Team Members – The Great Canadian Travel Co.

STAFF PICKS

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 …

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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 …

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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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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 polarbears@gctravel.ca 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, CTC

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.

Trish Middleton, CTC

September 05, 2017 | Lois Farley

Who is Trish?

I was born and raised in Carman MB and my travel career began at a boom time for the travel industry, the early 80s.  I was lucky to gain great experience from working in retail travel agencies and then for airlines such as Wardair and Canadian.  My early career was spent in the leisure market escorting groups to locations such as USA, Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia, Alaska, etc.  After some years in Alberta I moved back home to Carman and opened a travel agency at the same time as the internet was becoming the new booking avenue.  I pride myself on understanding my clients’ needs, matching them to the proper vacation, and offering assistance from the planning stage to the return home.  I always go the extra mile to ensure their vacation is everything they expected. The relationship built and the level of trust acquired from my clients is the reason I love coming to work every day.

What are Trish’s TOP 5 travel experiences?

  • Fly in fishing trip in the Northwest Territories – the most peaceful beautiful country.
  • Churchill and the Polar Bears- everyone needs to experience this.
  • Farmstay in New Zealand- moving through the mountains bringing in sheep-amazing experience.
  • Sailing on a Yacht in the Caribbean waters.
  • Escorting Farm and Ranch tours through Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

What is Trish’s closing comment:

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

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!

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.”

Yvonne Sacilot, CTC

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.

Sandra Jensen, CTC

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!

Charlene Underhill, CTC

May 29, 2017 | Lois Farley

Who is Charlene:
I started in the travel business in January of 1970.  Most of my years have been spent working in retail travel agencies, both as a travel counsellor and various management positions.  But the actual travel counselling is my true passion.  I love the interaction with my clients and being able to concentrate on this aspect.  Over the years, I have had the opportunity to travel to many countries of the World and enjoy discovering the history, culture and people.  I have also taken over 60 cruises to date with a wide variety of cruise lines and types of sailings, from main stream cruise lines to river cruising and, for obvious reasons, while I handle all types of travel arrangements I have chosen to make this one area in which to specialize.

What are Charlene’s TOP 5 travel experiences:

  • Hot air ballooning at sunrise over the spectacular landscape of Cappadocia
  • Exploring with a private guide some of the lesser know tombs in the Valley of the Kings
  •  Viewing lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos and much more wildlife in Kruger National Park
  •  Flight-seeing from Queenstown to Milford Sound in New Zealand
  •  Standing on the edge of the Northern-most point of Europe, North Cape, Norway, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Arctic Ocean

What is Charlene’s closing comment?
“The World is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

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!

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