Today, 30 September, 2021 marks the first official National Day for Truth and Reconciliation here in Canada.
It’s not a “holiday”, at least it shouldn’t be seen as one, even if it is a day off work for some. It is meant to be a day of learning, a day of listening, a day of trying to understand Canada’s colonial and settler history and the many injustices done in the name of a “civilized” society. And the systematic injustices that are still happening.
For me it’s a sad day as I think of all the children who lost their lives in Indian Residential Schools and lay in unmarked graves across our country. All the children who survived residential schools but whose lives were irreparably damaged. All the parents who had their children torn away from them and their hearts broken. All the families whose beloved children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews were taken away by force. Some to return, often changed into strangers, some never to return.
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It is my passion to plan holidays, for myself as well as my clientele. In 2006 that started with a plan to visit Europe while attended a FIFA World Cup soccer match in Hamburg. Match tickets were not that easy to get. They were done on a lottery draw basis, so we picked 3 options in Hamburg and proceeded to plan our vacation around those matches “just in case” we were lucky enough to get tickets.
As it turned out we did get tickets but we didn’t receive confirmation of the game until well into our vacation, only 24 hours prior to the match. We had just checked into our hotel in Copenhagen when the email came confirming the game for the very next day. This meant we had to cut our time in Copenhagen short, but this was the experience of a lifetime! We were to see Czech Republic vs Italy. Italy would then proceed to win the World Cup that year. Amazing experience and great start to our dreams of travelling for Rugby, which is really our passion.
These dreams took root quickly as in 2007 the Rugby Union World Cup was to be held in France with some games in the UK. We are staunch All Blacks fans(the national team of New Zealand). Taking a good look at the schedule we saw that in 2007 one of the quarter finals was to take place in Cardiff, Wales. With our calculations, the All Blacks should qualify for that game, so we took our chances and put our names in for that game. As with the FIFA World Cup, tickets did not get confirmed until later, but at least it was earlier than 24 hours prior and we could make our travel plans a little easier.
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It might seem a bit odd for us to be talking to you about sun, sand and surf holidays when most of North America is suffering through extreme heatwaves. But, turn your mind back to those days in January and February, when the wind was howling, the air brisk and you were shovelling snow, not sand. Remember how much you wished you could be on a beach somewhere or on the deck of a cruise ship, sipping a cocktail and watching the world go by?
A recent survey of over 4,000 Canadian “snowbirds” showed that 91% intend to head south this winter, to the southern states in the US, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. 83% plan to be away at least 3 months.
Now is the time to be putting your winter holiday vacation plans into place. Travel is re-opening, slowly but surely. The resorts and hotels that are open, the cruises that are setting sail and flights that are taking off to whisk you away, are rapidly selling out for winter 2021-22. This season there will be much more demand than there is supply, especially as a number of tourism suppliers have ceased operations.
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We were just so excited about the Summer Solstice and Full Moon this week that we forgot to send out our newsletter on Wednesday, which is the usual day. (And by we, I mean me! My bad! 😉)
All the celestial happenings this week got me to thinking about the travel opportunities to witness astronomical phenomena like the auroras and solar eclipses.
Here in Canada, where we’re located, we are most familiar with the Aurora Borealis, that occur in the Northern Hemisphere. There are great opportunities to see the Northern Lights (as the Aurora Borealis are commonly referred to), in Arctic Canada. Places like Churchill, Manitoba, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon are all easy to visit and offer great Northern Lights programs. As well, we can plan a trip for you a bit further afield to Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Norway. Even the north coast of Scotland and Northern Ireland get a light show from time to time in the winter months. Maybe combine a whiskey tour with some treks to hunt for the lights?
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Calling all Canadians to take the 2021 travel pledge to travel in Canada. It has been a difficult year +, to say the least, and we cannot wait to get out there and see one another again.
With over 20 years in travel, the first half was spent mostly travelling internationally. And then, the exploration became closer to home.
When looking back, some of my favorite memories & experiences happened right here within Canada. Kayaking with the Beluga Whales in Churchill, experiencing the Floe Edge in Nunavut, and even drinking a Sour Toe Cocktail in Dawson City. Exploring Peggy’s Cove to Whistler and everything in between.
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There has been lots in the news about travel starting up again from the US and Canada, and countries re-opening for international tourism. We featured a couple of these countries in recent newsletters, namely Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
We wanted to update you on a few things regarding booking travel at this time. It’s important to note that, even though a country has decided to accept international tourists again, the availability of accommodations and tours will be limited. And may be for quite a while.
Using Iceland as an example, a good number of the moderate hotels in Reykjavik have been designated as Red Cross quarantine hotels, so are not available for tourism stays. Read More >
We all remember Stacy London and Clinton Kelly from their 10 seasons of “What Not to Wear”. In travel, we read quite a few blogs on how to dress in certain destinations for certain types of tours. Here is how we can expand on this, advising what we shouldn’t wear.
The first item that comes to mind, mainly due to the safety, is a long scarf or camera strap while viewing wildlife. If you have travelled to Churchill, Manitoba before to view the polar bears from the Tundra Vehicle, you may have been warned about this. While on the outside viewing area at the back of the vehicle travellers should not lean over the side, as the bears can stand up which puts their front paws quite close to any loose clothing potentially hanging over.
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You’ve probably heard of Iceland being referred to as “The Land of Fire and Ice”. It is, without question, an island of extraordinary, natural beauty and attractions like the volcanoes and glaciers that inspired its moniker; stunning waterfalls; caves made of lava and ice; breathtaking fjords and quaint, oceanside towns and villages. But, for the last few days it’s certainly living up to the “fire” part of its nickname!
Iceland sits on top of the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates, two of the largest on the planet, which are moving in opposite directions. (You can even snorkel or scuba dive in Silfra Ridge, with the plates on either side of you). This separation of the two plates makes Iceland a seismic and volcanic hotspot!
Since early February, several weeks of nearly continuous earthquakes of varying intensity (more than 50,000, compared to the usual 1,000-3,000 registered each year since 2014), had given scientists at the meteorological office (IMO) in Iceland reason to believe an eruption of a volcano in the Krysuvik volcanic system on the Reykjanes Peninsula was imminent, the first in the area for nearly 800 years. Read More >
A year into the Pandemic – the future of Travel in Canada—
From the news over the past month, it would be reasonable to believe that the Canadian Government has decided to shut down Canada’s largest single industry (travel and tourism) completely.
- Mandates a shut down of the Canadian Cruise industry till Spring 2022 – the most severe and punitive regulation of any jurisdiction on earth. In BC alone, the cruise industry generates $2.8 B per year and 18,000 jobs.
- Shuts down all “sun travel” (Caribbean and Mexico) until the 30 April 2021.
- Shuts down all but 4 Canadian airports and creates a very convoluted “3-day forced pay” hotel quarantine system – then gives all the business of booking these thousands of hotel nights to an American company, American Express (who then services the requests from their US call centers).
- Canada – the second largest country on Earth – is the ONLY country on Earth NOT to have a support relief package for airlines. As a result, domestic travel has declined 90% from 2019. Compare this to only a 66% decline in domestic US air travel, where airlines received financial aid from the federal government.
Despite these governments actions and lack of support for the industry, we at Great Canadian Travel are still excited about our future in Travel and Tourism. We have not been idle and look forward to unveiling several new initiatives, new products, new services, and new developments which will increase our ability to serve you, our clients.
Till we can travel again,
Ian Kalinowsky President & Owner
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 way to pay for your travel.
Uplift is the leading Buy Now, Pay Later solution for travel and we are partnering with them to provide our Canadian clients with Flexible Payment Options.
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