TORONTO – The old guy is looking pretty fine. I wasn’t sure what to expect when the folks from Omni Hotels took over the King Edward Hotel in Toronto a couple years ago. Omni doesn’t have a strong presence in Canada. I stayed at a wonderful Omni in San Diego last year but it’s not a hotel chain (sorry guys) that conjures up any particular image other than being nice properties. I give them full marks, however, for what they’ve done to one of the city’s best-known and best-loved and most historic hotels. I had a tour of the newly ... continue reading →

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Stop the fees, already

This has simply got to stop. U.S. airlines last year are said to have raked in $3.5 billion (that’s BILLION, folks) in bag fees. They’re bleeding us dry to the tune of $25 a bag, and they’re getting rich doing it. Things aren’t much better here in Canada, where Air Canada and WestJet and Porter bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in bag fees and other ancillary revenues. As if flying wasn’t painful enough, now comes a report at hotelnewsnow that says HOTEL fees in the U.S. could reach almost $2.5 billion this year. Here’s what their report said ... continue reading →

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CARMEL, CALIFORNIA – Most travel stories focus on one particular destination. Nothing wrong with that. The trouble is that some people like luxury hotels and some like to save money. Some folks love to swim, others like to hike. Some folks drink beer, others prefer wine. So here’s the first of a story format I call “Two Ways.” It allows me to give more information to you, the reader, thus allowing you to make more informed decisions about where to spend your money. For my first “Two Ways” feature, I’m focussing on the gorgeous Monterey Bay area of Northern California; ... continue reading →

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The kids are almost back in school, and the annual summer tourism crush in Europe is subsiding. It’s also some of the best weather of the year. Which makes this a great time to visit any number of top European destinations. In no particular order, here are 10 great spots both tried and new. BRUSSELS This might be the most under-rated city in Europe. Grand Place is the most beautiful square in Europe; with fantastic, gilded buildings dating back hundreds of years. The square in front of the church of St. Catherine is more of a locals spot and a ... continue reading →

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I’ve been lucky enough to explore most corners of this vast country of ours. I’ve kicked around Quebec City, cycled around Calgary and even take a motorcycle sidecar tour of Halifax. I’ve also found more than a few places that I think deserve more attention than they get. Here’s a look at some of them. WOLFVILLE, NOVA SCOTIA With a tidy downtown that stretches only a couple blocks, this is a town you want to pick up and hug. There’s good local wine (try Luckett Vineyards on a nearby hillside with great views) and, of course, fresh seafood. I’ll probably ... continue reading →

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One of the best Canada trips I’ve taken was my driving tour from Thunder Bay down to Toronto about this time two years ago. The people were marvellous, the inns and B & B’s lovely, the food excellent and the scenery spectacular. Here’s a bit of a Simcoe Day/August long weekend ode to some of the more northerly (depending on your perspective) parts of a great province.

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MINETT, ONTARIO – Gorgeous lake views from a beautiful lodge high on a hill. Boating and swimming activities galore. And first-rate food. Muskoka might be the best place on earth to spend a summer’s day. And JW Marriott The Rosseau is one of the best places to enjoy Ontario’s Muskoka region. You’ll find a lovely, breezy lobby upon your arrival at the resort, located north of Port Carling near the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hamlet of Minett. There are tons of spaces to sit and sink into a comfy sofa and enjoy the warm summer air, or you can walk out onto the ... continue reading →

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