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THIS ITEM ORIGINALLY APPEARED JAN. 11 on POSTMEDIA AND SUN MEDIA SITES IN CANADA. The loonie remains in the doldrums. But winter’s getting you down and you’re dying to hit your favourite U.S. getaway spot. Lucky for us, there are still some great American destinations that aren’t too expensive. There also are ways to save on visits to cities and places you might think of as outside your budget. Here are some suggestions. ST. PETERSBURG/CLEARWATER This is a favourite area for Blue Jays fans, as the Jays play their spring training games in nearby Dunedin. Dunedin is a great spot ... continue reading →

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The city of Okotoks, Alberta was ridiculed couple years ago when one section of a page of their campaign read “There are a number of things to do in Okotoks.” Yeah, that’s probably not going to win any major advertising awards. Back in the 1990s or so, the city of Barrie, Ontario had a sign when you came into town saying, “Beautiful Barrie, Ontario’s Most Progressive City.” I was never able to prove that, but last I checked there weren’t any homeless people, all the elderly were well looked after and the only crimes were small children shoplifting tiny bits ... continue reading →

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So this is random. We took our kids and their significant others to see the play Come From Away in Toronto yesterday. We all loved it; great acting, wonderful writing and good music (especially the live band at the end). It’s such a lovely, affirming story about how folks in tiny Gander, Newfoundland took in folks whose planes were forced to land there on 9/11. A horrible day, but one filled with much kindness; especially in this little town where folks opened their homes (and showers) to total strangers and, as Newfoundland folks would do, thought nothing of it. I’ve ... continue reading →

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SCOTTSDALE – From service to food to crazy beautiful pools and great golf, The Phoenician is a resort that stands the test of time. I recently had a couple nights at the hotel, just a few minutes from downtown Scottsdale and close to the airport in Phoenix. And I loved it. You pull into the place feeling special, cruising past one of Arizona’s most beautiful golf courses and winding your way to the foot of Camelback Mountain. The valets are quick and efficient and friendly, even if you arrive in an Uber driver’s Hyundai instead of a Porsche 911 convertible. ... continue reading →

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We lost Prince and Glenn Frey of The Eagles and Leonard Cohen. And a certain Twitter-loving business guy of mixed intelligence got elected president of the U.S. But there were some great things for me in the year in travel, including a yodelling shop owner, a sex-crazed marsupial and a chance meeting with the son of one of the fabled Marx Brothers. So here are my annual Jimmy Awards for travel, this time with an eye on the off-kilter, weird and just a little bit strange. Best Rum-Punch-Drinking-Monkey: This fellow (of course, it may have been a lady monkey) at ... continue reading →

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I spent a great deal of time in Canada and the U.S. in 2016. I also had visits to several Caribbean Islands, including small spots like Mayreau on a Sea Dream Yacht Club cruise and larger islands such as the Dominican Republic, Anguilla, Barbados and St. Martin. I had week-long visits to both Australia and New Zealand. And I managed time in Portugal, England, Italy, Germany and several other countries on my Viking River cruise. Here are my Jimmy Awards for top travel spots of 2016 outside Canada and the U.S. Best Beach Surprise: Playa Rincon, Dominican Republic. Reached via ... continue reading →

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Yesterday I highlighted my favourite travel spots in the U.S. Today it’s my home country of Canada, with awesome places from Nova Scotia to southern Ontario and up to the Yukon. Best Coastal Drive: The eastern shore (okay, northeastern shore) of Nova Scotia has only a smattering of villages and hardly any commerce. The food was fine, but I absolutely loved the restful surroundings and kayaking at Liscombe Lodge near Sherbrooke. I found cool art galleries and hardly any tourists between there and Lawrencetown, just east of Halifax. Most Surprising Town: Meaford is a cool spot on Georgian Bay in ... continue reading →

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