When I read the news reports yesterday saying that Max Ward, the founder of Wardair had died at age 98, I felt very sad and nostalgic. It feels like the end of an era in Canadian aviation, the passing of an honourable gentlemen of aviation and royalty in the Canadian travel industry.
“A northern bush pilot who built a regional carrier into Canada’s largest charter airline has died.
Max Ward collapsed Monday at his Edmonton home and died in hospital shortly after surrounded by family. He was 20 days shy of his 99th birthday.
‘He’d been in failing health for some time,” said family friend Jacquie Perrin, who confirmed Ward’s death. He did his best to hang in for the 99th, but he didn’t quite make it.’
It was a rare example of Ward not reaching his goals.”
-The Canadian Press, November 04, 2020
Back in the late 70s and 80s, when I was in the early years of my career in travel, Wardair was the preferred airline for Canadians going on holiday to Mexico, the Caribbean and especially to Hawaii. Later they’d become first choice to the UK as well. Their planes were nicely decorated, well maintained and perfectly groomed; their staff obviously loved the company they worked for; onboard service was top notch, with delicious meals served on china and the champagne flowed like water.
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I am sure we are all feeling the same thing these days … I just want to travel! Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, there is really very little travel happening outside of our own country.
My husband and I were getting a little antsy for an adventure, so we packed up our SUV and drove west across the Canadian Prairies. Of course, packing these days means we pack a few additional items – hand sanitizer and face masks.
We arrived at our first destination – Emerald Lake Lodge, in beautiful Field, British Columbia. On arrival, we were directed to a parking lot, were we parked our SUV and were shuttled to the main lodge. The first indication of COVID-19 measures was the sign on the shuttle advising that all passengers must wear face masks on the shuttle – no problem as we are slowly getting used to masks as part of everyday life. There was ample social distancing in the main lodge, lots of space between tables at dinner, and all staff wearing masks at all times (except front desk staff who were behind a full plexiglass screen).
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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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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 >
“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 >
Fish On. That is 2 words I love to hear. I was up in Northern Manitoba at Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge. I went fishing for Northern Pike and Lake Trout. Every few minutes someone would yell out “Fish On”; This meant that someone in the boat had caught a slimy, squirmy, yummy fish on their hook.
Gangler’s is a fly in fishing, hunting and eco-tourism camp in the north-west corner of Manitoba, near the border of Nunavut and Saskatchewan. The 5,000,000 acres of barren land, 12 river system and hundreds of lakes allows guests endless outdoor opportunities. Read More >
Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, is a town located on the edge of the Arctic that has a distinctive frontier town feel. It comes alive every time a new group of tourists comes to visit. The people are friendly, and the scenery is spectacular. The northern point of the Canadian Shield as the boreal forest ends and the Taiga begins is where this magical place resides, complete with snowshoe hares, ptarmigans, arctic foxes, snowy owls, and the majestic polar bear. Read More >
Having just returned from nearly six weeks in South America, I have a renewed appreciation for Our Home and Native Land. Here are some of the many things we take for granted that I missed while I was away: Read More >
When attending travel seminars, there is never enough time to explore the destination in which you are visiting. However, I always try and give myself at least one full day to explore the sites, pick up some souvenirs, and try the local cuisine.
This time it was Halifax, Nova Scotia and one day was definitely not enough. I started my day with a Starbucks coffee, which was hard to find (definitely more pubs in Halifax than coffee shops). Then boarded my half day tour to Peggy’s Cove. Read More >
During my time spent in the travel industry, I have been extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to visit some amazing and very remote destinations. One of the best experiences would be travelling aboard the Akademik Ioffe for 16 days, cruising through the famous Northwest Passage.
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