Selling Canada Spring 2019

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SPRING/SUMMER 2019 | training for the travel trade

oceans, lakes, rivers

water way to go

THE Generation game

From coast to coast Canada is packed with activities for millennials

a matter of timing How Canada's popular icons show a different side out of season


Expat comic James Mullinger is making waves in Atlantic Canada Plus... news. AIR TRANSAT. FIRST CLASS HOLIDAYS. QUIRKY FESTIVALS. canada essentials...and MorE

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Discover our Kids Club The Air Transat Kids Club welcomes, for free, mini-globetrotters aged 2 to 11. Becoming a member of the Kids Club – and scoring a bunch of awesome advantages – is as easy as pie! Advantages include: • A member’s kit filled with cool travel goodies • Free seat selection for members on their roundtrip flights 1 • Family check-in counter for speedier service 2 • Preboarding for members and their families, in Economy Class • On-board surprises to make air travel fun • Priority baggage handling • Stroller gate delivery service • And much more!

Air Transat is the World's Best Leisure Airline. We have direct flights from London, Manchester, and Glasgow to Toronto and routes to Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Québec City. Available to book via the GDS


2018 World’s Best Leisure Airline 1


00 800 87 26 72 83

Canada starts here

Certain conditions may apply, based on company policy. 2 Available at main airports

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NEWS 04 Destination Canada Update 06 News to use


12 Canada for Millennials 18 Canada's Icons: The Other Side 24 Oceans, Rivers, Lakes 32 Quirky Festivals

QUICK READS 10 15 16 17 21 22 23 26


32 12 38

27 28 30 31 34 35 36 37 38 39


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Canada Essentials Atlantic Canada Ottawa Ontario Travel Alberta My Journey: Québec Québec What Canada Means To Me: Elite Agents Yukon James Mullinger Prestige family trip Saskatchewan Canada's Hotel Brands Montréal First Class Holidays Sun Peaks Airline: Air Transat's Adrian Keating Social Media


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Sell seasonal surprises


Signature programme adds new tours

Help desk KEY CONTACTS: Roger Harris TRADE HELPLINE: 020 7389 9984 EMAIL: destinationcanadatrade@ TRAINING:;

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Harbour, Forgotten in Time by Battle Harbour Historic Trust, Newfoundland and Labrador. They were chosen for their “unparalleled insight into Canada's welcoming people, wonderous nature, and rich, diverse culture", according to Destination Canada. "Our Canadian Signature Experiences collection offers

Don't forget to give eTA advice AGENTS are reminded that all British visitors to Canada arriving by air must be in possession of an Electronic Travel Authority (eTA). Those planning trips must apply in advance of booking their airline tickets. Destination Canada points out that while an eTA usually takes a maximum of three days to obtain, any applicant

something special for every type of traveller," said David F. Goldstein, Destination Canada's President and CEO. "They are designed to offer not just bucket-list experiences but unforgettable adventures that promise to transform visitors to Canada and inspire them to consider new ways of exploring our country."

eTA basics

with a ‘record’, such as for a drink- driving offence, will have their applications put into a ‘different pool’, which will likely lengthen the process. An eTA costs $7.00 and is valid for five years. Purchase is done online at Note that any website charging more than C$7 is not an official government site and should be avoided. SCOTT MUNN

I ENJOYED a fabulous fam trip to Vancouver, British Columbia in March. You might be thinking that at this time of year I was there to enjoy the superb ski resorts – but you’d be wrong! The weather was fresh but the sun was out and we enjoyed a great couple of days at the Rugby Sevens. We also did plenty of Vancouver favourites like Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, a Canucks ice hockey game, the Vancouver Aquarium, Stanley Park, a Vancouver Foodie Tour and Flyover Canada. We also explored the Thompson Okanagan region with visits to a couple of wineries and enjoyed some snowshoeing and fat tyre mountain biking. It was all exhilarating stuff! My trip underlined again that Canada really does have a four-season offering. And with Air Canada, Air Transat, British Airways and Westjet offering excellent schedules over the winter and spring, encourage clients to visit during these times. Happy Selling and Keep Exploring! Adam Hanmer, Manager, Travel Trade, Destination Canada

DESTINATION CANADA has added five new members to its Canadian Signature Experiences collection, boosting the total number of products available to over 200. The new additions offer experiences right across the country, from exploring Vancouver Island's backroads and ancient rainforests in a jeep to encountering Newfoundland and Labrador communities. The five are: West Coast Overlanding Escape, by Hastings Overland, British Columbia (pictured); Aurora Village ViTeepee Experience, by Aurora Village, Northwest Territories; Newfoundland Circumnavigation, by Adventure Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador; Inglewood Edibles – Made by Mavericks, by Alberta Food Tours, Alberta; and Battle

• An eTA costs C$7 (£4.16). • An eTA is valid for five years or until the passport expires, whichever is first. • With an eTA travellers can fly to Canada several times without reapplying as long as their eTA and passport remain valid. • The online application form requires a credit card and an email address. • Travellers can only apply for one person at a time. For example, for a family of three they would need to complete and submit the form three times. • The Government of Canada website – – is the only valid site to apply for an eTA.

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Seasons to be cheerful Rupert Peters, Destination Canada's Regional Managing Director UK, reveals how the market is developing and what’s in store for the trade in 2019


The BBC 2 show Great Canadian Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo was a hit earlier this year. Did it boost interest in Canada as a result? RP: Some operators told us they did see a spike in calls about train journeys in January and February – and sometimes being able to pinpoint which episode callers had seen by the route they requested. There's no doubting the power of television!


Are you noticing any new operators selling Canada that weren’t before, or identifying any new trends? A: We are excited that one of our big direct to consumer operators Canadian


How was 2018 in terms of UK arrivals ? Are you seeing any change in the type of holidaymaker choosing Canada? RP: In 2018 we saw a decline of 3% from the UK and this was due to a drop off in VFR travel, which is a sector we can’t influence. We also noticed a decline in the number of Brits coming to Canada via the U.S. on dual-nation vacations. On a positive note, we saw increases in travel during the spring and autumn – seasons we were promoting– so it’s gratifying to see these efforts make an impact.


What are the biggest challenges in promoting Canada to UK holidaymakers, and how to overcome them? A: The uncertainty of Brexit is the biggest

challenge for everyone in the industry right now and how we overcome that we’ll only really know when we have more clarity. That aside, our summer months remain solidly booked so we continue to encourage holidaymakers to look at Canada year round. Our work with tour operators focuses on developing these other-season offerings.


What does Destination Canada have in store for travel agents in 2019? RP: We will be on the road to meet agents face to face, along with our key partners First Class Holidays, Prestige Holidays, Travel Counsellors and Rocky Mountaineer. Agents should watch out for us coming to a city near them. PAR K



Will trade visitors at Rendezvous Canada in Toronto in May notice a trend in new products and experiences? RP: Over the last few years we’ve seen an increase in the number of indigenous tourism products and that’s definitely continuing. These types of experiences, where indigenous people show you 'their Canada', can definitely be a highlight of a visit and shouldn’t be overlooked when agents are suggesting packages. We are also seeing a rise in non-ski winter experiences being packaged by operators, which will help agents meet requests for winter wonderland holidays.

Affair has started working with agents this year. We are also excited that If Only is launching a Canada programme in 2019. As I mentioned, we are seeing more winter packaging that is focused less on ski and more on elements like snowshoeing, dog sledding or snowmobiling.


Finally, do you have a top tip you can suggest to any travel agents trying to close out that Canada booking? RP: It is very rare for visitors to Canada to return home without their expectations being exceeded. Highlighting the experiences of past clients can be the confidence boost that clinches the sale. • SELLING CANADA SPRING/SUMMER 2019

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6 | NEWS TO USE: canada's top stories

V2V launches new tours

RM's heli-hike adventure

NEW from Rocky Mountaineer this summer is a 10-day Journey Through The Clouds Mountain Adventure, which combines a twoday rail journey with two-and-a-half days of heli-hiking and three nights at Cariboos Lodge. Prices from £4,687pp (July/August).

Rui in Toronto

Spanish hotel chain RIU Hotels & Resorts is to open its first Canadian property in Toronto. The Riu Plaza, which will open in 2021, will be located in the city’s financial district and will have 350 rooms, meeting rooms, a gym, bar and restaurant.

Ottawa airport set for upgrade

Ottawa International Airport is embarking on a five-year $100-million renovation project, which will feature a new on-site hotel.

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V2V VACATONS, the operator of a cruise linking Vancouver and Victoria in BC, has launched its 2019 season with a new selection of tours and experiences. Included is a Sail and Fly option, which combines a one-way trip on the high-speed catamaran, V2V Empress, with a return flight on an iconic seaplane with Harbour Air. The new tour highlights include must-see attractions such as Butchart Gardens, high tea at the Fairmont Express Hotel, a Beacon Hill Park

horse-drawn carriage ride and admission to the Royal BC Museum. Agents can book the new tours online as an extension to V2V's downtownto-downtown service. "V2V has created opportunities to experience this beautiful part of the world in a host of ways tailored to popular interests," said Manager Julian Wright. V2V Empress sails each day until October 31, linking Vancouver and Victoria in 3.5 hours. The cruise passes the Southern Gulf islands of the Pacific Northwest.

Westjet increases ex-UK services WESTJET will add more UKCanada flights this summer. The Gatwick-Calgary service will move to daily and be operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner featuring Westjet's first international Business Class cabin. The airline's GatwickToronto service will increase from twice daily to three times a day while Gatwick-Halifax will move to a daily service. Westjet will also operate Gatwick-

Vancouver six times a week, Gatwick-Edmonton twice a week and Gatwick-Winnipeg once a week. The Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax and Toronto schedule will run from April 29-October 26 while flights to Winnipeg and Edmonton will operate from June 18 to September 1 and June 18 to September 8 respectively. A Glasgow-Halifax service will run from April 29 to October 26.

Le Boat expands BOATING holiday specialist Le Boat is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the opening of a second base on the 125-mile long Rideau Canal in Ontario. The new hub at Seeley’s Bay makes it possible for holidaymakers to take a oneway cruise along the canal, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The operator, which is wellestablished in Europe, opened its first base in Canada at Smiths Falls, midway along the Rideau Canal, in 2018. Le Boat’s second base is a 10-hour cruise from the historic town of Kingston, famed for its grand 19th century architecture, Bellevue House National Historic Site and Fort Henry. For the 2019 season, the operator is also adding four boats to its Canadian fleet, all of them Horizon 5 cruisers, carrying up to 12 passengers each. The season runs from May 17 to October 14. Le Boat, which was featured on both Channel 5's Celebrity 5 Go Barging and Channel 4's Great Canal Journeys with Prunella Scales and Timothy West, won the Gold award for best Advertising Campaign (under £250,000 media spend) at the Travel Marketing Awards for its 2017/18 multi-media campaign.

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Musical Newfoundland for Funway FUNWaY Holidays hosted travel agents and media to a special performance of the new West End musical Come From Away, to highlight its tours to Newfoundland, where the fact-based story is set. The production tells how the small town of Gander, with a population of just 10,000, coped with the unexpected arrival of 7,000 passengers diverted in the wake of the terror attacks on New York’s World Trade Center. The uplifting performance explores how bonds and even permanent relationships were formed during the five days they were stranded in this tiny community, and it incorporates music that draws inspiration from the Celtic, Irish and West Country routes of Newfoundland’s early settlers. Funway Holidays has a 10-night Newfoundland self-drive holiday, priced from £1,749pp. The deal includes accommodation, car rental, a guided tour of St. John and Air Canada flights from the UK, departing May 11.

Praise for Canada LONELY Planet has named Manitoba a top destination for 2019, New Brunswick featured in the Sunday Times’ list of top places, while Rough Guide listed The Yukon in its list of Regions to Vsit in 2019. “We are thrilled to see Canada's regions feature on so many lists and hope it will inspire British travellers to delve deeper into what they all can offer," said David Goldstein, Destination Canada's President.


In the centre of Victoria overlooking the Inner Harbour • 113 Guestrooms (kitchens on request) • Hunters Restaurant serves breakfast daily • Pet-friendly rooms 330 Quebec Street, Victoria, BC | 250.381.3456

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Overlooking the Inner Harbour on an acre of landscaped gardens, ponds and cobblestone pathways • Nine Victorian-style guestrooms with complimentary breakfast • Pendray Restaurant featuring traditional high tea seven days a week 309 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC | 250.388.3892

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8 | news to use: canada's top stories

Royal York's big reveal

Premier holiday expands

PREMIER Holidays has added 15 new hotels and six additional tours for 2019, during which it is also planning to push winter breaks after seeing a surge in bookings for Canada last year. The operator has also given more space in its 2019 brochure to self-drive holidays, with both car and motorhome rentals available. New self-drive tours include a 14-night Totem Peaks independent tour of Western Canada, from £2,399pp, a four-night Discover Haida Gwali side trip from £3,469pp, a seven-night Wonders of Alaska self-drive from £2,249pp, and a ninenight In The Footsteps of Yukon Pioneers tour, priced from £1,799pp. A nine-night Rocky Mountaineer Canadian Rockies Circle rail and coach tour from £3,849pp is also new, along with a Glacier Bay National Park cruise from £3,899pp, which takes small groups of clients off the beaten track with UnCruise Adventures. Premier has also started selling ski packages to Canada for the first time, along with other winter activities like ice climbing.

ONE of Canada’s most iconic hotels will celebrate its 90th anniversary this year by unveiling the final phase of its multi-year renovation. Fairmont Royal York, once the tallest building in the British Empire and one of the most filmed locations in Toronto, will this summer reveal a new look that will include a transformed arrival and check-in area and dining venues with new menus centred around produce provided by local farmers. The hotel, which has hosted several city landmark moments,

such as the G20 Summit, Bill Clinton’s 60th birthday party and the Queen’s Jubilee, is also set to unveil larger suites and a new Fairmont Gold Residents’ lounge. “As we celebrate 90 years of outstanding service, incredible people and history-making moments, it is with great pride that we prepare to unveil the most significant transformation this building has ever seen,” said Edwin Frizzell, the hotel's Regional Vice President and General Manager.

Hayes & Jarvis hope for TV boost HAYES & Jarvis says it hopes to see an uplift in sales of its tailormade tours to Canada after the screening earlier this year of BBC2’s well-received Great Canadian Railway Journeys. Fronted by former politician and journalist and now travel presenter Michael Portillo, the programme highlighted the country’s landscapes, abundant wildlife and historic towns, as well as its scenic rail routes. The operator's message to the trade is that it can offer multi-centre trips to many of the locations featured in the programme, including Vancouver, Calgary, Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Sample multi-centre packages include a 10-night New Brunswick and Nova Scotia self-drive tour from £1,819pp, with five nights each in New Brunswick and Halifax on a room-only basis. A seven-night package on the Rocky Mountaineer, featured in Episode 9, costs from £4,559pp based on departures on June 10.

Travel 2 wild about Canada TRAVEL 2 is promoting its new 15-day Canada Wildlife and Vancouver Island small group tour this summer. Priced from £3,789pp, the deal includes return flights, 14 nights’ accommodation, the services of a professional tour

Leader, sightseeing and selected transfers. It departs Heathrow on June 12 2019. The trade-only operator's Canada programme also includes six new escorted, independent and self-drive tours., 0800 0224 182

New excursion from cruise operator LUXURY cruise operator Seabourn has launched a seven-night pre-cruise tour of western Canada, which includes two days on the Rocky Mountaineer train. Available as an add-on to select 11- and 12-night Alaska and British Columbia cruises

onboard Seabourn Sojourn from Vancouver, the UNESCO Banff National Park and Rocky Mountaineer Journey also includes a scenic drive through the Canadian Rockies and tours of Banff and Yoho National Parks.

Selling Canada SPRING/SUMMER 2019

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Canada just got a lot closer.

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Canada is an easy destination to book and travel to. English is spoken widely, even where French is the dominant language. Nonetheless, timely planning can help maximise experiences and make holidays stress free. Here are some tips… ETAS AND DOCUMENTATION

Most British travellers flying to Canada must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for stays of up to six months. Apply via eTA. See story on page 5.

TRAVEL INSURANCE Visitors to Canada should have valid travel insurance. Healthcare in the country is excellent but can be expensive. There’s no reciprocal healthcare agreement between the UK and Canada, making insurance essential.

WHEN TO BOOK... Canada's iconic, seasonal experiences should be booked well in advance of departure. Popular experiences in western Canada often become fully booked a lot faster than those in the east.

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WHALE WATCHING Canada’s western and eastern seaboards both offer ample opportunities to watch the whales go by, with British Columbia’s Victoria acting as a launch point for cruises at any time of year. The maritime provinces, including Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, are particularly rewarding. New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy is a feeding ground for blue, humpback and finback whales, while Manitoba’s Hudson Bay is a great place to spot belugas.

WINTER SPORTS One of the world’s top winter sports destinations, Canada boasts picturesque pistes with a longer ski season and emptier slopes than Europe, plus fresh mounds of powdery snow practically guaranteed. Non-skiers can soak up the wonder of winter with sleigh rides, dog sledding and more.

GRIZZLY BEARS British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest is home to blonde spirit bears and up to 2,000 grizzlies. The salmon run, which begins around late August and lasts two months, draws bears to the waterways – for those iconic photoopportunities of the animals snatching fish from the water. Tours designed specifically for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers are available. Note: animal sightings vary by season and bear-spotting tours are cheaper in the spring.

POLAR BEARS Polar bear sightings in Churchill peak between mid-October and earlyNovember, before the Hudson Bay freezes over. Local operators run photo safaris from remote lodges, while heated all-terrain vehicles, operated from Churchill, provide a cosy viewing station.

RAIL TOURS The Rocky Mountaineer runs on four scenic routes in British Columbia and Alberta from April to October. Summer departures prove popular, but prices are lower at other times. Visitors can also travel routes such as Toronto to Vancouver (four days) and Halifax to Montréal, with Via Rail.

ESCORTED TOURS Escorted tours are available year-round. Several operators offer a coast-to-coast option, with highlights such as Niagara Falls, Toronto, Halifax, the Rockies and Vancouver. which is ideal for first-time visitors.

AUTUMN REDS Canada’s maple forests are flushed in reds, golds and oranges in autumn. Atlantic Canada, national parks across the country and Québec’s Laurentian Mountains are top leaf-peeping spots.

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Rock n’ Roll

CANADA Destination Canada is on a mission to get the message out that the country is a perfect fit for the ‘millennial crowd’. Lynn Houghton explores the reasons why


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It's a dog's life in the Yukon


he range of outdoor activities in Canada that will appeal to the millennial crowd is a fast expanding one. What with oceans, mountains, meadows, rivers, lakes, high tides, wild animals and Arctic places to explore, there is no shortage of recommendations agents can make to young and young-at-heart clients. And then there are Canada’s vibrant cities, which offer a veritable cocktail of festivals, music, clubs and great shopping to tempt millennials. Here are some suggestions designed to bring out that youthful outlook.

High-altitude adventure

Heli-hiking in the Canadian Rockies is an exhilarating way to go ‘off piste’. Helicopters ascend to high-alpine locations, which are perfect for exploring meadows, rivers, and glaciers (think the Colombia Icefields). The helicopter sets off from the Rockies Heli Centre in Jasper, with a 12-minute ride taking participants and their guide to the start of a four-hour hike. Big horn sheep, deer, elk and elusive moose are often spotted.

The frozen north

Think of the Yukon and the great Gold Rush or its frozen wilderness probably first comes to mind. But an iconic activity associated with the Yukon is dog sledding. And with the release of the film Call of the Wild (2019) this winter, based on the Jack London novel, expect a rush of enquiries from those wanting to experience their own wilderness calling. Winter is also about the Northern lights so be sure to bring your best camera kit and tripod to capture the dancing glow of the aurora borealis.


| Windows on The Wild | | 020 8742 1556 |

A seven-night Husky Adventure in the Yukon package is from £2,199pp, including return flights from the UK, transfers, one-night accommodation in Whitehorse, six nights’ accommodation in cabins or wood-heated tent outpost camps on a full-board basis, with the use of a personal sled with huskies, and winter boots. Departures are from December 1-March 23 2019/20.


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Repelling in New Brunswick

Kiteboaring in Manitoba

Wind in their sails

For kiteboarding enthusiasts, one of the most awesome places to try out this sport is on the vast snowy prairie of Asessippi. As the wind sweeps across Manitoba’s flat plains, kiteboarders can ride on an adrenalin rush of speed and experience an unsurpassed sense of freedom. Winnipeg’s Boost Kiteboarding ( shop offers rentals and lessons for beginners to get up to speed.

High-octance cities

Toronto: Toronto is nothing if not diverse and there is something for everyone’s taste, with hundreds of restaurants and bars plus numerous attractions. Already known for its International Film Festival, a new Arts Biennial will kick off in September and run through until December. Toronto’s club scene is also booming. Suggest Spin for Ping Pong, Escobar for House Music and the Madison’s six floors and 11 bars. Meanwhile, Cold Tea is a bit of a hidden treasure. My personal favourite is the Drake Hotel for its very chilled vibe but, for a more

don't miss

The Camp Fortune Ski Aerial Park and Ziplines on the Gatineau side of Ottawa. Want to fit in with the locals in Newfoundland? Get ‘Screeched In’ by reciting a poem, taking a shot of local rum and kissing a frozen cod. Rappell down a 43-metre-cliff (Cape Enrage, New Brunswick) to the Bay of Fundy shore below.

Thrills at Edgewalk, Toronto

Try paddle boarding or swimming in the warm waters of Kelly’s Beach in New Brunswick’s Koughbourgiac National Park. s

active night, try the Citizen with its massive dance floor, or Rebel. Suggest the Scotiabank Arena for an action-packed Toronto Maple Leafs NHL Hockey Game. And for vertiginous excitement there is nothing quite like Edgewalk on the top of the CN Tower. Participants are kitted out in a walk suit and suspended by a harness system before making their way outside the 356-metre tower. Its 20 minutes of the tallest hands-free walk in the world – urban adventure at its best! Vancouver: This eternally cool city, surrounded by mountains, forests, and water, is just made for millennials. And it’s the pulsating urban vibe combined with this wondrous natural backdrop that makes it uberpopular with younger visitors. Check out Davie’s Village, which has great clubs like XY and 1181 Lounge, plus trendy restaurants like España and the Noodle House. The Boathouse Restaurant overlooking English Bay serves seafood such as black pepper sea scallops and ginger-accented Alaskan sablefish. And for anyone nursing a hangover, suggest English Beach or Stanley Park for a reviving picnic, bike ride or a chill-out zone On nearby Vancouver Island, learn to surf in Tofino. Some of the top spots on the southwest coast are Long Beach, Chesterman Beach, and Cox Bay. Montréal: Sign up for the Osheaga Music and Art Festival ( in August, an indie-music programme over six stages. It has featured acts such as Florence and the Machine, the Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, The National, and Blondie. There are plenty of parties after the shows end at 23.00. Then head over to the Montréal Casino for its roulette and poker tables and also its great restaurants. Three-day festival passes can be purchased at •

Selling Canada spring/summer 2019

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Natural Atlantic Canada The national parks of the Atlantic Canada region are an outdoor playground for those looking to get back to nature


ith dramatic scenery, close-up wildlife encounters and activities that put you right at the heart of it all, Atlantic Canada’s national parks are some of the best the country has to offer. Here we pick the top parks across the four provinces that simply should not be missed.

NEW BRUNSWICK It’s not hard to get excited about Fundy National Park along the Bay of Fundy, home to the highest tides in the world. Those with a love of adventure can explore over 75 miles of hiking and cycling trails, complete with sparkling waterfalls, crystal-clear streams and lush Acadian forests. For the ultimate Fundy experience, walk the ocean floor at low tide and kayak around those same rocks formations just six hours later. With unique camping options, stargazing, musical performances, unspoiled saltwater beaches and more, Fundy is a Maritime treasure.

pastimes. However you explore the park, you will never tire of its views.



The rather impressive Gros Morne National Park is the second-largest national park in Atlantic Canada and is a UNESCOlisted Heritage Site. With dramatic cliffs and thunderous waterfalls – including the thoughtprovoking Pissing Mare Falls – to dense forests and glacial valleys, hikers are treated to views that look like they’ve been taken from a painting! Spanning 1,805 sq kms, the park is home to 5,000 moose and various campsites where hiking, cycling and boating prove popular

The Cape Breton Highlands National Park is where the wild Atlantic sea meets the treecovered mountains. Home to both land and sea creatures, visitors have the chance to see moose and bald eagles in the same day as watching a minke or pilot whale breach the waters. For lovers of hiking, there’s the scenic 185-milelong Cabot Trail which takes in the forested river canyons, the flat-topped Highlands Plateau and the craggy cliffs. The best bit about being so close to the sea is that you’re never far from a seafood feast that is sure to include lobster.



Other parks in the region include: Kouchibouguac National Park, New Brunswick; Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia; Terra Nova National Park and Torngat Mountains National Park, Newfoundland & Labrador

It may have just one national park, but Prince Edward Island National Park certainly won’t disappoint! With sand dunes, salt marshes and the odd remote lighthouse, a wonder along the Gulf of St Lawrence shore is all you need to clear the mind. It draws keen twitchers with its 300-plus species of birds, including the endangered piping plover, and was the setting of Lucy M. Montgomery’s novel Anne of Green Gables. Visitors can see the house that inspired the book. • SELLING CANADA SPRING/SUMMER 2019

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16 | city profile

Over the hill Canadian capital Ottawa is every bit a four-season city, with plenty to see and do all year round, says Anna Maria Espsäter


arliament Hill, locally known simply as ‘The Hill’, is home to Canada’s familiar Parliament. Built in Gothic revival style, it dominates the skyline of this mostly low-rise city on the banks of the Ottawa River. Ottawa's landmark Rideau Canal, opened in 1832 and the oldest canal system in North America, has been part of UNESCO’s World Heritage since 2007. Museums and official buildings, in both Ottawa and across the river in Gatineau, Québec, are well worth a visit, as are vibrant neighbourhoods such as ByWard Market and The Glebe.

Parliament’s out While Centre Block, the traditional home of Canada’s Parliament, is undergoing a 10-year renovation project, the new interim House of Commons and Senate of Canada buildings (, opened to the public on February 1. 50th anniversary with the launch of an A major project, the Light Rail Transit Indigenous Theatre Department system (, with ( 13 stations, is set to open during 2019. It will make it much easier to get around Four Season Fun the capital. Flora Bridge, a The great outdoors is never far pedestrian and cyclist away in Ottawa. Although bridge across the Rideau having close to one million Canal, will open in the residents, it has a smallautumn. town vibe. In spring, The National summer and autumn, Frontier Canada – 020 8776 8709 Arts Centre is there are 500 miles A 13-night Cosmopolitan City marking its of pathways to cycle Experience tour features time in (escapebicycletours. Ottawa. Prices start from £2285pp, ca). Canal cruises and including flights UK–Canada, 13 boat tours operate on nights’ accommodation, car hire the Rideau Canal and with driver and a tour of Ottawa River and there’s Niagara Falls. frontier-canada. even white-water rafting ( in the city. In summer, Ottawa hosts numerous music festivals, including Bluesfest ( and Chamberfest ( Winter in Ottawa is a magical time. This is when Winterlude festival takes over the city, with multiple events (ottawatourism. ca/events/winterlude) and many different winter sports, such as pick-up ice hockey matches and skating the Rideau.

Book it!

Top Experiences

Culinary walking tours: A gourmet food tour is a great way of getting to know a city and Ottawa has plenty, from chocolate and maple syrup walks to tours focusing on specific areas of the city such as The Glebe, with its one-off eateries and shops ( Tulip Festival: From May 10–20, tulips will take over many recreational spaces in Ottawa and Gatineau. Running since 1953, the festival is one of the capital’s spring highlights. Museums: Ottawa has some of the country's best museums, such as the Canadian Museum of Nature, with its new Arctic Gallery (; National Gallery of Canada ( and, across the river in Gatineau, Canadian Museum of History ( ByWard Market: This neighbourhood, surrounding the old farmers’ market, is Ottawa’s entertainment district, home to many shops, bars and restaurants as well as the old market itself. Gatineau Park: Easily reached from Ottawa, this huge park's activities number hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, cycling, fishing and boating. Winter sports include skiing. •

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Inspiring moments... Discover Wasaga Beach along the Georgian Bay, the world's largest freshwater beach

We've narrowed it down to some top 'Instagrammable' experiences, which just goes to prove there's no need for a filter in picture-perfect Ontario Joining a yoga session on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill

p and Saucer ’ Sitting on the edge of the ‘Cu nd (along the lookout from Manitoulin Isla Georgian Bay)

Cruising through Fathom Five National Marine Park and witnessing the natural shipwrecks beneath Stepping aboard a float plane in Thunder Bay

Seeing the Northern Lights in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park after a day paddling

Feeling the spray of Niagara Falls on Hornblower Cruises Befriending a moose in Algonquin Provincial Park

Ride the UNESCO World Heritage Rideau Canal in Ottawa, a network of lakes, rivers and canals

Exploring the region which inspired the 'Group of Seven' landscape artists on the Agawa Canyon Train Tour

Taking in Toronto from above, with the thrilling CN Tower EdgeWalk

Wildlife enthusiasts can spot moose, beaver, rare caribou, deer, bison and even bear and wolves in Ontario


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A sense of


Many of Canada’s popular destinations and experiences reveal a different side if you visit them 'out of season', says Lynn Houghton


he haunting call of a loon reverberates across the still deep water creating a hollow, otherworldly, sound. As the sun sets, my native guide and I are canoeing just off the misty shore of Manitoulin Island, gliding quietly through the crystalline waters of Lake Huron. The outline of pine trees crowd around the water’s edge and are softly reflected in the lake’s water. Breathing in the cool autumnal air and listening to the evocative cries of water birds is a truly bewitching experience. Don’t get me wrong, Toronto, 580 kilometres to the south, is a fabulous, multi-faceted city bursting with gourmet restaurants, first-class hotels, phenomenal shopping (plus a new Art Biennale opening this September). But travellers should consider seeking out the many provincial attractions beyond the city during the autumn, winter, or spring.

Fall Over Ontario

Ontario is surrounded by water. From the voluminous Niagara Falls to Lake Huron, Lake Erie, the Georgian Bay and smaller inland lakes, the First Nation people of this region consider

this to be the area’s great blessing. Manitoulin Island, in Lake Huron, has more freshwater lakes than any other island in the world and is where the Anishnabe people call home. For visitors interested in authentic, indigenous experiences, The Great Spirit Circle Trail organises canoeing, a medicine walk, drum making workshops and cleansing ceremonies. Grab the opportunity to sleep in a teepee, a great way to experience nature. Autumn is a spectacular season to be in Ontario because of the superlative colours of the foliage. Sugar maples turn a vivid shade of red, while other trees’ leaves morph to orange, ochre, purple and yellow. Grey County, on the Georgian Bay, is a special place to experience autumn as it is also apple harvest time. Enjoy a plethora of apple dishes, both savoury and sweet. And also suggest the Scenic Caves at Blue Mountain. Open year-round, Scenic Caves is part of the Niagara Escarpment and well known for winter activities, zip-lines and a suspension bridge with inspirational views. There is much to do that is exhilarating, but the caves are worth exploring. A specific crevice among the rocks is named Ekarenniondi and believed by the First Nation


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Saddle up for a Rocky ride

tribes to be the entrance to hell. A memorable excursion is Niagara Falls in winter. As night falls and snowflakes descend, the frozen falls take on a mystical quality, particularly when the inky darkness is punctuated with twinkling Christmas lights. From mid-November through to midJanuary, many come to experience the Winter Festival of Lights, an eight-kilometrelong glowing display which follows a path through Niagara Park and Dufferin Islands. Even the 233-metre-high Skylon Tower is decorated. Ascend to one of the upper three observation decks of the tower for whimsical wintry views below.

For those willing to swap Alberta’s popular Calgary Stampede in the summer for a different equestrian experience, suggest they travel a further 80 miles east to Banff. Late spring or early autumn is a spectacular time for a horse-riding adventure in Banff National Park. Riders discover a nearly perfect way to see the park’s coniferous forests, rivers, and glacial lakes – from the saddle. Multi-day horse rides often start from the Bow River Valley at the foot of the Sundance Mountain Range. Paths then veer off to the Storm Pack Trail and up to the Allenby Pass for never-ending views. Mountain wildlife is most easily spotted in fall, winter and spring when animals move down to the lower elevations. This is elk rut season and also when wolves are on the prowl. Bighorn sheep, mule deer, moose, black bears, coyotes, lynx and cougar can be seen as well as smaller mammals such as snowshoe hare, beaver, porcupine, chipmunk and squirrel.

Ramp up the rail

Banff (or Jasper) is also the beginning, or the end, of one of the most spectacular train rides in North America. Called Journey Through the Clouds, The Rocky Mountaineer departs from Banff, stops overnight in Kamloops and then travels onto

BOOK IT | Canadian Sky | | 01342 888045 |

Canadian Sky has a seven-night Backcountry Lodge and Horse Riding Adventure in Alberta priced from £2,299pp. The deal includes return flights to Calgary, return transfers from Calgary to Banff, seven-nights’ accommodation and approximately 5 daily rides of around fiveand-a-half hours. The adventures are available from August to September 8 2019

A view to thrill

Niagara Helicopters Flightseeing Tours

Niagara Helicopters 905 357 5672 SELLING CANADA SPRING/SUMMER 2019

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Vancouver's train terminus. This is an exciting prospect during autumn and early spring when there is a better chance to spot wildlife. On board, staff are friendly, informative and dining is a gourmand’s dream, with local produce. Gold Leaf sees you seated in the upper part of double-decker cars with glass dome ceilings with almost 360° views. But for best wildlife spotting - which might include bears - saunter out to the open-viewing platform between carriages. The Great North awaits those who want a once-in-a-lifetime autumnal adventure on VIA Rail. The two-day 1,700 km train journey from Winnipeg to Churchill transitions from majestic prairie to boreal forests and barren tundra before finally arriving at Churchill on the Hudson Bay. Or choose the spring or autumn for the four-night, three-day 4,446-mile journey from Ttoronto to Vancouver on The Canadian.

Vancouver’s North Shore

Across from Vancouver, on the other side of its Harbour, is the city’s forested North Shore, known for mountain-inspired activities. On the way to the peaks, visit the dazzling natural spectacle that is Capilano Canyon. Cross from one side of this canyon to the other by way

of the high suspension bridge that straddles it. Warning: you may have to duck to avoid the bald eagles that swoop across the abyss. It’s a short hop from Capilano Canyon to Grouse Mountain. Now you have a decision: want to live like a local? Then accept the Grouse Grind challenge, a steep climb from the valley floor, by the cable car station, to the top. Don’t fancy a climb? Then the Skyride Cable Car whisks passengers to the top in 8 minutes. And once at the top, there is much to do and see, including dozens of kilometres of hiking trails (or in winter – snowshoeing) on the Blue Grouse Loop. The five-acre Refuge for Endangered Wildlife is remarkable for being home to two orphaned grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola. The outdoor amphitheatre offers family friendly lumberjack shows, and there are several dining options, such as the Peak Chalet.

Vancouver’s Southern Suburbs


| Canadian Affair | | 0203 424 9797 |

A six-night Ontario City, Falls & Adventure, departing on October 6 2019, is priced from £933pp. The deal includes flights, a night in Toronto, a night at Sheraton on the Falls, two nights at Manitoulin Island Hotel and two nights at the Westin Trillium House, with Avis car hire included.

South of Vancouver, the suburban towns of Surrey and Richmond are worth a look around. Richmond is home to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Park and, also, the sprawling International Buddhist Temple complex that has been compared to Beijing’s Forbidden City. Surrey is known for its rambling parks and has a winery (Vinoscenti) on the Serpentine River. When back in town, whatever the time of year, be sure to take the Vancouver Foodie Tour around Granville Island’s market. The original ‘island’ was a couple of sand bars where the local First Nation tribal people would gather to fish. Once the tribal people were relocated, the area became industrialised, but when industry abandoned the island in the 1960s, Vancouver’s mayor decided to re-develop and a market opened in 1979. The market is a feast for the eyes and senses, with organic produce, baked goods and charcuterie being just a few of the things available to purchase. •



PLUS · Two consecutive days of WEGO transportation

All prices in Canadian dollars. Taxes not included. All information subject to change without notice.


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Alberta’s south Families will love Alberta’s south, with its historic sights and mix of gentle prairie, unique badlands and majestic mountains, says Laura Gelder

WHY SELL IT NOW? Agents selling Alberta will be accustomed to interest in Banff and Jasper but consider sending your clients south, to experience the province’s Badlands, with westernstyle culture and dinosaur history, and Waterton Lakes National Park, the smallest of Alberta’s Rocky Mountain parks but considered by many to be the hidden jewel in the crown. Travel trends are seeing people demanding undiscovered places which give them bragging rights, as well as authentic local experiences, best found when you head slightly off the beaten path. Be the one to offer something different and if you have clients returning to the province this is a good way to change things up. The lesser-travelled south presents a stress-free option for families thanks to fewer crowds but equally distracting attractions.

WHAT TO SELL Drumheller is at the heart of Alberta’s Badlands – a lunar-like area of striped sandy hills and hoodoos – strange mushroom-shaped pinnacles carved by erosion. Your clients will feel like they’re in a western film with a trip through the swing doors of the Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, while kids will enjoy visiting a bison farm. The whimsical-looking region is prime

Waterton Lakes National fossil-hunting territory for dinosaurobsessed children. The Royal Tyrrell Museum is home to 40 dinosaur skeletons while Dinosaur Provincial Park lets kids dig for their own fossils. Fort Macleod Museum shows the history of the North West Mounted Police and First Nations, and close by is UNESCO World Heritage Site, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, where visitors learn about the history, indigenous culture and geology of this ancient bison hunting ground. The charming town of Waterton is surrounded by arresting mountain and lake scenery. Your clients can visit the beach or hike gentle trails that start from the town. Waterton Lakes National Park highlights include Red Rock Canyon and the chance to spot bears, take a canoe tour or cruise on the lake.


Badlands fossil hunting

If your clients fly into Calgary they can take three days to explore the city's child-friendly attractions. They’ll love Calgary Tower’s panoramic views and glass floors dropping

away beneath their feet to the street 535 feet below. Also fun is Calgary Zoo, the old fashioned carts and trains of Heritage Park and Stephen Avenue to shop for cowboy accessories. They can take in Drumheller and the Badlands in a day trip from Calgary. After this, head south to stay in Waterton, stopping at Fort McLeod and HeadSmashed-In Buffalo Jump on the way. After a couple of days in Waterton they can head into cowboy country on Highway 22, stopping at the living museum at Bar U Ranch, and then onto Banff and the Rockies before flying back home from either Calgary or Edmonton. • SELLING CANADA SPRING/SUMMER 2019

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'I'm here for the food' Anna Maria Espsäter enjoys spectacular sights and local treats in Quebéc City and its immediate surrounds


s the train from Montréal rolls into Québec City, my first impression is that this place is very pretty – and very French. In 2008 the city celebrated the 400th anniversary of the first permanent settlement, at the narrowest point of the St Lawrence River. Originally a fur trading port, the first settlers were mostly from northern France, which is why Québec City perhaps feels more French than other parts of the province. I’m here to explore the city’s gastronomy scene, as well as cultural and natural sights in the surrounding area, and first on the agenda is a visit to Montmorency Falls, some seven kilometres outside of town and absolutely spectacular in spring.

CUISINE AND CULTURE Leaving the city, we have grand views of the Laurentian mountain range on our right and the Appalachian on our left. We also spot Île d’Orléans, an island twice the size of Manhattan, well-known for its different wines, including ice wines. But Montmorency Falls, with its powerful cascade of wild water, steals the show. From the viewing platform and suspension bridge I get a better, more water-sprayed, experience. The extra brave (not I) can try a via ferrata (or zipline). Not much of an adrenaline junkie, I’m much more of a 'tasty food junkie' and Québec City does not disappoint. During my three-hour foodie tour of Old Québec City (part of UNESCO since 1985), I get to sample a variety of French and Québécois fare, including a red deer dish, crêpes and smoked cheese with apple syrup on walnut bread, among other titbits. There’s a maple tasting, of course, and I sip several local wines – there are 45 wineries in the province – and ciders.

Anna wraps up in Québec

Next day, I head out of town again to the Huron-Wendat First Nations Museum in Wendake. My guide, Johanne, tells The stunning Montmorency Falls me we’re on Wendat land here (the Wendat were called Huron by the French colonisers). The museum, which opened in 2008, is dedicated to preserving and promoting Wendat history and culture and covers a large area. As part of the permanent exhibition, there’s a longhouse where it’s possible to stay the night. There’s also a hotel and restaurant Frontier Travel The town of Wendake A seven-night Québec Explorer itself is home to tour, taking in Montréal, Québec numerous landmarks, City and other parts of the including a church province, starts from £1436pp, dating back to 1730 and with flights and car hire. The the beautiful Kabir Kouba deal is for a June 2019 departure. waterfall. After a visit to the latter, I end my stay in the museum restaurant, enjoying a 'Labrador tea'. It provides a soothing end to my busy day. Get airborne: Air Canada fly direct from London Heathrow to Montréal ( Get around: Via Rail connects Montréal with Québec City in around three hours ( Local produce in Ile d'OrleansÎl Don’t miss – drinks: For a posh night out, try cocktails at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, with stunning views across the city and St Lawrence River. Don’t miss – food: Fries, cheese curds and gravy may not seem like the likeliest combination to the uninitiated, but Québec’s treasured local dish, poutine, is far tastier than it sounds. A light treat it ain’t, but this calorific feast has got to be tried at least once when visiting the province. These days, restaurateurs have got creative and now add everything from different meats to different cheeses into the mix. There are around 45 wineries in Québec So when in Québec, tuck in! •



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Immerse yourself in the ancestral traditions of the indigenous nations

The Basilica de Notre Dame in Montréal

Cultural Québec With history, culture and tradition at its heart, visitors are sure to stumble upon a story in Québec


INDIGENOUS TRADITIONS Québec boasts a rich indigenous heritage that includes activities like snowshoeing, ice fishing, and of course, maple syrup collection and degustation. Its 11 indigenous nations proudly share their ancestral age-old values handed down through the generations. Visit the Heron Wendat museum in the town of Wendake, only a 20-minute ride from Québec City for an unforgettable experience steeped in history and authenticity and centred on food, spirituality and nature. You can even stay overnight in the fourstar boutique Hôtel Musée Premières Nations for a truly immersive experience.

Experience Québec’s National Holiday celebration Saint-JeanBaptiste Day on June 24, originating from summer solstice by lighting bonfires and performing popular dances. Celebrate in style with Québec’s white and blue flag at the Plains of Abraham in Québec City, where several battles were fought between the French and British.

Explore the historical highlights of Québécois history at the Canadian Museum of History’s Canadian History Hall, the signature exhibition, where traces of the past tell a tale as vast and varied as the land itself. A visit to the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal is a must for any culture vulture. IT’S A CIRQUE! Built between 1824 and Circus arts have become 1829, it is the first Gothic a cultural phenomenon in Revival church in Canada. It Québec, world capital of the is renowned for its splendid form. Québec circus goes way Cirque du Soleil interior and ornamentation. back several hundred years but MO NTRE ELIN AL©TQJ-F,HAM And don’t miss AURA, the light and began its dizzying rise in 1984 sound show put on nearly every night with the foundation of Cirque by creative powerhouse, Moment Factory. du Soleil. Circus acts in Québec have Walk the length of the fortified walls that continued to evolve and garner international surround old Québec City and admire the acclaim. The province is home to endless view from the main vantage points. Visit shows, festivals and events throughout the key historic locations like the Parliament year. You can even embark on a circus-centric Building, Plains of Abraham and Place Royale. dinner cruise.•




rounded in British and French roots, Québec oozes culture. Its architecture and traditions give it a European feel that is both inviting and inspiring. Witness this cultural mosaic first-hand in the streets of Québec’s towns and cities, at historic sites, and inside museums.


ard at Citad


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Just add


Canada is famed for its scenic mountains, icy north and wildlife-rich forests, yet its bodies of water also offer opportunities to make a splash when selling holidays. Stuart Forster offers up a few suggestions


anada's geography and topography means an array of holiday options on and near water. Its coastline is longer than that of any other nation, running for 125,567 miles, and encompasses thousands of islands, including the remote Canadian Arctic Archipelago of 36,563 islands. That offers up plenty of scope for cruising, sailing and various water-based activities. Four of the five Great Lakes — Eerie, Huron, Ontario and Superior — fall partially within Canadian territory, which has 344,000 square miles of water — an area over three times larger than the UK. Adventure-minded travellers can pick up a paddle to kayak or canoe along waterways. Frontier Canada offers guided canoe expeditions and fishing trips on the Yukon. The province of Saskatchewan has approximately 100,000 lakes and Ontario 250,000, meaning plenty of opportunities for anglers to enjoy their hobby. The Saint Lawrence River, the Rideau Canal plus oceans to the east, west and north represent just some of the opportunities to sell holidays to clients who enjoy spending time aboard ships and boats.

Le Boat on the Rideau Canal

Operated by Parks Canada, the Rideau Canal

runs 125 miles between Ottawa, Canada’s capital, and Kingston, on Lake Ontario. Linking rivers and lakes, the canal was constructed to move British troops and supplies if the Americans crossed the Saint Lawrence (in 1832). Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Three to 14-night self-drive boating holidays are a way of experiencing the historic waterway and its scenery at a leisurely pace - and you don’t need a boating licence. Following a successful first summer in Canada, Le Boat has introduced four new luxury boats to its 16-strong Canadian fleet. Ideal for groups or larger families, the Horizon 5 sleeps up to 12 people in five en suite cabins, has a fully equipped kitchen and a sundeck with a barbecue. The company’s base at Seeley’s Bay, in Ontario, means one-way cruises are a possibility.

Cruising Arctic waters

Cruises during the short summer season north of the Arctic Circle provide opportunities to explore the Northwest Passage, see remote landscapes such as Baffin Island— the world’s fifth-biggest island— and view wildlife like polar bears, walrus and caribou. July and August departures are available on One Ocean Expeditions’ nine- to 12-night cruises. The RCGS Resolute has joined the fleet


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for 2019 Canadian sailings. While conducting research in a state-of-the-art lab, the South Baffin Explorer: Art, Culture and Wildlife voyage means a chance to travel with Innuit art expert Dr Nancy Campbell and visit Cape Dorset. For a supplement, guests can kayak in Arctic waters. Departing from Copenhagen, Hurtigruten’s 24-night In the Footsteps of Roald Admundsen voyage includes Pond Inlet on Baffin Island and Eclipse Sound. The route encompasses Devon Island, the world’s largest uninhabited island, and Beechey Island, where the Franklin Expedition over-wintered in 1845-46. The 20day In the Wake of Great Explorers sailing starts with a flight from Edmonton to Cambridge Bay and ends in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

East Coast cruises

Halifax, home to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, is a popular port of call. for an increasing number of cruise lines. Until April 30, Princess Cruises is offering a £400 flight discount on 2019 and 2020 voyages in North America. The 10-day Classic Canada and New England voyage includes calls at Saint John, Halifax, Sydney, and Charlottetown, plus an overnight in Quebec City. In addition to the golf-focused Fiddles and Sticks voyage, OOE’s 10-night Fins and Fiddles voyage is a Canadian Signature Experience that departs from historic Louisbourg on July 10. Suited tor clients of all ages, it includes Sable Island, where horses run wild, plus activities such as cycling and kayaking.

Norwegian offers bookings with a required deposit of £50 on Canada sailings that depart from Québec and New York. Silverseas' 12-day Rejkjavik to Montréal cruise, departing on September 5, includes economy air travel and an offer of 10% for early-bird confirmed bookings.

Victoria to Vancouver

The V2V Empress catamaran crosses the Salish Sea between downtown Vancouver and the Inner Harbour of Victoria, British Columbia’s capital, in just three and a half hours. The layout of the 242 ergonomic leather seats has been improved for the 2019 season, which runs until October 31. Between April 16 and September 30, the new timetable facilitates day-trips to Victoria. The scenic journey passes the Southern Gulf Islands, offering a sightseeing alternative to ferry crossings between outlying terminals (for more on theV2V Empress, see story on page 6).

West Coast cruises

British Columbia’s coastline — along with orcas and other marine wildlife — can be viewed during a Pacific cruise that takes in Alaskan ports. Holland America Line, which has a posttrip arrangment with the Rocky Mountaineer, has a seven-day Alaskan Inside Passage voyage that begins and ends in Vancouver. Combining a cruise with a luxury rail journey also presents clients with a chance to view waterfalls and waterways panned for gold during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush (1858). •

The shape of water

BOOK IT | P&O Cruises | | 020 8776 8709 |

The 24-night Canada voyage sails from Southampton on September 16, calling at nine ports, including St John’s and Gaspé, with two days in Québec. There are no service charges and up to £410 on-board spending money is available. Rates start at £2,447pp.

Exploring Baffin Island during an Arctic Cruise


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What Canada means to me Canada can evoke emotions, feelings and retrospection in equal measure like few other countries. Here three Elite CSP travel agents explain what Canada 'means' to them

GORDON LAWRENCE, GAZELLE TRAVEL Canada was my first long haul destination so will always be a SPECIAL PLACE FOR ME. Canada is so 'PURE' - for want of a better word. FRESH, CLEAN AIR; the WELLBEING of being beside water (rivers and seas) and green forests. In short, TRANQUILLITY! These attributes always combine to make me feel alive and full of energy”

MARIA MILLARD, MILES MORGAN TRAVEL “Canada is full of such BEAUTY, a place where you can just get out amongst PURE, raw NATURE at its best and just reboot your senses. Whenever I am feeling down, I take myself back to standing and just DRINKING IN THE BEAUTY at Lake Louise, Alberta

PAT WATERTON, LANGLEY TRAVEL “To me, Canada means a land of great people, PERFECT AIR and fabulous spaces and SCENERY. The Icefield Parkway and the Rocky Mountains always beckon me from afar, and Newfoundland is a place that TUGS AT MY HEARTSTRINGS. It is only just over an hour longer than flying to Tenerife but when you get there you might think you were in Ireland!” SELLING CANADA SPRING/SUMMER 2019

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ROAD TRIPS Yukon's highways rank among the world's premier adventure drives. Don't miss a cruise on the following...

Moose on the loose

Wonderfully wild Rugged and remote, Yukon's culture, wildlife and opportunities to explore offer plenty of larger than life experiences


f you have an adventurer’s spirit, a love of nature and a passion for exploration, Yukon should be at the top of your holiday destination list. It is not a choice for the faint-hearted, but it is a voyage of discovery with very rich rewards.

WILDLIFE ABOUNDS If you’re looking for a wildlife holiday, where better than one of the top places in the world to see caribou, moose, bears, sheep, birds and dozens of other northern species? The Yukon is one of North America’s major wilderness attractions – close to 80% remains pristine wilderness, with three national parks, six territorial parks and four Canadian Heritage Rivers. In the Yukon, people are outnumbered by moose two to one!

PURE ADVENTURE Yukon is home to Canada's highest mountains, the world's largest non-polar glacier icefields and renowned wilderness rivers such as the Snake, Firth, Tatshenshini, and Yukon. It offers the ultimate in year-round adventure getaways, with mountain trekking, wilderness river trips and dog sledding with licensed Yukon operators.

UNIQUE LODGES While its great outdoors is a haven for campers, Yukon also has its creature comforts. Lakeside inns, wilderness retreats and lodges, rustic cabins and scenically situated bed and breakfasts are located throughout the territory. Many such properties offer a full range of guided outdoor activities as well as recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed at the visitor's leisure. Top-of-the-scale properties come equipped with 'creature comforts' including bubbling hot tubs and gourmet dining. Travel to these unique destinations by floatplane, boat or vehicle and experience a stay in a true wilderness setting.

Alaska Highway is known for its ruggedness as it winds through mountainous valleys

The Dempster Highway crosses the Arctic Circle and is a bucket list journey

HISTORIC DRAWS From unforgettable Indigenous stories to remarkable gold rush tales, and prehistoric woolly mammoths to adventurous aeronautics, Whitehorse's museums are definitely worth stopping in at. MacBride Museum, Yukon Transportation Museum, Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre and Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre are all open year-round.•

Klondike Highway is known for its Gold Rush history and spectacular scenery


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All smiles in NEW BRUNSWICK


Brit James Mullinger has made a big success of his move to Atlantic Canada. Here he tells Steve Hartridge all about the funny side of his adopted life in New Brunswick


James kayaking on the Kennebecasis River

Kingsbrae Garden


e’ve probably all wondered what it would be like to start a new life in another country, but it’s a fair bet that dream doesn’t often involve jetting off to a destination where everyone says you’ll never make a living. Only the brave would take such a decision – or maybe a stand-up comic. But, five years on from his own Big Move, James Mullinger is living an Atlantic Canada dream that is a far cry from his life in Berkshire. After 15 years as a career journalist at GQ, he quit the UK to start over again in the coastal town of Saint John, New Brunswick. Before he left James was also starting to build his profile as a ‘male feminist’ comedian, creatively using his degree in ‘Women’s Studies’. But his friends still asked how he planned to pay the bills when he touched down in Canada. “I was told that I would have to give up standup. There wasn’t a comedy industry in New Brunswick as such so I went out and created my own,” he explains. “I arrived in February 2014 and hit the ground running. I worked hard and made sure a lot of people saw me. "I did every gig I could. You name it – churches,

vineyards, basements, conferences, high schools, clubs, and some real dives.” Over even his own expectations, James’ career took off in a way he could only dream of. "I started selling out arenas - something that was never going to happen to me in England. "In a smaller place, the playing field is more level. If you are good at something you are more likely to thrive creatively and commercially because the word spreads fast," he says.

Record breaker

Maidenhead-born James admits he felt like a real fish out of water at first, but it didn’t take him long to realise that this had plenty of comedy potential. Whether his new neighbours embraced his pioneering spirit, or maybe it was just his ability to laugh at himself (James isn’t quite sure), his comedy show quickly took off. Fast-forward to today and James is a big player on Canada’s comedy circuit. He deliberately self-mocks his status as the ‘best-known comic nobody has heard of’, but the reality is something different: he plays in theatres or clubs ranging in size from 400 to 1,000 people and has twice sold out New


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James and family

James Mullinger live at Harbour Station Arena, April 2018

Brunswick’s biggest indoor venue, Harbour Station Arena (capacity 5,000), beating Jerry Seinfeld's sales record in the process. What's more, a CBC documentary following his hit 2016 Canada tour topped the ratings, while a well-funded movie loosely based on his lifechanging move to Canada has also been made. Despite this success, and with the comedy world seemingly at his feet, James recently made a return to journalism, launching his own lifestyle magazine, The Maritime Edit. The publication, he says, celebrates the wit, modesty and wisdom of Atlantic Canada and gives him the chance to let more people in on the benefits of the good life in New Brunswick.

Fundy National Park

“I do more in a day here than I did in six months when I lived in London,” he says. “I swim in a river, take out my kayak, taste great wines at a vineyard, go to a hockey game, see a big arena show, enjoy a BBQ, go out on a friend’s boat, and yes, eat a spectacular lobster roll – the list is endless.” It is this sheer variety of experiences available that he believes should be front of mind for travel agents when they are selling the



James' tips... "The Harvest Jazz and Blues festival in Fredericton each September is a citywide party" "Enjoy dinner at Shadow Lawn Inn in Rothesay – old school charm, world-class food and a gloriously cool interior" "Take a boat to Dunham's Run Estate Winery on the Kingston Peninsula near Saint John"

destination. His advice? Get clients to base themselves in Saint John, which offers plenty of great dining and nightlife, and encourage them to explore from there. “It’s a short drive to some of Canada’s top tourist attractions,” he says. ”Hopewell Rocks is the home of the world’s highest tides, which rise five storeys high. At low tide you can walk the ocean floor and explore the amazing ‘flowerpot’ rock formations.” Heading further afield, James recommends the scenic fishing village of Alma. Well worth a visit in its own right, it is also the gateway to Fundy National Park where there’s more than 25 world-class waterfalls “A few minutes’ further on is Moncton, the largest city in New Brunswick. "I love the wine and cheese tasting at the Magnetic Hill boutique winery," adds James. “It provides panoramic views of the city from a restored 1867 property, making it as old as Canada itself.”

St. Andrews By-the-Sea

“About an hour from Saint John is the popular holiday town of St. Andrews By-the-Sea, the best place to visit in Canada, according to USA Today. And they might be right. The Kingsbrae Garden is an utterly unique botanical garden with the best restaurant in Canada.” James is looking forward to playing at the venue’s amphitheatre this summer, on July 13. As you’d expect, laughter often features on James’ ideal night out, so he recommends visitors stay at the Delta Hotel by Marriott in Saint John, which is walking distance to numerous comedy clubs as well as the historic Imperial Theatre, built in 1912. “I’m lucky enough not to have to chase work, so mostly I play theatres and clubs. "In Saint John everyone knows everyone so there’s not really such a thing as fame here. I might be known as the comedian or magazine editor but I’m just as likely to be known as the guy who fell through the ice last winter!”; * James Mullinger's new stand-up special, Almost Canadian, is available on Amazon Prime Video. • SELLING CANADA SPRING/SUMMER 2019

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A tale of two cities Six hand-picked agents were treated to some of Canada's main attractions on Prestige Holidays' luxury two-centre trip


restige Holidays included some of Canada’s most iconic sights on a special fam trip which combined two of the country’s most popular cities, Toronto and Ottawa. Mark Beattie, Personal Travel Advisor at Off Broadway Travel, was impressed with both. “I had such a brilliant time exploring Toronto and Ottawa,” he said. “It was actually my first visit to Canada but it certainly won’t be my last. "Toronto has something to offer everyone and Ottawa is such a brilliant city too. The two cities are perfect for a twincentre trip, which I'll be recommending – and I'll also be selling a helicopter flight over Niagara Falls as well.”


A MUST-SEE ATTRACTION In fact, the group spent a full day at Niagara Falls, including a ride in a chopper. “Taking a helicopter over the falls is one of the most incredible travel experiences you can have,” said Elaine Ferry of Elaine’s Travel in Marlborough, Wiltshire. In Toronto, the group was hosted for three nights at the world-renowned Royal York Hotel, one of the city’s most prestigious and historic properties (see story on page 8).


Agents got a sneak preview of the hotel’s on-going refurbishment, which should be completed in time for its 90th anniversary celebrations this summer. The hotel is planning new dining venues with exciting new menus. In Ottawa, the agents spent two nights at the historic Lord Elgin hotel. They were certainly impressed by both hotels, and by the welcome the received from staff. “The hospitality, from the bell boy to hotel management, was the most friendly I have experienced in the world,” said Elaine. Travel between Toronto and Ottawa was on the leisurely VIA Rail, one of Canada’s many scenic train journeys. Mark added: “I will definitely be recommending Ontario to my clients in the future and I think they’ll be blown away by the amount there is to do there." • SELLING CANADA SPRING/SUMMER 2019

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Sample a vast selection of craft brews

Hop onboard a sightseeing cruise

Best of both worlds City life blends dynamic cosmopolitan energy with the beauty and serenity of nature in Saskatchewan


herever you travel in Saskatchewan, nature is never far away. Even at the centre of its major cities, Regina and Saskatoon, you are only minutes from impressive landscapes and open spaces.

Rebellion Brewing Co. are attractions of their own. A short drive from the city, Last Mountain Distillery produces its famous dill pickle vodka, while in Saskatoon, the growth in craft brewing and distilling has transformed neighbourhoods. Stroll historic Riversdale, enjoy a pint at 9 Mile Legacy Brewing Co., then stop by the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market to sample local products. The city’s vibrant food scene also attracts attention as innovative chefs create new tastes by combining prairie sensibilities with world-infused flavours.

A CAPITAL DESTINATION Regina is Saskatchewan’s capital and was named in honour of Queen Victoria. A distinguishing feature is the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, completed in 1912. One of the grandest historical buildings in Western Canada, its setting is Wascana Centre – a 930-hectare urban park that rivals Central Park in New York.

HOME OF THE RCMP The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Academy, “Depot” Division, has been a fixture in Regina since 1885. It is where every member of Canada’s iconic force is trained as a cadet. The colourful RCMP Sunset-Retreat Ceremony is a summer tradition. It sees cadets in period dress perform traditional military movements. The state-of-the-art RCMP Heritage Centre is open year-round.

PERFECTING THE CRAFT Regina and Saskatoon have earned reputations for impressive craft beer and spirits. In Regina’s Warehouse District, Bushwakker Brewpub and


GO BACK IN TIME Wanuskewin Heritage Park, on the northern edge of Saskatoon, has been occupied by humans for over 6,000 years. In the summer, overnight tipi stays and traditional dance performances connect visitors to the past

Saskatoon has made international headlines for the opening of the new Remai Modern art museum that houses the world’s largest collection of Picasso linocut prints (more than 400 pieces), along with almost two dozen ceramic works by the Spanish master.

A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT More than 80 km of riverbank paths wind through Saskatoon along the tree-lined banks of the mighty South Saskatchewan River. See Saskatoon from the water on the top deck of The Prairie Lily riverboat on an afternoon sightseeing tour or a classic dinner cruise. Evening sunset cruises showcase the spectacle of Saskatchewan’s 'Living Skies.' • SELLING CANADA SPRING/SUMMER 2019

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Whether they fancy dressing as a Viking, swimming among icebergs or eating their way through weird and wonderful cheese dishes, there’s bound to be a quirky festival in Canada to whet your client’s appetite, says Linsey McNeill

POUTINE FEST, OTTAWA A cheesy festival in more ways than one as restaurants, cafés and pubs in the city centre celebrate a classic Canadian dish, Poutine, over four days. In its traditional form, Poutine is essentially MAY 2-5 2019 chips and cheese curds smothered in gravy, but there will be plenty of variations on offer – from Filet Mignon to Lobster to a Pad Thai version. The festival, which this year will feature an expanded Craft Beer experience, takes place across three blocks centred around pedestrianised Sparks Street. Also on offer will be live music and street performances. Entry is free and you just pay for what you eat. Vegetarian options are available. /

ICEBERG FESTIVAL, ST ANTHONY & AREA This annual homage to these ten-thousand-year-old natural behemoths takes place every June on the Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland and Labrador. The festival, which celebrates 2019 7-16 June the coming of spring in the north and the arrival of the icebergs, features food, music, entertainment, history, culture – and icebergs. Visitors can dip their toes in the North Atlantic, dance, and gorge on fresh local seafood. Northern Newfoundland is known as the Iceberg Capital of the World and the massive icebergs often float right into St. Anthony Harbour. Around 90% of an iceberg's mass is below water, with the tallest ever iceberg being over 550 feet tall.;


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ICELANDIC FESTIVAL, MANITOBA Where else do you get to dress as a Viking, eat dried fish, down Icelandic schnapps, take part in crazy games such as “Islendingadunk” August 2-5 and roar like a …well, a Viking? You can do all this and more at the family-friendly 'Islendingadagurinn', which claims to be the second-oldest continuous ethnic festival in North America, having been launched in Winnipeg in 1890. In 1932, Islendingadagurinn moved to Gimli, kown as ‘Little Iceland' on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg, where it has been held ever since. Expect lots of games, competitions, music, street food and fireworks.;

Every year since 1967, the harbour city of Nanaimo, which lies on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British July 19-21 Columbia, has hosted a unique and slightly bonkers 36-mile ocean tub race. Hundreds of tubs compete, some from as far away as Australia. Not all of them finish, and yes, some 'crews' end up bailing out. The actual race will take place on Sunday, July 21, but there’s a whole weekend of fun, including live music in Maffeo Sutton Park, a street fair, a Kiddies Karnival, a kids' craft tent, firework displays, plus, of course, a tub parade.;

Every year, more than 25,000 die-hard Elvis fans descend on Collingwood, Ontario, for the world’s largest Elvis festival, a three-day event entirely dedicated to celebrating the life of the 2019 8, July 26-2 King of Rock n’ Roll. Visitors get to hear dozens of tribute bands, both amateur and professional, and can take part in open mic events, dances, exercise classes, hear talks with special guests and buy all-things Elvis souvenirs. There’ll also be a three-round competition to find this year’s Collingwood representative to the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest in Memphis in August. Some events are free, others charge an entry fee. /




There’s surely nothing more awesome than stargazing on a clear evening, but with so much light pollution in cities these days it can be hard to see the night sky in all its glory. So head to October 18-27 Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies, which enjoys virtually zero-light pollution and is the second largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world. The best time to go is in October for the annual Dark Sky Festival. This year the line-up will include guided stargazing, space talks from astronaut brothers Mark and Scott Kelly, outdoor concerts and photography workshops. Some events are free, others, including the space talks, are ticketed.; •


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Comfort zones Canada is well blessed with hotel groups, many of them iconic and integral to the country’s history and development. Here are six to recommend

The Four Seasons’ Canada Collection is made up of three striking hotels. Four Seasons Hotel Toronto is in the Yorkville neighbourhood, the city’s most strollable district. Four Seasons Vancouver is renowned for its trendy vibe and top-class spa, while Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler is a gateway to a resort known for its top-class skiing, hiking, biking and white-water rafting.

THE FAIRMONT HOTELS The Fairmont Hotels’ and Canadian Pacific Hotels’ stories became linked when the companies merged in 1999. Canadian Pacific properties were built in the 19th century, when the country was connected via a transcontinental railway. Today, the European-castle style of the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac and Fairmont Banff are examples of hotels built to maximise their stunning surroundings. Fairmont was recently acquired by AccorHotels.

LE GERMAIN GROUP Canadian brand Le Germain Group has seven properties across Canada. Le Germain Toronto (Maple Leaf Square), one of two in the city, is ideally situated with views overlooking the CN Tower. The Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix sits in Québec’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, while the group is expanding its Montréal property by four floors and adding 35 rooms. It also has hotels in Ottawa, Calgary and Québec City.




One of Canada’s largest hotel brands, Coast Hotels, has 36 properties – on the coast, in cities and in mountain regions throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Yukon. Most occupy premium spots, for example, the Yukon’s Coast High Country Inn is in the city centre of Whitehorse while the Coast Kamloops Hotel provides a stopover for Rocky Mountaineer passengers. All 29 Coast Hotels are pet-friendly properties and embrace a strong local approach ethos.

DELTA HOTELS Delta Hotels began life in 1962 with just one 62-room motor inn in British Columbia. Today, and now fully-owned by Marriott Hotels, the portfolio has grown to 39, with properties across the country from Vancouver to Saint John, and two new ones opening soon in Kamloops and Saskatoon, The brand’s concept embraces ‘simplicity’ but its USP is ‘extraordinary locations’ – such as the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, with views over the harbour.

SANDMAN HOTELS Sandman Hotels, a privately-owned Canadian company, has been running for 50 years and claims to be the fastest growing hospitality business in Canada. In 1967 it opened its first hotel in Smithers, British Columbia and currently has 47 properties – from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador– under the brands Sandman Inns, Sandman Hotel & Suites, and Sandman Signature Hotels & Resorts. Several are located close to airports, such as in Calgary and Vancouver.


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Tantalising tastes With influences from over 120 cultures, Montréal’s food and drink scene provides a flavourful treat for the taste buds



June will welcome PY1, a pyramid-shaped event venue with multimedia shows and vibrant experiences every day of the week. The brainchild of Cirque du Soleil and Lune Rouge founder Guy Laliberté will also host thematic nights. Don't miss the first exhibition dedicated to creator and designer Thierry Mugler at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), before it goes on tour.


Discover an all new and renovated Parc Jean-Drapeau. Attend a festival at its brand new natural amphitheater and rediscover the best vistas of Montréal's cityscape.


In summer, seasonal outdoor markets and spaces seem to pop up throughout the city. One of which is the First Fridays Street Food Festival at the Esplanade Financière Sun Life, a sight to behold, especially on the first Friday of the month when the largest gathering of food trucks in Canada congregate at the Olympic Park. All through summer, discover the ViIlage au Pied-du-Courant, a summer pop-up village which sees an industrial space transform into a beach on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Grab a hammock and a good book at the beach library or enjoy the cinema under the stars. Meanwhile, Marché des Éclusiers celebrates local artisans, farmers and producers. Whether for shopping (Thursdays and Saturdays) or to enjoy a drink on the waterfront patio, great summer evenings start here.•







Follow the wafts of maple in Montréal and you're sure to find a sweet treat, or for a true taste of the local cuisine gorge on a Montréal style bagel or a staple smoked meat sandwich! Wherever your taste buds take you, Montréal's culinary scene doesn't disappoint with a mixture of both creative and tried-and-true local cuisine traditions. Swanky bistros, casual eateries and pop-up restaurants all make the gastronomy an experience. Montréal's food scene is a mix of multiple influences and established and up-andcoming chefs are constantly innovating, so much so that four of Montréal's restaurants appeared in the top 10 of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants in 2018: Toqué! (2nd), Joe Beef (3rd), Montréal Plaza (6th) and Vin Papillon (8th).

Montréal also has a thriving craft beer scene with over 20 artisanal breweries to choose from. Beer enthusiasts can sample their way around popular microbreweries such as Isle de Garde, Dieu du Ciel and Boswell.

Brunching in Montréal is a must

You're never far from a refreshing beer

The Village au Pied-du-Courant



raving a refreshing hand-crafted brew and some tasty snacks to go with it? You’re in luck, because both are staples of Montréal’s thriving microbrewery and gastronomy scene. From five-star restaurants to street-side food trucks, there’s something to please every palate.


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Canada tailor-made Dan Gathercole, Managing Director of First Class Holidays, explains how the operator goes the extra miles to help its travel agent partners


Tell us about your main role and responsibilities at First Class Holidays A: I am the Managing Director of the business so essentially my main responsibility is to ensure we hit the numbers! But, equally important, it is also about ensuring we deliver the service levels I demand – and do so with what I call passion and personality.


How is Canada selling in 2019? A: Very good, and because of the huge demand for summer 2019 holidays we are also seeing a lot of enquiries for 2020. Because of this, we are guaranteeing all pricing for 2020.


What are some of the highlights of your Canada programme? A: It’s really difficult to highlight any particular trip or destination as we do absolutely everything – from tailor-made self-drives to bear watching in British Columbia to hiking in Nova Scotia and cruising in Alaska. We are destination specialists so, essentially, can put together just about anything in Canada.


Are customers starting to book Canada beyond the icons of Niagara, Rocky Mountaineer, Vancouver, etc? A: Yes, they are. For example, we have seen a big increase in Atlantic Canada in particular and also for soft adventure activities like walking and canoeing.


First Class Holidays regularly wins Best Tour Operator at Destination Canada’s annual travel awards. So what do you do that stands you out from the other Canada specialists? A: I think the main thing is the attention-to-detail service we offer. The business has been built on good service and that’s how it will continue to operate. The personality of our team is also key – that and making sure we go the extra mile (or miles) for agents.


How important are travel agents to you and how do you ensure they ‘get’ the FCH product range? A: Travel agents are vital and we spend a lot of time ensuring they are up to speed with our product range by offering training

and support. Our sales team are regularly on the road. We are also running a few fams this year to provide agents with that essential first-hand knowledge of Canada.


Do you have any specific ‘selling tips’ to help agents clinch that Canada sale? A: The biggest one would be to encourage clients to do as much as possible there. I know I would say that, but life is too short, and Canada is not a destination that, in general, UK travellers go back to every year. So I would encourage agents to tell their customers to do as much as possible.


Tell us one of your own memorable experiences in Canada? A: This has to be when I was driving on the Icefields Parkway, between Jasper and Banff, and stopped to let a mother bear and her cubs cross the road. Just fabulous!

BOOK IT WITH...FIRST CLASS HOLIDAYS A special tour, the Walk on the Wild Side with Monty Halls, featuring grizzlies, polar bears and orcas, starts from £9,999pp. Stops include Vancouver, Campbell River, Knight Inlet Lodge, Winnipeg and Churchill. Monty will also give daily conservation talks. The trip leaves on October 8 2019. 0161 888 5606;


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38 | Profile: air transAt

Air Transat’s trade mission Adrian Keating, Air Transat's Commercial Director UK and Ireland, is on a mission to put the leisure airline front of mind for agents booking Canada, he explains to Steve Hartridge


drian Keating, Air Transat's Commercial Director for the UK and Ireland, admits that awareness of the airline, among both the trade and consumers, is not as high as he would like. “We are not that well known in the UK, but Air Transat has been flying between the UK and Canada for over 30 years,” says the former regional manager, UK, Europe and North America for Malaysia Airlines. Keating, who has been in his present job for five months, says his aim is to address this and the priority is to engage with agents across the UK and Ireland. "Our trade team will provide them [agents] with all the tools they need to be confident in selling us. We know that trade expertise will then filter down to consumers.” He adds: “We want to be the trade’s best friend...and are set up to react quickly to trade requests – whether they are for special fares, training collateral, agency visits or fam trip requests. "If any agent wants to know more about Air Transat, whether a Canadian Specialist agent or not, my message is that we want to engage with them.”

something for everyone “Our trade team is fun, friendly and very helpful and is determined to offer levels of service to our trade partners that are on a par or better than any of our competitors,” he says. Air Transat recently launched a refreshed version of its online training platform, which gives the trade a ‘360-degree’ view of the

Air Transat flies to five Canadian cities from the UK airline’s products and route network. “The training platform articulates to agents why we were named the world’s best leisure airline by Skytrax in 2018,” Keating enthuses. That accolade, he says, was achieved on the back of both the choice and quality of products onboard. “For example, Economy passengers fly in ergonomic Italian-leather seats and for families we operate a Kids Club with features like a member’s kit filled with cool travel goodies and some onboard surprises,” he says. And we offer different levels of service – in Economy you can go hand luggage only, or pay for extra luggage. With the food onboard, there are our standard onboard meals or customers can upgrade.” For example, for £15 Economy passengers can purchase a Chef’s Menu, designed by Daniel Vezina, a top-rated Montréalbased chef who caters the meals served in Club Class.

casH giveaways for bookings

Economy passengers can upgrade their meal

That Club Class, with just 12 seats, offers agents the chance to upsell, says Keating. “This is a great product and one that is on a par with World Traveller Plus or a Premium Economy experience elsewhere. It’s a small private cabin but the pitch and width is larger than those of other airlines.

"Club customers also benefit from a checked baggage allowance, dedicated check-in counters and Fast Track Security – plus those specially prepared meals by Daniel Vezina, a welcome cocktail, and a selection of wines.” Air Transat is also investing in ongoing agent incentives and has built a website to host its new ‘Star Rewards’ programme. Agents booking Economy class tickets receive a £10 shopping voucher while those booking Club seats get a £20 shopping voucher. “We will have other incentives for agents in place year round, depending on what routes require support,” says Keating. The airline’s trade team was recently reinforced by the appointment of Clare Hodge, ex Philippine Airlines and Continental Airlines, who was appointed to the role of Sales Manager. “Our underpinning strategy is to create a confidence in our brand across the entire trade and bringing on board people with impressive airline experience is one facet of this,” says Keating. Air Transat flies from Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin to five Canadian destinations. The airline has a daily GatwickToronto service and also flies to Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton (until June 2019). •

Selling Canada SPRING/SUMMER 2019

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These bloggers are snowcial media ready



"Exploring Toronto was one of the highlights. It’s such a diverse city" @freshandfearless

AN ADVENTUROUS WORLD joined a group of bloggers that jetted off to snowy Montréal in February to further #ExploreCanada. As well as stripping down for an early morning dip in -13 degrees, they were subject to a host of enjoyable winter sports including ice skating, snow shoeing and snow tubing. "I’ve had such an amazing time exploring the city and it is so different to all other Canadian cities I’ve been to," he wrote. "It’s this wonderful blend of French flair and cool Canadian vibes, and it’s an amazing place for a city break with a fair few wintry activities too. Also, after eating my way though the city, I think it’s fair to say Montréal deserves it’s reputation as the best foodie destination in Canada!" @anadvworld


"Perfect snowy spa day in Ottawa – that lovely wooden smell, hot pools and great saunas" @youcouldtravel


"Leaving the mountains for Banff, we saw this (not-so-) little lady casually grazing in the snow!" @handluggageonly

"Is winter a good time to visit @montreal? YES! There's lots to do, and while we've spent loads of time outdoors (and it is nippy), there are plenty of great museums and galleries too! @wanderlustchloe

"Typically I like my bubbles in an ice cold drink or a nice warm bath but these...these will do very nicely too!" Abraham Lake in Alberta had an 'ice' surprise for @handluggageonly

"Chilling by the fire in Nordik Spa in Ottawa. Note our snow boots, and the massive icicles." @youcouldtravel


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Manitoba, Canada


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Selling Canada - April Issue | Full Page Ad - 297mm (depth) x 210mm (width) x 3mm (bleed) | Travel Manitoba 2019

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