Team Members | The Great Canadian Travel Co.


March 14, 2023 | Pearl McCallum

We want to paint a picture for you.   Imagine you’re at a gathering with friends and acquaintances. It’s a fairly large group, let’s say around 15-20 people. Just as you begin to get hungry, someone brings out a large, layered cake. It’s smothered in rich, chocolate buttercream frosting – …

June 29, 2022 | Lois Farley

Way back in 2017 I wrote a blog in recognition of Canada Day; 50 Great Things Canada Contributed to the World. Since I wrote that blog I’ve been studying about the Indigenous peoples who have lived on this land we now call Canada for millennia – the First Nations and …

March 17, 2022 | Lois Farley

Saint Patrick’s Day brings Ireland and all things Irish to a lot of people’s minds. 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 …

March 1, 2022 | Allison Silvaggio

There are so many things that we miss when it comes to travel, such as exploring new places, trying new things and meeting new people.  What I miss the most, are those extremely peaceful moments where you can just take it all in.  Whether you are enjoying a beautiful hike, …


Nicole Fell

February 27, 2019 | Lois Farley

Who is Nicole:

Nicole joined Great Canadian Travel in 2019. Although Nicole is new to the travel industry she has always had a sense of wanderlust and a love for the ocean, adventure, and travel. She loves visiting new places and immersing herself in new experiences and adventures. Travel helps spark her creativity for her artwork which includes painting, photography, and writing.

Amelia Bearhart

February 27, 2018 | Lois Farley

Who is Amelia Bearhart – The Great Canadian Travel Bear:
She is a very important member of our Great Canadian Travel team. Since joining us in February 2018 she has already travelled to some neat places like Mexico, Las Vegas, Amsterdam, Ireland and Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Arctic Canada, Antarctica and more! She’s got lots more exciting travels coming up in her calendar. She can’t book anything for you because, being a polar bear, she doesn’t have opposable thumbs, so isn’t very good at typing or dialling phones. And bears tend to not be good at grammar so we can’t let her write letters or emails. But, she can give you lots of tips about places she’s been and places she wants to go, especially the Arctic which she called home before she moved to the big city.

Since she’s already an animal, when asked what animal she’d be if she was an animal, she said she’d still choose to be a polar bear, because polar bears are not only very photogenic and look fabulous in red, they are also very adept at finding food under thick sea ice and providing for their families.

Watch our Facebook page and our Instagram (@GreatCdnTravel) for updates of her adventures. You can email her travel or polar bear questions to and she’d be happy to answer you (with some help with the typing)! Share with your friends so they can ask her questions, too!

Lindsay Ruffeski

February 14, 2018 | Lois Farley

Who is Lindsay:
After graduating with honours from Robertson College in 2000, Lindsay joined River East Travel as a Travel Consultant.  She joined the staff of Great Canadian Travel in January 2018 and is excited about the new opportunities.  She’s always finding ways to expand her knowledge in world travel either from personal travels, learning from co-workers or just attending industry events and training.  She is a graduate of Disney’s College of Disney Knowledge and would love to help you plan your Disney Vacation! She loves, loves, loves all things Disney!

Lindsay’s travel experiences include:
USA:  Orlando, Miami, Disneyworld, Los Angeles, Disneyland, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Palm Springs, San Antonio, Hawaii (Oahu, Maui & Kauai)
Caribbean: a Caribbean cruise. a Bahamas cruise, Jamaica
Europe: Greece
Canada: Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton.

Contact her today, she’s waiting to make your travel dreams come true and help you create your Best Days Ever!

What are Lindsay’s TOP 5 travel experiences:

  • Everything Disney! (Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise)
  • Santorini, Greece
  • Hawaiian islands of Oahu, Maui and Kauai
  • Lake Havasu City, Arizona
  • Niagara Falls

What is Lindsay’s closing comment?
Travel is where dreams become memories.

Sandra Jensen

May 29, 2017 | Lois Farley

Who is Sandra:
I was born and raised in Edmonton by Danish Immigrant parents. After High School I went to Denmark to get to know my relatives and heritage better. While in Denmark I attended a 3 year business college, travelled extensively and in 1987 started working in travel. In May of 1994 I finally returned to Edmonton after 14 years abroad starting with Butte Travel the following August. November 2015 we became Continental Travel which merged with Great Canadian Travel the following November creating a fantastic fit for the clientele I have built up over the past 23 years.

My experience is predominantly with leisure travel, specializing in Europe as well as other destinations such as the South Pacific, South America, Africa and all sun destinations. Cruising, touring, rail travel, adventure travel or just relaxing on a beach – I can handle it all.

What are Sandra’s TOP 5 travel experiences:

  • Touring New Zealand by motor home with friends in 2011, where I married my Kiwi husband in his father’s backyard in Dunedin
  • Travelling the UK and New Zealand while attending the past 3 Rugby World Cups
  • Touring the Australian Coast by car from Cairns to Sydney, as well as a separate trip to Perth on the West Coast
  • Visiting and touring Fiji & the Cook Islands
  • Travelling though out Europe, especially Scandinavia including Denmark, Norway, Sweden & Iceland – not to mention Greece

What is Sandra’s closing comment:
I love to work in travel and help my clients create experiences of a life time.
WORK – SAVE – TRAVEL – REPEAT – that’s the life for me!

Yvonne Sacilot

May 29, 2017 | Lois Farley

Who is Yvonne:
I have been in the industry since 1991, and it is my true love and passion. I love my occupation and all my clients and it truly completes me. I learn new things, meet new people, experiencing the true beauty of this job, that I can pass on to my customers given my professional experience. I was born in Poland, and travelled all over Europe, and my specialty is in European destinations. Being in this industry for this duration, I also specialise in Caribbean destinations which I truly admire, especially Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.

My hobbies include cooking, gardening, swimming, taking walks and, my favourite hobby, travelling.  I dream to travel more to destinations such as Bora Bora, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Japan.

What is Yvonne’s closing comment:
My advice to you is not to waste time, life is too short, travel today and book with me, and I will make your dreams come true.

Diane Monnier, CTC

May 29, 2017 | Lois Farley

Who is Diane:
Diane has been in the travel industry since 1971 and has operated her own travel agency. She presently works as an independent agent, with Great Canadian Travel Group being her home now.

A travel agent’s profession  is never tedious because of the everyday challenges such as the weather, airlines, world events and adventure trips her discriminating clientele is asking  for. Her clients are all ages and come from  various walks of life, and therefore have different desires and world areas they want to travel to.  She thrives in putting together a holiday that will delight each and everyone, and is very detailed in planning every vacation.

What are Diane’s TOP 5 travel experiences:

  • Galapagos Islands in Ecuador to see so many volcanic islands where the world’s best wildlife is viewed
  • Egypt touring pyramids, sphinxes and tombs
  • Kenya East Africa to be part of an African safari and observing big animals running wild
  • Machu Picchu in Peru to walk through the mysterious fortress
  • China walking the Great Wall and having the opportunity of viewing the Terracotta Warriors

What is Diane’s closing comment:
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Pearl McCallum, CTC, CTM

May 29, 2017 | Lois Farley

Who is Pearl:

Pearl McCallum joined the travel industry in 1998 with a passion to discover new places and experiences, and to help others do the same.  Her travels have taken her to five continents, at times via cruise ships.  While embracing adventures such as zip-lining in the Mexican jungle, Pearl also appreciates the serenity of moonlight walks on the beach.  Favourite destinations include Southeast Asia, the Netherlands, and for winter getaways, the Mayan Riviera.  Her conclusion about the best way to travel?  With family and friends.  “Sharing experiences means enjoying them 100% more.”

What are Pearl’s TOP 5 travel experiences:

  • Climbing to the top of El Castillo at Chichen Itza in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
  • Enjoying a glass of wine and watching the sun set over Mazatlan as the ship sailed away to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”
  • Linking arms in a crowd of strangers to sing English songs at the Nuremberg Christmas market
  • Flying Vancouver to Hong Kong in the bubble of a Cathay Pacific 747
  • Hiking across Kilauea crater in Hawaii

What is Pearl’s closing comment?
A ship in harbour is safe, but ships are not built to stay in harbour. Go and experience the adventure of the world around you!

Martha Banias, CTC

November 10, 2015 | Martha Banias

Who is Martha:
Martha is one of Great Canadian Travel’s senior travel consultants and has been in the travel industry for 30 years, having owned and operated her own agency for 20 of those years. She has a list of clientele that date back to her first year in the industry. Martha speaks fluent Ukrainian. Martha can book it all, from cruises, to tours, to hotels, to airfare and she works closely with Arnie, our Africa Specialist and handles many of Great Canadian’s bookings to Africa.

Top Travel Experiences

  • Martha has done her fair share of travelling over the years.  The office is happy to be home to the tall, wooden giraffes she carefully brought back from a safari.  But, these days, she is happy to stay home and send her clients anywhere they need to go.  

What is Martha’s closing comment:
Keep calm and let Martha handle it for you!

In Memoriam – Diane DeMare, CTC

November 10, 2015 | Lois Farley

07 March, 2019
It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing last evening of our beloved colleague, Diane, after a brief but fierce battle with brain cancer. Diane will be deeply missed by all of us at Great Canadian Travel and by her clients, who received a very personal level of service from her through the years. We’ll miss her gentle, calming presence in the office; her big, bright smile and magnificent head of wavy hair. Our thoughts and prayers are especially with her husband and daughter, all of her family and friends at this sad time. May she be at peace in her next level of being.

Who is Diane:
Diane is a bilingual English/French agent in the travel industry with over 25 years experience and has been with GCTC since June 2009. She is a Certified Travel Consultant as well as a Certified Destination France Agent. Diane has had the privilege of travelling to various countries and much of Canada, including the Great White Northwest Territories and Churchill and the United States. She has also travelled to the Caribbean, Europe and Asia, including Malaysia.  She is often asked, “What is your favorite place to visit?” My answer is that I generally prefer not to go back to the same place twice although Europe always seems to be calling me; perhaps because my ancestors are from Belgium and France.

TOP 5 travel experiences

  • Travelling to France for a unique experience of staying aboard a luxury parisian barge the ‘Bateau Simpatico’ overlooking the Eiffel Tower. On that same journey, she toured the French Riviera including the famous Monte Carlo Casino and the beaches of St Tropez.
  • Visiting England and seeing Oxford University and Stonehenge. Attending a soccer/football game of Manchester United vs Aston Villa. Among the top tourist London sights she visited Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London and saw the show ‘Les Miserables’ in the Queen’s Theatre.
  • Staying in a hotel famous around the world thanks to the James Bond film «On Her Majesty’s Secret Service». It sits atop Mt. Pilatus near Lucerne. Switzerland, and is accessible by aerial cable car.
  • Experiencing the luxury train ‘the Rocky Mountaineer’ from Vancouver through our own Canadian Rockies ending in Calgary.
  • Travelling to Malaysia and Indonesia for an 8 night tour which included 8 nights at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Kuala Lumper and a stay on the small island of Penang as well as a stay on the island of Bali.

What is Diane’s closing comment:
One is never lost….Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere; and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself ~ author unknown

Karen Pearson

November 10, 2015 | Karen Pearson

Who is Karen:
Karen often refers to herself as the Accidental Travel Agent. While in University studying education she was at a crossroads in her life, questioning what she really wanted to pursue. It reminded her of how some clients look to us to suggest what kind of trip they should plan or where they should go. So she has always been able to relate. She decided that pursuing Travel and Tourism was the route for her and, as they say, the rest is history. She has worked in the travel industry now for almost 20 years, and has been at Great Canadian Travel since 2014, when she merged her own travel agency into ours. Karen’s favourite part of her job is experiencing trips through the excitement of her clients. Being a part of their experience and their holiday is so rewarding.

Top 5 Travel Experiences:

  • Six weeks exploring Bolivia and Peru
  • Soaking in the French-inspired atmosphere in Quebec City
  • Seeing the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  • The stunning scenery around Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper in the Canadian Rockies
  • Escaping the Winnipeg winter to scuba dive in Cuba

What is Karen’s closing comment:
Our team here at Great Canadian Travel has been to so many places and has experienced so many adventures and challenges, you will truly be in good hands with us. Not every trip is about the adventure of a lifetime, sometimes you just want to get away and need someone to help you book your hotel and airfare. We take the time to give you the personal, hands-on service you need to make it easy for you. After all, isn’t that what a trip should be about? I look forward to talking to you!