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KINGSVILLE, ONTARIO – Henry Noestheden and Cor Boon had hoped to start things slow. Maybe ease into their chocolate-making business a little, as a pair of guys aged 68 and 75, respectively, might want to do. But on their second day of business at ODG Chocolates (it stands for Old Dutch Guys) they sold one of their bird-shaped chocolates to a journalist who was heading to nearby Pelee Island and wanted to give a gift to a bird-loving author who spends her summers there. Yeah, a certain Canadian writer named Margaret Atwood. “She loved the bird so much she put ... continue reading →

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PELEE ISLAND, LAKE ERIE – I’ve only been in the Anchor and Wheel Inn restaurant for two minutes and I’m already in love. There are pirate flags and colourful, wooden fish and bright orange buoys hanging on the walls. There’s reggae music and Jimmy Buffett tunes floating over the speakers. Owner and head chef Mark Emrich walks by and I compliment him on the décor and the music. “Welcome to the Canadian Keys,” he says with a grin. Emrich loads my plate with two huge pieces of blackened pickerel, as well as steamed green beans done just right and a ... continue reading →

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Air Canada is back on top of the podium. The Montreal-based airline today was named best in North America by Skytrax, a prestigious British-based group that surveys airline passengers and says its reviews are entirely independent. The results were announced at the Paris Air Show. It’s a great feather in the cap for Air Canada, which was named the best North American airline from 2010 to 2014, then watched Virgin America capture the crown the past two years. That means they’ve copped the award six times in the past eight years. “We’re super happy, obviously, and very proud to represent ... continue reading →

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Hong Kong makes sense. Certainly Tokyo. But Athens? And how does my home city of Toronto end up fifth best for food in Canada? Booking.com today released a list of the top destinations its travellers enjoy for great food. There are some obvious inclusions and some surprising exclusions, if you ask me. (Which you technically didn’t). Here’s what booking.com customers came up with for a ranking of the food scene in Canada: 1. Vancouver 2. Montreal 3. Halifax 4. Winnipeg 5. Toronto I don’t want to get all parochial here, but there’s not a chance Toronto is only the fifth ... continue reading →

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THIS ITEM ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN POSTMEDIA PUBLICATIONS IN CANADA ON FRIDAY OF THIS WEEK. This is crazy, folks. Almost every Canadian believes that spending time outdoors is good for us and reduces our stress. But a new study says nearly three in 10 Canadians spend less than half an hour a week in the fresh air each. That’s less than five minutes a day! The 2017 edition of the Coleman Canada Outdoor Report, a survey of more than 1,500 Canadian adults hosted by Angus Reid Forum, found that 98% of Canadians feel that being outdoors enhances our well-being. It also ... continue reading →

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Great local explorations. Fantastic food. And one of North America’s best hotels. The new “Off the Eaten Track” program is being offered exclusively for guests of the Ritz-Carlton Toronto features four distinct programs to help visitors truly engage with locals and learn about the Toronto food scene on an up close and personal basis. The programs are being offered with the help of Culinary Adventure Co., one of Canada’s top food tour companies. “It’s all about giving guests a personal experience,” said Kevin Durkee of Culinary Adventure Co., a long-time foodie who learned to cook at a young age. “We ... continue reading →

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A new study by reputable pollsters Angus Reid is giving Air Canada officials something to think about. It also suggests Canadians are none too happy with airlines in general. An Angus Reid report I spotted today found that 50% of Canadians rate Montreal-based Air Canada as “good” or “excellent,” while 17% gave our biggest airline a rating of “poor” or “terrible.” Things were considerably brighter for Calgary-based WestJet. Angus Reid said its study found that 77% of Canadians rate WestJet either good or excellent, while a measly 4% gave them a poor or terrible rating. That’s a pretty big difference, ... continue reading →

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