Meet Our Team

Ian Kalinowsky


Biography

Who is Ian:
Ian is the President and CEO, having purchased The Great Canadian Travel Company in the fall of 2014 from the founder Max Johnson (est. 1980). The interesting part of having Ian as the President is that he has no previous experience in the business of travel. However, after being uprooted at the age of 10 to live for 4 years in Peru and then 3 years in Guatemala, this experience started a lifelong love of travel.

After attaining degrees in economics, psychology and accounting, Ian built a high net worth money management firm with offices in Winnipeg and Calgary and then sold it to its employees who continue to successfully operate the firm. Ian has been married to Margot since 1985 and they have 2 adult children – David and Derek. Ian and Margot live in Winnipeg and spend a considerable amount of time at their cottage on an island at Lake of the Woods.

TOP 5 travel experiences

  • Have travelled to over 40 countries with Margot, David and Derek
  • Sitting completely alone on a sand dune on the border of Morocco and Algeria – a 2 day camel trek into the Sahara
  • Scuba diving to 80 ft with David amongst a school of bull Sharks (the deadliest sharks in the world) and watching the staggering majesty of these animals
  • Climbing through the early morning mist to the top of Whannu Picchu (the mountain that overlooks Macchu Pichu) to find out the only other person on the mountain was also from Winnipeg (small world)
  • To spend several hours watching 3 male cheetahs stalk, run down and kill an antelope. Despite the violence it was choreographed beauty.

What is Ian’s closing comment:
“Home is where your heart is.” Despite the vast amount of travel and the amazing sites and sounds and experiences in the world everyone has an ingrained notion of “home.” Ask a person “where is your home” and everyone will have an answer that hits deep into their character and soul. Sometime we travel in order that we may better know our home.

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Blog

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Dinner Invitation

Hey there! We would like to invite you for dinner!

Sounds great – when would you like to go?

What are you doing in March?

Um, I don’t know? That’s pretty far in advance.

Well, this place is pretty spectacular and reservations fill up fast.

Sure, I can mark it on my calendar so I don’t book anything else that day – when is it?

Well, that’s the thing. It’s Monday, March 5th, but you won’t be home until the 6th.

I’ve never heard of dinner taking two days…

It’s actually 1000 km North of Winnipeg. I have already made you a plane reservation on CalmAir.

I am intrigued. A thousand km north of Winnipeg? Like Churchill?

Yes, but dinner is not actually in Churchill.

We have to go somewhere else?

Yes, a tundra buggy is going to come and pick us up and head out of town.

Cool so we are going to eat sandwiches in a tundra buggy.

No, in a tent.

What? A tent – isn’t the temperature about -20C?

It’s about -21C today, but the tent will be warm because it’s inside a massive 250-year stone fort.

So let me get all this straight. We are having dinner –  in a tent –  inside a fort – reached by a truck called a Tundra Buggy – after taking a 2-hour flight north from Winnipeg. Anything else I should know?

Oh, the tent is clear so we can watch the Northern Lights dance across the sky, in a location that NASA says is the best on the planet.

This is an amazing surprise. Do I even ask what is for dinner?

Actually, it’s a surprise. Chef Mandel Hitzer, from the celebrated Winnipeg restaurant Raw: Almond, will prepare a dinner inspired by the type of ingredients that explorers, adventurers and First Nations folks would have used in their meals 250 years ago while at the Prince of Wales Fort.

Ok! I’m fired up and ready to go!

One last thing: don’t wear heels.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Okavango Delta, Botswana

 

It is a little unusual to say, “I am really looking forward to going on a wet African Safari.” Most people wonder why you would want to go and sit in the rain. But a ‘wet safari’ is the experience offered in the Okavango Delta of Botswana and the camps that I had the privilege of staying at in March 2017. Read More >

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Bird is the Word

African Fish Eagle

Our group was going on Safari to the Kalahari Desert; The Okavango Delta and the Linyanti Marshlands. We had all been on Safaris before and we were very much looking forward to spotting the Big Five (Lion, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Leopard and Rhinoceros) and the numerous types of antelopes, giraffes, ostriches and everything else that we could possibly experience. What was not on our excitement or anticipation list was birds. We just had not given birds much thought prior to coming on this safari and as we started out on the jeep that early morning they were the farthest thing from our minds. It is not that they weren’t present: we could hear the multiple songs and could see them flitter around in the early dawn light. It is just that birds had not once entered into any of our conversations or into our trains of thought as to what we were going to experience. Read More >

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