Allison Silvaggio | The Great Canadian Travel Co.

STAFF PICKS

May 27, 2021 | Allison Silvaggio

Calling all Canadians to take the 2021 travel pledge to travel in Canada.  It has been a difficult year +, to say the least, and we cannot wait to get out there and see one another again. With over 20 years in travel, the first half was spent mostly travelling …

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May 12, 2021 | Lois Farley

There has been lots in the news about travel starting up again from the US and Canada, and countries re-opening for international tourism. We featured a couple of these countries in recent newsletters, namely Iceland and the Faroe Islands. We wanted to update you on a few things regarding booking …

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May 12, 2021 | Shauna Cook

Iceland COVID-19 Regulations – info accurate as of May 7th, 2021. Rules and regulations are reviewed every two weeks and are expecting to be updated on June 1st, 2021. Who can visit Iceland?     Passengers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection. Can you visit …

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Canada Tourism Week

May 27, 2021 | Allison Silvaggio

Calling all Canadians to take the 2021 travel pledge to travel in Canada.  It has been a difficult year +, to say the least, and we cannot wait to get out there and see one another again.

With over 20 years in travel, the first half was spent mostly travelling internationally.  And then, the exploration became closer to home.

When looking back, some of my favorite memories & experiences happened right here within Canada.  Kayaking with the Beluga Whales in Churchill, experiencing the Floe Edge in Nunavut, and even drinking a Sour Toe Cocktail in Dawson City.  Exploring Peggy’s Cove to Whistler and everything in between.

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What Not to Wear Travelling

April 28, 2021 | Allison Silvaggio

We all remember Stacy London and Clinton Kelly from their 10 seasons of “What Not to Wear”.  In travel, we read quite a few blogs on how to dress in certain destinations for certain types of tours.  Here is how we can expand on this, advising what we shouldn’t wear.

The first item that comes to mind, mainly due to the safety, is a long scarf or camera strap while viewing wildlife.  If you have travelled to Churchill, Manitoba before to view the polar bears from the Tundra Vehicle, you may have been warned about this.  While on the outside viewing area at the back of the vehicle travellers should not lean over the side, as the bears can stand up which puts their front paws quite close to any loose clothing potentially hanging over.

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A Day in the Office

November 02, 2020 | Allison Silvaggio

“Normal – Usual, Typical or Expected” –

Surprising to say that sitting at my desk in the office today felt slightly normal!  Other than there being only a few co-workers around, as most are working from home.

Sitting here, sun shining through the window, with Westjet and Air Canada planes flying overhead to James Richardson International Airport.

Earlier this week, while working from home, my 11 year old son was using my phone to check his baseball app to see what position he would be playing that night.  Suddenly the phone rang.  He answered it and was clearly unsure on what to do.  I took the phone from him and apologized to the agent on the line, as we had a chuckle and realized that this is the new normal!  She was calling to book her client on an Orca & Grizzly tour in BC.  This will be my first booking in over 5 months.

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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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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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Our World

April 26, 2020 | Allison Silvaggio

With the current state of ‘our world,’ we are all finding ways to take care of ourselves, connect with family & friends, and perhaps finding new hobbies to keep our minds occupied.

It’s now been about 5 weeks at home with my husband and two sons (ages 11 & 14).  After their daily school work, one proceeds to complete another puzzle while the other busts out a Bon Jovi song on guitar. I myself have turned to yoga, long walks outside and many good books.

This time at home has also given ample time for ‘spring cleaning’ and de-cluttering.  I spent a good portion of last week going through photo albums while enjoying a wide range of different flavored teas.

We are all aware that these are trying times for the travel industry, however looking through over 20 years of pictures, destinations, memories…..it gives me hope!

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“There’s Bears Out There!” – Polar Bear Adventures in Churchill

February 27, 2020 | Allison Silvaggio

Allison Silvaggio is one of our adventurous Travel Consultants at Great Canadian Travel and, like you, she loves the Polar Bears. She’s been to Churchill, Manitoba to see the polar bears and is an expert in having the best polar bear adventure experience. Allison travelled to Churchill and has some great tips to pass along to anyone planning to travel to see the polar bears. Read More >

International Indigenous Travel Conference – One to Remember!

November 27, 2019 | Allison Silvaggio

After attending 7 travel conferences over the past 10 years, the International Indigenous Travel Conference is one to remember.  All of the amazing people met, and amount of knowledge gained.  And mainly due to the cultural & emotional experiences that touched each of us.

It began with a very moving talk from the first Inuk to every play in the National Hockey League; Jordin Tootoo from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.  In 2011 Jordin established the Team Tootoo Fund, a non profit organization addressing suicide awareness and prevention.  Jordin shared his personal struggles with us, and spoke about the loss of his older brother Terence, who died at the age of 22.

I am looking forward to reading Jordin’s book; ‘All the Way, My Life on the Ice.’  Jordin continues to support the fund, and speak throughout Canada at different events expressing that there is help, and we need to accept it.

 

 

 

We also experienced a very powerful presentation from the beautiful Sarain Fox, dancer, choreographer, activist and television host.  Her talk helped open our eyes to just how proud we should be to share the amazing Indigenous culture and travel experiences that Canada has to offer.  We are very fortunate to have these experiences offered through every province and territory of this great country.

And when the audience seemed exhausted from information over-load, who better to get us all up on our feet, than ‘Double the Trouble.’  Identical 15-year old twin fiddlers along with their father on guitar, from Winnipeg, MB who delivered a fantastic musical performance.

Indigenous Tourism Canada made a very special announcement during the conference.  They have signed a contract and will now be using an Indigenous owned travel agency, Indigeno Travel,  for all of their leisure and corporate travel arrangements.  We are very excited to begin this new venture with them.

The message relayed during the 3-day conference was return to your land and take care of it for the generations to come.  This is a very strong message with everything going on in our world, and what we can do to protect it.

I am also very happy to report that the 2020 International Indigenous Travel Conference will be held in my home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Hope to see you there!

Allison’s Best Days Ever!

November 11, 2019 | Allison Silvaggio

‘Arriving on my 7th Continent’

With so many fantastic travel experiences, its hard to choose just one.  However, I think of this day often.

After a two-day sailing across the Drake Passage, I have finally arrived; my 7th continent! The anticipation of stepping onto the Antarctic  Peninsula for the first time……solid ground is wonderful!

Not long after our arrival, we experienced the true Antarctic greeting, as some curious penguins waddled by along the shores.  We enjoyed a snowshoe with the most breathtaking scenery surrounding us.  The peacefulness was so serene, that we decided to stop and sit for a bit.  To take the time to absorb our surroundings and appreciate the silence.  The only sound was the waves against the shore and our penguin friends.  The weather was perfect, with a cool breeze on your face, and the sun trying to peak through the overcast clouds.  Light flurries were falling, which made the experience even better.

After returning to our expedition vessel, I enjoyed a warm beverage and some wonderful conversation with our fellow travellers.  Followed by an amazing dinner, paired with some fantastic wines from Argentina.

The solitude, serenity and scenery make this my best day ever!!

 

Yoga from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica

September 19, 2019 | Allison Silvaggio

The serenity of standing on the bow of the small expedition ship, watching the Southern fulmars fly back and forth over the wake of the vessel. Enjoying a morning yoga class where the gentle rocking of the ship puts you deeper into the stretch, followed by the silence of meditation. Snowshoeing among hundreds of wandering penguins, as they examine us with curiosity. Standing on the sea ice at the Floe Edge and staring out at the open ocean, hoping for a glimpse of marine life. Just a few of my ‘best vacation days ever experiences.’

Twenty-two years in travel has given me the opportunity to meet some fantastic people, and travel to some exciting and remote destinations. For fifteen years I have been specializing in polar destinations such as Arctic Canada and Antarctica, Iceland and Greenland.

    

From my first visit, my passion exploded and it’s exciting to plan a complicated itinerary for clients who are more invested in the culture and activities than how strong the WiFi signal will be.

I have been practicing Yoga for over thirteen years, which has tied in quite nicely with travel. From some of my early travels, I would return home with thousands of images, however, lacking the connection with the destination. I now return home with fewer photos but more satisfied with the experiences. Yoga has taught me to slow down, take a breath and absorb our surroundings.

I believe that the combination of travel and yoga have made me into the person I am today. Our world is extremely hectic and bombarded with technology. I find myself more at peace when I am traveling and try to bring this tranquility into everyday life.

Take a look at the piece I wrote for Wander Magazine about how I feel that yoga has enhanced my travel experiences from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic!

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