That more Americans are visiting Toronto is good news. The fact they’re staying longer and spending more is even better. Tourism Toronto released its 2015 visitation numbers today, showing a five per cent rise in overnight visits and a 10 per cent hike in U.S. numbers. Overall, Toronto attracted 14.03 million overnight visits last year, the first time they’ve gone over the 14 million mark. The city’s previous best was in 2014, with 13,365,800 overnight visits. Montreal earlier this month announced they attracted 9.6 million visitors last year, while Vancouver said they brought in 9.4 million folks. Numbers from the ... continue reading →

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BAIE ST. PAUL, QUEBEC – As a friend of mine, Allan Ryan, used to say: “Ooh. And la. And la.” I’ve been to some pretty spiffy hotels in this land called Canada. But Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix is my new favourite; a sleek and stylish spot that has so many wonderful touches and small surprises. It’s also a remarkable combination of hotel, restaurant, bar, art gallery, train station, spa, a skating rink, snowshoeing, fire pits, an outdoor swimming pool for summer and a performing arts centre; a crazy combination anywhere in the world but perhaps a bit unexpected for folks ... continue reading →

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I didn’t get anything directly from the JetBlue folks, but I spotted in the business section this morning that JetBlue will be adding flights from Buffalo-Niagara International and Los Angeles International (LAX) starting June 16. It’s a bit of a drive for some Torontonians, and there’s the U.S. dollar strength to worry about. But I went online this morning and found seats for a flight to LA on June 18, with a return June 26 (on the red-eye) for about $300 U.S. Even with the horrendous exchange rate we’re stuck with right now, that’s about $418 Canadian dollars. On Air ... continue reading →

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WHISTLER, B.C. – I’m approaching my sixth decade on this planet. I haven’t been on skis in 10 years. And I’ve never skied in the west, let alone on a mountain that was part of the Olympics. But, I’m determined to get out there, so I find myself in a lesson with Leanne Bartlett, a young Scottish woman who tells me she learned to ski on the driveway of her home in Glasgow when she was three. An unusual resume, for sure. “Keep your hands in front of you and keep your knees bent,” she tells us. “You want to ... continue reading →

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Starwood several years ago came up with Aloft Hotels, aimed at millenials with casual, colourful lobbies, snack stations, tons of solid and free Wi-Fi and more. They’re nice properties. I stayed at one in Orlando on Thursday night last week and loved the lobby area (great drinks at the bar and local art work) and the overall feel of the place. So that’s fine. Then today I read that Hilton is developing the “Tru by Hilton” brand, also aimed at millenials. Good idea, and I’m sure Aloft is flattered. But check out the photo I saw on a press release ... continue reading →

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Some say Canada is a real blend between North American and European styles. You might say the same thing about Canada’s most successful – and sexiest – boutique hotel chain. I recently spent a night at Hotel Le Germain Toronto on Mercer Street. I’d stayed before, but I was told they’d done some substantial work on the rooms and wanted to see what they’d done to one of my favourite hotels. Luckily, the lobby is pretty much the same; with a lovely fireplace on two levels and high ceilings and plenty of polished wood. There’s a massive bookcase on one ... continue reading →

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Woe is the Canadian dollar, eh? Hovering below the 70 cent line, and causing many of us who like to vacation in the U.S. no end of worry.The price of oil is seemingly to blame, what with barrels going for an unheard of $30 or so these days. As oil prices have cratered, so has the loonie, sparking all sorts of business headlines about what the government should do. At the risk of repeating an age old mantra of mine, I’m disturbed by the lack of talk about tourism. Oh, sure, there’s the odd story about how our dollar is ... continue reading →

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