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Canada Travel news and blog articles from The Huffington Post
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    Many years ago the Advocate's Society booked its annual conference in Jamaica. LGBTQ members brought to their attention the fact that Jamaica is not a safe jurisdiction (in law or in practice) for queer people and that the choice of location could, in effect, exclude many of those members. Hearing this, the Advocate's Society responded promptly and rebooked in a jurisdiction where homosexuality was not criminalized and where discrimination on the basis of a protected ground was not permitted or anticipated. I think the Advocate's Society made the right call for its membership, so whether it was legally required to do as it did was never a consideration.

    airport security
    (Photo: Meinzahn via Getty Images)

    From the perspective of an employment lawyer, I have to consider what the legal obligations of an employer in similar circumstances might be. If a company hosts its corporate retreat in a jurisdiction where the law is hostile to its LGBTQ employees, are they in so doing discriminating against their LGBTQ employees? What if they open an office there and require periodic attendance? What if their training center is located in a jurisdiction where discrimination against an employee is not only legal, but likely (I'm looking at you, Mississippi)?

    I have long been of the view that employers in Ontario should tread carefully when sending their employees to jurisdictions which may have laws that are hostile to them or where they are likely to be exposed -- as a result of their membership in an identifiable group protected by the Human Rights Code -- to discrimination or danger. I think the answer would likely come down to accommodation analysis and whether visiting a particular jurisdiction is a bona fide occupational requirement.

    Until very recently this has been a largely academic exercise. Although there are many countries worldwide where people and groups protected in Ontario -- LGBTQ people in particular -- do not enjoy the same rights, there are few jurisdictions where most Canadian companies regularly send their employees which would likely expose them to lawful discrimination or danger.

    This is more and more likely to become a live issue for Canadian employers.

    With the passing of each executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump and the looming "religious freedom" legislation which could enshrine and protect a "right" to discriminate if the desire to do so is religiously motivated, the U.S. is, in my view, increasingly becoming a jurisdiction to which Canadian employers have to be careful about sending their employees.

    Certainly I would argue that an LGBTQ employee should not, in many circumstances, be required to travel to a jurisdiction where discrimination and denial of services on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity is entirely lawful and perhaps predictable. It may be reasonable at the moment for some dual passport holders or Canadian permanent residents whose citizenship belongs to one of the countries targeted by the current administration to refuse to travel to the U.S. for work at all. Might we get to a point where it would be reasonable for a Muslim Canadian to claim that his or her employer hosting a corporate retreat in Vegas is discriminatory or creating a hostile or unsafe work environment? I hope not, but it doesn't seem beyond the realm of possibility any more.

    With each passing day and with each enshrinement of discrimination at the state or federal level, this is more and more likely to become a live issue for Canadian employers. Even a few months ago I didn't see a day coming when a Canadian executive being sent to the U.S. on business might constitute a human rights problem in Ontario, but here we are, and employers should turn their minds to how to handle it well before it comes up. With Trump set to sign an executive order granting freedom to discriminate, the time is now.

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    Admission to Canada's national parks is free in 2017, and it's time to start taking advantage. Parks Canada is offering free 2017 Discover Passes to commemorate the Great White North's 150th anniversary, and that means you gain admission-free access to all of the country's historic sites, marine conservation areas and national parks.

    It's no secret that Canadians and travellers from around the world flock to heavy hitters like Banff, Jasper and Pacific Rim National Park every summer despite the cost of admission. But many lesser known parks offer once-in-a-lifetime adventures and awe-inspiring scenery that's just as impressive as the ones you see in travel magazines. These four Canadian national parks are ones that often fall under the radar but are guaranteed to be the backdrop for your unforgettable 2017 summer getaway.

    Thousand Islands National Park

    Thousand Islands National Park feels more like a luxury retreat than your typical national park. This is one of few places in the country where travellers can hop aboard a boat, canoe or kayak and hop from island to island, finding the perfect place to pitch a tent in a secluded cay or a rarely trekked hiking trail. In just a few short hours, adventurers can travel from Toronto or Montreal to historic wilderness that begs visitors to put down their phones and spot rare wildlife, hike to scenic overlooks and paddle among more than 20 granite islands.

    Yoho National Park

    Photo credit: Peter Pham

    While many travellers explore the Canadian Rockies from world-renowned Banff National Park, others are enjoying the smaller crowds and rugged natural beauty of Yoho National Park in southeastern British Columbia. In fact, "Yoho" was named for the Cree expression meaning wonder and awe, which fits this photogenic park perfect. Visitors can rent a canoe and cruise the crystal-clear Emerald Lake, explore some of the oldest fossil beds in the world (Burgess Shale Fossil Beds) or embark on a hair-raising river rafting excursion. The opportunities for adventure and relaxation in this park are endless.

    Kluane National Park

    Adventuring to the Yukon is a bucket-list item for many travellers, and the summer of 2017 is an ideal time to fulfill this lifelong dream. There's arguably no better place in the country to submerge yourself in nature and completely forego the stresses of daily life. The Kluane National Park and Reserve includes 22,000 square kilometres, including everything from scenic hiking trails, indescribably blue lakes, rare wildlife, abundant fishing spots, non-polar icefields and some of the most impressive places to spot the Northern Lights on a clear summer evening.

    Terra Nova National Park

    Photo credit: Dave Bezaire

    Many travellers assume Canada's most impressive national parks are located in the western provinces, but Terra Nova National Park continues to wow adventurers as the most easterly park in the country. The park can be explored by land or sea, offering opportunities to spot whales and icebergs by boat or conquer steep summits via a number of scenic hiking trails. The park's rugged coastline is best explored by canoe or kayak, and there's no better places to picnic than tucked into a sandy, sheltered cove. Travellers seeking the salty air of the Atlantic coastline coupled with forested trails and starry nights will find it all in Terra Nova National Park.

    Parks Canada will only be offering the gift of free national park admission until the end of 2017, so there's no better time than now to plan your summer visits.

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    I arrived in Punta del Este knowing only its reputation as a ritzy beach town where South America's elite converge from January to March -- the summer months for most of the continent -- and its proximity to a year-old winery that has been much talked about in the food and wine world.

    After a five-day stay, I'm convinced Punta del Este and its neighbouring towns along the coast of Maldonado, one of the least populated of Uruguay's 19 states, are among the most exceptional places in the world to visit and perhaps also to live.

    Far safer than most other locations in South America, the Maldonado coast is comprised of approximately 80 kilometres (50 miles) of immaculate beach the colour of a good tan. During the peak tourist season, Punta del Este's population swells from 10,000 permanent residents to more than 750,000 as sun and surf seekers arrive to chase relaxation and thrills.

    Some spread out west to Punta Ballena, home to Uruguay's leading attraction, Casapueblo, a mammoth, Grecian-style complex built by artist Carlos Páez Vilaró. Others head east to the less busy beach towns of La Barra and José Ignacio, where celebrities such as Shakira have homes.

    The Maldonado coast is like The Hamptons, where wealthy property owners maintain an exclusive ambience to the region but surfers, working-class locals and artists provide a counterbalance, making the area a getaway for many (if you've budgeted for it).

    Now, foodies and oeneophiles have reason to come, too.

    In 2016, Bodega Garzon opened on a humongous swath of land about an hour's drive from Punta del Este. Named after the nearest village, Pueblo Garzon, the winery is an $85-million facility with artisanal aspirations.

    Uruguay, a country of 3.4 million people, produces more wine than Canada. But before Bodega Garzon, no commercial vineyard was situated in Maldonado. Even owner Alejandro Bulgheroni, the Argentine billionaire who has purchased leading wineries around the world, was unsure whether the land he procured could grow quality grapes. Then he asked Alberto Antonini, one of the world's most esteemed wine makers, to give an opinion. Antonini visited Uruguay in 2006, reported back to Bulgheroni that, yes, his Maldonado estate could not only grow grapes but possessed the potential to produce stellar vinifera not unlike that found in the wine-maker's homeland, Italy.

    Antonini was commissioned to oversee the vineyards. Rather than flattening the land that has hills and slopes, he created 220 hectares of vineyards. Each parcel of land is situated where the grapes planted on it is best suited for the micro-climates on the estate.

    Albariño and Tannat, two unconventional grapes that flourish in Uruguay, are abundant on the Garzon property. The winery, located 18 kilometres (11 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean, also makes 10 other varieties, including a very good Cabernet Franc. At harvest, grapes are hand-picked and hand-cleaned before entering a high-tech process that includes laboratory testing at intervals in the aging process.

    Magnificent waves & outrageous winds off the Atlantic Ocean. A thrill to storm watch in #PuntaDelEste, #Uruguay.

    A post shared by AdrianBrijbassi (@adrianbrijbassi) on

    The wines are winning awards and appearing on shelves and in restaurants around the world. To get the full Bodega Garzon experience, however, you must come to the winery. That's because Bulgheroni's other achievement was teaming with Francis Mallmann to launch a food program focused on the celebrity chef's famed use of fire. Mallmann, an Argentinian with a planet-wide following, lives part time in Pueblo Garzon, where he and Bulgheroni co-own a charming restaurant in a town of 100 people. Given free rein of the menu at the winery, Mallmann has delivered ingenious cooking, including steak made from Uruguayan cattle (the same breed as Argentina possesses) and smoked everything, including smoked ice cream that is bewilderingly blissful. The ice cream is placed in a cooled oven used for smoking fish and meat. After 10 minutes, it captures the smokiness while retaining its cold state. The taste is an explosion of sweetness and earthiness unlike anything you've tried.

    For such distinctiveness, the winery and its restaurant are attracting more visitors. So, too, is the rest of Maldonado. José Ignacio has a busy, well-regarded beach-side restaurant, La Huella, overlooking a gorgeous sandy stretch. Casapueblo has earned more attention since Páez Vilaró, a contemporary of Pablo Picasso, died in February. And Punta del Este continues to gain notoriety, having been nicknamed the St. Tropez of South America.

    I came in late April, though, and the place was thin with tourists. The beaches were nearly empty and the streets vacant. It was hard to believe a place so beautiful, warm and inviting was so void of activity. In this way, it reminded me of The Hamptons, too, which can be desolate in fall and winter.

    As more people find out for themselves that the Maldonado coast is rich with art, artisans and activities -- and not just wealthy people -- I imagine more curious travellers will arrive, and not just during summer. Some will even dream of staying year round.

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    Whether you're heading south for a Mexican vacay or flying out for a quick work trip, there's no reason you can't make this May 5 the best Cinco de Mayo yet. has rounded up 10 top airport bars and restaurants in North America boasting flavourful cocktails perfect for an impromptu Cinco de Mayo (or, Cinco de Flyo, as we like to call it). You can't say we never agave you anything

    Portland International Airport, Portland, Oregon, U.S.
    Image: KittyKaht, One tequila, two tequila, three tequila via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    Did you know there are over 200 different tequilas? Well now you do, and, at Sandoval's Tequila Grill in Portland, Ore., you can try them all (not recommended). Sip them on the rocks or have them blended into your favourite cocktail.
    Location: Concourse C
    Drink this: Cazadores Reposado tequila sampler, a 100% blue agave blend aged in a white oak cask.

    Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado, U.S.
    Image: TheDeliciousLife, Jalapeno Margarita via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    While Denver is known as a beer town (and even has its own airport brewery), there are also a few cocktail spots to keep you entertained before heading to your gate. We picked Denver's Que Bueno!, an affordable quick-serve pit stop with freshly made burritos and tasty margaritas.
    Location: B gates near Gate B52
    Drink this: Sip on the Fresh Jalapeno Margarita for a spicy twist on a classic.

    George Bush International Airport, Houston, Texas, U.S.
    Image: Neil Conway, Margarita via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    With over 30 years of famous Tex-Mex cuisine, the small but mighty Pappsito is known for flavour and freshness. Tasty margaritas, tacos and nachos put this Houston pick on our list.
    Location: Terminal A
    Drink this: If you're feeling fancy, try the Grand Gold Margarita, made with Jose Cuervo gold tequila, orange liqueur and topped with freshly squeezed lime juice.

    Toronto Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario
    Image: Jason Lam, 01 Bloody Maria - Mesa Coyoacan via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    Apropos has breakfast burritos, fresh fish tacos and guacamole on their menu, which is exactly what you're looking for from Cinco de Mayo airport fare. Stop by for a quick bite and a refreshing cocktail next time you're in Toronto.
    Location: Terminal 1 near gate F62
    Drink this: A Mexican-inspired take on the Bloody Caesar, the Apropos Caesar features tequila, celery and sriracha.

    Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
    Image: Stacy Spensley, homemade strawberry margaritas via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    In-house guacamole and hand-crafted margaritas? Yes, please. Chicago's Tortas Frontera is a highly reviewed walk-up that has amazing Mexican food, and there's typically a long line to prove it. Trust us, it's worth the wait, and the line moves quickly. You'll have a fresh drink in hand, stat.
    Location: Terminal 1, 3 & 5
    Drink this: Tortas Frontera claims to have the best margarita you could find in any airport, so choose anything.

    Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
    Image: Didriks, Match Pewter Jigger Pour via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    The original Barrio Cafe once held the largest tequila collection in the state of Arizona. Nowadays, there are over 300 choices at the airport location in Phoenix, which claims to be open from the first flight of the day to the last. The staff promises to serve you the finest tequila cocktails, making it a must-visit on your next stop in Phoenix.
    Location: Terminal 4
    Drink this: Try the Barrio Bomba Margarita; it's as delicious as it is large.

    Mexico City Airport, Mexico City, Mexico
    Image: Lauren Topor, Margarita via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Indulge in fried chicken wings and blended margaritas at Baron Rojo. This popular meeting spot in Mexico City is the perfect place to relax and unwind before your flight. Open 24 hours, you might even be able to catch some late-night karaoke before your next red-eye flight.
    Location: Terminal 2 directly in front of the E2 gate.
    Drink this: Try the mango margarita, a well reviewed favourite.

    Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas, Texas, U.S.
    Image: rick, tequila via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    When in Texas, Tex-Mex is mandatory. Stop by the Tequileria, a casual dining spot that will surprise you with its wide range of tequilas and margaritas and its fast service.
    Location: Terminal E at gate E12
    Drink this: Order most margaritas and get the extra leftover in the shaker on the side.

    Oakland International Airport, Oakland, California, U.S.
    Image: Alan Levine, TEQUILA! via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Next time you're flying through Oakland, head to Andale for premium, hand-selected tequilas that complement their fresh Mexican fare. Enjoy a margarita and some grub at the bar, or take a flight-ready option like grilled fish tacos or the Andale burrito to-go.
    Location: Terminal 2
    Drink this: With such a wide variety of tequilas, you can't go wrong. Ask your bartender for a recommendation based on your preferences and enjoy.

    Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
    Image: Lindsey Turner, Cuervo via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    When Jose Cuervo is in the name of the restaurant, you're in for a good time. Jose Cuervo Tequileria in Charlotte is a festive establishment with classic Mexican dishes and margarita shakers so large, they'll fill your glass twice.
    Location: Main atrium between all terminals.
    Drink this: Order the Ultimate Margarita, a drinkable standard marg with the perfect blend of sweet and sour and a rim of salt or sugar.

    BONUS: Anywhere
    Image: Christina Xu, IMG_1746 via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    When all else fails, make your own on-board margarita. Order orange juice, sprite and tequila from your nearest flight attendant. Over ice, mix tequila and a splash of OJ and fill with some sprite. If you're feeling agile, try stepping up your in-flight drinks game by adding a packet of salt or sugar to the rim of your plastic cup (without spilling on yourself or your neighbour).


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    A weekend exploring the region of Brittany, France should be on your summer travel list. I am about to take you on the same road trip I recently went on in this ages old land -- rich with history, fresh food, and a fantastic future that's all packed into wonderful little journeys.


    Start here with a night in the heart of the city at Oceania Hôtel de France
    in the Graslin Quarter. Pop into the Passage Pommeray - a shopping arcade built in the 1800s - before dinner at Le Cigale. This spot is all ornamental excess (and an #instadream) circa 1895. A meeting place for Art Nouveau bourgeois and aristocrats, who mingled with actors and dancers from the theatre, it has maintained that magical atmosphere.
    Pair any one of the classic French dishes with a glass of Muscadet. Be sure to make a reservation well in advance. Like, months in advance. It's also open for breakfast, brunch and lunch.


    Wake up refreshed and ready for a walking tour of the Bouffay Quarter's medieval city and its castle, where the Duchy lived and ruled. Then follow the green line to the Isle of Nantes, where creativity explodes in the form of giant moving creatures, troupes of performers, and a three-story carousel dedicated to the deep sea. A magical ride for all ages. There is also an open laboratory so the public can test machine prototypes. All of which will be part of the next spectacular spectacular - a monumental (and massive) Heron Tree that will be ready in 2021.
    Makers take note: a Maker Faire camp will run from July 7-9, 2017.


    On your way across the bridge to get back into the city, listen for joyful sounds of singers at the memorial to the abolition of slavery.

    Dinner is at Pickles. Owned by a British expat, this bistro pub offers fusion food (think: French, Italian, Asian, North Africa) that emphasizes local market products "with a real taste of the terriors".

    The next day is a choose-your-adventure kind of day:
    Art enthusiasts will want to continue Le Voyage A Nantes and do the drive out to Saint-Nazair. Follow 120 kilometres of the Loire River and enjoy the unique and quirky modern works of 30 renowned artists. Many of these permanent installations completely change perspective with the tide.

    History buffs will make their way to Saint Malo and Mont Saint-Michel. Wander Saint Malo's 15th century old town before heading down to the beach and a mini-hike over to François René de Chateaubriand's grave.


    The town's cathedral is worth a look as its stained glass creates a particularly beautiful light effect on a sunny day.

    On the way out of Saint Malo, lunch overlooking the tidal bay at Ar Iniz.

    In less than an hour, you can find yourself in Normandy and in awe of Mont-Saint-Michel. This architectural wonder must be seen from the 11th century village at the base, up to the 15th century gothic cathedral. Recommend taking a Lecture Tour and seeing the 10th century church. Magnificent.


    Drive back to Nantes for a casual dinner at Le coin des crepes. Side note: I went into this trip with a full-on aversion to the things, and by the end of it I was craving savoury goodness. Have the sausage, salad and egg crepe... tres bon!

    An hour's drive from Nantes, along toll-free routes I should add (this is a special thing as the rest of France's roadways are taxed), the road tripper will discover another dynamic city.

    Check in to Le Magic Hall. This former movie theatre is now a boutique hotel that boasts 26 themed rooms, as well as a communal vibe in the kitchen/dining room/lounge.

    If you're hot for history, take a City & Parliament tour, where you can see some of the many timber-framed houses that date as far back as the medieval 1400s. Then explore the grandeur of the 17th century Parliament of Brittany, while its courts are still in full operation.
    Tip: See the city through the eyes of a local and book a personal go-at-your-own-pace tour with an official English-speaking guide.


    One of the most famous trials was that of serial killer Helene Jegado in 1851. She was accused and sentenced to death by guillotine for baking lethal doses of arsenic into cakes.

    Learning this leads perfectly to a tasting of the "arsenic" cake, as well as lovely chocolates-by-the-number at Durand (5 Quai Châteaubriand). Although you might think you've died and gone to heaven after trying their Kouign Amann (aka Butter Cake).

    For botanical buffs, there are 1000 species of roses - each whimsically named - in the lovely Parc du Thabor (Place Saint-Mélaine).

    Contemporary art is also celebrated and the FRAC, la Criee, and 40mcube are all hubs for the modern creative culture that Rennes boasts.


    For lunch and dinner, you've got a choice of restaurants here, but I recommend hitting the Marche des Lices (24 Place des Lices) to purchase everything fresh for a picnic. The market is five centuries old and therefore France's oldest. About 25,000 people flock to it every Saturday to pick up fish, food and flowers for the week. Recommend lunching (or late breakfasting) on the traditional buckwheat crepe with sausage and a glass of chilled cider.

    Drive back to Nantes for a sunset cocktail at the top of the Brittany Tower (Place de Bretagne). Afterwards, check in to a comfortable suite at the Radisson Blu (which you can book for a sweet deal via, btw). Draw a bath, soak those feet, and rest assured you've seen the very best of Brittany.

    There you go, ladies and gents... Proof that it's not all happening in Paris!

    Other notable restaurants, cafes and stays:
    Thalasso Spa Hotel - In Saint-Malo there are many seaside hotels that offer views of the dramatic ebb and flow of the tide. This one is particularly dreamy.
    Sophie Bakery - As a digital nomad, I am always on the look out for a cool spot to catch up on work. Wifi with a side of carrot cake, please!
    Sainbioz - Burgers are the best in Nantes.

    Music enthusiasts take note: The Trans Musicales Festival rocks Rennes from November 29 to December 3, 2017.

    If you are in Ottawa for Canada Day, look out for the giant mech dragon from Nantes.

    *Air France flies from major cities in Canada, connecting through Paris or Amsterdam before arriving in Nantes.

    *Air Transat direct flights from Montreal to Nantes start this summer.

    Images courtesy of the author.

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    Horseracing is one of the oldest sports in the world and its basic premise has remained virtually unchanged since the earliest of times. Whether it's the thrill of watching exceptional equine champions compete for glory, the rush as your horse bags a win, the fashion on parade or the chance to spot a celebrity, there are plenty of reasons to head to a racetrack on your next holiday.

    With the 143rd Kentucky Derby set to take place this past weekend, get your binoculars and your mint julep ready because we've gathered some of the best destinations around the world to take in the glamour and tradition of The Races.

    Lexington, Kentucky, USA

    Photo Credit:

    The city of Lexington is home to two horseracing tracks and an array of horse farms. Considered to be "The Horse Capital of the World" this beautiful destination is not only ideal for nature and horse lovers, but also for bourbon and art fans.

    The Staybridge Suites Lexington is only a 15-minute drive from Kentucky Horse Park and 7 km away from the Keeneland Race Course. It's also located just over an hour drives away from famous Churchill Downs racetrack, home to the annual Kentucky Derby.

    Newmarket, UK

    Photo Credit:

    Newmarket is home to two horseracing tracks, more than fifty horse training stables and about 3,000 racehorses. Known as the United Kingdom's largest racehorse breeding place, travellers can enjoy a tour of one of Newmarket's popular racecourses or the National Stud, the showcase of the Thoroughbred horse breed.

    Set amid rose gardens, the peaceful Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa offers modern bedrooms, an indoor pool and spa facilities. The property's 17th century architecture houses the 2 AA Rosette Squires Restaurant, serving an eclectic menu with the finest seasonal ingredients.

    Meydan Racecourse, Dubai, UAE
    Photo Credit:

    The racecourse of Meydan is home to a horseracing museum and the longest grandstand in the world - reaching over a mile in length. Travellers to Meydan Racecourse can enjoy the luxurious racing facilities and even watch the horse races while enjoying world-class cuisine and unparalleled views from the restaurant of the Meydan Hotel.

    The Meydan Hotel is the world's first five-star trackside hotel, designed in the shape of a wave in motion with a luminous green glass façade. It features luxurious rooms and suites with a private balcony overlooking the Meydan Racecourse.

    Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Australia
    Photo Credit:

    The horse racing course of The Flemington Racecourse is part of the Australian National Heritage List and home to the Melbourne Cup since 1861. This famous venue hosts various entertainment events throughout the year, including the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

    Situated only 800 metres away from Flemington Racecourse, the Boutique Stays - Ascot Retreat is a stylish self-catering accommodation overlooking Maribyrnong River. The balcony offers a remarkable city view and the elegantly styled apartment includes barbeque and laundry facilities as well as a full kitchen, A/C, satellite TV and more.

    Saratoga Springs, New York, USA
    Photo Credit:

    The picturesque city of Saratoga is best known for the Saratoga Race Course, which is one of the oldest horse racetracks in the United States and often considered to be one of the oldest sporting venue of any kind in the country. Apart from the exciting horse racing, this 150-year-old track also offers travellers walking tours, breakfast at the track and tours of the stable area.

    Situated less than 2 km away from Saratoga Racetrack, The Inn at Saratoga features elegantly decorated rooms, a restaurant and complementary bikes for exploring the scenic area. The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and Saratoga Golf Club are a couple places you can cruise to at less than 2 km away each.

    Doncaster, UK

    Photo Credit:

    Often endorsed for horse racing, the English market town of Doncaster is also famous for its architecture. Home to one of the world's oldest classic horse races, The St Leger Stakes, Doncaster has more than 50,000 visitors every year who come to enjoy the race.

    The Red Lion is a charming hotel only 2.4 km from Doncaster Racecourse, featuring modern rooms, a restaurant and an on-site bar. This property receives rave reviews for its location and value, offering guests the most bang for their buck when planning a trip to Doncaster.

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    One day, it's sunny and warm. The next, it's winter again.

    So goes springtime in much of Canada. But for folks in Alberta beach towns, the switch can happen in just minutes.


    In Alberta Beach, strong winds pushed huge piles of ice off Lac Ste. Anne and onto residents' properties. The phenomenon can create massive walls of ice in just a few minutes.

    Watch the video above to see how it all goes down.

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    Mother's Day is around the corner and what better way to celebrate than with a vacation that builds the bond between mom and kids? Whether you're reading this as a mom or as a grown child thinking about taking your mom on vacation, we've got you covered.

    It can be hard deciding where you want to go when travelling with family, trying to find a destination that will ensure everyone involved has something to see and do. So to inspire your next group getaway, has come up with our picks for the best places to travel with mom -- at any age or any stage.

    Mom and young kids

    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States
    Image: James Willamor, Myrtle Beach via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    While kids of all ages will find something to do in sunny Myrtle Beach, this is a particularly ideal destination for moms with younger kids. Nearly 100 kilometres of beaches mean plenty of opportunities to play in the sand, swim or toss a Frisbee around as a family. Beyond beach-hopping, Myrtle Beach is home to plenty of other activities well suited to younger kids. Check out the oceanfront amusement park Family Kingdom, which offers over 30 rides and a water park, play a game of mini golf at one of the city's many courses or take a ride on the SkyWheel, a massive ferris wheel on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.

    Mom and teenage kids

    Whistler, British Columbia
    Image: Richie Diesterheft, Whistler, British Columbia via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    Well known as a fantastic ski and snowboard destination, Whistler is actually packed with things to see and do no matter the time of year you visit. In winter, of course, there are the aforementioned snow sports, but if you need a break from hitting the slopes, there's snow tubing, winter zip lining and snowmobile tours. Any time of year, you can hop on the longest and highest lift in the world, the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. In the summer, moms and teens can explore over 50 kilometres of alpine hiking trails, do some mountain biking or relax at the beautiful Scandinave Spa.

    Mom and 20-something kids

    Barcelona, Spain
    Image: José Manuel Romero, Barcelona via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Looking for a place filled to the brim with things to do and see? Barcelona has it all: stunning architecture, rich culture, amazing food and wine, beaches and a variety of neighbourhoods, each with their own flavour and personality. Wander the Picasso Museum or the National Museum of Catalan Art, people-watch along Las Ramblas, shop and snack your way through La Boqueria and be wowed by Gaudi's architecture with a peek at Park Güell and La Pedrera.

    Mom and adult kids

    Cape Town, South Africa
    Photo credit: Scott Webb

    If ever there was a time for a big bonding trip, this is it. And Cape Town is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for an epic vacation. The city is home to Table Mountain, which you can opt to hike up or take a cable car to reach the summit. The views over the city are well worth the trip no matter how you get there. You'll also want to make time for the picturesque V & A Waterfront for restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and markets. Beaches are also a huge draw in Cape Town (check out Boulders Beach, just outside of town, for a chance to see penguins), as is the Old Biscuit Mill for shopping local, artisanal souvenirs and snacks. And if you really want to do it up, combine a visit to Cape Town with a weekend safari in Kruger National Park.

    Mom in her golden years
    Image: prayitnophotography, Downtown Palm Springs via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Palm Springs might have a reputation as a top golfing spot, but there's plenty more to see here. Easy to explore on foot at whatever pace you're moving, Palm Springs is experiencing a culinary boom thanks to some innovative chefs, so foodies can get their fill. Fans of mid-century modern architecture will want to take a tour of the many architectural gems around the city, while anyone who just wants to get a real feel for the city's natural beauty should take in the epic views from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

    For more top getaway picks for mom and kids at every age and every stage, go here.

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    When the allure of a wild spring break trip to Cancun has lost its lustre, there is a fast-growing alternative for experiencing the lush landscapes of Mexico: enter glamping.

    Through Glamping Hub, an AirBnB-esque company dedicated to unique accommodations in nature, I recently discovered this award-winning, beachfront bamboo treehouse in Mexico.

    While the stereotypical spring break scenario has its perks, particularly the cost, they aren't known to be relaxing and rejuvenating. I recall nursing a horrible, self-induced hangover for days after my Grad trip. Don't get me wrong, it was fun at the time, but I'm no longer a spring chicken (using that term probably doesn't help), so when seeking an all-inclusive vacation to Mexico this time around, I was looking for something that would allow me to unwind and de-stress.

    Instead of trying to find a patch of sand on a loud, crowded beach or witnessing a wet T-shirt contest by the pool, my boyfriend Geoff and I were able to fully immerse in the natural habitat of our surroundings. We ate fresh food from the on-site garden, watched as the sun rose during daily morning yoga, released baby turtles out to sea, and walked for hours on a stunning stretch of secluded beach.



    See my detailed travel diary below for more on the breathtaking Glamping Hub tree house:


    Nestled between the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains and the sandy shores of the Pacific Ocean, near the small village of Juluchuca, Mexico, I recently returned from a luxury eco-resort called Playa Viva.

    We flew into Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa and were greeted by Oscar, part of the Playa Viva team who drove us to our destination (approx. 45 minutes south of the airport). My jaw dropped as we turned off the desolate road into a secluded oasis.




    As an eco-luxe resort, I was blown away by their dedication to sustainable tourism - a concept that revolves around the commitment to renewable practices. They promote the idea that development should be a positive experience for the surrounding community, while making a low impact on the environment and local culture.

    The more I learned, the more impressed I was at how well they balanced luxury with sustainability.

    Some of Playa Viva's renewable and regenerative features are:
    • Supporting an on-site nature reserve
    • Cultivating an edible landscape and permaculture
    • 100% off-grid solar system (which uses cleaner and more abundant energy)
    • Sustaining the resort on smart water conversation measures
    • Eco-friendly materials - all of the pottery, light fixtures, soaps etc were made by local craftsmen, while the building materials were harvested on site (such as the palm fronds, bamboo, and clay used in wall pigment colours)



    The property is over 200 acres and includes an estuary, a turtle sanctuary, coconut grove, miles of private beach, state-of-the-art outdoor yoga pavilion, as well as their own organic farm and garden where local workers and international volunteers come to learn about the ecology and ecosystems in this part of Mexico.


    On our daily beach walks, Geoff and I remarked at how rare it was to be exposed to such unspoiled and untouched land. It felt like a privilege to walk for hours along the white sandy beach without coming across another soul - or any other development for that matter. We were flanked only by the ocean and a coastal forest.





    "Tropical glamping" definitely isn't for everyone but it is part of what makes Playa Viva so charming and unique.


    The twelve "Eco Casitas" (casita means little house) are all open-air with unparalleled oceanfront views.

    Every night we returned to our private bamboo hut in the sky to find anonymous fairies had re-stocked the gorgeous ceramic water jug (as an enviro-friendly spot they don't have any plastic bottles on site) and had set up our white mosquito nets, which made me feel like a jungle princess.


    At night, it's usually hard for me to turn off my brain but the sound of the ocean waves lulled me into the deepest sleeps.



    With their emphasis on wellness and self-care, mornings were spent watching the sunrise as we indulged in the complimentary daily beachfront yoga. The fresh green smoothies and coffee they served at breakfast were a sweet treat afterwards. The java beans are sourced from a local, family-run coffee farm, a short ATV ride up the mountain.


    We were lucky to be there when the baby sea turtles from the adjacent sanctuary hatched overnight so we learned about them and released them into the ocean! Years later, after maturing and enduring epic sea migrations, they return to the EXACT BEACH where they were born to mate and lay their own eggs. Apparently, they are able to find their birthplace and navigate by sensing the invisible lines of the magnetic field. Each part of the Earth's coastline has its own "magnetic signature" which the animals remember and later use as an internal compass. What smart creatures!





    As an all-inclusive, sustainable resort, all meals provided were locally produced and organic. They catered to all kinds of allergies and food intolerances, which they inquire about prior to arrival. As a hearty eater, I was a little worried that I might be left feeling hungry in-between each "healthy" meal.



    I left Playa Viva, CRAVING their fresh food and wishing I could eat like that every day. Not only did it taste amazing but I felt good about what I was putting into my body and was MORE THAN sufficiently full. The local Chef would present each meal in Spanish and the host would translate in English. Even Geoff, who's a self-proclaimed "meat and potatoes" kind of guy, raved about the food.





    Tropical glamping showcased the natural beauty of Mexico while highlighting the very best of sustainable tourism. I couldn't have asked for a better alternative spring break.


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    It’s unlike anything paleontologists have ever seen before.

    The dinosaur fossil of a Nodosaur is the best preserved fossil of its kind and the oldest dinosaur ever found in Alberta.

    Estimated at 110 million years old, the creature was found with its armoured skin and guts intact.

    In the dinosaur’s time, the climate in Western Canada was more like southern Florida, according to National Geographic.

    Fans of the prehistoric can see the fossil on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alta.

    Watch the video above to find out more about the accidental discovery dug up on Canadian soil.

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    With the warm weather finally upon us, many travellers are looking to shed those cumbersome layers and book a last-minute escape.

    But which destinations are worth travelling to in the Springtime? We've put together the top nine destinations that are at their most beautiful during Spring. From bustling metropolises to sandy beach locales, these are the must-visit cities to visit around the world before the Summer tourist crowd hits!

    Vancouver, Canada
    The trees are blossoming, gardens are blooming and the city comes alive- this is the perfect time for Vancouver's mix of cosmopolitan living and outdoor adventure to be explored. The spring is prime time to walk around in the mild weather and explore the city's gardens and parks.

    New York City, USA

    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - no other city quite captures the United States of America's founding principles. Ripe with anticipation, every turn reveals something new and unexpected and there's no shortage of things to do in spring in New York City. See the city come out of hibernation while enjoying a stroll in some of the best city parks in the world.

    Holbox Island, Mexico
    Located on the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Holbox Island is separated from mainland Mexico by a shallow, warm water lagoon. Possibly Mexico's best kept secret, the waters of this laid-back island are home to a diverse range of marine life including dolphins, sea turtles, flamingos, pelicans, barracuda and more!

    Polignano a Mare, Italy
    Known as the 'Pearl of the Adriatic', this small and unique town is home to a captivating historical centre, a jagged coastline and hidden inlets for sandy beaches. Spring is the best time to visit Polignano a Mare as temperatures are just beginning to climb, but remain mild and humidity is still low.

    Kinsale, Ireland
    Kinsale is located in County Cork on the southern coast of Ireland. Historically known as a port and fishing town, today it's better known for the tourist that arrive from March through May to enjoy the fresh air of a cool, Irish spring. Top endorsements by travellers include scenery, food/restaurants/pubs and relaxation.

    Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
    Due to its balance of sub-tropical and tropical climate, Guatemala is known as 'The Land of Internal Spring', and city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antigua Guatemala, is no exception. Historically the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala, today it's best known for its mild climate and elaborate religious celebrations during Lent.

    Lynton, Great Britain
    Known for its natural beauty and unspoiled landscape, Lynton is a small, coastal town perched on top of a high sea cliff and overlooking the picturesque harbour village of Lynmouth. In the springtime, travellers can see purple orchids standing proudly amongst the lush, green grass in the valleys between the high sea cliffs.

    Barcelona, Spain
    There's an undeniable ease to life in Barcelona. Its glorious climate and lively beach culture dares you to live your life in the sun. For adventure, head to the Gothic Quarter, with intriguing alleys and artists' haunts from bygone days. In springtime, Barcelona is bustling from various festivals, events and exhibitions.

    Jasper, Canada
    Located in the heart of Jasper State Park, Jasper is an alpine town amongst the snow-capped Canadian Rockies. It is home to crystal-clear lakes, thick green forests and glacier-fed rivers. No matter what your outdoor activity of choice may be (top endorsements by travellers include scenery, mountains, nature, hiking and wildlife), nothing beats springtime in Jasper.

    Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria
    Koprivshtitsa still preserves the atmosphere of the Bulgarian National Revival period of the 19th century, making it one of the most characteristically Bulgarian towns in the country. Endorsed by travellers for history, architecture and museums, travellers to Koprivshtitsa will feel like they've taken a step back in time while enjoying this magical city in the warm spring air.

    For more information, visit

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    Hold onto your hats, Calgary, because the folks over at the Calgary Stampede have announced what's probably the best deal they've ever offered.

    For the first time ever, they'll be selling a "SuperPass" that allows visitors unlimited admission for all 10 days — and it will only set you back $39 plus GST.

    That means anyone wanting to check out the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth can come and go as they please (and eat mini doughnuts every damn day, thankyouverymuch.)

    A single day's admission usually costs $18, so this is a pretty sweet deal.

    You have to act fast, though. The SuperPass is only available for sale from May 22 to June 12. The pass is designed to go directly to your smartphone, but anyone who wants a hard copy pass can purchase one for an additional $5.

    The 2017 Calgary Stampede kicks off July 6 and runs to July 16.

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    Summer is for road trips. And mobile companies know how much North Americans love hitting the highways, discovering roadside attractions, dining at legendary hole-in-the-wall diners and making it to their final destinations without missing an adventure along the way.

    It's common to feel inclined to go off the grid while traveling with your family or friends on the open road, but many road travelers don't know just how helpful their smartphones can be. The app store is loaded with applications designed to help you locate the cheapest gas prices, find a cozy (and affordable) hotel at the last minute and discover eateries and attractions that far surpass McDonald's or a local Wal-Mart.

    These three lesser-known, must-have road trip apps are guaranteed to change the way you travel this spring and summer.


    Photo credit: (vincent desjardins)

    It's easy to focus on routes, hotel reservations and attractions when planning a cross-country road trip, but many road warriors forget about a key element of traveling by car -- it needs to be parked somewhere. ParkMe is a free app that offers the world's most accurate parking database, spanning 84,000 locations in 64 countries. Whether you're searching for cheap garage parking in Vancouver or a free place to park on the street outside your hotel in St. John's, this app will become a go-to every time you hit the road.

    ParkMe is able to let you know how many spaces are left in a parking garage or on a street and will warn you when your meter or time limit is running low. You can even pay for a parking space ahead of time by credit card, so you're guaranteed a space upon arrival. Want to have your car washed while you're resting in the room? This must-have road trip app can help you with that too.


    Photo credit: Kevin Dooley

    Just as the name implies, Roadtrippers is the ultimate road trip app. In fact, it's the nation's fastest growing mobile and web travel planning platform. More than 5.5 million trips have been planned and booked on Roadtrippers to date, and you're about to add to that list. The goal of the app is to introduce travelers to off-the-beaten-path places along their journey, helping them create unique, lasting memories that they wouldn't have experienced otherwise.

    Roadtrippers offers a step-by-step trip planning platform that makes planning your route, booking accommodations and discovering local gems along the journey easier than ever before. This app is the only place on the web where a traveler can easily plan, book, discover, and navigate throughout a trip on his or her mobile device. Whether you're seeking a family museum, lesser-known national park or an unforgettable slice of pizza, Roadtrippers will help turn a typical road trip into an extraordinary one.

    Flush Toilet Finder

    Photo credit: Phillip Pessar

    You're probably assuming rest stops will have you covered, but avid road trippers know how important finding clean restrooms on the road can be. Flush Toilet Finder is the easiest way to find a public restroom when you're in a pinch. This free app, with no in-app purchases, provides more than 190,000 bathrooms in a database that spans Canada, the U.S., and a long list of other countries around the world. Flush Toilet Finder informs travelers of which wash rooms offer disabled access, require fees for use or involve grabbing a key from an attendant. Toilets can be rated and reported, making it easy for weary travelers to find sanitary stops. This is the road trip, and general travel, app you didn't know you needed.

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    This upcoming weekend is Victoria Day long weekend. For us Canucks it's often the first big camping weekend but this year I'm doing something a bit different. This year I'm spending my Victoria Day in Vegas for a vachelorette party... I know... I'm nervous. It's been awhile since this old gal has stepped foot on the strip but I know that it's going to be a ton of fun! We have an amazing group of girls going and have lots of fun things planned for the bride to be!

    As the summer approaches with calendars stacked with camping trips, weddings, beach days and whatever else you've got planned, I thought I'd share my survival kit to help you stay hydrated, energized and fresh no matter what summer brings your way!


    1. Natural Deodorant

    I have been wanting to try a natural deoderant for a long time. I had the pleasure of meeting the sisters and founders of Routine a little while back and fell in love with their products (and them!). I've been known to get a little sweaty and I always thought that the natural stuff wouldn't cut it for me but this stuff is the real deal! I love the smell, which is one of the things that has put me off of other brands in the past, and most importantly, it actually keeps me dry and smelling good all day! I love that they are a Canadian company and that they make environmental and human health their top priority. This has quickly become a must in my daily routine and I've stocked up on a couple of the trial sizes to throw in my beach bag for those hot Vegas pool days!


    2. Energy Boosters

    Gone are the days of chugging energy drinks to pull through all night study sessions. I thought that for me, energy drinks were a thing of the past, but with a jam packed weekend full of festivities a little extra boost definitely won't hurt. I'm not talking about the fluorescent liquids that you might be picturing. These days my energy drink of choice is one that provides a natural boost from caffeine and antioxidants. I love these Runa Clean Energy Drinks. Just good ol' clean caffeine from Guayusa leaves, a tea leaf from the Amazon. I also always keep a couple stick packs of Matcha Ninja in my purse. Because it's a cold brew matcha you don't need hot water, just pour into your water bottle, shake and you're good to go!


    3. Hydration Helpers

    When you're out in the sun all day or travelling here and there, it's easy to forget to hydrate. Unfortunately this can also mean headaches, low energy and feeling pretty rough if you're out in the sun all day. A reusable water bottle is a must. I try to take a few sips every time I reach into my purse to grab something and this helps to keep me hydrated throughout the day!

    I'm also throwing in a few packs of Ener-C. I like the bit of flavour and carbonation they add to water and the extra electrolytes can help to rehydrate more efficiently. When you're on the go like this, it is also likely that you're not in your regular eating routine so the extra vitamins may come in handy for a bit of a recharge!


    4. Skin Savers

    I hang my head in shame when I think back on all the years I didn't wear sunscreen! What was I thinking!? I am now a dedicated sunscreen wearer and include it as part of my morning routine in my moisturizer, and re apply every one to two hours or so when I'm out in the sun.

    What we do out of the sun is so important too! I am addicted to skin hydrating oils. My skin is on the oilier side so I used to avoid them like the plague until I learned that using oils can actually help balance your skin out. When your skin is being well hydrated, it doesn't feel the need to produce extra oil to compensate for the dryness. I love Harlow's products, they are natural and organic and all have 12 ingredients or less (reading labels doesn't just apply to food!). My fave is the Sun Face Elixir because it's packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants. I talk about this a lot when it comes to food and our skin is no different! Our skin is our largest organ and what we put on it also absorbs into our body so I like to know what goes into these products I'm lathering on. I also use the Body & Bath Elixir for the rest of my body and love it!


    5. Snacks

    I get made fun of for this all the time but I truly don't go anywhere without them. Hanger is real, and I am someone who suffers badly. When I get hungry, not only do I really notice it in my energy but I can also get kind of irritable and that's not pleasant for anyone! I know this weekend is gonna be go-go-go and you never know what's going to come up throughout the day so better to be safe than sorry!

    Although I like to pack my own snacks from home whenever I can, sometimes you just need something quick and easy in a pinch. My faves are fruit (fresh if possible or dried if you're worried about them getting bumped and bruised), whole food bars (Vega, Kind, Lara are a few of my faves), or individual packs of nuts or trail mix. Find more of my fave Road Trip Snack Picks here.

    What are your favorite products or tricks? Please share! I'll need all the help I can get Check out my other must have travel companions for smooth flying.

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    Just when we thought the Calgary Stampede couldn't top its $100 hot dog of 2015, it went and deep fried Jell-O.

    This year's Stampede, running from July 7 to 16, will feature a bunch of completely new, completely over-the-top food items.

    Check out some of additions for 2017:

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