2019 | The Great Canadian Travel Co.

STAFF PICKS

May 3, 2019 | Natalie Rozière Hébert

Ok, so last time you heard from me was this past summer after my 3-day Colombia trip. It’s been nonstop since the Fall, and when I sit and think about all the places I have been to in just the past 9 months, it’s crazy! How I manage all that …

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April 16, 2019 | Allison Silvaggio

Welcome to Dawson City!  Home to the ‘Sourtoe Cocktail!’ Since 1973, the Sourdough Saloon in Dawson City has been accepting members.  All you have to do is visit the Saloon and ask for Captain River Rat. Purchase a shot (I chose Yukon Jack), and pledge the oath;  ‘You can drink …

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April 1, 2019 | GCT Bear

I took a day trip from Cape Town down the Peninsula to Cape Point. Along the way I stopped at many spectacular viewpoints. I would highly recommend getting out of the city and enjoying the beauty of the countryside. As we drove ever turn offered breathtaking views and vistas. 

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March 22, 2019 | Andrea Rempel

Are you travelling outside your home country? Would you like to be able to charge your phone, laptop or plug in your crimper? Here is a list of countries, their voltage, and the type of plug you require.

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Portugal is #1 best tourist destination!

July 17, 2019 | John Lelis

Our latest newsletter has Portugal as the featured destination. When asked to write a blog to feature in it, I thought it would be easy! After all, I am Portuguese and lived there until I was 39 before moving to Canada. But in fact, it isn’t that easy! There is so much to tell and so many stories to choose from that I found myself wondering where to start.

I guess a great way to start would be by saying that Portugal has been voted the best destination in the world for two years in a row in the World Travel Awards, the “Oscars of world tourism”. Everyone should go there! 

Portugal is the European country with oldest borders (I didn’t say oldest country in Europe, those are different things) and it has an amazing coast line that extends for 1.794 km (1115 mi). Of course, the main attraction must be the amazing beaches and, believe me, some of them are amazing. But a country with almost 900 years of history has, in fact, much more to offer. Its rich culture results from many influences including Roman, Celtic, Lusitanian, Phoenician,Germanic, Visigoth, Viking, Sephardic Jewish, and Moorish. All of these influences are still visible from the north to the south in many ways, even if the Roman and Moorish are the most visible, being also the most recent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting Portugal has the allure of a 2 in 1 Holiday. You may opt for spending your time visiting the historic centers of Lisbon or Porto, the country’s two main cities. Both have contrasts of the modern and comfortable cosmopolitan places they are, while keeping the old traces and vestiges that built their histories and are still preserved physically ans well as ingrained in the peoples’ culture.

If you are a sun lover and a holiday without beach, sun and amazing drinks isn’t a holiday for you, Portugal is also the place you want to be! From the northern point near Spain, going down to the most southern point of Europe; Sagres (in Algarve) bathed by the Atlanctic Ocean and then East towards Spain, bathed by the Mediterranean sea; with beaches, amazing fish, prize winning beers, typical dishes and bread, Portugal has it all. And, believe me, we the Portuguese love to enjoy it!

There’s so much more to tell, but I hope to have at least made you think about going to Portugal for holidays. If you would like me to assist you in creating an unforgettable Portuguese experience, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at John@gctravel.ca.

What’s New

July 16, 2019 | Lois Farley

Company News:

Read our July 4th newsletter and Let’s Celebrate Canada!

Read our June 19th newsletter for some Fun in the Summertime ideas and our featured destination, Iceland.

Read our June 5th newsletter for trips, tips and blogs on taking an escorted African safari.
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30 May, 2019: Today marks the 70th anniversary of KLM’s inaugural flight between the Netherlands and Canada, a milestone occasion that the carrier marked with an official water salute by firefighters at Montréal-Trudeau airport. The ceremonial salute was a touching reminder of how 70 years ago, on May 29, 1949, members of the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines crew boarded a Lockheed Constellation 747 to welcome passengers on the first-ever Amsterdam-Montreal flight. The ‘Batavia’ touched down at Dorval airport on May 30, following two stopovers.
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Company News:

Our 2019 Consumer Events calendar:
March 6th – expedition cruising in Europe, the North Atlantic and Arctic regions and Eastern Canada, conducted by Matthew James Swan from Adventure Canada.
March 24th  –  safaris in Botswana and Zimbabwe (wet vs. dry season options), presented by Yandisa Ngcuka of Wilderness Safaris.
April 25th – soft adventure and active holidays for travellers of all ages with Tony Perdomo from Exodus Travel.
May 23rd – escorted touring in Europe and beyond presented by Sherridan Harris of Trafalgar Tours.
June 20th – the nitty-gritty on African safaris, conducted by our Africa specialists Ian and Margot Kalinowsky and Arnie Hydamaka

We’re taking a break for July and August (cottage time!), but we’ll be back in September.

If you would like to attend any of our consumer events please RSVP by email to sales@gctravel.ca with “RSVP and the presentation date” in the subject line.

New Location: We’re nicely settled into our new office at 1349 Portage Avenue (north side of Portage between Valour Road and Ashburn Street) and the weather finally warmed up enough for our signs to be installed. We’re no longer that nameless, light brown brick building on Portage Avenue! If you live in the Winnipeg area we invite you to pop in and see our new digs!

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If you want to keep up to date on product news, promotions and specials we send out an e-mailer every couple of weeks. If you want to be kept in the loop just sign up from our website, at the bottom of each page in the red “footer” or email us to be added to the list to receive updates from us. You can always unsubscribe at any time!

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Our Winnipeg office is moving! Effective November 30th our new address will be 1349 Portage Avenue. We’ll be on the north side of Portage Avenue between Valour Rd and Ashburn St. Our phone number, fax number and email addresses will all stay the same. We’ll be having a Grand Opening once we’re all settled in our new digs, so watch this space for updates.
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Top 60 Canadian Travel Blogger sites: Great Canadian Travel was just named as one of the top 60 travel blog sites in Canada by Feedspot.com. Blog sites are judged by their search engine ranking, social media influence, social media buzz, Alexa ranking (a division of Amazon that measures web searches and visitors), post frequency and quality scores. We try hard to keep providing interesting and relevant content and it’s nice to see that our effort is being noticed. So, if we keep blogging, will you keep reading?
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And the Michelin Stars keep coming to our favourite places! Dill has been named the best Icelandic restaurant on numerous occasions and can now boast a Michelin Star, the first every awarded in Iceland – way to go, Dill!  “Dill builds on Icelandic traditions and Icelandic and Nordic ideology, and we use only the best and purest of Icelandic ingredients in our cooking,” said Head Chef of Dill, Ragnar Eiríksson. “It’s an enormous honor for all of my fantastic coworkers.” Dill is a small restaurant that sits between 20-30 people, so book your reservation today before the rest of the world hears about one of Iceland’s (and the world’s) best restaurants!
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Congratulations to KOKS restaurant, Kirkjubøur, Faroe Islands on winning your first Michelin star, the first restaurant in the Faroe Islands to do so!  Makes the short drive to this stunning seaside town even more worthwhile (like we needed another reason)!  Run by 26 year-old Faroese chef Poul Andrias Ziska, the young avant-garde team at KOKS use Faroese produce, focusing on innovative, but at the same time, traditional cuisine.  The menu is determined by the season and what they have to offer, transforming the food by using ancient culinary traditions such as drying, fermenting, salting and smoking, into modern delicacies.  Way to go, Poul and your fabulous team at KOKS!

Drum Dance Ceremony in Naujaat (Nunavut)

June 24, 2019 | Ian Kalinowsky

Margot (my spouse and tour director for Great Canadian Travel) and I were escorting a group of clients to venture out to the Floe Edge in the community of Naujaat, Nunavut (formerly Repulse Bay and translated as “seagull nesting place”) and to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on the summer solstice – June 21, 2018. Naujaat is considered to be a “traditional” community in that they rely on hunting and fishing for their sustenance.

The Naujaat community has built a wonderful “elders’ retreat” outside of the community. It is away from the hustle and bustle of the community and allows for contemplation, quiet enjoyment of each other’s company and celebrations. Our group was invited into the retreat to experience and learn about drum dancing.

  A Qulliq – a traditional, soapstone oil-lamp filled with sealskin oil – was ceremonially lit and placed on a table by a window overlooking the rolling hills and Hudson Bay in the background. It was very calming.

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Never Setting Sun, Summer Solstice in Naujaat (Nunavut)

June 24, 2019 | Ian Kalinowsky

  Ian & Margot in front of Arctic Circle Marker, Naujaat

I was escorting a group of clients to venture out to the Floe Edge in the community of Naujaat, Nunavut (formerly Repulse Bay and translated as “seagull nesting place”) and to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on the summer solstice – June 21, 2018. It was a very special place to be on this particular day, in that Naujaat is located exactly on the Arctic Circle. Read More >

Candace’s Resort Site inspections – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

May 09, 2019 | Candace F

 

 

 

 

As a travel consultant dedicated to making sure clients are getting the best trip, one that they will talk about for a long time after they return, I have to know where I’m sending them. First hand. Back in January, I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and saw six resorts. Here are my notes on those: Read More >

Attending the Spirit of the Arctic Tourism Summit

May 06, 2019 | Allison Silvaggio

Attending the Spirit of the Arctic Tourism Summit in Nunavut’s capital of Iqaluit helped expand my knowledge on travelling to the North.

I have been lucky enough to visit 3 of the Arctic communities, including Pond Inlet, Cambridge Bay and Naujaat (which is located on the Arctic Circle). Read More >

Isla Mujeres, Cancun’s Hidden Paradise

May 03, 2019 | John Lelis

I must confess, being new here at the agency and when asked for a blog entry I immediately intended on writing about my vow renewal (wedding) in Isla Mujeres. Meanwhile Nicole was faster than me and wrote about her beautiful experience getting married in California and I was in doubt if it would be the right choice to write about a wedding theme again, but as both experiences are so different and the locations and ceremony types so apart, I decided to keep my original plan. As such, let’s go.

 

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Natalie’s Travels

May 03, 2019 | Natalie Rozière Hébert

Ok, so last time you heard from me was this past summer after my 3-day Colombia trip. It’s been nonstop since the Fall, and when I sit and think about all the places I have been to in just the past 9 months, it’s crazy! How I manage all that travelling, a house and 2 kids plus 1 cat? I have amazing support from my parents, to the neighbour who plowed my driveway all year, to great friends, coworkers and school teachers and day cares that all know my life is nonstop craziness. Lucky for them I always have amazing stories to tell and I bring back souvenirs.

Here is how the rest of my year, and new year, went…

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Travelling with Cannabis – what Canadians need to know

April 22, 2019 | Andrea Rempel

**Reposted with new information**

 

October 17, 2018 may not be a special day for you for any particular reason, but for those in Canada, it marks the day that allowed adults (18+, depending on which province a person lives) to legally possess cannabis, share it, buy it, grow it, and make cannabis products from it.  The latter two are dependent on individual provincial laws. And whether or not you agree with this law, it is here and those who wish to participate in such activities should know what they need to do if they decide to travel outside of Canada. Read More >

Sunny Santa Barbara

April 18, 2019 | Nicole Fell

This past September my husband and I were married on a sandy beach in Santa Barbara, California. We wanted a very small ceremony and after researching online, I discovered a company in Santa Barbara called ‘Weddings by The Sea’ with elopement style wedding packages. So we left the approaching cold of Winnipeg and were welcomed by sunshine and ocean breeze. We started our adventure with our friendly and boisterous cab driver who picked us up at LAX – upon hearing of our wedding plans in Santa Barbara he quickly convinced us that we picked a poor location for our wedding and he tried to persuade us to stay in Los Angeles where all the ‘fun’ beaches were. My heart dropped slightly as I was excited to explore the acclaimed ‘American Rivera’ I had read about online, Santa Barbara is known for its red topped Mediterranean style buildings and coastal town. But my disappointment quickly faded as we pulled around a bend on the highway and into the city, I was greeted by a sparkling ocean expanse and brightly coloured flowers flowing down the edge of the street underpass. Away from the sea were mountains with houses built up the sides, there was a haze from the humidity and afternoon sun lingering over them, which made for a dreamy sight. I was overjoyed to discover my research for our destination was all I had envisioned it to be and more. Read More >

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