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Food, W ine & Lifestyle Magazine



Walking Makuleke Concession


MALAYSIA Scuba Diving


Happy Year of the Pig 2019

China National Tourist Office, Toronto Tel: 416-599-6636 • Toll Free: 1-866-599-6636


talk travel



Features 3. South Africa

4. Vietnam Hosts ATF 2019

6. Chinese New Year

12. Shangani Trails

15. Loyalty & Rewards

24. Las Vegas on a Budget

26. Malaysia Underwater Health Therapy


MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE South Africa is a country as geographically and culturally diverse as its 11 national languages, which represent a societal melting pot of indigenous Africans, English, Indian immigrants and Afrikaners of Dutch and German descent. Situated at the southernmost tip of the continent, South Africa borders the Atlantic and Indian oceans with its vast plains and desert mountains stretching inland. Cape Town serves as South Africa’s emblematic city; a cosmopolitan collection of sprawling markets, chic commercial centres, colonial enclaves and picturesque surrounding. Stunning Table Mountain looms over Cape Town, and visitors can take a cable car to the top for panoramic views of the Cape of Good Hope. Just offshore lies Robben Island,


the old jail where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were held during apartheid. Tourists flock to this magnetic site for a glimpse of history. South Africa also offers travellers a chance to observe some of the continent’s most rare and iconic wildlife. Nature Reserves and national Parks abound. Places to visit include Goegap Nature Reserve in Namaqualand and the Northern Cape’s Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which ranks as one of the largest conversation areas in all of Africa. Other major parks to visit include the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park and Kruger National Park, which features the best-developed Safari infrastructure in Africa.

letter from the publisher Wayne Hansen, Senior Editor

VIETNAM HOSTS ATF 2019 IN HA LONG BAY Vietnam was the host this year for the 38th annual ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Ha Long Bay. Under the theme ‘ASEAN – The Power of One’, the 10 nation members of ASEAN made up of Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myramar, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines and Indonesia meet each year and host international buyers and media from around the world.

Ha Long Bay

ATF has become the largest and most diverse showcase of ASEAN suppliers who participate in a series of programs to promote their specific destinations and products to the travel trade and international media. The ASEAN Tourism Forum is a cooperative regional effort to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region as one tourist destination. Each year the hosting of ATF is rotated among the member countries.

This is the second time Vietnam has hosted the event and provided a golden opportunity for Quang Ninh province to promote its tourism. Ha Long Bay is a must-see destination in Quang Ninh. The renowned scenery found there on the northern coast of Vietnam was the highlight of day one when we all boarded local cruise boats to visit the dramatic limestone rocks and cliffs that made the area a UNESCO-certified region as Vietnam’s top natural attraction which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year from around the world. The bay spans 1,553 square kilometres and includes 1,969 islands of various sizes and features thousands of limestone karats and islets of various shapes and sizes. The limestone islands in the bay have gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. Ha Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species. The main objective of the ASEAN association is to promote tourism as a central part of the member nations’ socio-economic development. With the member countries jointly promoting ASEAN tourism, there is the hope that visitors will

visit one or more countries in the visits to the region. The ATF 2019 created an opportunity for Vietnam, as host, to introduce its nation, people and tourism as well as attract more investment in tourism in the nation. Next year Brunei will host ATF 2020.

talk travel MEDIA

Gina Hansen, CTC, ECC Publisher, Executive Editor Wayne Hansen, Publisher, Senior Editor Daryl Cooper, Asst. Editor Jana Schweitzer Graphic Design John Kenchenten Video Editing/Production Rita Rong IT Manager Steve Klein Associate Editor/Director Business Development

Suite 205 – 475 Main Street Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2T7 Tel: 604-629-0877 Fax: 604-629-0878 Talk Travel Magazine is published monthly. Canada Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 4213851 Copyright 2013 ISSN 1925-7449


Join Professional Safari Guide & Africa Travel Expert, Timothy Jackson, on a hosted African Safari this spring or let Jackson’s African Safaris create your dream African adventure suited to your tastes and budget. Jackson’s African Safaris works directly with all the best operators, camps, stakeholders & guides to create safari experiences of a lifetime. Benefit from Timothy’s many years of designing & leading African Safaris. Our goal is to help you make informed choices for the best safari experience appropriate for you. Let us demystify for you how a safari is priced. We want you to understand clearly why some trips are costly and others not. Travel with peace of mind, knowing you’re in knowledgeable & secure hands. Talk to Timothy Jackson today: +1-250-509-1039 Let our expertise turn your dream African safari into an epic adventure.

HEAD OFFICE David Lynn 18 The Orchards, St. John’s Village Private Bag X12, HOWICK 3290 Kwazulu Natal, SOUTH AFRICA Mobile: 27 (0)78 385 1100

TALK TO YOUR TOUR LEADER TODAY Timothy Jackson Nelson, BC, Canada +1-250-509-1039


Customs & Traditions


New Year

The Chinese New Year is a spectacular demonstration of Chinese culture. Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the ďŹ rst month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. 7

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year — and more commonly known as the Spring Festival (Chunjié) in China —has become one of the world’s top five most celebrated festivals. And it isn’t just celebrated in China. If there is a local Chinese population or Chinatown anywhere in the world it will be celebrated there as well. The Chinese New Year is the longest public holiday in China. Employees have seven to 12 days off from work, and students have one month of winter vacation. No matter where they live, Chinese try to return home to be with their families for Chinese New Year, just as North Americans do for Christmas. This creates the world’s largest annual migration, known as the Spring Festival Travel Rush.

When is Chinese New Year? The Spring Festival is celebrated either in January or February because the Chinese use a lunar calendar, which is based on the movement of the moon. (Much of the Western world uses the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the sun’s movements.) The Chinese New Year falls on the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar. Chinese New Year ranges from January 21 to February 20. In 2019, it occurs on February 5th and it will be The Year of the Pig being twelfth in the 12 year cycle. The Chinese calendar is divided into lunar cycles of 60 years, and each cycle is further divided into five smaller cycles of 12 years each. Each year is represented by an animal in the Chinese zodiac: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Many myths and fables explain how the animals in the zodiac came to be, but the most common one is the story of “The Great Race,” in which a group of animals had to cross a river to get to a meeting held by the Jade Emperor, one of the most important gods 8

or mythological figures in Chinese culture. In the story, the order in which the animals arrived would determine the order of the years of the calendar. In the story, the rat comes in first by hitching a ride on the back of an ox, then jumping off ahead and winning the race and thus claiming first place in the calendar. The 12th animal is the pig, which got hungry, stopped for a feast and subsequently fell asleep, finally arriving after a nap. Interestingly, there was a 13th animal — a cat – but it drowned and did not make it into the zodiac. According to chinese astrology , 2019 is a great year to make money, and a good year to invest! 2019 is going to be full of joy, a year of friendship and love for all the zodiac signs; an auspicious year because the Pig attracts success in all the spheres of life. The lunar calendar is still very important in China, even though it has officially moved to the Gregorian calendar like the rest of the world. All traditional holidays and days such as the Winter Solstice are celebrated. Some people still calculate their birthdays and ages according to the lunar calendar.


This holiday is believed to have originated during the Shang Dynasty (1600 to 1100 B.C.) as a spring carnival at the end of the winter, welcoming the arrival of the spring. The Spring Festival was originally a ceremonial day to pray to gods for a good planting and harvest season. As an agrarian society, the harvest was everything. People also prayed to their ancestors, as they were treated as gods


“Guo Nian Hao” — which means “Happy New Year” — is a common Chinese New Year greeting. Chinese also greet each other with blessings such as 恭喜发财 (“gōngxǐ fācái” in Mandarin) or (“Kung hei fat choi” in Cantonese), meaning “Wishing you a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year!” It is a special occasion for people to express good wishes to each other and to forgive, leaving behind all grudges and animosity from the old year. The Spring Festival is the most important holiday in China and is celebrated as such. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, all family members will try their very best to travel back home, no matter how far away they may be (even on the other side of the world) to enjoy the family reunion feast known as nián yè fàn.” Before the new year comes, it is customary for people to completely clean their houses to get rid 9

of bad fortune from the old year and decorate their tidy houses, all with an atmosphere of rejoicing and celebration. Homes are often decorated with couplets — vertical banners featuring two lines of poetry — folk painting, paper cuttings that feature intricate designs (similar to cutouts of paper snowflakes), festive scrolls and lanterns. Decorations are usually bright red. Basically, red decorations are to the Chinese New Year festival what Christmas trees are to Christmas. More fireworks are set off in the world that night than any other. Firecrackers are supposed to scare off monsters and bad luck. So people stay up on Chinese New Year’s Eve and set off firecrackers at midnight. In the morning, firecrackers are used again to welcome the new year and good luck. That same night, families also burn fake paper money and printed gold bars in honor of their deceased loved ones, they believe the offerings will bring fortune and good luck to their ancestors in the afterlife. Other traditions include showering which isn’t allowed New Year’s Day. Sweeping and throwing out garbage isn’t allowed before the 5th. This is to make sure you don’t wash away the good luck! On the other hand, there’s a day before the Spring Festival dedicated to cleaning. This day is to sweep the bad luck away and make room for the good. What else is taboo during Chinese New Year? • Hair cutting (before February 2) • Using scissors, knives and other sharp things • Arguing, swearing • Saying unlucky words (such as “death” and “sickness”) • Breaking things In most cultures, children receive gifts for holidays. In China gifts are also exchanged during the Spring Festival. But Chinese children receive something else too— red envelopes. Also called red packets they include money. This money is supposed to help transfer fortune from the elders to the kids. They can also be given between bosses and employees, co-workers, and friends.

Chinese New Year Dishes

Family is the basis of the Chinese society, which is seen through the significance placed on the New Year’s Eve dinner. This feast is extremely important to the Chinese. All family members must come back home. Even if they truly can’t, the rest of the family will leave their spot empty and place a spare set of utensils for them.

In the legend of the Spring Festival’s origin, this was when the monster Nian would come and terrorize the villages. The people would hide in their homes, prepare a feast with offerings to the ancestors and gods, and hope for the best. Food is one of the things that the Chinese take the most pride in. And of course, lot of care and thought is put into the menu for the most important holiday of the year. As with Chinese New Year activities and decorations, the dishes are created to give blessings for the next year. Both the names and looks are symbols of wishes for prosperity, happiness and auspiciousness. Though every region (even household) have different customs, there are some common dishes seen on every table.

In Chinese, dumplings (饺子—jiǎo zi) sounds like 交子(jiˉao zi). 交 ( Jiˉao) means “exchange” and 子(zi) is the midnight hours. Put together, jiˉao zi is the exchange between the old and new year. All dumplings should be wrapped at this time. By eating dumplings, you are sending away the old and welcoming the new. Some people will also put a coin in a random dumpling. Whoever eats it will have great luck that year. In addition to the joy of eating delicious food, the making process is a family bonding activity too. During New Year preparations, every member of the family participates and wraps dumplings. In certain regions, the daughter-in-law must make a dumpling to be considered part of the family.

Noodles 长面 (cháng miàn)

In some places, it’s custom to cook dumplings and noodles together. This is called gold silk and gold ingots. It’s yet another dish to express people’s wishes for prosperity.

Spring rolls 春卷 (chˉun juǎn)

Eggrolls are probably the most well-known of Chinese cuisine. However, they’re actually “spring rolls.” They are eaten during the Spring Festival in Southern China to celebrate the coming of spring. More specifically, they are eaten on the first day of spring (立春—lì chˉun). They can appear on the table as a dinner dish, appetizer or snack.

Dumplings 饺子 (ji ǎo zi)

Another well-known dish, dumplings are the northern equivalent of spring rolls. They are eaten during every special occasion, but are the most significant during Chinese New Year. That’s a lot of dumplings! But there’s good reason.

Though the origin of noodles is heavily disputed, there’s no doubt that noodles are a staple in Chinese cuisine. In the beginning, they were called “soup pancakes” (汤饼—tang miàn). People would tear the dough into little pieces and throw them into the pot. It wasn’t until the Tang Dynasty when people began rolling them into the noodle shape we know today. For Chinese New Year, people like to eat long noodles. They are also called 长寿面 (cháng shòu miàn), which means “longevity noodles.” You aren’t allowed to cut them and should try not to chew either. The longer the noodle, the longer your life will be. This calls for a lot of slurping. 10

With noodles, there is great flexibility for sides and ingredients. Many vegetables and meats have symbolic meanings as well. For example: • Eggs: big and healthy family • Lobster: endless money rolling in • Shrimp: fortune and wealth • Roasted pig: peace • Duck: loyalty • Peaches: longevity • Tofu: happiness and fortune for the entire family • Fish: surplus and wealth

Steamed Fish 蒸鱼 (zh�ng yú)

Fish is a must for the Chinese New Year. Why does fish symbolize surplus and wealth? In Chinese, fish (鱼—yú) has the same pronunciation as 余, which means “surplus” or “extra.” The typical blessing is 年年有余 (Nián nián yǒuyú), wishing you to have a surplus (or fish) of food and money every year. Half of the fish is eaten for dinner, and the second half the next day. This is to prolong the surplus and make the future prosperous as well. A whole fish also represents a harmonious and whole family. Some would cook a bigheaded carp. But only the middle would be eaten, while the head and tail are left intact. The Chinese phrase is 有头有尾 (yǒu tóu yǒu wěi)—to have both a head and tail. This is a reminder to finish everything you start and wish for positive results. During dinner, the fish head should be placed facing the guests. In Hunan, red peppers are added after broiling the fish. Red is a festive and lucky color and the spicy hotness expresses wishes for fiery (thriving) business in the new year.

Steamed Chicken 蒸鸡 (zheng ji) A whole chicken is another symbol of family. Rich in protein, one chicken is enough to feed an entire family. It represents reunion and rebirth. To express this auspicious meaning, people keep the head and claws. After cooking, people will first offer the chicken to the ancestors. Though only a superstition now, praying to the ancestors for blessings and protection is still a significant part of the Spring Festival and Chinese culture.

Chinese New Year is a great time to visit China to experience the festivities and

China’s winter. However, it’s by far the busiest period transport-wise in China, especially up to a few days before Chinese New Year and from around 8 days after. Therefore book your tour as early as possible. However, China is a destination that is inviting 12 months of the year. In the winter if you want a warm sun destination consider Hainan Island (China’s Hawaii) or wait till the spring. One visit and you’ll return again and again.


Walking Mak

Shangani Trails was established in 2010 by Rhodes Bezuidenhout, finally realizing his long-held dream of being able work in the African Bush. Born and bred in Zimbabwe, the seeds of Rhodes’ passion for Wildlife were sown at a young age, but it was only after twenty-seven years in the corporate world in South Africa, specializing in corporate banking and finance, that he was finally able to follow his heart and passion to conduct Walking Trails in Big Five game reserves.

Completing all the required courses in 2007, Rhodes gained his practical walking experience under the mentorship of some of the best Trails Guides in Southern Africa while being privileged to walk in the remote 24,000 hectare, Makuleke Concession situated in the far most northern area of the famed Kruger National Park in South Africa. Apart from running Shangani Trails and conducting walking trails, Rhodes is also a freelance instructor with one of the largest Guide Training Service 12


kuleke Concession Providers in South Africa, EcoTraining, being very proud to be able to share his amazing experiences of walking in the African bush with the guides of tomorrow. Shangani Trails operates out of the Makuleke Concession, Northern Kruger National Park in South Africa. On your map of Southern Africa, look for the point where the South African, Zimbabwean and Mozambican international borders meet at the confluence of the mighty Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers. The 13

Concession is well known for its distinctive Bio-Diversity supporting some 75% of Kruger National Park’s fauna and flora species while only occupying some 1% of its 2 millionhectare total area. Arguably one of the few remaining true wilderness areas in Southern Africa, the Makuleke is highly regarded for its spectacular scenery and landscapes with Sandstone and Basalt ridges blending easily with mopane, acacia and broad-leafed woodlands, including a high densi-

ty of the mighty Baobab Tree, while the rich Limpopo and Luvuvhu River floodplains provide a grassland buffer between the Riverine and famous Fever Tree Forests. The Concession is well known not only for its diversity of landscape and vegetation but also for its extensive range of large and small mammals with substantial herds of elephant and buffalo in evidence while the healthy populations of antelope and zebra support a good population of feline preda-

when you open your tent flaps. For those who wish to get as close to Mother Nature as possible, Backpack Wilderness Trails are also offered, sleeping under the stars while traversing almost the entire Concession across some incredible landscapes. Walking Trails are also offered out of self-catering and luxury lodge accommodation for those who are still keen to walk in this beautiful area but who would perhaps prefer a not so exposed sleeping arrangement! Shangani Trails has forged a strong relationship with Timothy Jackson of Jackson’s African Safaris, with Rhodes and Tim having shared a tent together for a month in 2007 while undergoing Trails Guide training in the Makuleke. With Tim’s firsthand knowledge of the Concession and organizational skills in combination with Rhodes’ experience on the actual ground walking, many successful Trails have been conducted for guests out of Canada and the United States over the years. tors. The numerous natural springs and pans (natural waterholes) provide much needed water sources all year round ensuring high volumes of animal traffic through the numerous broad game trails leading in and out of these magnificent water features.

onto the Luvuvhu River as it winds its way through incredible gorges and landscapes before flowing into the mighty Limpopo River.

The Makuleke is particularly proud of its all year-round prolific birdlife, with over 400 species being identified to date, including the rare and often elusive species, such as the Pels Fishing Owl, Racket Tail Roller, Bohm’s Spinetail, and Three Banded Courser.

All the while visitors will continue to interact with any of the Big 5 at any time while being entertained by sightings of antelope such as the wide-eyed Impala, gentle Nyala or regal Kudu on a regular basis. As the dry season extends into the winter months, large herds of Eland migrate from Zimbabwe to join the resident Zebra, Warthog and other antelope species as water supplies dwindle in surrounding areas.

Visitors to the region will enjoy being able to learn about animal and bird behavior and their tracks and sign, all while walking through the fairytale Fever Tree forests admiring the grandeur of the Methuselah-like Baobab Tree, and gazing down in some wonder from lookout points

Shangani Trails offers 3-5 night Walking Trails, personally led by Rhodes Bezuidenhout and a second experienced Trails Guide, principally walking out of two unfenced, tented Trails Camps on the Luvuvhu River where your wildlife experience literally starts

Trails are conducted with a maximum of eight people with smaller parties and singles being easily accommodated. The Tented Camp and Wilderness Trails seasons run from 1 April to 31 October each year while Trails extending into the November-March months can be booked out of the self-catering and luxury lodge options. For more information contact Tim Jackson of Jackson’s African Safaris at 250-509-1039, email, or go to





Never mind Tim Hortons coffee and hockey — when it comes to spotting a Canadian, look for a fiercely loyal person who loves free stuff. When Harinder Takhar was looking to launch a new bill payment service in Canada, he realized that these two traits would be important. “Everybody in Canada loves points,” says Takhar. “Canadians tend to be loyal to their favourite




Locally-made and operated, for your safety

brands and companies, and they appreciate being rewarded for that loyalty.” So, when he launched Paytm, a mobile app that allows users to aggregate all their bills in one place and pay them with whatever method they prefer, he knew that reward points would be the key to retaining customers. “You pay your bills anyway, but now you can collect points for it,” says Takhar. “Plus, you can use those points and redeem them for rewards at every major retailer in the country.” The app, in retrospect, seems like something that should have already existed, but the same is true for many major innovations. “We were asking ourselves what we could do in Canada that would improve the payment landscape,” says Takhar. “We already have tap and pay, but there are so many other things that are decades old and haven’t changed. We realized that the lowest common denominator that touches every person is bill payments. Everyone has a bill to pay.”

Critical to the conception of the app was the idea that it needed to be Canadian from the ground up. All the operations take place in Canada and all the data is drawn, securely, from Canadian consumers. “We’re based in Toronto, which is where we built the product,” says Takhar. “Being a payments company, we understand the value of having data security and privacy at the heart of our offering.” With Canadians pumped for rewards points, offerings like Paytm’s are recognizing that these consumer-focused benefits don’t need to be strictly tied to purchases. This unique approach linking pain points and program profits is just the beginning of a seismic shift in how we think about loyalty programs. Frank Campagna

Publisher: Sarah Liderri Business Developer: Nina Theodorlis Country Manager: Jacob Weingarten Content Production Manager: Ellen Asiedu Lead Designer: Michael Shea Digital Content Manager: Camille Co Contributors: E. Asiedu, Frank Campagna, Zoey Davey, Anne Papmehl, Patrick Sojka, Melissa Vekil Photo Credits: Alison Love, Brad Kasselman, Canadian Tire Corporation, Emma Yordanov All images are from Getty Images unless otherwise credited. Send all inquiries to This section was created by Mediaplanet and did not involve Maclean’s Magazine or its editorial departments.

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You’d be hard pressed to come across a Canadian who is not familiar with our nation’s unofficial second currency —Canadian Tire Money®. However, many don’t know its 60-year legacy originated in 1958 with the launch of Canadian Tire’s first gas station in Toronto. At a time when the industry was dominated by oil giants selling gas at high profit margins, Canadian Tire co-founder Alfred J. (A.J.) Billes realized the company needed an innovative approach to stand out from the competition without cutting prices. His solution was to charge the same as the big oil companies, but offer customers coupons if they paid in cash, redeemable only in Canadian Tire stores. The company could now undercut the oil giants, without advertising lower prices, while driving foot traffic to its stores. The idea of a discount coupon wasn’t new to A.J. or his wife Muriel. Muriel wasn’t impressed with what other retailers were doing, so she wanted Canadian Tire to come up with something better. The first iteration of the coupon was on low-quality paper that didn’t hold up to general usage, but the next round was printed on real banknote paper by British American Bank Note Co., the official printers of the Royal Canadian Mint. The notes were first handed out in the Toronto gas bar in November 1958, expanding to Canadian Tire stores in 1961, quickly becoming the iconic currency Canadians have grown to know and love.

60 Years: From Paper and Beyond

A.J. and Muriel Billes, 1978

THE EVOLUTION OF CANADIAN TIRE MONEY Canadian Tire has been rewarding Canadians for their loyalty since 1958, innovating continuously along the way.

While Canadian Tire Money will always have a place in our hearts and wallets, the rise of credit and electronic payments meant the company had to evolve its iconic paper rewards program.

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In 2000, electronic Canadian Tire Money was first introduced on the Canadian Tire Options® Mastercard®. It allowed cardholders to collect Canadian Tire Money electronically in Canadian Tire stores and gas stations, as well as everywhere else when they shopped with their Options Mastercard. Shoppers without the credit card continued to collect paper Canadian Tire Money when they paid with cash or debit. However, that changed in 2014 with the launch of the My Canadian Tire Money® program. Customers could now earn electronic Canadian Tire Money when they paid with cash or debit in Canadian Tire stores and gas bars. The value of the program for Options Mastercard customers was further enhanced with cardholders collecting at 10 times the rate of cash or debit at Canadian Tire, Mark’s, and Sport Chek locations across Canada.

A Loyalty Program Like No Other

In April 2018, the company announced an exciting phase in the evolution of its iconic loyalty program with the change of My Canadian Tire Money to the Triangle Rewards™ program, designed to provide Canadians with even more options to earn and redeem rewards. “We set out to create the easiest and most rewarding loyalty and credit card program in the country,” says Susan O’Brien, the company’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. The Triangle Rewards program (named after the shape of Canadian Tire’s iconic logo)

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is now the easiest way for customers to earn Canadian Tire Money online and in-store at participating retailers. That means members can collect — and redeem — electronic Canadian Tire Money at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, and participating Mark’s and Atmosphere locations. “Our first step is giving Canadians more choices to earn and redeem their Canadian Tire Money,” says O’Brien. As part of the Triangle Rewards loyalty program, the company also announced a new no annual fee Mastercard — the Triangle™ World Elite Mastercard®. The loyalty program comes with a number of other exciting benefits. Triangle Rewards members enjoy the flexibility of paperless returns at Canadian Tire and its retail banners. Returns and exchanges are simply processed with a Triangle Rewards number or a Triangle Mastercard. Other perks include special offers and exclusive shopping events for Triangle Rewards members and credit cardholders. Whether through the Triangle app or via email, members get notified of upcoming sales and events where they can collect even more Canadian Tire Money. From humble beginnings in 1958 to present day, Canadian Tire Money remains unique in the Canadian market. With Triangle Rewards, the program has been expanded to include unique features and benefits designed for life in Canada.

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The Triangle Rewards™ Program is owned and operated by Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited. The Triangle credit cards are issued by Canadian Tire Bank. Rewards are in the form of electronic Canadian Tire Money® (CT Money®). Not all items sold at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek and participating Mark’s/L’Équipeur, Atmosphere and other partner locations are eligible to earn CT Money or to be redeemed for. Conditions apply. Visit for full details. The offered rate is exclusive of any bonus or promotional offers or redemption transactions. CT Money is collected on the pre-tax amount of the purchase at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Atmosphere and Mark’s/L’Équipeur. 1 Certain Mark’s/L’Équipeur and Atmosphere stores may not participate. Visit for Partner locations including which locations do not participate. ‡

/™ Unless otherwise noted, all trademarks are owned by Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited and are used under licence. The Triangle Rewards™ Program is owned and operated by Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited. The Triangle credit cards are issued by Canadian Tire Bank. Rewards are in the form of electronic Canadian Tire Money® (CT Money®). Not /™ Sport Chek and Atmosphere are registered trademarks of FGL Sports Ltd. all items sold at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek and participating Mark’s/L’Équipeur, Atmosphere and other partner locations are eligible to earn CT Money or to be redeemed for. Conditions apply. Visit for full details. The offered

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® The Triangle Rewards™ Program is owned and operated by Canadian Tire Corporation, credit licence. cards are issued by Canadian Tire Bank. Rewards are in the form of electronic Canadian Tire Money® (CT Money®). Not /™ Unless otherwise noted, all trademarks are owned by Canadian Tire Corporation,Limited. LimitedThe and Triangle are used under ® all items sold Canadian Tire,Atmosphere Sport Chekare and participating Mark’s/L’Équipeur, and other partner locations are eligible to earn CT Money or to be redeemed for. Conditions apply. Visit for full details. The offered /™at Sport Chek and registered trademarks of FGL SportsAtmosphere Ltd. ® rate is exclusive of any bonus or promotional offers or redemption transactions. CT Money /™ Mark’s and L’Équipeur are registered trademarks of Mark’s Work Wearhouse Ltd. is collected on the pre-tax amount of the purchase at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Atmosphere and Mark’s/L’Équipeur.

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/™ Unless otherwise noted, all trademarks are 2791_Macleans_MagazineAd.indd 1 owned by Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited and are used under licence. /™ Sport Chek and Atmosphere are registered trademarks of FGL Sports Ltd. ® /™ Mark’s and L’Équipeur are registered trademarks of Mark’s Work Wearhouse Ltd. ® /™ Mastercard, World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard are registered trademarks, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. ® ®


2018-11-13 4:41 PM


Six Tips

for the Savvy Shopper With an abundance of online retail options available, it can be difficult for the savvy shopper to ensure they’re getting the best deal on their purchase. Staying within a budget during the busiest shopping season of the year is a feat of its own., a Rakuten Company, helps shoppers get the most out of their online carts with Cash Back bonuses, gift cards, and in-store pick up options. Smart shoppers earn Cash Back and rewards on holiday purchases and can end up with a pleasant New Year’s surprise in the form of a big fat cheque (or PayPal payment). Whether you’re a casual shopper or a shopaholic, here are six quick tips to help make your e-commerce experience seamless.

1. Prepare to shop

Have an idea of what you want before you jump online, especially during the holiday season when best-selling products can be snapped up quickly. Use tools like the Ebates App and Cash Back Button to scour through inventory and discover deals before you start throwing items in your cart.

2. Choose sites offering multiple perks

Because there are so many ways to be rewarded for shopping, it’s best to shop on a site that gives discount codes, flash sales, and rewards opportunities all at once. Most will also add discounts to your cart automatically — just keep an eye open for them.

3. Make a list — and stick to it

Before you set out to shop, make a clear list of what you already have and what you need so you don’t double up on items or make unnecessary purchases.


4. Research and review

When making large purchases like appliances or electronics, make sure you know all the details including price and estimated longevity of the product. There’s nothing worse than shelling out for an item that doesn’t last, and as a result, isn’t worth the hit to your wallet.

5. Get social!

Follow your favourite stores on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so you’ll be the first to know about exclusive sales and offers.

6. Shop in the off-season

Stocking up during Boxing Day and end-of-winter sales for upcoming birthdays, wedding gifts, Valentine’s Day, or multi-season wardrobe staples will put you ahead of the game while saving time and money. E. Asiedu

Whether you shop online with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, start your journey at to get the biggest bang for your buck.




FOUR RESORTS, FOUR PERFECT STAYS Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, Autograph Collection

For couples and families, the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, located one hour west of Calgary, AB, offers unobstructed and breathtaking views of the Canadian Rockies and an astounding array of outdoor activities. Enjoy skiing at the Nakiska Ski Area, horseback riding at Boundary Ranch, hiking trails along Barrier Lake, and more. Five restaurants, ranging from an on-the-go market to an upscale chophouse, will keep your hunger down and energy up. If self-pampering is more your style, enjoy the Nordic Spa which features hot, saltwater, and cold plunge pools and three different sauna types — Barrel Sauna, Banya Sauna, and Finnish Sauna — alongside a Steam Cabin and an Exfoliation Cabin.

Delta Hotels Whistler Village Suites

Named SKI Magazine’s “number one overall best resort in North America,” the Delta Hotels Whistler Village Suites is the ultimate location to ski and play with the family or a group of friends. The resort has spacious, beautifully-appointed suites with full kitchen amenities, an indoor/outdoor connecting pool, whirlpools, and 24-hour fitness gyms. Indulge while on the property at Hy’s Steakhouse or Brickworks Public House after treating yourself to great shopping and a ski slope adventure. Whatever you decide to do is a perfect choice.

If you’re planning a winter escape this year, check out one of Marriott International’s newest Western Canada resorts. “Our resort destinations allow our guests to stay and play in some of Canada’s best winter playgrounds,” says Martin Stitt, Area Vice President of Western Canada. Whether planning a couple’s getaway or vacationing with the family, these resort offerings bring Canada’s natural beauty up close and personal for a travel experience you won’t soon forget.

Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort

The Grand Okanagan Resort is situated on the shoreline of majestic Lake Okanagan and nestled in the heart of Canadian wine country. During your stay, head to one of the more than 300 wineries in the valley for exclusive tastings. Both the Mission Hill Family Estate Winery and the Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery are guest favourites. When the sun goes down and it’s time to feast, enjoy a sumptuous meal and sample exquisite craft cocktails at OAK + CRU, a waterfront restaurant overlooking the lake.

The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler

With a perfect slope-side location and the luxurious backdrop of BC’s picturesque landscape, the award-winning Westin Resort & Spa in Whistler is a true winter wonderland. Guests will enjoy the close proximity to the centre of Whistler Village, the region’s central neighbourhood which combines a pedestrian-only walkway with high-end shops and restaurants. Singles and couples alike can also rejuvenate after a day of skiing or snowboarding with a soothing massage at the exclusive Avello Spa & Health Club. Crafted from local materials and designed with innovation in mind, the hotel accommodations reflect a plush, contemporary approach with residentially-styled suites complete with fireplaces, soaking tubs, and modern kitchens. Anne Papmehl

Photo credits: Brad Kasselman (top left, bottom right, bottom left) Alison Love (top right)



JW Marriott Muskoka. Photo credit: Brad Kasselman

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR REWARDS Marriott International Hotels of Canada offer breathtaking views, award-winning golf courses, and unique spa experiences, like the new Kananaskis Nordic Spa. And for Canadians enrolled in Marriott’s Loyalty Programs, there are now more opportunities than ever to enjoy all the properties have to offer. The merger between Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), means that collectors previously enrolled in either program can now easily combine points and redeem the higher total on incredible vacations. “Marriott International has long admired the great program benefits, inspiring locations, and brands of hotels that Starwood Preferred Guest has within its portfolio,” says Martin Stitt, Area Vice President of Western Canada with Marriott International. “Wanting to bring more options and choices for members around the globe, we saw a great opportunity in combining our programs to unlock the full potential of global travel and experiences for our 110 million-plus combined members.” With more than 6,700 hotels in 122 countries and territories stretched across its 29 global brands, Marriott International is now able to provide a hotel just about anywhere you might want to travel. “This allows our guests the opportunity to earn and redeem their points seamlessly across all participating loyalty brands with one loyalty program,” says Stitt.

Under the new program, members receive 20 percent more points on average for every dollar spent, allowing them to redeem and use those points not only for hotel stays, but also for once-in-a-lifetime sporting, music, and culinary experiences at

Combined perks for less

With the new rewards program, your combined earnings can get you an instant status boost from Member to Elite, meaning the additional benefits and perks will continue to roll in at all participating properties across the brands. A new benefit of the program includes earning points on full-folio spend — members will now earn for their room and all eligible hotel purchases, including dining, beverages, rounds of golf, spa services, and other qualifying incidentals. “It’s a great opportunity to earn more at our resorts,” says Stitt. Members also get a fifth night free when they redeem points for a four-night stay — perfect for winter getaways. Rewards Members have the lowest rates guaranteed when they book directly at, through phone reservations, or via Marriott’s Mobile App. With more opportunities to earn, redeem, check-in, and stay at participating hotels — including Aloft®, W®, The Ritz-Carlton®, JW Marriott® hotels and more — booking a vacation that rewards you has never been easier. Anne Papmehl


HOW TO COMBINE ACCOUNTS AND YOUR POINTS ONLINE ONE ACCOUNT REALLY ADDS UP. Combining your Marriott Rewards and SPG® accounts will create a unified account and profile, while adding up your points and Elite-night balances so all your points and nights will work harder for you. If you already have accounts with Marriott Rewards and SPG, here’s why you’ll want to combine them now: Simplicity. Have one single account login and profile, and always earn rewards in one account. Status. Your combined Elite nights could add up to achieve a higher Elite level. Access. Redeem your combined points for stays at any of Marriott International’s 29 brands. Before you start, make sure you have both membership numbers and account passwords ready. Then: • Visit • Click on your preferred loyalty program (Marriott Rewards, SPG, or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards) • Scroll down and click “Combine Accounts” For privacy reasons, combining accounts can only be done online.





Ah, holiday shopping — that wonderful time of year when hunting for the perfect gift can be equal parts thrilling and challenging. A visit to Indigo, Canada’s first cultural department store, can help shoppers check gifts off that list, with options for the curious child, the home chef, the tech maven, and the sophisticate in your life, among others. With a uniquely curated selection of books, art, and home décor, the store offers plenty of inspiration for gifts that tell a story. Best of all, for every dollar spent in-store and online, shoppers earn five plum® points through Indigo’s loyalty reward program.

From holiday rush to January reset

Plum® members can make the most of the points they earn buying Holiday gifts for loved ones, by redeeming them for treats to help meet their wellness goals. Whether the success of a New Year’s resolution depends on a clean-eating cookbook, a soothing aromatherapy diffuser, or a weighted gravity blanket, Indigo’s plum® program is the gift that

keeps on giving. Just like the possibilities of a new year, the options are endless. Signing up for plum® rewards is free, takes just a second at any Indigo store or on, and nearly every item is eligible for collecting points. Being a member of the plum rewards program means VIP access to exclusive events, member contests, a first peek at sales, and private shopping nights. Members can also expect to receive personalized recommendations and offers, making it easier to find items to welcome in the new year and a new outlook on life. And since plum points can be redeemed in-store or online, members can feel free to fit a shopping trip into their busy schedules with the click of a mouse. For more information on being a rewards member, visit


Auria Diffuser Oil Essentials, Set of 3 Earn 175 plum points

Zoe Davey

Phoenix Facial Oil Earn 525 plum points

petrunjela/Getty Images


1 3 6 5 2 4

Gravity Weighted Blanket Earn 1,395 plum points

The Clean Plate: Eat, Rest, Heal Earn 190 plum points

Silk Sleep Mask Earn 111 plum points

Casper Sheet Set Earn 600 plum points

Craftfulness: Mend Yourself by Making Things Earn 111 plum points

Auria Taj Ultrasonic Diffuser Earn 398 plum points




Patrick Sojka Founder, Rewards Canada

As Canadians, we love our loyalty programs. Whether it be a shopping program, a credit card program or a travel rewards program — you name it, we love it. However, studies show not all Canadians partake in loyalty programs. There are tens of thousands who couldn’t bother — the question is, why? Whether it’s a cash back credit card or even a McCafé sticker card, there are so many options to earn rewards that there is no excuse not to. Many argue that reward programs raise prices, blur the line on privacy, and make it feel like Big Brother is watching you while not feeling rewarded at all. However, reward programs are entrenched in our society; they are part of the free market and they are the norm now. Prices are going to be increased all the time, whether or not merchants have a loyalty program.


As to privacy and being watched, yes, many loyalty programs today are about collecting big data. The more they know about your shopping habits, the more worthwhile that data is. The question becomes, ‘Is this really a bad thing?’. Heavy loyalty program users will tell you no. They like receiving targeted offers that are actually useful. For example, I frequently buy avocados, so I get bonus mile offers on a monthly basis for avocados. It’s convenient as it boosts my program balance to get to that next reward level. It’s all about making the loyalty program worthwhile for the member. By getting more targeted offers, you should be able to get to levels in your program where you can be rewarded. This is the loyalty program’s way of getting you more involved and getting you to the point where you feel rewarded. Many people pass on programs as they don’t feel they’ll get anything out of them, but what these people are unaware of is that many programs have evolved to make it easier to redeem with lower-priced rewards and partial point redemptions. With so many loyalty program options available to Canadians, we come back to the question: why aren’t you participating? It’s easy to earn points, miles, dollars, you name it — and it’s easy to get rewarded. If you saw a loonie on the sidewalk, you wouldn’t just walk past it, would you? The same goes for the loyalty programs. If you aren’t using them, you’re leaving money on the ground.

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Las Vegas Yes, it is possible to do Las Vegas on a budget! “On a budget” is of course a relative term. For some people it means the $15.95 steak dinner, a free drink while playing nickel slots, and taking in some of the many free things to see and do. For others it means living like a king on a commoner’s pay cheque. Las Vegas is billed as “The Entertainment Capital of the World.” Up and down the strip you no longer find casinos or hotels. What you’ll find is entertainment complexes. Each one is unique with an abundance of things meant to keep you there longer. They are resorts with brand name spas, world class restaurants, theatres, pubs, museums, art galleries, roller coasters, and shopping. And yes, they still do include casinos, if that’s what you are looking for. How do you get the most for your money? At every budget level there are deals to be had. Take advantage of Happy Hour. In the Bellagio, before or after strolling through the seasonally themed conservatory and botanical gardens (free) or watching the free fountain 24

Street Art

Story and Photos by Steve Klein

On A Budget show, stop for the Happy Hour Snack Wagon special at Harvest by Roy Ellamar. It’s a farm-to-table-menu with individual plates selected from the cart as it passes by. If you’re a hockey fan, take in a Vegas Knights game. Despite the Knight’s success, tickets are still cheaper than in any Canadian arena. On Game days Umami Burger in SLS Las Vegas features discounted pints to wash down the incredible truffle fries.

Even if you don’t plan on gambling, sign up for the Players Club. You’ll get all kinds of added perks and benefits. Keep in mind though that the purpose of the Players Club is to get you to gamble.

Las Vegas shows don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Each day last minute ticket outlets offer show tickets at up to 50% off. You can often get an even better deal if you are staying at the resort where the show is playing. Just talk to guest services.

For even bigger bargains, head to Downtown Las Vegas. Fremont Street is alive with action every night. The five block long pedestrian mall is covered by a canopy of more than 12 million lights. Add to that more than half a million watts of sound and you have an incredible free lightshow. And, you can zip-line right through the middle of it! This is where you can still find cheap steak dinners and all you can eat buffets and some of the original Las Vegas casino hotels. Nightly free concerts will keep you on Fremont Street for the entire evening.

Check out the local visitor guides in your room. You’ll find coupons and special offers like the Cut of the Week at Charlie Palmer Steak House. Each week the Chef features a different cut as part of a fixed menu which includes wine pairing where your glass is always kept full.

During the day, wander around Downtown to see a wide variety of street art. For a self guided walking tour download the app “GPSmyCity: Walks in 1k+ Cities” from iTunes app store or Google Play. It will direct you from stop to stop.

After a late night out, some time at the spa might be what’s required. The Spa at the LINQ Las Vegas offers a very reasonably priced day pass, even if you are not staying there. It includes access to the fitness centre, whirlpools, steam rooms and a salt cave treatment.

For pre-planning go to



Talk Travel recently had the pleasure of meeting in Vancouver, with owner and instructor, Ernest C. Teo of Premier Marine & Scuba Centre (PMSC), Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. For the last decade, Ernest’s company has become one of the leading dive operators in the ASEAN region based in Kuching, Sarawak. PMSC offers both an alternative and supplement to divers in the ASEAN region that includes the ever growing exotic dive destinations of Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. The ASEAN diving region is fast becoming part of the growing trend of eco tourism. For the more advanced diver, Kuching is the perfect place to satisfy an underwater adventurer’s itch with

plenty of shipwrecks. Right before Christmas in 1941, just weeks after the Pearl Harbor bombing, the Imperial Japanese Navy set sail for Kuching as part of their plan to take control of Borneo. As Borneo stood on the main sea routes between Java, Sumatra, Malaya and Celebes, it became vital for the Japanese to secure this territory. The Netherlands received news of the invasion and deployed their submarine division from North Kalimantan to intercept the Japanese fleet, which they finally found assembling off the coast of Santubong. According to historical records, a total of five ships were sunk but only three have since been discovered including the Katori Maru, Hiyoshi Maru and Sagiri. Today, all three wrecks serve as an underwater home to a wide variety of pelagic fish species and offer unique diving opportunities not found anywhere else. 26

HEALTH THERAPY It was PMSC who initiated the great adventure of diving at Kuching’s WWII Wrecks. They coordinated and worked with government tourism agencies and traveled outside Kuching to promote Adventure Wreck Dive Kuching to divers around our region. Although underwater viewing of marine life is fascinating , PMSC is now working on a health therapy side , especially for disabled, wheel chair bound people. It is now being done in the USA through the organization, DIVEHEART, focussing on abilities not disabilities. It has been proven from the renowned medical centre, Johns Hopkins, that when under 60 feet of water, serotonin is released to ease pain. One pool session can very quickly change the lives of children, adults or veterans with disabilities as they escape the confines of gravity, many for the first time ever. With the help of their highly trained PMSC dive teams, participants can immediately begin reaping the benefits of zero gravity and scuba therapy. These benefits include self-confidence, independence and improved self-esteem that will last a lifetime. Most beneficial is that it builds confidence in disabled people psychologically as well as eases and treats pain.

25% Growth in

Canadian Visitors to Malaysia in 2018 The new Vancouver Consul General of Malaysia Mr. Shamsul Nizam Shamsuddin in a recent meeting with Talk Travel Media was pleased to advise a steady increase and interest of Canadians in visiting Malaysia. He arrived in 2018 to take up his new position after previously being posted to Laos and most recently Brazil. Ms. Sandra Ngoh-Fonseka is the Canadian Marketing Executive for Tourism Malaysia and is continuing to work with Malaysia Tour Operators as well as promoting Malaysia to Canadians looking for one of the most affordable and inviting contries in Asia to visit. Mr. Ernest Teo, Owner of Premier Marine & Scuba Centre in Kuching, Sarawak was in Vancouver to promote his companies services to the diving market here in Canada.

For disabled people this can overcome depression and leads to better mental and physical health Ernest is now working with Malaysian Government Health officials to see how much these affects can not only give relief but reduce medicinal costs of conventional therapy and pharmaceuticals. If one is not physically disabled but self doubting about diving , the wonders of the underwater world is an eye opener and should be considered on one’s travel bucket list. If you are not a diver already, you can get certified in 4 days by Ernest as PMSC is a member of PADI #482945 : Professional Association of Diving Instructors. With the excellent track record of PMSC and their programs, your will be in good hands with Ernest and his PMSC dive company. For more information contact 27

L-R Consul General Mr. Shamsul Nizam Shamsuddin, Sandra Ngoh-Fonseka, Marketing Executive and Ann Leong, Marketing Executive Tourism Malaysia, Ernest Teo, Owner Premier Marine & Scuba Centre, Gina Hansen, Publisher, Talk Travel Media.

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