Wednesday, October 22

What's happening in Canada this winter?


by Lori McNulty
Courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission

From BC hot springs crawls to all-acoustic jams in Nova Scotia.

Manitoba

In a kitchen the size of Yankee Stadium, I still couldn’t fit in all the friends who whoop it up during the annual, 10-day Festival du Voyageur in Saint-Boniface, MB. Because during “The World’s Largest Kitchen Party,” everyone’s family. Take in the fiddle and jigging, feasting, fireworks and musical performances—all capturing the joie de vivre of the French-Canadian voyageur and fur-trading era. (Video)
www.travelmanitoba.com

Yukon Territory

Cue the music and huddle close when the Northern Lights electrify the Yukon sky in February. The Frostbite Music Festival is Canada’s coolest musical buzz. International performers hit the stage for hot sets of blues, gospel, funk, reggae, Cajun, Celtic and First Nations music. When the dancing stops, hit the Takhini Hot Springs for a soothing soak.
www.travelyukon.com

Nova Scotia

No doubt about it. Halifax is the soul of down-east sound. The jamming is all-acoustic during the In the Dead of Winter Music Festival in January, when Atlantic, Canadian and US musicians perform up close and unplugged just for you.
www.novascotia.com

British Columbia

International crowds flock to Brackendale north of Squamish, BC, to catch some rare but ruffled celebrity headliners. From mid November to mid February, the community hosts the largest gathering of bald eagles in North America. Catch them as they feast on spawned salmon during the 23rd annual Brackendale Winter Eagle Festival & Count in January. (Video)
www.hellobc.com

Call it the Kootenay Rockies Hot Springs Crawl, grab your friends and go. BC’s Kootenay Rockies is home to seven unique hot springs. Soak in mineral-rich comfort amid deep canyons, old-growth forests, flowing rivers, craggy mountain peaks and caves. Smile included.
www.tourismbc.com

Quebec

Canadians don’t all live in them, but igloos (also iglu) are still pretty cool. Head to Parc national du Bic in Quebec’s St. Lawrence River Estuary and you’ll see. The park’s NUNA BIC Package sets you up with an overnight igloo stay, snowshoe rental, winter sleeping bag and fleece blanket, ground mattress and more.
www.bonjourquebec.com

Winter sea kayaking is a becoming a hot sport in Quebec. Guided kayaking trips take you through the stunning Mingan Archipelago and Lower North Shore region where you’ll paddle among sea birds and ice floes, then sample home-cooked salmon. In late February and early March, join an excursion to visit thousands of white harp seals on the ice near Îles de la Madeleine.
www.bonjourquebec.com

Sun salutation meets single-track



by Kathryn Harley
courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission

Nova Scotia cycling-yoga trip is chick-trip nirvana. Freewheeling Adventures customizes tours for every woman’s taste, but the gorgeous scenery stays the same.

Two things I really like: riding my bike and yoga. But together? Downward Dog over the handlebars? Warrior pose on pedals? Silly thought, sure, but that’s what crossed my mind when I heard about Freewheeling Adventures’ Bicycle and Yoga Getaway, launched in 2006. Turns out the real thing is much smarter. No two-wheel acrobatics, just the strength and focus-enhancing benefits of yoga applied to biking, as you tour the rural seaside roads near Nova Scotia’s south shore, Freewheeling Adventures’ home base.

It’s what every woman needs—what Freewheeling co-founder Cathy Guest calls “a relaxed excursion into mindfulness.” Talk about a perfect tune-up, and a perfect tuning-in to the health/wellness vacation trend.

Freewheeling Adventures also leads international cycling tours and tours elsewhere in Canada. But it’s at home where Guest dishes up this flexible (in every sense) trip. Every tour is different, she says, because “people come with different expectations of the yoga.” Some add blow-out lunches at LaHave Bakery and a nighttime feast of fresh-from-the-sea lobster. For others, it’s vegan and silent meditation over dinner. What never varies: the beauty of the routes and the magic of saluting the sun looking across St. Margaret’s Bay to famed Peggy’s Cove (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8wuUyHSzBQ&feature=related), and stretching beside the surf at Blue Rocks.

www.freewheeling.ca
http://novascotia.com

Emirates pitches Calgary flights

The Calgary Herald's Gina Teel reports that in a perfect world, Emirates Airline would be able to offer a daily flight to Calgary in about six months' time.

"But with little success thus far in convincing Transport Canada to expand the Dubai-based airline's presence in Canada beyond the three flights per week currently permitted -- which all go to Toronto -- Emirates instead took its business case to a blue-chip crowd at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce."

Andrew Parker, Emirates' senior vice-president for public and environmental affairs, said the inability to increase the carrier's flights to Canada, particularly to the desired Calgary and Vancouver markets, is frustrating and hampers trade, tourism and economic development opportunities here.

Three flights per week are all that's allowed under the current air transport agreement between Canada and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Teel writes.

"That's an extremely restrictive environment," Parker said.

However, Transport Canada said there's no need to renegotiate the agreement, signed in 2001.

"At this time, we feel that the agreement is OK, it meets the needs of the current market," said department spokesman Patrick Charette.

Parker disagreed, noting Alberta exports to the UAE are $173 million, while Canadian exports there hit $1.12 billion in 2007, a 43 per cent year over year increase.

That's more trade than other countries with which Canada has reached "open skies" type agreements, he suggested.

Teel notes that Mayor Dave Bronconnier, who met with the Emirates team earlier in the day to discuss "the importance of a direct air connection between Dubai and Calgary," seemed to be on board. He white-hatted Parker prior to lunch.

"Let me assure you that as a customer who has flown with Emirates, if you ever want to fly and have a nice rest, Emirates air is it," Bronconnier said.