Our Blogs | The Great Canadian Travel Co. - Part 2

STAFF PICKS

March 4, 2021 | Lois Farley

Have you ever seen a really awesome travel deal (and there are some enticing offers out there right now) or perhaps you’ve needed to travel for an emergency and wished that there was some way to pay for your trip over time? Well, now there is! Introducing Uplift, a new …

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February 17, 2021 | Ian Kalinowsky

So you know you want visit a Polar Bear but you need to figure out the way to visit that works best for you? Well, there are actually several ways that you can have a polar bear experience and I will lay out them out here for you, defining the …

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February 10, 2021 | Lois Farley

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching I was thinking about what makes a trip romantic. Travelling with someone you love is inherently romantic but there really are some places that just seem to hit the romance mark more than others. What better way to show that a place is romantic than …

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Our Wall of Honour

November 10, 2020 | Lois Farley

This Remembrance Day we’d like to honour members of our own families and friends who have served during war time and in regular military service.

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Remembrance Day

November 10, 2020 | Lois Farley

“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we will remember them.”

Who and what exactly are we remembering?

The First World War was ignited by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, on the 28 June, 1914. This sparked unrest and soon led to the Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany and the Ottoman Empire) invading several European countries. When Germany failed to meet the ultimatum from Great Britain to withdraw its troops from Belgium, as of the 4 August, 1914 the Allied Powers (Great Britain and her colonies including Canada, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States) were at war with the Central Powers.

Due to new military technologies such as machine guns and tanks, trench warfare and use of poisonous gas, WWI was the costliest conflict in Canadian history, and claimed the lives of more than 60,000 Canadian citizens.

The poignant Irish ballad, Green Fields of France, captures the tragic and terrible cost of this war, on a very personal level as it asks questions of a young 19-year-old soldier who was killed in battle in 1916.
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My Remembrance Day Honourees

November 10, 2020 | Shauna Cook

Edward William Cook (my husband Martyn’s Great Grandad) – 
Edward William Cook and was born in Dover. Kent, England on the 29/07/1911 and lived in the north of England from his teenage years.  He joined the Royal Navy at Chatham Kent on 14/ 9/1939 as a Sickbay attendant. He wore a peaked cap, black tie, jacket and trousers, not blue square collar and bell bottom trousers.  He spent 1940 & 41 at Newton Abbot Hospital in Devon where they took in lots of injured people from the military in the west of England and the eastern north Atlantic.

His first ship at sea was HMS Quilliam, a destroyer, in Autumn 1942. There were 8 of these “Q” ships built in the north of England and with 3 other Qs they formed a squadron with HMS Quilliam as senior ship.  They left England in November 42 and did not return until the end of 1944. By this time he was a Leading sickbay Attendant as he was on his own looking after the needs of the crew.  That means he wore an Anchor badge on the left arm of his uniform. They travelled as a squadron to the following places and scenes of battles: all around the British Isles; Norway; Iceland; North Atlantic; Gibraltar; north Africa; Malta when the siege was on; Corsica; Sardinia; Italy; Crete; Egypt; Sierra Leone; South Africa; Madagascar; Aden; and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

When they reached Burma he was transferred to HMS Caradoc, a cruiser, before coming home late 1944 on HMS Renown, a heavy battle cruiser at speed via the Suez Canal and Mediterranean. By this time he was promoted to Petty Officer with 2 crossed anchors on his left arm.

 

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George Henry Hambley, Canadian Light Horse Brigade, WWI

November 10, 2020 | Lois Farley

George Henry Hambley (1896-1983)

My Uncle George enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force at age 18, on the 13 October, 1915 at Camp Sewell (which later became Camp Hughes), near Carberry, MB. He served in France, Belgium, and Germany and was involved in some major battles including Ypres, Mons, Cambrai, and Vimy Ridge.

Some of these battles involved trench warfare where poisonous gas was used. For the remainder of his life, until his death at age 86, his sleep was disrupted from the effects of the gas attacks he had lived through. Sometimes we’d be sitting at the kitchen table talking and Uncle George would suddenly just go to sleep. He’d wake up a few minutes later, not missing a beat in our conversation, as if nothing had happened. I think he felt himself very lucky that this was the worst injury he came home with, after all the horrors of war he’d seen.

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Max Ward, a True Canadian Aviation Pioneer

November 04, 2020 | Lois Farley

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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Travelling in the Rocky Mountains During a Pandemic

November 04, 2020 | Shauna Cook

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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A Day in the Office

November 02, 2020 | Allison Silvaggio

“Normal – Usual, Typical or Expected” –

Surprising to say that sitting at my desk in the office today felt slightly normal!  Other than there being only a few co-workers around, as most are working from home.

Sitting here, sun shining through the window, with Westjet and Air Canada planes flying overhead to James Richardson International Airport.

Earlier this week, while working from home, my 11 year old son was using my phone to check his baseball app to see what position he would be playing that night.  Suddenly the phone rang.  He answered it and was clearly unsure on what to do.  I took the phone from him and apologized to the agent on the line, as we had a chuckle and realized that this is the new normal!  She was calling to book her client on an Orca & Grizzly tour in BC.  This will be my first booking in over 5 months.

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Samhain, the Origins of Halloween

October 27, 2020 | Lois Farley

Have you ever wondered where our Hallowe’en traditions came from? Why do we dress up in costumes? Why do we go door-to-door, asking for treats, and why do we give out candy? Why do we threaten to play a trick on people? Why do we carve pumpkins and put candles or lights inside them? Why do we decorate with skeletons and skulls, ghosts and witches? To find out, we have to look back, way back, to the days of the Celts and Druids.

It wasn’t until recently, as I began looking into my Irish heritage, that I learned our Hallowe’en here in Canada and the US has its roots in Ireland and the ancient, Celtic tradition of Samhain (pronounced Saw-win), dating back about 3,000 years.

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Festival of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

October 26, 2020 | Lois Farley

The introduction by the church of All Saint’s Day and All Souls’ Day led to the celebration in Mexico and other Latin American countries, of Dia de los Muertos – Day of the Dead. A slight misnomer, it’s actually a two-day event, November 1st and 2nd, filled with festivals and lively celebrations, combining Indigenous Aztec rituals with Catholicism, brought to this region by Spanish conquistadores.

The belief that all of their loved ones who had passed on would be insulted by sadness and mourning means that, during Dia de los Muertos, people joyfully celebrate the lives of the deceased with food and drink, parties and activities the dead enjoyed in their lives. During these two days the dead are awakened from their eternal sleep and become a part of the community, sharing celebrations with their loved ones.

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Walking Safari in Linyanti, Botswana

October 15, 2020 | Margot Kalinowsky

What would you do if you saw a 12,000 pound elephant Bull walking towards you?  Run, cry, scream??

I found out what I would do when I was lucky enough to be on a walking safari in the Linyanti region in Botswana.

Before leaving on our 2-hour hike we went over the rules and expectations. The rules are simple. Do not walk in front of the guide, walk in a single file, do not touch the leaves on the trees, do not be loud and noisy, and most importantly, keep your eyes open on the most amazing walk you will ever take.

A walking safari and a jeep safari are very different experiences.  While on the jeep you are always looking at the horizon, up in the trees, outcrops, bushes rivers, etc., focusing on the large macro experience and, in general, large animals and birds. However, when on a walking safari it becomes the smaller micro creatures, bugs and fauna you are watching for. A walking safari is like being a page in a book whereas a jeep safari is like being a chapter in a book.

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