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

STAFF PICKS

September 21, 2020 | Shauna Cook

This past winter I had the opportunity to stay at the Snowhotel in Kirkenes, Norway. I stayed on December 1st for one night. The actual Snowhotel wasn’t quite finished construction yet, so we stayed in the equally unique Gamme Cabins, and they were fabulous! We flew about 2.5 hours northeast …

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September 20, 2020 | Karen Pearson

With Covid-19 curtailing our plans, my partner and I have been missing travel. To help with that, one day while Chris was at work, I decided to surprise him by making a dinner with Peruvian and Bolivian foods so we could relive one of our favourite trips.        …

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August 19, 2020 | Shauna Cook

When I was researching interesting things to see in Moscow, the Moscow Metro System kept on popping up.  So I booked a metro tour before I left – and it certainly did NOT disappoint!! Our guide led our small group (10 people) through the extremely busy, but equally beautiful metro …

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Africa on Safari

July 06, 2020 | Arnie Hydamaka

namiri-plains-cheetahThe more special your travel dream, the more we can help you get there! That was the motto of the Great Canadian Travel Company when it began in 1980 and was when I became associated with the company. I had a dream travel destination – Africa, and more specifically the legendary Timbuktu. Great Canadian Travel has since provided me the opportunity to travel to Africa on more than 30 occasions. My dream has earned me the designation of Africa Expert in the company.

My passion for Africa has enabled Great Canadian Travel to become a leader in planning African safaris.  Through developing close relationships with leading Africa tour companies and with first hand safari experiences, we provide you with expert and reliable travel advice and special pricing. Read More >

A Note from our President, 01 July 2020

July 01, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Happy Canada Day, everyone!

Despite the pandemic and unusual times we are going through we are truly blessed to live and work in Canada. I am reminded of this every day, when I watch the news from around the world and see the struggles facing other countries. We have stable governments, federally and provincially; a diverse economy that is adapting to the present challenges and needs; a great health care system and wonderful opportunities as citizens and as a country.
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Take A Closer Look – Polar Bears in Churchill

June 30, 2020 | Amelia Bearhart

My hometown of Churchill, Manitoba is a Canadian town located on the edge of the Arctic. It still has a distinctive frontier town feel about it and comes to life whenever a new group of visitors arrive. The people that live here are friendly, proud of their hometown and the scenery is unique and spectacular in its own way.

 

The northern point of the Canadian Shield as the boreal forest ends and the Taiga begins is where this magical place is, and I was born on the tundra just outside of the town. There are polar bears, of course, majestic creatures we are! But, there arealso snowshoe hares, ptarmigans, arctic foxes, snowy owls, and in the summertime, hundreds of beluga whales in the Churchill River. Read More >

Okavango Delta, Africa Helicopter Tour

June 24, 2020 | Margot Kalinowsky

Okavango Delta helicopter tourWop wop wop goes the helicopter blades.  I am sitting next to the pilot in a small 4-seater helicopter ready for take off. Headphones on, buckled in, my heart a pounding!  I calm myself and silently tell myself I can do this!!!!!

Within seconds, and with a couple of jerks, we have lifted off and are flying over the runway, over Belmond Eagle Island Lodge towards The Okavango Delta in Botswana.  For the first few minutes I am breathless from the beauty, the fear I am experiencing and the fact that I have no door beside me and I literally feel like I am going to fall out.

I slowly start letting myself relax and begin to enjoy this most incredible experience I am having. From flying so low I have unbelievable views of the endless Delta. In flood season the Okavango Delta has an area of 15,000 kilometres. The vast number of colourful small islands, river (creek) channels and hippo highways (paths the hippos walk through at night to forage for food) is never ending. It truly was fascinating to see the areas from the air that we normally drive through on Safari.

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Tips for Travel to Poland

June 17, 2020 | Yvonne Sacilot

If you are planning a holiday in Poland, there are a few things you should know before you embark on your journey.

Where Is Poland?
Poland is located right in the heart of Europe. In fact, considering Poland an Eastern European country is a bit problematic because of the unclear definition this term holds in the 21st century. During the Cold War, it made sense. However, today most Polish people would designate Europe as their region. Among Poland’s neighboring countries we counted Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Belarus, and Lithuania.

Poland is a vast country that covers almost 305.000 km of land. But its territory also includes around 8500 km of water.All in all, Poland is the 17th largest nation in the world and has the 8th largest economy in the European Union – and one of its most dynamic ones. Read More >

Drum Dance Ceremony in Naujaat (Nunavut)

June 12, 2020 | 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.

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A Note from our President, 03 June 2020

June 03, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Hello all,

Last week I wrote about airline schedules and reservations from our Canadian clients’ perspective, this week I’ll tackle it from the viewpoint of our American clients.

Skift is a travel industry investigative journalism online publication. On May 26th, they published a very interesting article that I want to bring to your attention, How Airlines are Generating Revenue on Flights That Will Never Take Off.
“US airlines are selling a lot of flights they have no intention of operating. Consumers should beware.- Brian Sumers, Skift – May 26 2020, 2:30am Read More >

My Trip to Greece

June 02, 2020 | Lindsay Ruffeski

It was September 2010, my first time to Europe!  I was on my way to Greece!  It was a FAM Trip (familiarization trip exclusively for travel agents, hosted by suppliers/tour operators/tourist boards to visit & learn about a destination).  I was super excited, but also super nervous at the same time.  This would be my first trip to Europe (alone), and I would be on a plane direct from Toronto for 10 hours!  What would I do with my time??

Having never been to Europe, I was excited to see what it would be like.  I’d learned a lot about Europe, through colleagues, and specialized training courses, but it was finally time to experience it first hand.  What a beautiful country to visit, especially for my first time to Europe.

My itinerary would be taking me to Greece’s capital, Athens, as well as the islands of Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete. Read More >

A Note from our President, 27 May 2020

May 27, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Greetings!
Here in Manitoba the sun is shining, the temperature is improving, and May flowers are popping out. Businesses in Manitoba can open again under the “new normal” rules of maintaining physical distancing, sanitization processes and so on. New cases of Covid-19 here are non-existent and there is a feeling of optimism in the air.
Having been cooped up in our many forms of self-isolation there is an understandable desire to get out, to return to the “old normal” and to travel again. We are seeing an increase in the number of inquiries as to where and how people can travel.
As much as I welcome this increased desire to travel, and I certainly look forward to the day our travel business is running full steam again, this letter is about caution. Today, I’ll focus on this from our Canadian clients’ perspective, next week from that of our American clients’ viewpoint, as regulations are quite different between the two countries. Read More >

Ballet in Russia

May 24, 2020 | Shauna Cook

When I found out I was going to Russia, the first thing I thought of – I need to see a ballet!  That is one of the things you always hear about  – the ballet.

The most famous is of course the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow.  This is almost impossible to get tickets to, especially if you are outside of Europe.  Sure enough, the dates I was in Moscow – completely sold out!

My only other stop in Russia was in St Petersburg.  There are many theatres there that have ballets, but the most famous are the Mariinsky Theatre, Mikhailovsky Theatre and the historical theatre at the Hermitage.

Once I had sorted out that I would need to find SOMETHING in St Petersburg, the next task was to pick a show!  There are the traditional shows such as Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.  I knew I wanted tradition, and I really wanted Swan Lake – a Russian ballet, in a Russian theatre, with Russian dancers – in Russia!

As luck would have it, Swan Lake was showing at the Mikhailovsky Theatre on a date that worked for me.

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