Our Blogs | The Great Canadian Travel Co.

STAFF PICKS

May 3, 2019 | Natalie Rozière Hébert

Ok, so last time you heard from me was this past summer after my 3-day Colombia trip. It’s been nonstop since the Fall, and when I sit and think about all the places I have been to in just the past 9 months, it’s crazy! How I manage all that …

+READ MORE
April 16, 2019 | Allison Silvaggio

Welcome to Dawson City!  Home to the ‘Sourtoe Cocktail!’ Since 1973, the Sourdough Saloon in Dawson City has been accepting members.  All you have to do is visit the Saloon and ask for Captain River Rat. Purchase a shot (I chose Yukon Jack), and pledge the oath;  ‘You can drink …

+READ MORE
April 1, 2019 | GCT Bear

I took a day trip from Cape Town down the Peninsula to Cape Point. Along the way I stopped at many spectacular viewpoints. I would highly recommend getting out of the city and enjoying the beauty of the countryside. As we drove ever turn offered breathtaking views and vistas. 

+READ MORE
March 22, 2019 | Andrea Rempel

Are you travelling outside your home country? Would you like to be able to charge your phone, laptop or plug in your crimper? Here is a list of countries, their voltage, and the type of plug you require.

+READ MORE

Our Top Five Places to Watch the Northern Lights

August 01, 2019 | Lois Farley

I’ve been lucky enough in my lifetime to see the Northern Lights in my home province of Manitoba, Canada as well as while visiting Greenland and Iceland. They really are spectacular!

Have you ever wondered how those bright dancing lights are created? They are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. In the northern hemisphere, they are called Aurora Borealis; in the southern half, Aurora Australis.

The colours can appear as green or pink, but have also appeared as shades of red, yellow, green, blue and violet. They can look like patches in the sky, scattered clouds, light streamers, arcs and rippling curtains. But I’m sure we can all agree, that no matter what colour they are and what they look like, they will always be a magical sight. Read More >

Portugal is #1 best tourist destination, part 2!

July 31, 2019 | John Lelis

Picking up where I left off in my previous blog (I was talking about food), if you ever go to Porto, it’s a must to have a “Francesinha”, (meaning Little Frenchie or simply Frenchie in Portuguese) originally from Porto, made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat, and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick sauce (secret recipe). It is typically served with french fries.

  

If desert and sweets is more your thing, then head to Lisbon, to the pasteis de belem (Portuguese Custard tart) factory, founded in 1837 and keeping their secret recipe so well guarded that only they know where it is (beat this Coca Cola), and of course, ask for your espresso while at it, the combination is more than perfect, personally my record eating these babies is 18 of them in one hour, but I have friends who put me to shame.

And of course, one can’t even start talking about beverages without dedicating time to what for me is the best Portuguese secret (and it shouldn’t be), green wine (vinho verde). Portugal is the only country in the world that produces it, most people would never have heard about it, but once you try it, your life changes. Vinho Verde is a crisp, aromatic, low alcohol, and often slightly spritzy wine from the North of Portugal. Despite the translation, Vinho Verde is never green: it’s usually a white wine, although it’s possible to get red and rosé Vinho Verde as well. Green, in this case, means young rather than anything to do with its colour. In fact, the only thing that really makes a Vinho Verde a Vinho Verde is that it comes from the Vinho Verde region. You’ll find Vinho Verde in every supermarket in Portugal, and just about every menu in every Portuguese restaurant. It used to be hard to get outside of Portugal, and often you would have to seek out a specialty wine shop. These days most decent wine shops will stock a bottle and it’s increasingly being stocked by supermarkets as well.

 

 

There’s so much more to tell, but I hope to have at least made you think about going to Portugal for holidays to try some of the delicious food and wine. If you would like me to assist you in creating an unforgettable Portuguese experience, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at John@gctravel.ca.

Delta, Charlie, Echo – we have a runner!

July 31, 2019 | Natalie Rozière Hébert

“Delta, Charlie, Echo – we have a runner!”

Do you think 35 minutes is enough time to connect in Minneapolis from Atlanta? Well, let me tell you, that it is a true, valid connection time sold by Delta. I know now it’s enough time, as I did it in 13 minutes flat, from Terminal G to F.

On my past business trip to Puerto Vallarta (yes – it was business!), the only option to come home was with Delta via Atlanta and Minneapolis. A long travel day, but it would get me home at 11.50pm and in bed by 1.30am (I live 45 minutes east of Winnipeg).  All systems go, until my Atlanta departure is delayed by 40 minutes and I start to question if I’ll make my Minneapolis departure. I’m doubtful. I email my travel agent (yes, I have one too) and tell her to protect me on tomorrow’s morning flight from Minneapolis to Winnipeg, disrupting her dinner party. But, I get the confirmation before I get on my delayed flight in Atlanta –  at least I have a Plan b.

We arrive in Minneapolis, and the pilot gets on the intercom “Folks, we have some runners on this flight. If you’re not having to connect within the next 30 minutes please let them pass”.  My first glimpse of hope!  Of course, I’m praying they can get the door open, as when I landed in Puerto Vallarta there was some malfunction. The door opens, I make it out of the airplane and start on a mad dash in what I hope is the right direction. The mechanical walkways are broken, could have saved me a breath or two, but I’m doing OK and my roller bag keeps up.

Airport, Travel, Flights, Times, Transportation    Image result for minneapolis airport

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hebert?” – says the gate agent, with a question mark, in the middle of the very empty terminal.  I can stop running, the door hasn’t closed yet and I’m on my flight. There’s even room in the overhead for my bag.

I send a quick email to my agent, “Abort, I made it!”

Transformative Travel

July 25, 2019 | Allison Silvaggio

One of the best parts of my day is learning where clients want to travel, and what piqued their interest in a certain destination. It is becoming more popular for clients to choose a destination or experience that will inspire them in some way.

Experiential travel is where people focus on experiencing a country by actively engaging with its history, people, culture, and environment. Sailing the North West Passage and learning the history of the Franklin Expedition, or engaging in a culinary experience in Italy.

   

Transformative travel is when you travel with intention, openness and mindfulness.  Engaging in a challenging physical or cultural experience. Finding tranquility at a yoga retreat in India, or visiting with the Elders in Arctic Canada to learn their history.

Arctic Canada Inuit Elders

Whatever piques your interest, contact The Great Canadian Travel Group and let us plan “your best days ever!”

Portugal is #1 best tourist destination!

July 17, 2019 | John Lelis

Our latest newsletter has Portugal as the featured destination. When asked to write a blog to feature in it, I thought it would be easy! After all, I am Portuguese and lived there until I was 39 before moving to Canada. But in fact, it isn’t that easy! There is so much to tell and so many stories to choose from that I found myself wondering where to start.

I guess a great way to start would be by saying that Portugal has been voted the best destination in the world for two years in a row in the World Travel Awards, the “Oscars of world tourism”. Everyone should go there! 

Portugal is the European country with oldest borders (I didn’t say oldest country in Europe, those are different things) and it has an amazing coast line that extends for 1.794 km (1115 mi). Of course, the main attraction must be the amazing beaches and, believe me, some of them are amazing. But a country with almost 900 years of history has, in fact, much more to offer. Its rich culture results from many influences including Roman, Celtic, Lusitanian, Phoenician,Germanic, Visigoth, Viking, Sephardic Jewish, and Moorish. All of these influences are still visible from the north to the south in many ways, even if the Roman and Moorish are the most visible, being also the most recent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting Portugal has the allure of a 2 in 1 Holiday. You may opt for spending your time visiting the historic centers of Lisbon or Porto, the country’s two main cities. Both have contrasts of the modern and comfortable cosmopolitan places they are, while keeping the old traces and vestiges that built their histories and are still preserved physically ans well as ingrained in the peoples’ culture.

If you are a sun lover and a holiday without beach, sun and amazing drinks isn’t a holiday for you, Portugal is also the place you want to be! From the northern point near Spain, going down to the most southern point of Europe; Sagres (in Algarve) bathed by the Atlanctic Ocean and then East towards Spain, bathed by the Mediterranean sea; with beaches, amazing fish, prize winning beers, typical dishes and bread, Portugal has it all. And, believe me, we the Portuguese love to enjoy it!

There’s so much more to tell, but I hope to have at least made you think about going to Portugal for holidays. If you would like me to assist you in creating an unforgettable Portuguese experience, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at John@gctravel.ca.

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.

Read More >

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 >

Attending the Spirit of the Arctic Tourism Summit

May 06, 2019 | Allison Silvaggio

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 >

Isla Mujeres, Cancun’s Hidden Paradise

May 03, 2019 | John Lelis

I must confess, being new here at the agency and when asked for a blog entry I immediately intended on writing about my vow renewal (wedding) in Isla Mujeres. Meanwhile Nicole was faster than me and wrote about her beautiful experience getting married in California and I was in doubt if it would be the right choice to write about a wedding theme again, but as both experiences are so different and the locations and ceremony types so apart, I decided to keep my original plan. As such, let’s go.

 

Read More >

Natalie’s Travels

May 03, 2019 | Natalie Rozière Hébert

Ok, so last time you heard from me was this past summer after my 3-day Colombia trip. It’s been nonstop since the Fall, and when I sit and think about all the places I have been to in just the past 9 months, it’s crazy! How I manage all that travelling, a house and 2 kids plus 1 cat? I have amazing support from my parents, to the neighbour who plowed my driveway all year, to great friends, coworkers and school teachers and day cares that all know my life is nonstop craziness. Lucky for them I always have amazing stories to tell and I bring back souvenirs.

Here is how the rest of my year, and new year, went…

Read More >

X

CONTACT US