2020 | The Great Canadian Travel Co. - Part 2

STAFF PICKS

March 17, 2022 | Lois Farley

Saint Patrick’s Day brings Ireland and all things Irish to a lot of people’s minds. And, those of us lucky enough to be Irish or are of Irish descent, particularly so! My ancestors on both sides of my family emigrated to Canada from Ireland back in the mid to late …

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March 1, 2022 | Allison Silvaggio

There are so many things that we miss when it comes to travel, such as exploring new places, trying new things and meeting new people.  What I miss the most, are those extremely peaceful moments where you can just take it all in.  Whether you are enjoying a beautiful hike, …

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February 2, 2022 | Lois Farley

Canada’s three most well-known groundhog weather predictors and their cousin south of the American border are at loggerheads this Groundhog Day. Nova Scotia’s celebrity groundhog, Shubenacadie Sam, and Quebec’s Fred la Marmotte both predicted a long, cold winter ahead, while Ontario’s Wiarton Willie claimed an early spring is on the …

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Samhain, the Origins of Halloween

October 27, 2020 | Lois Farley

Have you ever wondered where our Hallowe’en traditions came from? Why do we dress up in costumes? Why do we go door-to-door, asking for treats, and why do we give out candy? Why do we threaten to play a trick on people? Why do we carve pumpkins and put candles or lights inside them? Why do we decorate with skeletons and skulls, ghosts and witches? To find out, we have to look back, way back, to the days of the Celts and Druids.

It wasn’t until recently, as I began looking into my Irish heritage, that I learned our Hallowe’en here in Canada and the US has its roots in Ireland and the ancient, Celtic tradition of Samhain (pronounced Saw-win), dating back about 3,000 years.

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Festival of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

October 26, 2020 | Lois Farley

The introduction by the church of All Saint’s Day and All Souls’ Day led to the celebration in Mexico and other Latin American countries, of Dia de los Muertos – Day of the Dead. A slight misnomer, it’s actually a two-day event, November 1st and 2nd, filled with festivals and lively celebrations, combining Indigenous Aztec rituals with Catholicism, brought to this region by Spanish conquistadores.

The belief that all of their loved ones who had passed on would be insulted by sadness and mourning means that, during Dia de los Muertos, people joyfully celebrate the lives of the deceased with food and drink, parties and activities the dead enjoyed in their lives. During these two days the dead are awakened from their eternal sleep and become a part of the community, sharing celebrations with their loved ones.

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Walking Safari in Linyanti, Botswana

October 15, 2020 | Margot Kalinowsky

What would you do if you saw a 12,000 pound elephant Bull walking towards you?  Run, cry, scream??

I found out what I would do when I was lucky enough to be on a walking safari in the Linyanti region in Botswana.

Before leaving on our 2-hour hike we went over the rules and expectations. The rules are simple. Do not walk in front of the guide, walk in a single file, do not touch the leaves on the trees, do not be loud and noisy, and most importantly, keep your eyes open on the most amazing walk you will ever take.

A walking safari and a jeep safari are very different experiences.  While on the jeep you are always looking at the horizon, up in the trees, outcrops, bushes rivers, etc., focusing on the large macro experience and, in general, large animals and birds. However, when on a walking safari it becomes the smaller micro creatures, bugs and fauna you are watching for. A walking safari is like being a page in a book whereas a jeep safari is like being a chapter in a book.

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Snowhotel Kirkenes, Norway

September 21, 2020 | Shauna Cook

This past winter I had the opportunity to stay at the Snowhotel in Kirkenes, Norway. I stayed on December 1st for one night. The actual Snowhotel wasn’t quite finished construction yet, so we stayed in the equally unique Gamme Cabins, and they were fabulous!

We flew about 2.5 hours northeast from Oslo and landed in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere at Kirkenes Airport. We had a arranged for the Snowhotel to pick us up from the airport, and their transfer service was a very smooth operation.  We looked for a person wearing a Snowhotel jacket, and it turned out to be our wonderful host, Mili! Mili checked off our names and directed us to our waiting bus where the driver helped to load our bags. Once we were all on board, we set off for the approx. 15 minute drive to the Snowhotel!

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Right at Home With Peruvian & Bolivian Food

September 20, 2020 | Karen Pearson

With Covid-19 curtailing our plans, my partner and I have been missing travel. To help with that, one day while Chris was at work, I decided to surprise him by making a dinner with Peruvian and Bolivian foods so we could relive one of our favourite trips.

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Canoeing in Manitoba’s Whiteshell

August 24, 2020 | Karen Pearson

2020 has been a bit different for all of us, so far, with travel options limited to those closer to home.

 

Last weekend, my partner Chris and I took advantage of the beautiful summer weather and went canoeing on White Lake in Manitoba’s Whiteshell Provincial Park.

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Moscow Metro

August 19, 2020 | Shauna Cook

When I was researching interesting things to see in Moscow, the Moscow Metro System kept on popping up.  So I booked a metro tour before I left – and it certainly did NOT disappoint!!

Our guide led our small group (10 people) through the extremely busy, but equally beautiful metro system one afternoon.  Every station is truly a museum in itself, and they are kept immaculately clean.

It is the 5th longest underground railway system in the world with just under 400 km’s of rail.  It goes very deep underground – sometimes at one station, you might have 2 more stations above you – all underground!  The deepest station is Park Pobedy station at 276 feet underground.

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Zodiac Cruises and Tours

August 11, 2020 | Allison Silvaggio

If you are familiar with the world of Expedition Cruises, you have then heard the term ‘Zodiac Cruise’ before.  Zodiacs or RIB boats are durable and easy to maneuver, rubber passenger boats which enable travellers to make landings.  These boats are used both in the Arctic and the Antarctic for daily excursions.  Disembarking procedures begin in the mud room, where you start by putting on your warm weather clothing and rubber boots.  When ready, you will head to the gangway where an expedition leader will assist you into the zodiac.   Getting in and out of the zodiac is always assisted using the army grip, and then once sitting, sliding your posterior along the side of the boat.  Most zodiac’s comfortably fit about 8 – 12 passengers, plus the driver/guide.

 

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Warrior for a Day in Northern Ireland

July 29, 2020 | Amelia Bearhart

I went to Ireland, both the Republic of Ireland in the south and Northern Ireland, with my co-worker Lois. We did a lot of really neat stuff on our trip around this gorgeous, green island. But, one of my favourite things was being a Warrior for a Day at Castle Ward and Demesne in County Down, just south of Belfast. We got to take part in the Winterfell Game of Thrones™ Experience, because this castle was the setting of Winterfell in the HBO™ series and many scenes were shot on the grounds there.

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to take part in the activities, but it turns out that you don’t need opposable thumbs to do archery! Read More >

Culinary Travel

July 23, 2020 | Allison Silvaggio

For people that know me well, they know that ‘Food’ is one of my very favorite things.  And, one of the best parts of travelling, for me, is trying out the local cuisine.

In the past 20 years, I have tasted everything from Muktuk in the Arctic  (whale skin & blubber), to Mopane Worms in Zimbabwe, along with a few favorites such as Arctic char, lamb and lobster bisque in Iceland and delicious barbecue in Nashville, TN.

 

 

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