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T o r o n t o

New Orleans




Kuala Lumpur

I s s u e


180° CHANGE. 360° VIEW. Toronto has changed and so have we. Discover the CN Tower’s newly revamped event spaces and let the one-of-a-kind view provide the inspiration for your next meeting or party.

To book, email events@cntower.ca

Relax, rejuvenate and recharge in Montego Bay. To book your Jamaican vacation, go to westjetvacations.com or call your travel agent.

Recharge your OMG

Recharge your wow

“You will party harder, eat better, and make more new friends than anywhere else in America.” – THRILLIST.COM










Jessica Huras STAFF WRITER

Katie Bridges COPY EDITOR


Taylor Newlands CONTRIBUTORS

David Ort, Katie Sehl, Michelle Jobin, Dana Filek-Gibson, Pay Chen



Matthew Hasteley SENIOR DESIGNER


Ryan Faist


lprising/iStock PHOTOGRAPHERS

Serge Ramelli, Nathalie Constantin, Chia Joel, Tobias Wang


Krista Faist

READY TO PASS a good time?” the bartender winked as he slid over a crimson-coloured drink, using the local New Orleans expression to indicate the fun is about to begin. We’re halfway through a drinks crawl in the cocktail capital of the U.S. While there are many incredible cities worth exploring in America, nothing exudes the charm, personality and visceral energy of New Orleans. Of all the cocktails invented in NOLA, the vieux carré is my personal favourite. It’s a complex combination of sweet and bitter characteristics. The first sips punch you squarely in the jaw, and quickly get your blood flowing. We finish our drinks and decide it’s time for a meal. As you leave Bourbon Street, the city’s aesthetics quickly morph from bright neon signs and cast-iron balconies to 19th-century mansions and magnolia trees. We’re calling this our City Breaks issue: our unabashed love letter to cities of all shapes and sizes, landlocked or seaside, fast moving or slow enough for deep exploration. This issue covers some of our favourite city jaunts: from Ottawa’s outdoor activities (pg. 59) to Philadelphia’s history (pg. 28) to Kuala Lumpur’s night markets (pg. 90). In our City Breaks guide, we highlight our top cities for culture, nightlife, beaches and cuisine (pg. 35). Katie Sehl keeps us caffeinated with a look at Paris’s café culture (pg. 41). Friends with wanderlust tell me Taipei is high on their list and Michelle Jobin elaborates on why it’s a hot ticket (pg. 52). And if you want to head south to the land of sazeracs and vieux carrés, I’ve compiled a New Orleans itinerary for you (pg. 30). My advice if you encounter an overflowing bucket of boiled crawfish: pinch the tail and suck the head. ◆


Nicole Aggelonitis ADVERTISING

David Horvatin Nick Valsamis MARKETING COORDINATOR





Made possible with the support of Ontario Media Development Corporation. omdc.on.ca

@escapismto escapism.to

Suresh Doss, Editor

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© Twenty Two Media 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All information contained in this magazine is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Twenty Two Media cannot accept responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Twenty Two Media a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine. All material is sent at your own risk and although every care is taken, neither Twenty Two Media nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be held liable resulting for loss or damage. Twenty Two Media endeavours to respect the intellectual property of the owners of copyrighted material reproduced herein. If you identify yourself as the copyright holder of material we have wrongly attributed, please contact the office.








16 ◆ In the Frame 20 ◆ Just Landed 22 ◆ The Escapist 24 ◆ Room Service 28 ◆ Short Stay Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


30 ◆ Long Stay ◆ New Orleans, Louisiana


35 ◆ Sights and the City

Plan out your next trip to an urban oasis for a dose of culture, exciting food and vibrant nightlife. These are the must-visit metropolises. 41 ◆ Voulez-Vous Café Avec Moi?

Katie Sehl finds out how influences from Australia and Guatemala have upped the quality of coffee in the iconic Parisian café scene.


Taipei to Z

Home to bubble tea and some of world’s best night markets, Taipei stands out from other Asian capitals. Michelle Jobin takes us on a day-by-day tour of Taiwan’s most enchanting city. 59

Capital Funishment

From landmark lodgings to an underground bunker built to harbour Dief the Chief, Jessica Huras maps out the essential stops for your next tour of Ottawa.

77 ◆ The Checklist 83

Hang Én There

We follow Dana Filek-Gibson to Southeast Asia, where she treks for an entire day through the jungle to reach the impressive Hang Én cave in central Vietnam. 92 ◆  Like a Local

94 ◆ The Selector 98 ◆ Rear View

Featured on our real #swimsuitmodel, Leticia See her story @beautytalksbeauty

FEEL GOOD HALF NAKED Everyone is a #swimsuitmodel — it’s not about how you look, it’s about how you live. At Swimco, we’re dedicated to inspiring confidence. Every body deserves to feel good half naked — especially yours.

Visit a Swimco near you at one of our 24 locations across Canada or online at swimco.com Women • Men • Kids • Fitness • Plus Sizes • Specialty Swimwear • D Cup & Up

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Join us in Nova Scotia at the world’s largest film festival dedicated to everything culinary! #VisitNovaScotia

BUY TICKETS NOW DevourFest.com

#Eat ItUp

O C T O B E R 2 3 - 2 8 , 2 018


Visit Philadelphia®

24 28

◆ ◆



In the Frame


The Escapist

Room Service Short Stay ◆

Long Stay

Cefalù, London, Toronto

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ◆

New Orleans, Louisiana


In Los Angeles, Serge Ramelli captures the contrasts of the “City of Angels” from the allure of its streets to its dramatic mountains. [




BELOW: This unusual

perspective on the iconic Hollywood sign depicts the enchanting glow of the city with the placid water of the Hollywood reservoir on the right.

Photo © 2018 Serge Ramelli. All rights reserved. photoserge.com


BELOW: A nearly

empty street lined with elegant palm trees is instantly recognizable as the upscale Beverly Hills neighbourhood.

LOS ANGELES BY SERGE RAMELLI After releasing books on Paris, New York and Venice, French photographer Serge Ramelli’s fourth book with publishing house teNeues takes readers on a visual journey of Los Angeles. Over 80 vibrant photographs, in colour as well as black and white, transport readers to the seductive streets of LA – a city of

iconic scenery and stark contrasts. In Los Angeles, Ramelli captures the film industry capital of the world and makes us feel like we’re right there where the magic happens. $100.95, teneues.com


Photo © 2018 Serge Ramelli. All rights reserved. photoserge.com

ABOVE: Serge Ramelli

captured this image of a lone jogger, surrounded by the lush greenery of Hollywood Hills.



Florida gets an under-the-sea museum and Canadians have a new low-cost route to the U.S. Here is the news in travel now.






The U.S.’s first underwater museum recently opened in Florida, with the aim of showcasing artwork while also supporting marine life. The Underwater Museum of Art features seven sculptures that have been designed to act as artificial reefs, attracting sea life like coral, oysters, plants and fish. At a depth of 60 feet, only divers will be able to visit the museum; however, the increased sea life will make the area more enriching for visitors enjoying other water activities.


PLASTIC PROHIBITION Hyatt Hotels announced it will phase out single-use plastic items like straws and cocktail pins at 700 hotels worldwide. The move comes in response to heightened public awareness about the damage caused by plastic to ocean ecosystems. Beginning in September, plastic drink accessories will only be available upon request at their hotels. Alaska Airlines, Royal Caribbean and Carnival are also on the list of travel companies that have handed out their last (plastic) straw.


(CHECK-) IN YOUR FACE Marriott International hopes to speed up guest registration with the introduction of the hotel industry’s first facial recognition check-in kiosks. Just like at the airport, guests scan their ID and have a photo taken to register. Once everything has been confirmed, the kiosk dispenses a key. The new technology aims to cut the process to less than a minute. Developed in collaboration with multifaceted Chinese conglomerate the Alibaba Group, the selfserve kiosks are being trialed at two of the brand’s properties in Hangzhou and Sanya, China. The goal is to eventually roll out the technology at Marriot’s more than 6,000 properties worldwide.

ABOVE: Scan your ID

and have your photo taken – that could be the future of checking into hotels in the coming years

To many, Hollywood’s iconic sign is a symbol of the glamour and the glitz of the movie industry. But for many nearby residents, the heavy traffic and the disruptive tourist crowds have made it one giant headache. Warner Bros. has come up with a costly solution in the form of a proposed aerial tramway from its Burbank lot to the sign – a project that would set the studio back $100 million. The “Hollywood Skyway” promises an educational six-minute ride with minimal impact on the environment. However, some are still wary of the effect it could have on wildlife. The Los Angeles City Council will consider the proposal when it returns from summer recess.


FARM TO PLANE Emirates Flight Catering is set to break a farming record and deliver fresher in-flight meals. The catering operation is teaming up with Crop One to create the world’s largest vertical farm near Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai. Vertical farms grow crops indoors with the help of LED lights and precise climate control. It will produce 2,700 kg of leafy greens each day, all free of pesticides and herbicides. The first crop will be delivered in December 2019. 2,700 kg of leafy greens: The vertical farm will only cover 130,000 square feet, but its output will be equivalent to 900 acres of farmland.

ONE FELL SWOOP Swoop Airlines is set to become Canada’s first ultralow-cost carrier to fly to the United States. The budget airline, owned by WestJet, will fly to five popular U.S. destinations in Florida, Arizona and Nevada this October. Service between Hamilton, Ont. and Las Vegas as well as Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa Bay will be rolled out next month. The CanadianAmerican routes will also serve Edmonton and Abbotsford. We’ve heard the Caribbean is next.


Temple by Sanga Park

UNESCO has added seven monasteries in South Korea to the World Heritage List for 2018. Constructed between the 7th and 9th centuries, these still-active mountain retreats, known as “sansa,” are located in the country’s southern provinces. UNESCO recognizes the monasteries for features unique to Korea. Two of the temples, Beopjusa and Magoksa, participate in Korea’s Templestay programme, which offers a short livein experience.



HOMESTAY HUNTERS These apps can help you find a place to stay.

Katie Bridges weighs in on the debate over whether including your face in that perfect holiday snap is worth the risk of jabbing everyone else with your selfie stick.







AIRBNB With over five million listings in more than 191 countries, Airbnb’s accomodation options stretch from treehouse to castle. You can rent a whole place or just a private room. COUCHSURFING This is the ultimate livelike-a-local app. Couchsurfing connects travellers to a community of people who want to share their homes, lives and experiences.


I pulled the selfie stick out of my bag and extended the arm as far as it would reach, the glory of a few days ago was gone. In its place was the hot sting of embarrassment. I didn’t care that everyone else was doing it. All I could hear was the tutting of other tourists, and their judgement ringing in my ears. Suddenly, I felt shamefaced for perpetuating this act of vanity. I hadn’t been aware of my surroundings. I was, however, incredibly self-conscious. I became acutely aware of why music venues, sports stadiums, the MoMA and even Disney Parks have banned the narcissistic contraptions. You’re damn right, it’s a small world when every idiot is swinging a giant photo-taking pole around. Ultimately, the ends did not justify the means. Though I wound up with a photo that succeeded at capturing all of Ha Long Bay, I will always cringe as I remember fumbling to extend my selfie stick with everyone’s eyes burning a hole in the back of my head. There’s probably a time and a place for a selfie stick, but for now I’ll keep mine at the back of a drawer along with all my other misguided souvenirs. ◆

HOMEAWAY Part of the Expedia, Inc. family, HomeAway offers the option to rent vacation homes. Over one million of HomeAway’s listings are instantly bookable with no wait times.

Selfie stick: The gadget that gives your phone the wider perspective needed for that envy-inducing vacation photograph.

Steve Gale

’VE NEVER BEEN a prolific selfie-taker. Sure, the occasional shameless snap makes its way onto my feeds when the light falls in such a way that only one solitary chin is visible. But these instances are few and far between. This rarely worries me; what’s my smashed avocado toast for if not to make up for my lack of Kim Kardashian-esque angles? However, the one time I really wish my selfie skills were up to snuff is when I’m travelling on vacation. This is especially true when I know it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime deal, which makes getting that perfect snap in front of the Taj Mahal or Machu Picchu so crucial. So why wouldn’t I use all the gadgets at my disposal to capture the perfect picture? I have two words: Selfie stick. While visiting Vietnam for a wedding, I bought one from a street vendor. I was instantly a hero, capturing big group photos with ease and promising to upload the pictures to social media ASAP. (I didn’t.) I left the wedding celebration and continued my travels around the country. Only, next time, when



With a dining programme overseen by Michelinstarred Italian chef Andrea Berton, food is a highlight here. During the soft opening, we were able to try the resort’s main buffet restaurant, La Rocca, which offers an exceptional spread, numerous live-cooking stations and a gelato bar. Il Palazzo focuses on à la carte Italian fare and La Riva offers casual lunches on the resort’s small beach. Meals at most of the on-site restaurants are included in the room rate, but guests can also arrange private dinners at La Riva in the evening for an extra fee.

Club Med’s sunny Sicilian outpost is revamped, Mondrian takes an artistic approach to London and Toronto gets a huge resort.



INTO THE BLUE Set on a cliff overlooking the sea and the nearby town of Cefalù , the resort has spectacular views and is only a 15-minute walk into the medieval town, which is bookended by rugged mountains and the sandy Mediterranean coastline. The golden beach bordering the town is one of Sicily’s loveliest. The town bursts with old-school Italian charm – vendors pushing fruit carts, laundry billowing on sun-drenched balconies and fishermen repairing their nets after a day at sea. Don’t miss the twin-towered Romanesque cathedral and the seafront promenade, known as lungomare.

CLUB MED, CEFALÙ Originally opened in 1957, Club Med Cefalù relaunched in June 2018 after a decade-long revamp. Following the overhaul, the resort is now part of Club Med’s Exclusive Collection, the brand’s luxury group. The 14-hectare property is designed to blend with its natural surroundings. Buildings are constructed from materials like local stone and wood. The layout follows the curves of the terrain and, combined with the privacy provided by lush greenery, it gives the 308room property a remarkably intimate ambiance. Club Med offers the extensive line-up of activities you would expect from a large resort, including electric surfing, paddleboard yoga, archery and diving. There’s also a gleaming fitness centre and a spa managed in collaboration with French luxury beauty brand, Carita. Rooms from $230. clubmed.ca


activities at Club Med Cefalù, including surfing, are based on the water


MONDRIAN AT SEA CONTAINERS, LONDON The Mondrian’s first London property is located in the iconic Sea Containers house in the Southbank. True to the Mondrian aesthetic, design is sleek and minimalistic but British designer Tom Dixon has made nods to the original 1920s building. Large art installations greet you in the lobby with rooms opting for art deco directly on the walls. A subtle palette of greys and whites in the rooms is balanced out with thoughtful touches like built-in bluetooth systems, smart lighting and Dixon’s famed wingback chairs. The jewel in the hotel’s crown is the panoramic view from their rooftop space, Rumpus Room. It’s close to attractions like Tate Modern and the National Theatre. Rooms from $290. morganshotelgroup.com

MYSTICAL MIXES The real fun is happening on the ground floor at their cocktail bar, Dandelyan. Known for inventive, zany, and sometimes completely absurd concoctions (ingredients include gunpowder, catnip and garden hooch) they also have the accolades to back them up, grabbing #2 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list and Bar of the Year at this year’s CLASS Awards. The potions are pricey (at £12) but you can rest assured you’re sipping on one of the best drinks in the world.

HOTEL X, TORONTO After five years in the making, Hotel X Toronto, the newest property from the Library Collection, has arrived at Exhibition Place. President Henry Kallan’s vision, also seen in New York’s Library Hotel, is alive and well here. While the hotel boasts exciting interior design (look up in the lobby at the stunning light fixtures), once you’re inside the rooms, cool, clean lines abound. All rooms are equipped with a Nespresso Zenius coffee machine and squishy mattresses that’ll ruin sleep in your own bed forever – splendid lake views are slim consolation. Rooms from $299. hotelxtoronto.com

FEATURE FILM Like all the collection’s properties, this boutique hotel has features that were customized for Toronto. It has a 50-seat screening room and a larger 250-seat cinema. They hope the space can become a hub for film screenings, particularly during TIFF. Ten X Toronto, their huge onsite fitness centre, is especially fitting given the hotel’s proximity to the sports corridor. With nine squash courts, four tennis courts, dedicated studios for yoga, spinning and pilates and a tech-heavy gym (which also accepts private members), guests will have no excuse for “off days”.

ABOVE: Design is

central at London’s Mondrian, including in their showcase bar, Dandelyan





Nathalie Constantin, or @nathaliec136 to her followers, posts bright and sunny shots from the Swedish capital.




After having lived in the Swedish capital for nine years, Constantin knows the city well but she still enjoys walking and exploring Stockholm’s streets. On the way to Monteliusvägen, the famous 500-metre long walking path beside Lake Mälaren, Constantin took this photo of Pryssgränd – a small street on Södermalm Island.


GAMLA STAN Taken in the Old Town or “Gamla Stan,” this photo captures the charming streets and colourful facades of one of the most well-preserved medieval city centres in Europe. Home to restaurants, churches, museums and the Royal Palace, Gamla Stan is like its own walking museum. While there might be a lot of tourists here, there are almost no cars.

ST. JAMES’S CHURCH Nathalie Constantin

While working as a teacher in Stockholm, Constantin photographs the city as her passion project. On an early Sunday morning in spring while the streets were still empty, she snapped this photo of St. James’s Church. Located in the city centre, the church stands next to Kungsträdgården, one of the oldest public parks in Stockholm. With its vibrant red facade, St. James’s Church – or “Sankt Jacobs Kyrka” in Swedish – is Constantin’s favourite church in Stockholm.



David Ort details where to stay and how to keep busy on a visit to Philly, one of the U.S. East Coast’s most diverse metropolises.






Canada flies directly from Pearson International Airport to Philadelphia International Airport every day. Porter’s flight from Billy Bishop to Philly involves a switchover to JetBlue in Boston. GETTING IN:

Uber recently added pickups at PHL through an agreement with airport authorities. You can also get into town by regional rail.



Everyone just calls it Philly. This is not a “Chi-town” or “The 6ix” situation; the first step to fitting in in Philadelphia is to drop those last three syllables. Then you can start debating who has the best cheesesteak – or whether it even matters because roast pork might be the superior sandwich. And do head out on a tour of the town’s famous collection of thousands of murals. It’s truly walkable and the citizens of this sanctuary city go out of their way to earn their reputation for friendliness.

Take a break from Centre City (the downtown district between the two rivers) and stay across the bridge. AKA hotel’s University City outpost is made for all sorts of travellers: Suites with kitchens will appeal to those who want to cook what they find at Reading Terminal Market; those who can’t sit still will enjoy the golf simulator and rowing machines perched over the Schuylkill River; and Walnut Street Cafe brings a seasonally-inspired dose of Philly’s famous restaurant scene to the neighbourhood.

ABOVE: As the

hometown of American democracy, it’s no surprise that Philly’s ornate city hall is given a prominent place with a captivating view


POUND THE PAVEMENT ON PASSYUNK Old, diverse cities draw their identity from the neighbourhood communities that intertwine history and innovation. Walk East Passyunk (that’s “pah-shunk”) from the snap-worthy Singing Fountain to the historic statue of Joey Giardello for a comprehensive picture. That tour passes Doggie Style for soft pretzel dog toys, Jinxed for vintage housewares and the pocket-sized but great History of Italian Immigration Museum. Naturally, there’s also plenty to eat. Lynn Rinaldi’s Paradiso bucks the red-gravy trend with light and seasonal Italian; Saté Kampar has top-notch Malayasian and Green Aisle Grocery is a gourmet market with a hyper-local focus.

Joey Giardello: This life-sized bronze statue commemorates the South Philly boxer who was middleweight champion of the world from 1963 to 1965.

PHILLY FEEDBAG Philly has a plethora of food options from all over the globe that go well beyond the iconic sandwiches and soft pretzels.

HOP HEAVEN Like sour beer? Thank Tom Peters of Monk’s Cafe. Since it opened in 1997, he’s had one of the best beer programmes east of the Mississippi. Just after quitting time, it feels like both a mecca and secular clubhouse: Drinkers might be either hop heads on a pilgrimage or work-a-day lawyers from the local courthouse. The tap list is solid gold – Russian River and Lost Abbey from California, De Dolle and Petrus from Belgium. ◆

ABE FISHER Have the Zahav cookbook and tried the donuts? Now, dig deeper into Solomonov’s restaurant empire. Abe Fisher has reinterpreted takes on dishes from the Jewish diaspora.

SINCE IT OPENED IN 1997, MONK’S CAFE HAS HAD ONE OF THE BEST BEER PROGRAMMES EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI VIENTIANE CAFE Started as an unlicensed, backyard operation, this new Laotian-Thai restaurant is set to become a West Philly standby. Dishes range from housemade sai gawk (Laotian sausages) to the ricecrusted laab.

Visit Philadelphia®; Vientiane by David Ort

JOHN’S ROAST PORK The other famous Philly sandwich got its start here over 80 years ago. It has a seedy roll with thinly sliced roast pork and meat juices as sauce. If you must, they do great cheesesteaks, too.



In the Crescent City, it’s easy to have a good time over great food with new friends. Suresh Doss shows us NOLA at its best.


Jackson Square, named after the seventh president, is one of the historic hubs of the French Quarter. Prominent in the Brad Pitt flick The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the St. Louis Cathedral shows off its 18th-century Spanish architecture. During the day, the square hosts street performers and art popups. Across the street you’ll find one of New Orleans’s long standing landmarks, the iconic French Market District.







First-time visitors to the Big Easy should consider a bike tour. Before you embark on Mardi Gras-type activities, jump on a Crescent Tour to cover all your essential sightseeing in one afternoon. Biking in New Orleans is comfortable and provides the best vantage point to take in its bohemian neighbourhoods and colonial architecture. buzznola.com


The French Quarter is famous, but seasoned travellers head to Frenchmen Street for more culture. Walkable from downtown, Frenchmen is the current libation district of the city. Here you’ll find a dozen bars like d.b.a, which specialize in a mix of classic and more modern drinks. For live music, the Spotted Cat Music Club is the best.


In March 2016, the well-known chain of hip hotels opened in NOLA’s Warehouse District. The central location is a quick walk to the French Quarter, as well as the new wave restaurants and shops that have opened nearby. This outpost is fully decked-out with three locally-inspired restaurants, a lobby bar known for its sazeracs and a rooftop pool. acehotel.com


Opulence is the keyword at this antebellum-style 4-star hotel in the French Quarter. Located steps from Canal Street, the hotel is on the city’s main artery near quality shops, restaurants and the casino. Its spa offers 100 treatments, including indigenous therapies such as the VooDoo Ritual and Southern Ceremony. ritzcarlton.com


It’s as much a hotel as it is a visual attraction with its European-style modern architecture, gorgeous salons and club lounges. The Windsor Court Hotel is just the right amount of distance away from Canal Street. The 4-star hotel may house 324 guest rooms but there’s ample intimacy, a rarity for one of the most touristy cities in the U.S. For a mid-afternoon break, visit Le Salon to enjoy loose-leaf teas and sandwiches while being serenaded by harpists. windsorcourthotel.com



Jackson Square by Sean Pavone Photography; Coffee by DeVille Coffee House

This waterside district has a reputation with locals for its colourful facades and growing artisan culture. It requires a bit of navigating (and a 10-minute cab ride from downtown), but it’s worth the effort. Head to Bacchanal Wine and Spirits for a full-on outdoor music and eating experience. Or, hit Elizabeth’s for classic Southern brunch. The Joint is the city’s hottest barbecue spot for a mix of Texas and Louisiana-style smoked meat.

Classic Southern brunch: Dishes include shrimp and grits; chicken served on a cornbread waffle; and a Bayou Breakfast with fried catfish strips.


Independent shopkeepers of all categories call the Garden District home, giving it its own distinct feel. Fill up with breakfast sausages and fluffy doughnuts at District Donuts Sliders Brew. Or, if you’re feeling like savoury crepes with your coffee, head to DeVille Coffee House & Creperie. Take a walk down Magazine Street to explore the artisan row. At stores like Grandmother’s Buttons New Orleans and Century Girl Vintage you’ll spot antique glass pieces and handmade jewellery.

RIGHT: DeVille Coffee

House keeps Garden District locals brighteyed, caffeinated and satiated with their selection of savoury crepes


On arriving in the Big Easy, you’ll find that people take their drinks seriously here. Bartenders call the city the unofficial cocktail capital and the Tales of the Cocktail event in July is therefore a must. Try the iconic drinks that originated here like the sazerac and, of course, the vieux carré. While the Carousel Bar is a magnet for tourists, Arnaud’s French 75 is a cozier affair, and the titular cognac-and-champagne cocktail is the best. And if you must, head to Pat O’Briens for the saccharine and brain-freezing hurricane drink. ◆



City Breaks Guide

41 52 Tobias Wang


◆ ◆

Paris, France Taipei, Taiwan Ottawa, Ontario


Brandon Nelson






SIGHTS AND THE CITY Whether you’re going for a dose of culture, exciting food, vibrant nightlife or a jumping off point to close-at-hand nature, these are our picks for must-visit metropolises.


Approximate number of mosques in Istanbul

2 hrs

Flight time from Toronto to Nashville

7.3 million Population of Hong Kong

BELOW: The hairpin stretch of Lombard perfectly represents San Francisco’s iconic hills. Comfortable shoes are highly recommended


HE CITIES OF the world are as diverse as the travellers that visit them. Some cities will leave you feeling like no photo can accurately capture their beauty; others are surrounded by mountains or natural habitats that beckon adventurers; while others are packed with more life-changing food options than you could possibly eat in a single trip. We’re helping narrow down your choices for your next getaway by rounding up our favourite cities across the globe for food, culture, adventure, nightlife and beaches. Whether it’s noteworthy architecture, exquisite meals or incredible live music that inspires your travels – or anything in between – we have ideas for you. ◆


Let’s face it: Barcelona is well-suited to any type of city break. Beaches? Check. Amazing food? Check. Cool nightlife? Check. Culture? Double check. The city’s architectural heritage spans more than 2,000 years and a wander through its diverse neighbourhoods reveals everything from the ruins of Roman aqueducts to 14th-century cathedrals to Gaudi’s famed Modernist designs. Art enthusiasts are spoiled for choice, with numerous museums dedicated to celebrated artists like Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. It’s almost impossible not to stumble across cultural gems in Barcelona.


While plenty of cities can claim to exude an east-meets-west culture, nowhere is this truer than Istanbul, which sits at the literal meeting point of Europe and Asia. Equally intriguing as this intermingling of eastern and western traditions is the city’s ability to While the traditional blend old and new. Catalan Gothic architecture is a large Istanbul’s skyline is part of Barcelona’s a medley of graceful identity, the city minarets, historic is peppered with towers and soaring unique buildings like Frank Gehry’s Fish contemporary office and Jean Nouvel’s buildings. It’s a city geyser-ish Torre that has all the flair Glòries that give the city its distinctive and commerce you architectural would expect from prowess. a European capital,

ABOVE: In Istanbul, there’s no escaping the omnipresent connection to religion, especially with sites like the Hagia Sophia

but also one where you’ll regularly hear the call to prayer drifting over the rooftops. To fully experience the city’s culture, save time to peel yourself away from the bucketlist sights and join locals in relaxing over several leisurely cups of Turkish çay (tea).


While the southern part of Thailand gets most of the attention for street food and beach parties, travellers after a deeper Thai cultural experience head north. The walled city centre’s history dates back centuries. It’s home to over 300 Buddhist temples,


BERLIN HAS BEEN ONE OF EUROPE’S CAPITALS OF COOL FOR DECADES including the famous Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, an extravagant holy shrine with a much-photographed golden mount. Venture outside of the city walls and you’ll see a fast-evolving Chiang Mai; one that is quickly embracing western influences with a hipster arts district and a coffee scene that is easily the best in the country.


Berlin has been one of Europe’s capitals of cool for decades and for good reason: The city’s progressive culture fuels a nightlife scene that’s inclusive, unpretentious and just the right amount of edgy. Although you might associate the German capital with techno music, few cities can compete with the diversity of Berlin’s nightlife. Whether you’re into craft brews, dance clubs, corner pubs (known as kneipen), or wine, there’s a place for you to party in Berlin. The nightlife scene extends all night on weekends. Catch an afternoon nap if you’re planning on hitting a club, because locals won’t start heading out until 2 or 3 a.m.


Hagia by Daniel Burka; Lan Kwai Fong by Joey Cheung

Home to one of the best music scenes in the world, Nashville is the go-to destination for music-centred nightlife. Live music can be found all over the city from music venues – there are over 180 – to parks, festivals, vineyards and even a library courtyard. Along Honky Tonk Highway, bars start blasting out music at 10 a.m. and keep the party going until 3 a.m. Nightly concerts offer more than just country and blues – you can also find pop, rock, gospel, jazz and classical. Music City’s up-and-coming food scene goes well beyond hot chicken to keep

RIGHT: Hong Kong’s buzzing Lan Kwai Fong district is a great place for a night out, known for its many cool small bars and clubs

revellers satiated while they party all night.


You may think of Hong Kong as a mecca for shopping and food, but “Asia’s World City” has fast become equally well known for its energetic Hong Kong was nightlife. Think equal ruled by Great parts cocktail bars, a Britain for over 150 burgeoning craft beer years. You can get scene, endless array of a sense of the city’s colonial heritage live music venues and at one of the nightclubs catering to traditional British every taste and social pubs that are dotted around the city. aesthetic. In Hong Kong there is a district for everything. Head to The Globe or The Chinnery if you want to kick off the evening with a pint and take in HK’s British pub culture. For modern takes on Cantonese fare venture through Sai Ying Pun. Or if you want it all on one street, head to the lively Lan Kwai Fong hub where you’ll find dozens of small bars and clubs.


The capital of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province is the gateway to some of the country’s top national parks, but it’s also an appealing city in its own right. With dozens of cattle ranches surrounding the city, Liberia has become a centre for Guanacaste’s sabanero (cowboy) culture and it’s also one of Costa Rica’s oldest towns. Although many of its historic whitewashed houses are in need of restoration, the city’s architecture offers a rare perspective into Costa Rica’s colonial past. Despite increased flight traffic to the nearby airport, Liberia still retains a slow-paced, small town feel, making it a rewarding base for adventurous excursions to nearby national parks like Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja.


Of all the things we know Quebec for – cheese curds, poutine, maple syrup – fjords might not make that list. But the Fjord du Saguenay, one of the largest in the world, sits right in the middle of the Saguenay- >

LEFT: Zip-lining is a famously popular way to experience the lush tropical rainforests of Costa Rica. Liberia is a great jumping-off point for exploration

Make a pit stop at Franz Josef Glacier in Waiau and walk amongst a UNESCO World Heritage-listed rainforest.


The only place we won’t mention a single bricks and mortar spot is Hanoi, where it’s all about the street food. Before you see it, you’ll smell the barbecued pork’s aroma wafting through the busy streets. Pick one of the many vendors flogging bun cha (grilled pork and noodles), pull up a pew (read: tiny plastic chair) and get to work on the meat and white noodles dipped in delicious garlic, chili and fish sauce. Taste the enduring French influence on Vietnamese cuisine with a cartside banh mi; a baguette filled with cold cuts, daikon, hoisin and liver pate. In the morning, wake yourself up with a cup of ca phe trung (egg coffee) and get ready to repeat the whole schedule again. > Lac-St-Jean region. Get an up-close view of the cliffs from a sea-kayak on the RiviereÉternité. Explore the canyons and caves at the Parc Caverne Trou de la Fée and hike the trails and footbridges attached to the rock capes – or if you’re feeling daring, cross the river on ziplines high above the water. If you’re more comfortable on two wheels, the Véloroute du Fjord du Saguenay is a 435 km long cycling circuit that winds along the Saguenay River, offering a picturesque route for riders of all abilities.


It may not be a city proper, but we’d be remiss not to mention Queenstown in this category. Frequently referred to as the

adventure capital of The inland finger the world, QT is the lake is famous for its breathtaking views kind of place that with celeste-comakes otherwise loured waters and sensible adults strap mountain vistas. a harness around From kayaking to hiking snow capped their ankles and peaks, it is a haven throw themselves for those with an off a bridge. adventurous soul. Escapades here aren’t just airborne – built around an inlet on Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is home to glaciers, rivers and lakes, meaning thrill-seekers can get their kicks swinging or bungee-jumping from a canyon, white-water rafting or on a jet boat. Your best bet is to fly into Christchurch.



Located in southwestern Mexico, Oaxaca has seen a recent boom in popularity thanks to its growing prowess as a foodie destination. The area is dubbed the “Land of the Seven Moles,” based on the regional variations of the dish; a rich and complex sauce based on one or more chili peppers and dark chocolate. Restaurante Casa Oaxaca, with acclaimed chef Alejandro Ruiz at the helm, serves up three of these varieties, with a menu full of locally-sourced ingredients. Make sure you try a tlayudas or “Mexican pizza” at Libres Tlayudas Doña Martha. Don’t be fooled by this hole-in-thewall – locals have been heading here for 25 years for charcoal-grilled tortillas filled with yummy refried beans and cheese.


As much as its famous for the Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars, the City by the Bay is one of the most enjoyable places in America


to eat. There are more restaurants per capita than any other major city. San Francisco claims the honour as the birthplace of both the modern farm-to-table movement and West Coast cuisine. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, cuisine here is a marriage of regional ingredients seafood, and the city’s international population. If you had to pick two districts to kick off a culinary crawl, start in either the Mission District or South of Market.


With eight ocean beaches and one fresh water beach, Vancouver is a destination for sunning, swimming and watersports. The multicultural city is surrounded by mountains and water, providing stunning views in every direction. Restaurants, volleyball courts and playgrounds can all be found along Vancouver’s 18 kilometres of beaches. Kitsilano or “Kits” Beach is home

BELOW LEFT: In Hanoi, everything pops with colour, including shallots BELOW RIGHT: Promenade de Anglais is a popular Nicoise beach

VANCOUVER IS A DESTINATION FOR SUNNING, SWIMMING AND WATERSPORTS to an outdoor, saltwater pool. While dogs aren’t allowed at public beaches, off-leash parks with water access allow pups to enjoy the best of this coastal destination, too. Saunter, jog or cycle around Vancouver on the Seaside Greenway – the seawall pathway billed as the longest uninterrupted waterfront path in the world.


A vacation in the La Côte d’Azur has capital of the long been a haven Alpes-Maritimes for those seeking equal parts glitz and département might glam in Mediterraas well be the closest nean France. Picture thing to a dream centuries old villages nestled on a wavy come to life. You coastline that feels are in the French like a Claude Monet Riviera with the painting come Mediterranean coast to life. at your front door. A walk through the old city streets and hidden corners will feel like living in a Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting. Yes, Nice is known for its regional food but travellers really come for the breathtaking

coastline views. The city is perched beside Mediterranean water that seems to change colour from dawn to dusk. When you’re ready for a break from the sand, walk through the Cours Saleya, one of the liveliest parts of the city.


The cultural capital of Portugal’s Algarve region is known for Roman and Moorish architecture and its hot summer Mediterranean climate. While you’re still in the city, the beauty of Faro is its slower pace of life and leisure. Visitors will appreciate that while Faro is located on the coast, there are many other ways to spend time in nature besides going to the beach. The coast of Ria Formosa in Faro is lush, with one of the most diverse nature parks in Portugal, and there are plenty of boat tours. Hop on a ferry to Ilha da Barreta, a narrow island located just off the coast with a sandy beach. Inland, get lost exploring the neoclassical architecture of the old town and then finish your tour by tucking into a plate of fresh seafood cataplana at a traditional restaurant. ◆

Liberia by Perry Grone; Hanoi by Alice Young; Nice by Oscar Nord

Flavour Begins Here



t i f i e d ta st e




of on ta r i o

WHAT DOES NIAGARA TASTE LIKE? At Niagara Parks, a 133 year old agency of the province of Ontario, we are committed to the preserving and presenting the wonders of Niagara for the enjoyment of the world. From our inspiring natural wonders – the falls themselves and engaging heritage sites, to our breathtaking and reflective horticultural spaces, presenting experiences that invoke and excite your senses is what we do. All senses. Across the past number of years our Niagara Parks Culinary team has explored how to truly present the tastes of Ontario and Niagara to the world. The answer was easy, look local.

Working with the Culinary Tourism Alliance under their Feast On certification program, our services and all of our five full-service restaurants, from the epic Elements on the Falls to the serene Queenston Heights Restaurant, feature a mandated minimum 25% food and beverage sourced from local Ontario growers, producers, and providers. In fact, we actually feature up to 60% on the food side, and nearly 100% on beverage. And we don’t stop there, even the talented cooks and chefs in our kitchens are locally sourced, as we operate one of Canada’s largest culinary apprenticeship training programs in association with Niagara College.

From the amazing Ontario orchards, to the delicious dairies, from VQA wines, to Ontario’s fast growing craft beer scene, Niagara Parks is committed to supporting the many growers, producers and craftspeople that make up Ontario’s unique taste of place. And with five full-service restaurants and a slate of spectacular events to choose from, you’ll know your meal will be just as unique as the land where it’s grown.



Words by KATIE SEHL Probuxtor





VOULEZVOUS CAFE AVEC MOI Katie Sehl finds out how, thanks to various influences from Australia to Guatemala, the quality of coffee is no longer an afterthought in Paris’s iconic cafes.


Roughly the number of cafés in Paris


Paris got its first taste of coffee


Countries grow coffee


ARIS MAY ALWAYS be a good idea, but ordering “un café” isn’t. Of course, the bitter truth about the French roast is outmeasured by the fact that visiting a café, and loafing at length on its sidewalk terrace, is an excellent diversion. From many a rattan chair, food critics have decried the state of le café français, labeling it at turns vile, undrinkable, donkey piss and jus de chaussette (literally: sock juice). “If you’re a coffee lover and you come to Paris, there’s always tea,” quips Parisbased cookbook author David Lebovitz. Ten years ago, the well-known pastry chef and blogger would have told you the only decent espresso to be found in France was Italian. But now even some of the harshest critics, >

LEFT: Indulge at Claus Palais-Royal for an all-day breakfast or head across the street for takeout treats

> Lebovitz included, admit that a coffee revolution is underway in Paris, marshalled not by Italians, but mainly Australians, and the French – many of whom have spent time in the Land Down Under. An important forerunner to the Australian invasion is La Caféothèque, opened in 2005 by Gloria Montenegro, former Guatemalan ambassador to France. It should seem appropriate that certain seats in her boutique, positioned on the right bank of the Seine in the fourth arrondissement, have Notre Dame in view, since the shop has earned a reputation as a mecca for coffee devotees. Part salon, part brûlerie (roastery)

and part academy, Montenegro’s bold venture brought more than quality beans to the city; it laid the framework for a new school of coffee connoisseurs. Whether there for an expresso (the French spell it with an x), or a fresh blend to take home, all visitors leave La Caféothèque with a lesson in geography. In the main salon, a wall-length cabinet maps out the world’s coffee producers – from Sri Lanka, to Madagascar, to Peru – across 70 vintage drawers, each one containing a cache of beans ready for roasting. For those wanting to earn a cred in coffeology, the academy’s two-hour initiation course takes students


on a journey around the coffee world, exploring five regions and five unique extraction methods. Such variety was a novelty to Parisians when La Caféothèque opened in the early aughts. Before the deregulation of coffee in the 1950s, France’s palate was not particularly well travelled. Tariffs imposed in the late seventeenth century favoured imports from French colonies in West Africa and the Caribbean, which predominantly produced robusta. Lower in cost and quality, beans of the robusta variety are thinner in flavour and more harsh-tasting than the refined arabica bean, which carries twice as many From Colombia’s coastal Valle del Cauca to the hills of Burundi’s Kayanza province, La Caféothèque’s school offers curated programmes for those wanting to learn about the coffee regions of the world.



Katie Sehl

chromosomes. Rarely used on its own, robusta is often blended with arabica as a cost-saving measure. This is why coffeemakers brag when they offer 100 per cent arabica, and blenders that don’t, such as France’s leading brand Cafés Richard, will cop only to containing “hints of robusta,” or alternately, “a touch of the highest quality robusta offers.” Most coffee you’ll find at a traditional café or brasserie will be rich in robusta, thanks in part to the so-called Auvergnat mafia, which has held a hundred-year monopoly on these establishments by supplying everything from espresso machines to mortgage payments in exchange for the sole use of certain brands. “That’s a large part of the reason that you haven’t seen large brasseries make a shift,” says Anna Brones, author of Paris Coffee Revolution. “It’s really difficult to do.” In the years following the founding of La Caféothèque, brûleries began to crop up across the capital. Now with five locations in Paris, Terres de Café sources coffee from farms and local collectives in Africa and Latin America and roasts only in-house. L’Arbre à Café set up shop on rue de Nil, a street frequented by foodies, specializing in single-origin roasts. Notable clientele include renowned pastry chef Pierre Hermé, who fell in love with grand cru like the Bourbon Pointu from Reunion Island (one of the oldest varieties of arabica in the world). Coutume, Café Lomi and KB Caféshop were among the first to import Aussie-inspired roasting techniques to the city. By presenting coffee as a produit du terroir, a designation typically reserved for wine and cheese, Parisian roasters opened the door to a more nuanced appreciation of coffee’s complexities. Terroir, the notion that taste is intimately tied to place of origin, environment and cultivation, has long been the lens through which a wine’s character, personality and quality are evaluated. “When you explain specialty coffee to a French client, especially its similarity to wine in how it’s a product of the earth and that’s why different coffees have

different tastes, they listen attentively and understand,” says Channa Galhenage, owner of Loustic. The analogy provides a means to convey coffee’s aromatic potential, which is in fact, much more complex than wine’s. At most, the finest wines contain up to 250 aromatic compounds. A well-roasted coffee holds more than 800. Many restaurants sell themselves just as much with a strong coffee programme as they do a stellar wine list. “When it came to opening my restaurant, I knew I wanted to do something where all of the ingredients, from the beginning to the end of the experience were special,” says Justin Kent, who opened Zia, a café near the Eiffel Tower. Having worked in the kitchens of threeIn the 1800s, Michelin-starred immigrants from Arpège, Verjus and Auvergne estabL’Agape Substance, lished themselves at the centre of Paris’s Kent’s ardor for high hospitality industry. quality ingredients Their mutual naturally extended to aid society sold cafés everything coffee beans. from furniture to For a service that low-quality coffee. would complement

his market-fresh, Mexican-inspired menu, he selected Coutume as the restaurant’s principal roaster. “We generally try and stick with coffee that’s been roasted in France,” he explains. Zia is the first and only restaurant in Paris to put nitro cold brew on its menu. After cooling for 20 hours, coffee is poured from a tap and infused with nitrogen so that it pours thick and silky like Guinness on draught. If good ingredients deserve good coffee, as Kent proves at Zia, then the same has proven true in reverse. “People come to a coffee shop for the laidback vibe and the chilled experience,” but they also want “good honest food and good quality coffee,” says Guy Griffin, the Australian ex-pat who runs Café Oberkampf and Café Mericourt. While branded as cafés, Griffin’s restaurants are as well known for sit-down meals as they are for specialty coffee, especially his shakshuka eggs, which may very well be the most photographed meal in all of Paris. “With growing competition in Paris and France, you cannot have one without the other,” Griffin says. That may be what led Ten Belles, a treasured Canal St. Martin café, to open Ten Belles Bread two years ago. The leavened incarnation of the original café now accompanies its Belleville Brûlerie-sourced brews with courses of breakfast, lunch and brunch on the weekends. With a >

ABOVE: Look for hints of Japanese inspiration on Café Kitsuné’s menu, including butter cookies shaped as foxes since kitsune means fox in Japanese

> bakery in back, pastries and baked goods are made available to customers and supplied to nearby restaurants – including Griffin’s. Of course for Australians, a good cup of coffee is best served with a hearty brunch – a meal that was once as foreign to Parisians as specialty brews. After time spent in Australia and Canada, the French duo behind Holybelly were among the first to introduce Aussie-style brunching to Parisians, serving warm plates and measured espresso with signature wit. Pop references like their Flat

“Walter” White and their not-so-secret WiFi password (psst, it’s “Macaulay Culkin”) have lured in many a visitor, including Macaulay Culkin himself. Around the corner from Sacré Coeur in Montmartre, Hardware Société puts a Melbournian twist on le brunch with sweet and savory mash-ups of French ingredients and Aussie classics. Meanwhile at its locations in Palais Royal and St. Germaindes-Prés, Claus manages the unusual feat of serving a brunchy breakfast all day. According to Griffin, the French have come to consider brunch a mid-afternoon affair, waiting until between 1 and 3 p.m. to head out to a restaurant. By that time the crowd usually “arrives pretty hangry,” he says.



Katie Sehl

Since early morning Considered to be clientele is far less one of the greatest common at caféFrench authors, the famous novelist and restos, most don’t playwright is known open until 9 a.m. and for leading the they’ll typically close Romantic literary movement in France before 5 o’clock. in the early 19th Riding the crest century. of its third-wave, the specialty coffee scene in Paris now has something for everyone. Shakespeare & Company’s café beside a bookstore is ideal for bibliophiles in need of a pause café. Café Kitsuné, created by the eponymous French electronic music label, serves upbeat java to go (and sur place), perfect for a promenade around Palais Royal. Cyclists have Le Peleton and Steel Cyclewear and Coffee Shop to park their bikes and refuel. Green coffee fiends can escape to La Recyclerie, a repurposed use for an abandoned train station-turned-sustainable urban farm and co-working space.

Meanwhile La Fontaine de Belleville’s belle époque façade and overflowing sidewalk terrace provides a vintage backdrop for people-watching all day. Teeming with a young and vibrant crowd, reminiscent of a bygone sort of café society, the bar reminds us why the French should be forgiven for burning beans over the years. After all, in the words of French author Victor Hugo: “To err is human. To loaf is Parisian.” ◆

GETTING THERE Flight time from Toronto to Paris averages around 7.5 hours. Numerous airlines, including Air Canada, Air Transat and Air France offer multiple nonstop flights per week. aircanada. com; airtransat.com; airfrance.com

Quebec’s Far North


Live an Authentic Inuit Adventure! For your guide to the experience of a lifetime: INUIT ADVENTURES 1-514-457-3319 • 1-855-657-3319 www.inuitadventures.com


Photography BY CHIA JOEL





WHEN IN DRONE Chia Joel, a.k.a. @idroneman, finds a loftier pursuit for drones beyond buzzing events with this series of stunning views on some of the world’s most beautiful urban areas.


Total floors in all NYC skyscrapers


Car toll on Attiki Odos Motorway


Population of Ko Panyi village

BELOW: New York City is home to some of the world’s first skyscrapers, the oldest of which dates back to the late 19th century. Manhattan’s skyline, in particular, is still defined by these towering buildings.


E’VE ALL FELT inspired at some point to snap a photo of the landscape below as our plane takes off or touches down. Our favourite places always seem to look especially thrilling when viewed from above. Photographer Chia Joel treats us to a sky-high view of cities across the globe – without the through-the-plane-window glare – in this jaw-dropping drone photography series. Whether it’s finding beauty above a highway in Athens or offering insight into how cities like Barcelona or New York were shaped over the centuries, Joel’s aerial shots bring us a fresh and striking perspective on some of our favourite getaways around the world, and also inspire us to add a few new destinations to our bucket list. ◆

RIGHT: While Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella is a cluster of narrow streets, the newer areas, and the Eixample district in particular, are defined by a grid street pattern diagonal avenues and chamfered street corners.


LEFT: The Kifisias Avenue Interchange in Athens links the high-speed Attiki Odos Motorway with Kifisias Avenue, one of the longest arteries in the Greater Athens area. Its three-tiered structure makes for an unexpectedly dramatic overhead perspective.

RIGHT: Unlike most cities in North America, downtown is not the centre of urban life in Los Angeles. Aside from the few who live or work downtown, most Angelenos reside, dine and shop in suburbs like this one.


RIGHT: A massive limestone cliff looms over the tiny Muslim village of Ko Panyi in Thailand’s Phang Nga province. This fishing village is known for its raised houses, which are elevated above the surrounding water on stilts.





TAIPEI TO Z Taipei is emerging from the shadow of Asia’s other grand megalopolises. Michelle Jobin takes you on a three-day tour of Taiwan’s enchanting capital city.


Stations in Taipei’s metro system



Average high temperature in September

AIPEI IS AN elegant, charming contradiction: Steeped in tradition yet thoroughly enamoured with the new; heavily influenced by colonialism and also defiantly independent. The cultural, political and economic hub of Taiwan is a bustling metropolis that is surrounded by nature and exudes civility and calm. You will still find plenty of areas that are very densely populated, more than 4,500 high-rise buildings and a 24-hour lifestyle that is infectious. But in Taipei you will also find corners of quaintness, expanses of urban parks and subtropical green hills, ocean breezes and hot springs >


The number of high rises in Taipei

Words by MICHELLE JOBIN Tobias Wang

RIGHT: The lantern-lit market has enough standout offerings to make the trip to Keelung entirely worthwhile


IF THERE WAS A WORLD CUP OF SNACKING, THE TAIWANESE WOULD BE THE FAVOURITES > to temper the hustle just enough. Taiwan calls itself the Republic of China (ROC), and claims independence from the People’s Republic of China. The PRC claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which is referred to as Chinese Taipei, and decades of diplomatic stalemate and a fair bit of ambiguity on both sides adds to the confusion. Taipei is largely Mandarin-speaking, though you will also encounter Taiwanese Hokkien, a dialect of standard Chinese. Cultural influences come from China, Hong

Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan. It all makes sense once you arrive in Taipei and see, hear and taste how history has interwoven these threads to make something distinctly Taiwanese. Taipei is a city that loves to eat and drink. If there was a world cup of snacking, the Taiwanese would be odds-on favourites. Taiwanese specialties include ji dan bing for breakfast, traditional beef noodle soup and winter melon tea to beat the summer heat. The people of Taiwan are very open to

innovation in cuisine. How else do you end up inventing a drink that is also chewable like bubble tea? A growing farm-to-table movement leads the way in the capital. Taiwan is home to an abundance of agriculture and aquaculture. Everything from tropical fruit, to locally grown oolong tea, pork and fresh-caught seafood dominate menus from market stalls to Michelin-starred restaurants. Brace yourself for a city that rarely sleeps, always eats and whose hospitality will likely make you want to linger a little longer.


Get your fix of Taipei breakfast classics at the tiny Ha Ji Dou Jiang in Da’an. This shop


LEFT: Roasted specialties hang from hooks above the pass at Yen Chinese Restaurant

Tobias Wang

near Liuzhangli Station has been family-run for forty years and is all practicality and no frills, but the owner still makes superlative egg-filled shao bing (baked, unleavened flatbread) studded with sesame seeds, plus dan bing (egg-filled savoury crepes) and soy milk. Locals line up throughout the morning either to grab breakfast to go or perched on one of the few available seats. Unexpectedly, great coffee awaits on In a city famous for its many mile-long the lower level of a markets, this is shopping concourse where the locals at Coffee Lovers go for traditional foods and a more Planet. Enjoy a single authentic night origin cappuccino market experience. or siphon coffee at

your leisure (it’s not so much a grab-and-go kind of thing) and if their taro mont blanc is available, have one. In the mood for a little political history? National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Xinyi District has you covered. Built in 1972 to honour the father of Taiwanese independence, crowds gather here to watch the changing of the guard. If views (or shopping) are more your thing, it’s a short walk to Taipei 101. Once the tallest building in the world, this landmark draws tourists for a view from the observatory on its 89th floor. The first five floors are home to a luxury shopping mall. Shanghai Master Shao Soup Bao in Da’an is a great idea for an affordable lunch. Their crispy pan-fried, tiered soup dumplings are a tasty twist on the classic, and be sure to grab a few of the traditional small plates that start a meal in Taiwan – like boiled peanuts, pickled cucumber or cold noodles. Once a tobacco factory in Xinyi, Songshan Cultural and Creative Park is an architectural trip back in time. A great place to wander in the afternoon, it features local artist galleries and small shops, plus a newer structure with shopping and dining. Bibliophiles won’t want to miss the Eslite 24 Hour Bookstore. This multi-level emporium has an amazing array of books, magazines and design-forward items. For an upscale dinner out, Michelinstarred Mume leads the way with a focus on seasonality and Taiwanese products fused with Nordic principles. Chefs Richie Lin, Kai Ward and Long Xiong have made the ultimate “making friends with salad” move with their Mume Salad – a work of art featuring up to 30 local ingredients. Close your night at the secret hideaway Bar Pun. It seems a little complicated at first (enter through the alley and look for the fire alarm button) but it’s well worth it for the attention to detail in both style and substance, because the drinks are top-notch. After that, it’s a five-minute walk for late night snacks at the Tonghua Night Market.


Get up early to beat the really long line (if it isn’t all the way down the stairs and >

TRAVELLER’S GUIDE TO TAIPEI GETTING THERE Get a head start on your Taiwanese experience with one of the daily flights EVA Air offers from Toronto to Taipei Taoyuan Airport. evaair.com GETTING AROUND Clean, affordable, efficient and extensive in its reach, Taipei Metro is an excellent option for navigating the city. Buses in Taipei are also plentiful and the routes easily fill in the gaps. Taxis and Uber are also a great option and easy to find. Do yourself a favour and get an Easy Card, a reloadable, declining-balance card that you can purchase, load and use at transit stations and 7-11 outlets (they are everywhere in Taipei). The list of things other than transit they can be used for is so mind-bogglingly long it’s silly. There are parts of Taipei that are very walkable, but keep in mind that some of the older laneways are on the narrow side. An important reminder for first-time visitors: cars, scooters and other vehicles will assume that they have the right of way over pedestrians. WHERE TO STAY Located in the middle of the busy, central Xinyi District, W Taipei is a stylish and convenient choice. Featuring a design theme of “nature electrified,” the W highlights both the natural beauty of Taiwan and its tech prowess. With gorgeous rooms (some with a Taipei 101 view), a 10th floor outdoor pool, extensive gym, gourmet dining and the very fashionable Woobar, this is a destination hotel for travellers looking for a high-end yet unstuffy experience. Further north in the Zhongshan District, Taipei Marriott Hotel features elegant service and rooms with beds so spacious and comfortable you might be tempted to sleep instead of heading out to night markets. For more budget-conscious travellers, Airbnb has a wealth of clean, well-situated options throughout Taipei with friendly hosts.


RIGHT: Doling out intestine and pork blood soup at the Tonghua Night Market; BELOW LEFT: Inge’s at Taipei Marriott; BELOW RIGHT: Woobar in the W Taipei

> outside, you’re doing well) at Fu Hang Dou Jiang near Shandao Temple Station in Zhongzheng District. They are famous for their soy milk, hot or cold, accompanied by savoury Chinese biscuits. Huashan 1914 Creative Park, a repurposed plum wine factory, features art, shopping, food and pop-ups. Be sure to save your appetite for lunch at Addiction Aquatic Development to the north in Zhongshan District. This lively complex features ten different areas including a live fish market, standing sushi bar, charcoal grill restaurant and champagne. A trip to the National Palace Museum in Shilin will give you a chance to wander off some of your lunch, and immerse yourself in culture. It is home to one of the world’s largest collections of ancient Chinese artifacts, most notably, large pieces of jasper carved to look like cabbage and pork belly (again, that obsession with food).


By now you may find yourself in need of a little R&R, and The natural you’ll definitely landscape and need to recharge bucolic setting of your battery for this mountainous tonight’s adventure. district provides a welcome contrast Fuel up first at Fika to the densely Fika Cafe, an oasis populated bustle of of Scandi design in the commercial city. Neihu District. Its

HEAD TO THE MOUNTAINOUS BEITOU DISTRICT IN THE NORTH FOR SULPHUR HOT SPRINGS frothy lattes and pastries are a nod to both the eponymous Swedish coffee break and Japanese coffee culture. From there, it’s time to get steamy. Head to the mountainous Beitou District in the north for their sulphur hot springs. The public hot springs are a cheap and cheerful way to enjoy their therapeutic properties if you don’t mind company. For a more luxurious experience, book at the Grand View Resort Beitou. It’s on the expensive side, but overnight guests have access to the

Tobias Wang

hot springs right in your room (get ready for the softest skin of your life), or you can book a private hot spring room for a block of time without staying at the resort. Now that you are truly relaxed, it’s time to eat! Book a cab or head downtown and catch the 2088 bus to the port city of Keelung (pronounced jee-long) for the local night market. It may be further afield than its Taipei City counterparts, but it is well worth the trip. Illuminated by trademark yellow lanterns on weekends, seafood lovers will enjoy all the crab, squid and cuttlefish at this busy market. If you can find the booth known as the Three Sisters, grab a seat and marvel at the ladies’ speed while you devour plates of steaming dumplings. Maybe it is here, surrounded by young and old locals busily eating, shopping and socializing, where you’ll realize that the “what to do” question in Taipei and Taiwan in general is almost inseparable from the “what to eat” question. After all, it is through food, more than anything else, that you will grow to understand the unique cultural crossroads that is Taipei. ◆






CAPITAL FUN-ISHMENT From landmark lodgings to a bunker built to harbour Dief the Chief, Jessica Huras maps out the mandatory stops for any tour of Ottawa this autumn.

202 kM

Length of the Rideau Canal

Words by JESSICA HURAS Fauna


Average autumn temperature in Ottawa


Museums and galleries in the capital

BELOW: From the rustic vibe and the zinc bar to the small-plates menu, Fauna is at the leading edge of Ottawa’s burgeoning restaurant scene


Byward Market has been a well-loved hub for shopping and dining in Ottawa since the early 1880s. The handsome brick building houses hundreds of vendors and there are many more stalls and shops in the surrounding streets, selling fresh produce, prepared eats ranging from sushi to pastries, as well as artisanal goods. Spend an afternoon browsing independent boutiques and nibbling on sweet and savoury eats. In the evening, the market neighbourhood is a centre for the city’s nightlife, with plenty of buzzy bars, pubs and clubs where you can grab a drink. byward-market.com


The Diefenbunker is a departure from the city’s big-name national museums. Just outside Ottawa, in Carp, Ont., this Cold War-era bunker scores cool points for its name alone. It was built in 1959 to shelter the Canadian government, including Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, in the event of a nuclear attack. Tours of the 100,000 square-foot subterranean facility visit the living quarters, war room and emergency broadcasting studio, all of which have a restored layout. diefenbunker.ca


Regardless of the season, the Rideau Canal is one of the most popular spots in the capital for locals and tourists alike to get outside and get active. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Rideau is the oldest continuously operating canal in North America, a series of lakes and rivers that connect the Ottawa River to Lake Ontario. In the winter, the Rideau Canal transforms into the largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world. In the warmer months, you can rent paddleboats, canoes or kayaks to take out on the water, or sign up for a guided boat tour for panoramic city views with a side of Canadian history. You can also appreciate the canal on land by strolling or cycling along its banks. rideau-info.com


LEFT: Even when it’s not frozen and suitable for skating, the Rideau Canal is a picturesque focal point for visitors to Ottawa



This landmark hotel, built in 1912, is a bucket-list splurge. Countless celebrities and world leaders have stayed here over the decades and the hotel exudes timeless elegance, from its iconic turreted exterior to its grand interior. Despite the FrenchGothic chateau-style, it also features the modern touches you would expect, from HDTVs and WiFi in rooms to an app with a tour of the hotel’s history. Don’t miss afternoon tea at Zoe’s Lounge and be sure to take a dip in the gorgeous art deco pool. Rooms from $264. fairmont.com


If you’re after a more contemporary vibe, then look no further than Alt Hotel Ottawa. Part of Group Germain Hotels, Alt Hotels offer hip design and boutique-style service for an approachable price. Rooms feature goose down comforters, Keurig coffee machines and bright bathrooms with glass showers. There’s a colourfully decorated 24-hour fitness centre and Altcetera Café is a handy place to grab a light bite. Alt Hotel Ottawa is within easy walking distance of the shops, restaurants and bars of Byward Market, as well as attractions like Parliament Hill and the National Gallery of Canada. Rooms from $159. althotels.com


This cute inn located a five-minute walk from Byward Market is remarkably wellpriced. Set in a turn-of-the-century brick building, the inn’s 46 rooms are simple but clean and modern with pops of colourful artwork. All rooms feature hardwood floors and kitchenettes with microwaves, mini-fridges and coffeemakers, with many offering balconies with attractive city views. Freebies covered in the room rate include a buffet breakfast with hot dishes like eggs and bacon; as well as afternoon tea and coffee served with cheese, fruit and other small snacks. It’s a solid bargain in the heart of the city. Rooms from $142. bywardblueinn.ca

Jeff Frenette Photography

LEFT: From the down duvets to a marketadjacent location, the Alt Hotel is boutique without being too twee



Fairouz brings a modern, upscale approach to Middle Eastern fare with its well-balanced dishes. From the fluffy, house-made pita to rice seasoned with pomegranate and cardamom, even the sides shine at this exceptional spot. Save room for tantalizing desserts like pistachio dondurma (a Turkish ice cream) featuring candied sweet olive, fig macaron and salted caramel. Cocktails get a Middle Eastern makeover here too, spiked with ingredients like sumac or pomegranate molasses. The restaurant’s Sunday and Monday mezze nights, which see a smallbites mezze menu paired with featured wines and cocktails, are a treat.


It’s easy to see where this popular brunch spot gets its name, with its interior decorated with mismatched chesterfields (that unique and unnecessary Canadian term for “couch”) and 1970s-style decorations. Most of the furniture is secondhand, in keeping with the restaurant’s commitment to eco-friendly practices – they’re also powered by hydroelectricity and don’t use styrofoam. Although the menu at Chesterfield’s channels classic diner fare, the restaurant bills itself as “a not-so greasy spoon” thanks to their grease-free cooking methods, which rely on steam induction instead of deep frying. ◆


Fauna checks all the boxes you could want from a dinner spot: An inviting vibe, great food, great wine and cool decor. The restaurant’s small-plates menu focuses on quality, mostly local, seasonal ingredients. The artfully-plated dishes draw influences from around the world with options ranging from lamb tartare with miso aioli to guinea fowl with parisienne gnocchi. The 50-oddseat-space is trendily rustic, featuring a zinccovered bar, eye-catching light installations and exposed brick walls.





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The Checklist

The Intrepid Series ◆

Like a Local 94 98

Phong Nha, Vietnam

Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Selector

Rear View

Kyoto, Japan





In association with

Firstname Surname


much more to love Whether your perfect vacation involves sunning on a dreamy beach, immersing yourself in culture and history or finding fun ways to get active, you can do all of it and more in Barbados. While the beautiful sunny weather and picture-perfect beaches might be what initially draws you to Barbados, it’s the unique culture and warmhearted local people that will quickly make it among your favourite places in the world. Barbados’s pleasantly secluded location and long history of British rule have helped the island develop a distinctive culture unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean. Settled by the English in 1627, Barbados remained under British rule until 1966 and today is still fondly known as “Little England.” You’ll see evidence of the island’s

British heritage in its historic churches and stately plantation homes, but also in the local way of life: cricket is the national sport, afternoon tea is a well-loved tradition and you’ll notice some Barbadians even speak with a British accent to this day. Barbadians are known for their friendliness – expect to be greeted by plenty of “good mornings,” “good afternoons” and “good nights” as you explore the island – and you’ll soon find yourself caught up in their infectiously exuberant energy. Barbadians also love to dance and socialize, so you’ll find plenty of places to let loose,

from waterfront pubs and clubs to lively street parties and festivals. Barbados has named 2018 the Year of Culinary Experiences, which means there has never been a better time to discover the island’s flavourful cuisine. Barbados is the only island in the Caribbean to be rated by the prestigious Zagat guide. With everything from sophisticated fine dining to relaxed beachfront restaurants to authentic street food stalls to choose from, how you dine in Barbados is always up to you. If it’s adventure you’re after, Barbados has got you covered with windsurfing along



the southern coast, biking and hiking trails through the tropical island interior, as well as opportunities to explore the whole island by 4X4 safari jeep. History buffs will find lots to love too, with a UNESCO World Heritagelisted capital city, storied rum distilleries and restored plantation houses to discover. If you just want to relax on the beach with a rum punch in hand, Barbados is also an ideal destination for a worry-free escape. In Barbados, your vacation can be as actionpacked or as easy-going as you like. ◆

LEFT: Barbadians love to celebrate and Barbados’s yearly event calendar is packed with a variety of fun-filled events and festivals

Beach for the stars Barbados is home to over 70 miles of beautiful beaches bordered by warm, clear waters. Ranging from peaceful, palm-tree-lined golden sands to windswept cliffs, each beach offers something a little different for visitors. The beaches along the island’s west coast are popular for their calm, swimmable waters. Paynes Bay is a perennial favourite thanks to its ideal swimming and snorkelling conditions, or Mullins Beach is a lively place to enjoy water sports like jet-skiing or watch the sunset at the restaurant overlooking the sands.

getting there It’s around a 5-hour flight from Toronto to Barbados’s Grantley Adams International Airport. Air Canada offers several nonstop flights per week from Toronto. Book your Barbados vacation at aircanadavacations.com/barbados

Although swimming isn’t recommended at most beaches along the east coast, this part of the island attracts surfers with its powerful waves. Non-surfers can enjoy strolling along the sands or find a shady spot on Bathsheba Beach to watch pros carving up the waves in the Soup Bowl, a legendary surfing spot. You can also take a dip in the shallow rock pools that form at low tide. The southeast coast is also home to picturesque Crane’s Beach, which was voted among the top 10 beaches in the world by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.


Happy as a clam Diverse culinary influences and world-class chefs make Barbados one of the most exciting places to eat in the Caribbean.

Barbados is often described as the culinary capital of the Caribbean and this year the island is celebrating its reputation for fantastic food by dubbing 2018 the Year of Culinary Experiences. With over 100 restaurants from coast to coast, Barbados offers something for food lovers of all stripes, with options ranging from fancy restaurants to casual beachfront eateries. Whether you’re dining on a romantic clifftop above the sea or with your toes in the sand, you can count on memorable meals in Barbados. Barbados’s multicultural heritage shines through in the island’s cuisine, which is influenced by American, European, Indian, African and Creole flavours. Barbados may be a small island but it attracts high-calibre chefs from across the globe, many of whom have worked in some of the world’s best restaurants. Some serve up refined takes on international cuisine ranging from Polynesian to Thai and Mexican, while others bring a fresh approach to the island’s delicious local cooking style. Head to Champers on the south coast for exceptional seafood complemented by beautiful water views; Zen restaurant at the Crane Resort for refined Japanese-Thai influenced cuisine; or Daphne’s for elegant Italian-inspired fare with a focus on seafood. You’d be remiss to leave the island without also sampling some of its famed street food. Here are just a few must-try dishes to include on your foodie bucket list for your trip to Barbados.

Barbados Street Food Staples: Coucou:

A mix of okra and cornmeal seasoned with pepper, salt and Barbadian hot sauce. When served alongside steamed or fried flying fish, this meal is considered to be the national dish of Barbados. Cutters:

A hearty sandwich made up of a salt bread roll packed with delicious fillings like fish, ham, egg or cheese. Cutters can be enjoyed any time of day, from a quick breakfast meal to a late-night snack. Fishcakes:

Fried cod fish balls made with flour, pepper and other savoury seasonings. You’ll see these quintessential Barbadian favourites served up everywhere from street stalls to fine dining restaurants. Pudding and Souse:

Pickled pork, typically mixed with cucumbers, peppers, lime juice and parsley, served with breadfruit and a steamed sweet potato pudding. Macaroni Pie:

You’ll find this cheesy casserole throughout the Caribbean, but it’s especially popular in Barbados. This indulgent dish is typically served as a side dish with fried fish. You'll also see spicy version of the dish, made with curry powder or hot sauce. ◆

BarbaDos attracts high-calibre chefs from across the globe



rum’s the word Barbados is the birthplace of rum, home to the world’s oldest distillery, Mount Gay distillery, which has been producing the amber alcohol since 1703. Rum is tied to the history and culture of Barbados, with over 1,500 rum shops located across the island. You can enjoy Barbados rum neat, on the rocks or mixed into a cocktail. The island’s signature cocktail is rum punch – you’ll soon discover that everyone makes their rum punch a little differently (and their recipes are often carefully guarded), but the cocktail typically includes lime juice, sugar syrup, Angostura bitters, nutmeg and, of course, Barbados rum.

Barbados Food and Rum Festival, October 18-21 There’s no better time to experience rum in Barbados than at the annual Barbados Food and Rum Festival, which takes place this October. The 9th addition of this unmissable celebration will include cooking demonstrations, fine dining rum pairing events and a lively beach party finale.


Don’t get tide down From participating in fun-filled annual events to exploring the island by land and sea, we’ve picked ten essential experiences to include in your Barbados itinerary. Discover Barbados’s history in Bridgetown Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012 for its superb examples of British colonial architecture. Barbados’s capital is filled with engaging historic sites, from the Gothic-style parliament buildings to 18thcentury St. Michael’s Cathedral.

attracting experienced windsurfers from across the globe, particularly between November and April when the winds are strongest. Silver Sands Beach is one of the most popular spots on the island to catch the waves, with the shallow offshore reef creating swells that allow windsurfers to reach speeds of up to 50 knots.

Join the party at the Oistins Fish Fry This Friday night tradition sees locals and visitors alike gathering in the fishing village of Oistins for fresh grilled and fried fish, chicken and lobster. The atmosphere is festive and fun, with diners tucking into their meals at casual picnic tables before enjoying music and dancing.

Go on an island safari Sign up for a jeep tour (or charter your own) and explore lesser-known parts of the island. These 4X4 jeeps are able to drive both onand off-road, allowing you to take in more remote parts of the island, while learning about its nature and culture along the way.

Go exploring in Harrison’s Cave A true natural wonder of the Caribbean, this limestone cave features subterranean cascades, twisting streams and deep pools, along with striking stalactites and stalagmites. An electric tram takes visitors on an hour-long tour through the cave’s intriguing depths. Learn about plantation life at St. Nicholas Abbey Dating back to the mid-17th century, St. Nicholas Abbey, is one of three remaining Jacobean-style mansions in the Western hemisphere. The grounds are home to pretty gardens and orchards, along with a historic distillery that’s still producing rum. Keep an eye out for the Heritage Railway, a scenic train ride reopening at St. Nicholas in 2019. Feel the breeze out on the water Barbados is a top windsurfing destination,

Party at the Crop Over Festival While Barbados hosts many exciting celebrations throughout the year, the Crop Over Festival is the highlight of the island’s annual event calendar. Originally commemorating the end of the sugarcane harvest, this three-week long festival features colourful costumes, live music and street parties, culminating with a Carnivallike parade on Kadooment Day, a national holiday, in early August. Hike along the east coast Barbados’s less-developed east coast is a hotbed for hikers. Trails range from leisurely strolls to rewarding climbs, taking in scenery like stunning rock formations, dramatic cliffs and lovely beaches. The Barbados

RIGHT: The Oistins Fish Fry is a beloved Fridaynight tradition and an essential experience for visitors heading to Barbados



National Trust sponsors Hike Barbados, which offers a free weekly hiking program.

coral jewellery and clay pottery among the essential local buys.

Shop ‘til you drop Leave a little extra room in your luggage en route to Barbados because you’ll definitely want to bring back some souvenirs. Items like cameras, cosmetics, gold jewellery, watches and liquor can often be bought in the island’s duty-free shops at significant savings compared to what you would pay in Canada. Barbados is also known for its talented artists and craftspeople, with black-

Discover underwater worlds The clear waters off the coast are home to over 50 varieties of fish and typically have visibility of 30 metres or more, making the island a prime destination for snorkelling and scuba diving. Snorkellers can explore the calm waters off the island’s west coast, while divers will find over 20 fascinating sites in the same area. ◆ To learn more, go to visitbarbados.org

hikes take in scenery like stunning rock formations, dramatic cliffs and lovely beaches







THE CHECKLIST It's a good thing that airplanes take us to wonderful destinations because they can be downright uncomfortable. This is the gear for flying better.



this foldable duffle bag on hand for when you need extra packing space. It compresses into a small bundle that’s easy to store when not in use. $59.00, muji.ca





thin, lightweight safety case will keep small essentials like your passport accessible yet protected. It can be worn around the waist (read: fanny packstyle), cross-body or under your clothes. $19.00, muji.ca

on the plane in this super soft hoody. Raglan sleeves and a double lined hood provide extra warmth, while the media pocket with headphone hole is perfect for your inflight entertainment. $82.00, roots.ca



EYE MASK: Arrive


at your destination rested and readyto-go with the help of this cushy cotton eye mask. It’s comfortable to wear and great at blocking out light when you’re trying to snooze. $15.00, muji.ca

to-be staple in your travel wardrobe, this simple T-shirt is made from organic cotton blended with spandex for slight stretch. It resists wrinkles, dries quickly and naturally controls moisture. $65.00, tilley.com ▼ SAUCONY


runners make it easy to breeze through security. They hug your ankles like socks, allowing you to slip them on and off without laces. $94.99, saucony.ca

Wear these leggings straight from plane to hotel pool. Made from recycled fibres, they are chlorineresistant and designed to be worn in the water. $100.00, lolewomen.ca




comfortable on long flights with these classic sweats. A slim fit ups the style credibility, while the zippered side pockets are handy for stashing a few necessities for your trip. $74.00, roots.ca




▲ S’WELL BOTTLES: Stay hydrated throughout your flight with one of these S’well Bottles. Made from highgrade stainless steel, they keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours (or hot for 12 hours), plus they’re BPA-free. $25.00+, swellbottle.com

▼ THE FLIGHT PACK: Keep track of your essentials with this minimalist pack, which features compact pouches and compartments for organizing your belongings on-the-go; plus four leak-proof bottles for transporting toiletries. $80.00; theflightpack.com



Stay warm on chilly airplanes with this cozy hoodie made from stretchy polyester and spandex knit. The half-length zipper makes it easy to vent extra heat or quickly slip on and off as temperatures inevitably fluctuate. $89.00, mec.ca ▶ MARLEY


Tune out en route with these wireless Bluetooth headphones. They're made from Rewind™ fabric, FSC®-certified wood and recyclable aluminium. A collapsible design makes them easy to pack. $179.99; bestbuy.ca


▶ NINTENDO SWITCH: Wile away the in-air hours with this ever-popular gaming system. The option to sync up to eight consoles means you can play solo or compete against your travel buddies. $379.95, amazon.ca

Sleep easy on board with this pillow. It buckles into different shapes, allowing you to use it as a traditional u-shape neck pillow, a face-down cushion for your tray table or as a bolster for supporting your lower back. $35.00, muji.ca










with your fitness routine anywhere in the world with the help of this GPS watch. It features over 80 different sport modes and syncs to paired smartphones. $299.95 mec.ca

Sleek, stylish and loaded with functionality, these watches go well beyond just tick and tock.




screen interface makes this sleek watch a breeze to use. Its rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts up to eight hours, so you can count on it during long travel days. $220.00, mec.ca




high-grade stainless steel, this handsome watch is water resistant for 100 metres and features a unidirectional rotating bezel for tracking elapsed workout time. $595, swissarmy.ca

With a 43 mm beveled case, a leather band and a symmetrical face, this Swiss-made watch is a stylish investment piece that’ll be on the road with you for years. $595, swissarmy.ca

This rugged GPS watch helps you live and workout better with custom profiles for different sports and daily activity tracking that monitors steps, sleep patterns and other everyday routines. $720.00, mec.ca














ELCOME TO THE Intrepid Series, the part of Escapism where we set down our forks, pack up our beach towels and dive into the adventurous side of travel. For our third installment, writer Dana Filek-Gibson treks 22 kilometres into Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a protected area in central Vietnam known for its extensive network of caves. Follow along her journey through the lush Vietnamese jungle to visit a threemillion-year-old cave. ◆

For over three decades, Merrell has been providing outdoor enthusiasts with the gear they need to discover the simple yet profound power of the trail. Whether you’re trekking through the jungles of Vietnam or exploring paths closer to home, you can count on Merrell’s thoughtfully-designed, rigorously-tested products to over-deliver on performance, versatility and durability. For more information, visit merrell.com






HANG ÉN THERE How far would you travel to see the world’s biggest caves? Dana FilekGibson treks for an entire day through the jungle to get to Hang Én in central Vietnam.




Dudarev Mikhail

T’S SHORTLY AFTER 10 o’clock when our van slows to a halt, lets its passengers out of the air-conditioning and onto the shoulder of an unmarked highway. At first, there seems to be a mistake: Apart from the narrow, empty road that brought us here, there is not a man-made object in sight. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I signed up for a 22-kilometre trek through the jungle, but I had pictured something more official, at least at the start. A sign, maybe. Nature, of course, does not do signs. For miles around, everything is a single, vibrant shade of green – the ground, the treetops, the plant life tumbling down the mountains in the distance – so I choose to take in the well-rehearsed performance in front of me. Porters extract backpacks and various supplies from the back of the van. Anetta, our petite, fast-talking, no-nonsense guide, and Lam, her co-guide, usher their charges to the other side of the road. In the air-conditioned comfort of the vehicle, our driver scrolls through his smartphone, peacefully oblivious to everything taking place outside his window. By the time the sun goes down, I will be sleeping inside the third-largest cave in the world. At three million years old, Hang Én is younger than most other caves in central Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, but its scale is no less impressive. You could park a jumbo jet inside its main chamber and still have room left over. Extending two kilometres into Phong Nha’s limestone mountains, Hang Én is home to an army of swifts, tiny birds known as chim en in Vietnamese that float through the air and are notorious for nesting in high cliffs; they also happen to be the cave’s namesake. Because Oxalis – the only company to run trips out to Hang Én and its neighbours – takes a leave-no-trace approach to trekking, even one caving trip requires a team of guides, porters, cooks and safety assistants to bring everything from tourists to tents, food and cooking supplies in and out of the jungle, hence the flurry of activity taking place by the roadside on this sunny morning.

LEFT: As well as some of the largest caves in the world, Phong Nha National Park is also home to wide river valleys and impressive views

And then the chaos is over, just as quickly as it began. A team of porters takes off ahead, disappearing into the trees. The cooks follow close behind, chain-smoking and sporting Vietnam’s standard-issue plastic sandals. Most of the support crew is long gone by the time we pick up our packs and walk directly into the tangle of trees off the road. In no time at all, the ground slopes away beneath our feet, sending us down a sharp incline. I am covered head-to-toe in a long-sleeved shirt, running tights, and a particularly thick pair of hockey socks – there are leeches, they warned us. The combination of layers and jungle humidity is having an overheating effect on my body temperature. By the time the ground levels off, I am sweating in places I didn’t think it was possible to sweat from. We emerge from the tree line and into a wide, open landscape of oversized trees and lazy, winding waterways that run through the valley. Of all the elements in the Vietnamese jungle, water is the most powerful: In the dry season the rivers may seem innocuous, but they have tunnelled through 104 kilometres of limestone mountain over the past 400 million years, and that’s only when you count the caves that have been found. Some experts believe there are still undiscovered subterranean chambers that burrow all the way into neighbouring Laos, dwarfing the likes of Hang Én and its nextdoor neighbour, Son Doong, the largest A protected Unesco cave in the world. World Heritage Site since 2003, Whether or not the national park is local explorers known to host one happen upon any of the oldest karst mountains in Asia, more underground dating back 400 surprises, Phong Nha million years. is already catching on as a tourist destination. Its more accessible caves have been popular among Vietnamese travellers for decades, but international visitors are now flocking to the park thanks to a recent spate of positive press, including a television spot on Good Morning America, which broadcast live from Son Doong in 2015, and a starring role in last year’s Kong: Skull Island, parts of which were filmed within the park. But while this attention has brought stronger infrastructure and greater >

> economic opportunities to Phong Nha, that means nature isn’t likely to remain untouched forever. In an effort to boost tourism, government officials in the area have already proposed a controversial cable car project that would transport visitors through the jungle and out to Son Doong, disrupting much of its surroundings. For the meantime, Phong Nha’s universal appeal is apparent in our tour group alone: A few western backpackers, a pair of adventurous newly-weds, several schoolteachers and a group of young Hanoian professionals

snapping selfies in their wide-brimmed sun hats. My fitness-obsessed parents, their friends and I round out the expedition. As noon approaches, we stop for lunch in Ban Doong. Home to members of the Bru-Van Kieu, one of Vietnam’s 53 ethnic minority groups, More than 40,000 the remote village’s people belong to wooden stilt houses the Bru-Van Kieu look like a mirage ethnic group. They reside in parts of amid the lush jungle Laos, Vietnam and of its surroundings. Thailand. When monsoon



season arrives each year and the heavy rains sweep through low-lying areas of Phong Nha, Ban Doong’s 40-odd residents can become cut off from the outside world for days at a time as they wait for the water to recede. Still, there are also some perks to living in the jungle. As we approach, the matriarch of the village looks up from her hammock, gives us a quick wave, and returns to lounging in the shade while the dishevelled, sweatdrenched group of outsiders staggers by, exhausted from the heat. We carry on after lunch, wading into seas of tall grass and through the valley’s meandering rivers. At every crossing, our safety assistants ferry the group over to the other side, making sure everyone stays afloat in the ankle-, knee-, and sometimes waist-deep water. Just as we notice the sun beginning to slide closer to the horizon, Anetta stops us and points to the wall of limestone on our left: “There it is.” Between the green plant life sprouting off the mountainside and its rough limestone exterior, it takes a moment before I see what Anetta sees, but eventually the entrance to Hang Én comes into view. There’s barely >

LEFT: The way out, and back into the jungle, from Hang Én. BELOW: The trek to the cave is long and hot, but worthwhile for the impressive experience


Andrej Sevkovskij



RIGHT: Not all beaches are beside oceans – lit by the impressive skylight, this one in Hang Én serves as a comfortable campsite

> more than a dent in the rock in front of us. After a day’s worth of travel on foot, navigating the jungle in sweltering heat, it is a miracle to me that anyone ever found Hang Én in the first place, let alone the many neighbouring caves. Anetta and Lam lead us around to a low, wide gash in the side of the rock face, where everyone stops to put on their caving helmets and gloves. Headlamps click on one by one, their tiny points of light bobbing up and down along the walls. As we move deeper into the cave, the sunlight disappears, the temperature drops, and the ground turns upward, forcing us to climb. It takes a few minutes to scramble over a sea of massive boulders and up to the top of the rock pile, but I eventually arrive and Hang Én’s skylight comes into view, only now it’s enormous: sunlight streams through the opening, illuminating a jawdropping cavern, 100 metres high and 180 metres wide. Our cooks, already making dinner down below, are miniature figures on the sand. Dull yellows and greens – the result of mineral deposits – decorate the far wall of the chamber, and the evening’s accommodations – two neat rows of brightly coloured tents – sit on the beach below facing a large, murky pool fed by Hang Én’s underground river. By the time we reach our tents, the remainder of the day is ours. I find my swimsuit and take a dip in the cool, opaque waters of the cave lake, leaping


off a designated rock on the far side. My parents sip tea on the shore and take in their surroundings. When dinner is served, the cooks do not disappoint. We tuck into a feast of Vietnamese rice, meat, tofu and vegetable dishes. Lam produces a clear plastic bottle from his pack – rice wine – and the meal is complete. With the sun gone and the chatter of Hang Én’s resident swift birds fading, everyone turns in early. The following day, Anetta and Lam lead us away from the natural light of the beach and into Hang Én’s darker chambers, where they point out a handful of 300-million-year-old fossils etched into the walls. Stalactites and stalagmites – eerie, glittering formations – sprout from the ground and hang from the ceiling, while deep grooves cover the cave floor, formed by a combination of time, water, and mineral deposits. Eventually, we venture back toward the campsite and out into the jungle. On the return trip, Anetta and Lam retrace our route to Ban Doong and back toward that impenetrable green wall shielding Phong Nha from the outside world. Motivated by the prospect of air-conditioning and a

cold beer at the top, Lam leads the charge upward. We make it a grand total of six minutes before our first water break. If the going was tough on the way down, it’s nothing compared to the way up. Little by little, our breathless climb continues, broken up by steady water breaks and, once, the interruption of a passing centipede. It takes an hour or so before the path levels off once more, and we emerge from the trees and onto the same nameless road Known the world where we began. The over as a delicate van is waiting on a alcoholic beverage in many parts of wide section of the Asia, it is made shoulder, our driver traditionally from leaning against the the fermentation of rice starch. door and gesturing to an open cooler near the trunk. I crack open a Tiger beer and find a perch on the nearby guardrail. The others appear, one by one, removing their layers as they exit the jungle. By the time the cooler is empty, our van is running and everyone is back into the air-conditioning and we carry on down the road, motoring away and back to reality. ◆

Andrej Sevkovskij

Oxalis offers two-day tours to Hang Én from the town of Phong Nha. Most travellers get to Phong Nha via nearby Dong Hoi City, which has good air and train connections with major Vietnamese cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hue. oxalis.com.vn





NOODLE SOUPS Malaysia is famous for its noodle soup, known as laksa. Put aside your affection for pho and ramen and get to know their spicier cousin. Each bowl is loaded with seafood and tofu and with both thin and thick noodles.






TARGET MARKET From steaming bowls of laksa to pandan-flavoured bites for dessert, Suresh Doss guides you through the must-eats from Kuala Lumpur’s famous night markets.


comes a range of food markets. Unlike other places, the city is dotted with massive night markets dedicated to each day of the week. If you can only visit one, then head to Taman Connaught, which is known locally as Cheras Pasar Malam. Every Wednesday night, hundreds of vendors line up on a twokilometre stretch of road to create one of the quintessential night experiences of Asia. Set aside at least two hours to explore it all. At Taman Connaught market you’ll find everything from snack foods to clothing and traditional baubles. Night markets are best enjoyed with a small group and Taman Connaught is no exception. Its sheer size – there are reportedly over 700 stalls – will require some patience and a few extra mouths. Go hungry. ◆

MALAY KUIH Malays famously love kuihs (bite-sized desserts) after each meal. The night market is where you’ll get the best stuff. Look for vendors that have a spread of large aluminium cake tins filled with colourful treats.

Suresh Doss

HILE NIGHT MARKETS are ubiquitous in Southeast Asia and play an intrinsic role in local culture, the sprawling markets of Malaysia don’t get as much attention as they should. An open-air market is a quintessential Asian experience: it is emblematic of how locals in this part of the world like to spend time with families, shop and eat a variety of homestyle food. Night markets are social centres and they’re also a great way to immerse yourself in the ways of a local culture. Picture seas of colourful tents and insignia, each filled with handicrafts and local food specialties. Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to one of the most diverse populations in the world and with its centuries-old food culture

SOMETHING ON A STICK Grilled meats on skewers are a great way to eat on your feet as you galumph your way from stall to stall. Malay stalls are known for spiced and soy sauce laced tofu, whole squid and offal parts of chicken.







TV host, writer and all-around food expert Pay Chen grew up in Halifax, where her family still runs a food stall at the local farmers’ market. Here are her top places to hit.

GETTING THERE Air Canada and WestJet offer direct flights to Halifax departing every hour during peak times. Porter Airlines flights to Halifax have a stopover in Ottawa or Montreal. aircanada.com; westjet.com; flyporter.com




Halifax has become a lot more diverse and the farmers’ market is a great gathering of all the different cultures and food that can be found here – authentic Greek dips, French pastries and Trini doubles. Make a half-day out of it and walk around, eating while you browse through the food stalls and handmade craft stands.


Take a ferry ride across to Dartmouth where you’ll find the Canteen. Owned and operated by chef Renée Lavallée, this dining hot spot offers casual dishes made with seasonal, local ingredients. The “Crobster Roll”, a mix of Nova Scotia lobster and snow crab, is an elevated iteration of the lobster roll – and possibly the best seafood sandwich around.


Halifax and beach by Shaunl; Seaport by Greenseas; Eggs by Highwayman

Last year, I tried surfing for the first time at Lawrencetown Beach, a destination known for having some of the best surfing conditions in North America. Surrounded by beaches, Halifax is the place to try surfing, water sports, clam digging and other activities only possible in a coastal city.


Contrary to its name, the Coastal Café isn’t a place you would stumble upon by the water. But it’s one of my favourite daytime spots for a casual lunch. They make great eggs and have a solid menu that includes smoked fish.


Relatively new to Halifax, this restaurant and bar serves delicious, tapas-style eats and carefully crafted cocktails. With Spanish influences and a casual atmosphere, Highwayman is a great addition to the Halifax dining scene. ◆






Museums that are anything but mundane, markets for way more than fruit and veg and hotels to plan your trip around. We pick the best in the world.

Mu se um s w it h mox y



With subjects from the mingling of limbs to Michalengelo’s masterpieces, these museums are worth flying for.

1) THE BRITISH MUSEUM, ENGLAND Don’t let the name fool you, the British Museum has three floors of cultural finds from all around the globe.

When it opened in 1759, it was the first national public museum in the world and to this day, it’s free to enter. Highlights include Easter Island statues, the Rosetta Stone from 196 BC and marble sculptures from the Parthenon. The British Museum

is not without its controversy – including those Elgin Marbles – but with over 6 million annual visitors, it’s still one of the most popular in the world. The scale of the museum can be daunting, so hop on one of the free spotlight tours given by volunteer guides every Friday.

2) CUP NOODLES MUSEUM, JAPAN This stone slab dating back to 196 B.C., which features writing in Egyptian and Greek, helped historians learn to read Egyptian hieroglyphs.

This offbeat, onlyin-Japan museum, just outside Osaka, is dedicated to the world’s favourite, budget-friendly

meal: instant ramen. The museum explores the invention of Cup Noodles by Momofuku Ando (in his backyard research shack) in 1958 and follows its growth to become one of Japan’s most popular exports. The best part: Create your own.




British Museum by © the Trustees of the British Museum; Ramen by shaynepplstockphoto; MoSex by Simon Lewis; David by QQ7; Dubai by Rus S

This disturbing museum in Guanajuato, Mexico displays the largest collection of natural mummies in the world. Rather than being embalmed and preserved, the corpses at the Museo de las

4) MUSEUM OF SEX, NEW YORK Playfully nicknamed MoSex, this museum delves into the history and culture of sex, with exhibits that are both academic and entertaining. The permanent collection includes more than 15,000 objects related to the mattress

Momias became mummified as a result of the dry desert climate. Disinterred over the last 150 years, many of these mummies were discovered when their families could no longer pay the tax required to keep them buried. Not family-friendly since the mummies – including babies and children – wear pained, frightening expressions.

Natural mummification occurs when the skin and organs of a deceased person are preserved by extreme conditions, such as arid climates, intense cold or lack of oxygen.

dance, ranging from 19th-century anti-masturbation devices and oldfashioned condom tins to vintage pornography. Rotating temporary exhibitions focus on topics like cyber sex, fetishes and the sex lives of animals. A huge gift shop with books and sex toys, along with a sensually-themed cocktail lounge further round out the provocative fun.

5) GALLERIA DELL’ACCADAMIA, ITALY Housing Michelangelo’s famous David sculpture might be this museum’s

most celebrated feature but the Galleria dell’Accadamia has plenty more to offer. Opened in 2001, its Department of Musical Instruments features around fifty items gathered from the Grand Duchy of Tuscany’s private collections. Among

the displays are a tenor viola and cello created by Antonio Stradivari in 1690 for the Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici. Sculptures by Giambologna and Lorenzo Bartolini, along with Michelangelo’s four Prisoners grace the halls.



T h is lit t le p iggy Wen t to ... Shopping hubs are all over the world, but these spectacular ones set themselves apart with luxury, history or sheer size. 1

1) THE DUBAI MALL, UAE With over 1,300 stores spread over 5.9 million square feet, the Dubai Mall

is the largest in the world. This tourist attraction sees over 80 million annual visitors. In addition to shopping, the mall is home to the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and an Olympic-

sized ice rink. Among its many precincts are Fashion Avenue, home to premium brands and luxury dining, and the Village, an open-air, tree-lined faux street scene.

...t he worl d’ s b est ma r kets


3) COVENT GARDEN, ENGLAND Sure, it may be touristy, but a stroll through the grand 19thcentury building is a quintessential London experience. Covent Garden also houses Apple Market, where independent vendors sell antiques or art depending on the day of the week. Jewellery and eclectic wares can be found in the East Colonnade Market.

Built over 150 years ago, it houses Milan’s best shopping centre. Storefronts decorated with beautiful plaster, stone and concrete fixtures stretch up to a glass-and-iron domed ceiling. The Highline Galleria, a 250-metre suspended path, allows visitors to traverse the rooftop and touch the glass dome.


Apple Market runs every day of the week. Vendors sell arts and crafts from Tuesday to Sunday and antiques on Mondays.



4) CHATUCHAK MARKET, THAILAND Spread over 35 acres and featuring thousands of stalls,


5) ALA MOANA CENTER, HAWAII With art installations, fountains and palm trees, this outdoor shopping mall is a breath of fresh air. The largest open-air mall in the world,

Chatuchak Market (“JJ Market” to locals) is one of the world’s largest. It can be crowded, hot and confusing, but there are incredible bargains to be had. The market is divided into over 20 numbered sections,

the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu features the usual retailers along with local stores. For a cultural Hawaiian experience, the centre showcases live Hawaiian music daily. In the Ewa Wing, Hula with Aloha offers Hawaiian activities including lei making, and lessons from hula masters.

each dedicated to a certain type of good, like clothing or household items. A map helps but the sections tend to spill over into one another, so your best bet is to wander and see what you discover.




At y pica l acc o mm o dat i o n s In the era of experiences, a hotel needs to push boundaries. These are five standouts around the world.

Galleria by JaCZhou; Chatuchak by Manjik; Inntel by InnervisionArt



Inspired by Waitomo’s underground Glowworm Caves and the Lord of the Rings, the park’s hobbit motel suites were built to resemble the iconic movie set. A Vietnam War-era plane now houses two motel suites. There are sleeping options on the lower level, but climb up a ladder and through a hole and you can sleep in the cockpit.

In Zaandam’s revamped city centre, the 12-storey Inntel Hotels Zaandam steals the spotlight. The hotel’s eye-catching facade represents various types of houses found in the Zaan region, all stacked on top of each other. Ranging from stately homes to worker’s cottages, the protruding green houses feature bay windows and white

trim – a single blue house is a nod to Claude Monet’s Zaandam painting. The rooms also reflect the history of the Zaan area. Only 12 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station, the Inntel Hotels Zaandam is a great jumping off point for exploring North Holland.

This region located 20 km north of Amsterdam is known for its traditional wooden houses, many of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries.




Completed in 1851, the Charles Street jail in Boston housed prisoners until 1990. Since then, this historic building in the Beacon Hill neighbourhood has been restored and transformed into the elegant and modern Liberty



Hotel. Every aspect of the hotel pays homage to the building’s past, from the preserved cells on the windows to the names of the restaurants – Clink and the Yard among them. Preserved in the central building, the original catwalk offers a guests-only hangout with dinner service. Alibi, a cocktail bar serving late-night snacks is aptly situated in what used to be the jail’s “drunk tank”.



Off the coast of Newfoundland, the Fogo Island Inn is an eclectic blend of traditional inspiration and contemporary design. Suspended on stilts, the hotel is reminiscent of a rustic fishing platform, while its jagged architecture resembles the rocks below. The inn’s homey aesthetic of crafted furniture and organic, natural fibre beds is mixed with luxurious features – including heated towel racks and toilet seats. A roof deck offers relaxation in a wood-fired sauna or outdoor hot tub, encircled by views of the North Atlantic.

Take it with a grain of salt, but we think Bolivia’s Hotel Palacio de Sal is a must-see. Almost everything inside is made of salt – from the floors, walls and ceilings to sculptures and furniture. But that doesn’t stop this hotel from offering modern amenities and décor. Located on the shores of the largest salt flat in the world, Hotel Palacio de Sal offers spectacular views of Salar de Uyuni. The rainy season is the best time to visit when a sheet of water coats the salt flat, creating a spectacular mirror effect that stretches into the horizon.







HILE MOST TRAVELLERS are familiar with the excitement that surrounds cherry blossom season in Japan, many don’t realize that spring isn’t the only time of year when the country celebrates its natural beauty. The viewing of autumn leaves, known as koyo, is also a beloved annual pastime. Locals and visitors alike gather in popular koyo spots

across the country to admire the fall colours. Kiyomizu-Dera Temple is one of Kyoto’s most famous destinations for koyo viewing. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this stunning temple dates back to the 700s and offers wonderful views of multi-hued maple trees framing parts of the temple complex. A view of the city of Kyoto, off in the distance, completes the postcard-worthy picture. ◆




180° CHANGE. 360° VIEW. Now, the view is not the only thing turning heads at the CN Tower. We’re celebrating Canadian food and drink at 360 Restaurant with a fresh focus on locally-sourced ingredients and cuisine. Make your reservation at cntower.ca/360

180° CHANGE. 360° VIEW. Your next adventure is closer than you think. See Toronto like never before, a thrilling 116 storeys above the ground, with EdgeWalk. To book your walk, visit edgewalkcntower.ca

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Escapism - 3 - The City Breaks Special  

Escapism - Issue 3 - The City Breaks Special

Escapism - 3 - The City Breaks Special  

Escapism - Issue 3 - The City Breaks Special

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