prince George, British Columbia
    Image Source: iStock
    Drive 15 minutes in any direction and you'll find yourself in great wilderness. This growing destination is in northern British Columbia's interior and represents the stunning beauty of winter. Here you can enjoy some of the country's top heli-skiing and dog sledding.

    3. Kamloops, British Columbia
    Image Source: iStock
    Kamloops is an up and coming travel destination because of its surplus of outdoor activities. In summer, the canyons and timberland offer great scenery for hiking and mountain biking and the rivers and lakes make for great fishing, paddling and rafting. In winter, enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or tobogganing.

    4. Charlottetown, P.E.I
    Image Source: Martin Cathrae
    A coastal city more relaxing than Charlottetown would be hard to find. This growing destination has the recipe for world-famous food, so enjoy a fresh lobster supper and the slow pace of life when you visit.

    5. Hamilton, Ontario
    Image Source: iStock
    Just outside the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton is prime for hiking recreation. Hamilton is surrounded by stunning nature and has even taken the name of waterfall capital of the world.

    6. Quebec City, Quebec
    Image Source: iStock
    Quebec City is like Europe without the jet lag. While this destination is a tried-and-true Canadian destination, there was a remarkable increase in travellers booking Quebec City over the years. It's the European charm, romantic ambiance and exquisite cuisine brings visitors in.

    7. Fort McMurray, Alberta
    Image Source: Tim Beckett
    Fort McMurray is a natural treasure in Alberta's north. Observe a herd of hundreds of bison, experience the northern lights and take in the unique desert of Athabasca sand dunes.

    8. Regina, Saskatchewan
    Image Source: iStock
    Kick back and enjoy the long summer days lazing in the sun in Regina's open space. Wascana Park is a must-see, as one of North America's largest parks. Regina is also festival-central with plenty of exhilarating events.

    9. Thunder Bay, Ontario
    Image Source: iStock
    The magnificent landscapes in Thunder Bay make it an emerging destination. Thunder Bay is home to the iconic provincial park, Sleeping Giant. Spend the day admiring the 4 kilometre long sleeping giant reclining in the 250 metre cliffs.

    10. Victoria, British Columbia
    Image Source: iStock
    Victoria represents the beauty that is the west coast. Escape the hustle and bustle and experience the ambiance of Victoria. Enjoy the scenery, where there's both an ocean and a mountain and plenty of outdoor activities to take part in.

    Story by Deanne Wong, writer.


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    For some people, landing a job abroad is an ideal way of combining world travel with a paycheque.

    And where do Canadians go when they head abroad for work? According to a new survey from LinkedIn, Canadian expats are drawn to New York, San Francisco and Paris above all other places.

    But these days, more Canadians are looking east.

    “Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates are new to the list [in 2015], revealing that Canadians are growing more adventurous in their international professional experiences,” said LinkedIn’s senior manager of global communications, Danielle Restivo.

    Restivo says it’s becoming “increasingly easy” for Canadians to build international careers, as “we’re seeing a growing number of companies looking beyond borders in their approach to hiring.”

    But you will still need the right skill set and the right employer to land a good job abroad.

    “Those interested in working abroad should work to develop a global professional network,” Restivo says -- including, of course, building a LinkedIn profile.

    Here are the top 10 destinations for working Canadian expats, as well as the top 10 companies hiring Canadians abroad.

    Top 10 destinations for Canadians working abroad:

    1. Greater New York City Area
    2. San Francisco Bay Area
    3. Paris Area, France
    4. Hong Kong
    5. London, United Kingdom
    6. Greater Los Angeles Area
    7. Greater Boston Area
    8. Greater Seattle Area
    9. United Arab Emirates
    10. Washington D.C. Metro Area

    Top 10 companies employing Canadians overseas:

    1. Microsoft
    2. IBM
    3. Google
    4. Ernst & Young
    5. PWC
    6. Deloitte
    7. Accenture
    8. Apple
    9. Hewlett-Packard
    10. Amazon

    Also on HuffPost:

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