Lois Farley – The Great Canadian Travel Co.

STAFF PICKS

January 15, 2020 | Lindsay Ruffeski

Disney World truly is the happiest place on Earth! Their tagline says it’s the happiest place on Earth, but you don’t really understand what they mean until you visit it for yourself. I’m so in love with Disney World, I wish I could return year after year, as I would never …

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January 9, 2020 | Shauna Cook

I was recently in Iceland, and since I was only there for a few nights, I hadn’t planned on doing a northern lights tour.  However, when I arrived, I keep on hearing the buzz in Reykjavik that the lights were going to AMAZING that night, so I couldn’t resist! I …

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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 …

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Newsletters

December 30, 2019 | Lois Farley

If you want to keep up to date on product news, promotions and specials we send out a newsletter by e-mail every couple of weeks. 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 if you change your mind later on!

Newsletter Archives:

December 31st newsletter – Happy New Year in 2020!

December 18th newsletter – Happy Holiday Greetings!

December 05th newsletter – Winter Escapes

November 21st newsletterBlack Friday & Cyber Monday sales.

November 07th newsletter – Travel With a Purpose.

October 24th newsletter – Under the African Sun.

October 09th newsletter – Thanksgiving.

September 25th newsletter – Multi-Generational Cruises.

September 11th newsletter – All-Inclusive Resorts.

August 28th newsletter – Group Travel.

August 14th newsletterNorthern Lights.

July 31st newsletter – Stunning South Pacific.

July 17th newsletter – Award-Winning Portugal.

July 4th newsletter – Let’s Celebrate Canada!

June 19th newsletterIceland & Fun in the Summertime.

June 5th newsletterEscorted African safari.

May 22nd newsletter – European Escorted Tours.

May 8th newsletter – the ABCs of GCTG

What’s New

December 22, 2019 | Lois Farley

Company News:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, 2020!

Great Canadian Travel Holiday Hours
Monday, December 23rd – 9:00am-5:00pm
Tuesday, December 24th – Closing at 1:00pm
Wednesday, December 25th & Thursday, December 26th – Closed
Monday December 30th—9:00am-5:00pm
Tuesday December 31st – Closing at 1:00pm
Wednesday January 1st – Closed
Thursday, January 2nd & Friday, January 3rd – Business as Usual

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Great Canadian Travel Group signed a partnership agreement with Indigeno Travel, 13 November, 2019: Ian Kalinowsky and Allison Silvaggio are attending the International Indigenous Tourism Conference in Kelowna, BC. It is the largest Indigenous conference in the world. Today, Great Canadian Travel Group signed a partnership agreement with Indigeno Travel, a Winnipeg-based, Indigenous-owned travel agency, Continental travel Group and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) to act as the travel agency for Indigenous experiences across the country. For 40 years Great Canadian Travel has been operating in  Indigenous communities and we are very excited to be recognised for our knowledge and capabilities. We look forward to exciting growth possibilities with this new partnership.
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Our 2019 Consumer Events calendar:
November 27 at 7:00pm – Collette Tours, Black Friday Sales Event

If you would like to attend a consumer event please RSVP by email to margot@gctravel.ca (with RSVP and the presentation date in the subject line) or call us at 204 949 0199.
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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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New Location: We’re nicely settled into our new office at 1349 Portage Avenue (north side of Portage between Valour Road and Ashburn Street), which we moved to on the 30 November, 2018, 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!

Lois’ Best Days Ever!

November 12, 2019 | Lois Farley

Over my many years of travelling, both for work and on vacation, there have been lots of Best Days Ever. But, this is definitely one of the best!

My two daughters and I recently took a trip to Ireland. We started out in Dublin, and had a couple of days in that fun city, where’s there’s so much to see and do. Then, we picked up a rental car and off we went, road warriors! The self-drive trip itself was great, although I admit to being a bit too ambitious in my planning. Trying to fit in everything that all three of us wanted to see was just not possible. We did manage to see a lot of awesome places, though (and even some we didn’t intend to, thanks Google maps!) But, I always say, when you’re on holiday you never get lost, you just take scenic detours. And sometimes those detours work out great. Note to self, just because a road in Ireland looks straight on the map (there are one or two, but that’s probably it) does not mean it’s flat (as our Prairie brains automatically equated it to be). There was one in particular that was a real roller coaster!

The day that stands out in my mind is the day we spent at the Giant’s Causeway with my friend Mark Rodgers, a fabulous local guide and Causeway native. His stories and good humour made the ground speak to us and the stones sing, all the while with the wind whistling around us and waves crashing onto the rocky shore. Magic!

After the Giant’s Causeway we drove along the Causeway Coastal Road and then headed inland through the Glens of Antrim to the Ballymena area. Our quest was to find a small farm nestled at the foot of Mt. Slemish, and find it we did!

And that’s where my heart and my soul really soared. Because, on this land, my Grandma Hannah Muirhead was born and raised, along with her many, many, many brothers and sisters, my great aunts and uncles, and their parents. To think that my Grandma’s feet walked these pathways and her hands helped build the stone fences surrounding the fields, was a palpable link to my past.

 

 

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Out on the Tundra in Churchill

November 06, 2018 | Lois Farley

“Sssshhhh, turn around quietly and look out the window.” Those were the words said in hushed tones by our tour host as we were happily sitting in the lounge car of the Tundra Buggy Lodge™, having a wee drink before dinner. We turned and looked in awe, as right outside the windows, casually strolling by in the tell-tale pigeon-toed gait, was a big, beautiful polar bear. You could hear the intake of breath as we all marvelled at the incredible wonder of nature walking right by us. “That’s a young male, about 3 years old” our guide informed us. His powerful muscles rippled underneath his fur telling us that he is a force of nature, a natural hunter and predator. But the round, black eyes and black nose set in that white face offered all of us that unmistakable sense of “Oh, you look cute enough to cuddle”. A feeling best kept as thought and not action! These are not cute and cuddly toys! Read More >

2018 Newsletters:

October 04, 2018 | Lois Farley

December 12, 2018: Days of Travel

November 28, 2018: Moving Week

November 14, 2018: Wildlife

October 31, 2018: Happy Halloween

October 18, 2018: South America

October 03, 2018: Thanksgiving Cornucopia of Travel

September 19, 2018: Warm Winter Getaways

September 4, 2018: Castles & Cathedrals

August 22, 2018: Northern Lights

August 09, 2018: Wine & Whiskey Tours

July 25, 2018: Africa Adventures

July 11, 2018: Mexico and Central America

June 26, 2018: Canada Day Edition

June 06, 2018: Expedition Cruising

May 2018: May Flowers in Iceland and Greenland

April 2018: April Showers Bring Canadian Flowers

March 2018: Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We Love Ireland!

February 2018: International Polar Bear Day – Name Our Bear Mascot Contest

January 2018: There’s a Place in the Sun

Sleep Like Royalty in an Irish Castle

March 15, 2018 | Lois Farley

With World Sleep Day and St. Patrick’s Day falling consecutively on Friday, March 16th and Saturday, March 17th, I thought it’d be only fitting to look into the idea of sleeping in an Irish castle. I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of spending at least one night like a prince or princess from a fairy tale?

Ireland offers up a lot of great choices for a castle stay. Here are three choices, but there are many others.

  Ashford Castle, County Mayo
The original castle construction began back in 1228, so some of the castle’s stonework is approaching 800 years of age. The famed Guinness brewing family purchased the castle in the mid-1800’s and put about $75 million into the massive renovation to upgrade the interior. With additional modern renovations the castle now features its historic façade and “bones” along with stunningly restored interiors and a state-of-the-art spa. Not just a place to lay your head, it’s an experience, the chance to live a dream of staying in a genuine castle, but still having all the creature comforts we’ve come to expect.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare
Built in the 16th century, the limestone, medieval castle with its statuesque turret sits on 450 acres of lush green grass and verdant gardens. Since the 10th century Dromoland has been the ancestral home of the O’Briens, Barons of Inchiquin and descendants of Brian Boru High King of Ireland during the 11th century. For the next 900 years a branch of the O’Briens lived and ruled from this castle. Retaining all the grandness of bygone eras the castle has been upgraded to a very comfortable standard, offering everything the modern day, discerning “royalty for a day” is looking for.

  Ballygally Castle, County Antrim
In real estate it’s said that location is everything, and Ballygally Castle has that in spades! This turreted treasure has been standing guard over the spellbinding Causeway Coastal Route since the 17th century. Rumoured to be one of the most haunted buildings on the entire island, Ballygally boasts more than one spectre, including former residents Lady Isobel Shaw and Madame Nixon. If you’re brave enough you can visit the Ghost Room in one of the turrets!

Read about more Irish castles where you can sleep like royalty:
Irish Times, Ireland’s Top 10 Castles to Stay In
Ireland.com, 6 Luxury Castle Stays

Ireland Speaks to Me Like No Other Place on Earth

January 19, 2018 | Lois Farley

My maternal Grandma, Hannah Muirhead, emigrated to Canada from County Antrim, Ireland (now part of Northern Ireland) back in the late 1800’s.  Two of her brothers and a sister had sailed to Canada a few years earlier.  Sadly, her sister died of black fever on the crossing and was buried at sea, but her brothers arrived safely and made their way west to homestead at the Derry Corner, near Douglas, Manitoba. They then invited Hannah to come and join them. I can’t imagine leaving my family and everything that was familiar to me and sailing across the Atlantic to an unknown place, all at the age of 19. The courage to do that seems unimaginable.  Read More >

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