Ian Kalinowsky – The Great Canadian Travel Co.

STAFF PICKS

March 18, 2020 | Lois Farley

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to affect the communities where we live and work (and communities around the world where we love to travel), please know that we are working diligently to assist our clients. Those who are currently travelling we’re assisting to get home safely; those booked to travel over …

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March 11, 2020 | Lois Farley

With Saint Patrick’s Day coming up a lot of people’s minds turn to Ireland and all things Irish. 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 …

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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 …

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Ian’s Best Days Ever!

November 12, 2019 | Ian Kalinowsky

Iceland Scuba Diving – one of my Best Days Ever!

I am a Scuba Diver. I have dived hundreds of times in Mexico, Roatan, Belize, Cuba, Thailand and Canada. But, my single best dive was at the Silfra Dive site in Iceland with my eldest son David.

  Silfra is a fissure between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates in Thingvellir National Park. It was formed by earthquakes in 1789 when the tectonic plates tore the earth apart and created this fissure. It is a “living” dive site in that the continents drift apart at a rate of 2cm per year. Silfra is the only place in the world where you can dive (or snorkel) directly in a crack between two continents.

The Silfra fissure cut into the underground spring and filled with glacial melt-water from the nearby Langjökull glacier. The water is filtered through porous underground lava for 30-100 years before reaching the spring that feeds into Silfra. The water is therefore extremely pure by the time it reaches the north end of Thingvellir lake and it allows for underwater visibility of over 100 meters in Silfra. For reference good visibility in the ocean is about 100 feet (33 meters). The underwater visibility of the water in Silfra will rarely, if ever, be surpassed. Silfra is said to have the clearest water in the world. Read More >

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 >

Okavango Delta, Botswana

August 20, 2018 | Ian Kalinowsky

Repost: We have an escorted Botswana Safari in 2019. For 6 nights, you can experience the Linyanti Concessions and the Okavango Delta with a Great Canadian Travel Group escort!

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 >

Airport Wonders

April 05, 2018 | Ian Kalinowsky

I have the great fortune to travel. In the first three months of 2018 I have flown in 737s, ATRs, turboprops, ski planes, helicopters, and a Dreamliner. I have been on 42 separate flights and will easily surpass 150 for the year. I have been to the largest airports in the world and a small trailer calling itself an airport. Read More >

Into the Belly of Iceland

April 03, 2018 | Ian Kalinowsky

On my most recent trip to Iceland I had the great experience of descending into the earth on three separate tours that involved ice, lava caves and a volcano. You could think of it as experiencing the hottest and coldest places on the planet all in one comfortable day.  Read More >

Heliskiing in Iceland

March 09, 2018 | Ian Kalinowsky

“Enormous playground of never skied colours, chutes and wide opened glaciers” is how National Geographic starts their article describing skiing in Iceland.

“Without a doubt Iceland offers some of the most mind blowing heliskiing on the planet,” says snow magazine’s “top 10 Heliskiing experiences in Europe.” Read More >

Iceland – Beer Spa

February 12, 2018 | Ian Kalinowsky

It is common knowledge that Scandinavians love to partake in the ritual of hot tubs and saunas. In Iceland, which is blessed with an unlimited amount of hot water, created geothermally, hot tubbing or “going to the pool” is a most common ritual. What is uncommon is the newly opened BEER spa! It opened in July 2017 in the northern part of the country, just outside of Akureyri in the Troll Peninsula, the spa is an amazing place. Hot tubs filled with beer that you sit in while simultaneously pouring yourself a craft beer to drink and enjoy. Read More >

Temperatures in Iceland

February 05, 2018 | Ian Kalinowsky

There is a standing comment in Iceland – “if you don’t like the weather – wait 5 minutes.” I spent 8 days in Iceland in January 2018 and I can verify that the statement is accurate. In the eight days there was a blizzard and 100 mph winds; rain; sleet; fog; ice and glorious sun. But one thing that it was not, was COLD. The mercury did drop to a low of about -5C.

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A Dinner Invitation

December 05, 2017 | Ian Kalinowsky

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.

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