Our Blogs – 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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Update on COVID-19

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 the next few days and weeks, to reschedule their travel plans for future travel; cancelling plans for clients when  future travel is not an option.

We must also do all we can to ensure the health and safety of both our staff and clients.

Effective the end of day today, March 18th, 2020:

  • our office in Winnipeg will operate with reduced staff and reduced hours, from 10:00am to 4:00pm CT.
  • walk-in traffic will not be accepted at this time.
  • our staff will be available to handle your inquiries by phone at 204 949 0199 and by email.
  • in the case of an emergency where an in-person appointment is the only option, we will offer that service on an “appointment only” basis. Please call or email to set up an appointment.

Effective the end of the day Friday, March 20th, 2020:

  • our office in Edmonton will be temporarily closed. All inquiries will be handled by our Winnipeg office staff, who will have access to all client files.

Although there are changes to our staff availability and office hours for the foreseeable future, please be assured that, unlike dealing with an online travel agency, you will be able to reach us! To date, 95% of our clients have re-booked, rescheduled, been refunded or cancelled, all with the assistance of our experienced travel consultants.

While you may not be taken care of by your usual consultant over the next little while, you will definitely be taken care of!  We assure you that we will remain available to assist you.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support. We look forward to the day when we can get back to Creating Your Best Days Ever!

Here are some reliable resource websites you can look to for accurate information:
World Health Organization and World Map
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Government of Canada
US Department of State and Country Specific Information
John Hopkins World Map

Saint Patrick’s Ireland

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 mid to late 1800s. My maternal Grandmother’s family home in County Antrim is a special place to me from a genealogical standpoint, nestled as it is at the foot of nearby Mt. Slemish. It’s where my Grandma Hannah was born and raised, and is the land she left behind when she left for Canada. But, I discovered, it was also a very significant place for Saint Patrick.

 

 

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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 >

Made in Canada – What’s the Deal with our Pricing?

February 13, 2020 | Lois Farley

The Great Canadian Travel Group has been in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada since November 21, 1980. It grew to incorporate an office in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada September 1, 2016. All our staff are Canadian and we all love Canada. Our clients span the globe as do our tour suppliers. We love travel and love to help our clients see as much of the world as we can. We are passionate about our jobs. Read More >

Lindsay’s Best Days Ever!

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 get bored! There is always something new to experience.

Growing up I was lucky to be able to take a vacation every year, and usually that was Disney.  The first time I visited Disney World I was 7 years old.  From that moment, I knew it was going to be my favorite place to visit. Everyone always says “Disney is just for kids”.  Let me tell you…it’s for everyone, which is why I chose it as my honeymoon destination!  My husband thought the same thing, it’s only for kids, I won’t like it etc. Now he also think’s that it’s truly the happiest place on Earth!

There are so many different things to experience: parades that make their way through the streets, characters waiting to meet & greet you, some of the best fireworks displays you will ever see & much more! Read More >

Northern Lights in Iceland

January 09, 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 booked onto a Northern Lights Superjeep tour with Arctic Adventures and I don’t regret it for a second!!

I have been lucky to see the northern lights before in Canada, Greenland and on previous trips to Iceland, however I have never seen them like this night! Read More >

Karen’s Best Days Ever!

December 09, 2019 | Karen Pearson

My partner Chris had told me so much about Salar de Uyuni. The photos from his previous trips were stunning. I was so excited to see the salt flats that I didn’t even mind waking up around 4:00am. The drive from our accommodations to Incahuasi Island took about an hour. In the dark, the salt seemed so much like snow on a gravel road that I felt like I could have still been on the prairies. That feeling was reinforced when the sun came up and everything I could see for miles was white and flat. It was like being on Lake Winnipeg in January, and I felt completely at home. Even some areas where the salt was shallow looked like when the lake starts to melt in the spring and there is a layer of water and slushy snow on top of the ice. The only indication that it was not snow was in one area where the water was bubbling up like a geyser, and around it the salt looked like sand. Read More >

Tianna’s Best Days Ever!

December 04, 2019 | Tianna Evans

My best day ever started at sunrise in the Negev Desert at the Khan Be’erotayim Eco-lodge. After a quick and delicious traditional Bedouin breakfast it was time to begin my first camel riding adventure. The Khan is home to a herd of beautiful camels and after introductions and a safety briefing it was time to climb aboard.

photo credit: Israel Ministry of Tourism & Eyal Harel

Camels are very tall and I am not, so getting onto my camel was a challenge of its own. After a helpful hand and a gentle push up, I successfully made it onto the camel! It was time for some pictures and the start of the journey. If you have ever seen a camel, you will know how they fold in on themselves when they sit and the steep angle and jolting motion as they stand was startling. It was also at this moment that I took notice of how high up I was sitting and how far down the ground was and while it was a little unsettling the views of the desert from this perspective made it all worth it.

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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!

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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