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LONDON – I was attending a tourism conference in this southwest Ontario city in mid-spring and walked into a large, industrial space in the Old East Village Area of town. There was a gleaming coffee shop off to one side; the sort of place that looks like one you’d find in Toronto’s West Queen West area or Vancouver’s Gastown. Past that was a lovely, bright grocery store selling lots of local foods and organic products. Behind that was a series of small businesses that it turns out are part of something called the London Food Incubator; a building that charges ... continue reading →

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ON THE ROAD IN OXFORD COUNTY – One of Canada’s top cheesemakers. A stunning B and B in a romantic old home. A fine art gallery. Oh, and great craft beer and handmade chocolates. Oxford County has a growing reputation for fresh, local food that will satisfy the most demanding of Top Chef viewers. I had the chance to sample several fabulous spots during a short visit last week, as well as a night at what might just be my dream house, a Woodstock beauty on what could be Ontario’s handsomest street. Not to mention checking out a lovely art ... continue reading →

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I wrote a blog yesterday on the WestJet ultra low-cost airline announcement. I’m updating it today with added information and some new thoughts. This is monstrously big news in Canada; an announcement that could help travelling Canadians save some serious money. WestJet today announced it will take on newcomers such as NewLeaf by launching its own ultra low-cost air carrier in Canada. The plan is to begin service later this year, they said, with 10 “high density” Boeing 737-800’s. I assume high density refers to increasing passenger volumes and not the thickness of the metal on the outside of the ... continue reading →

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Okay, one could argue that an airline crash is worse PR than this. But those are usually freak accidents that are almost impossible to anticipate. Today’s news? That United had a guy DRAGGED off a plane for refusing to give up a seat he had paid for? And video to go with it? I don’t think the Richter scale of episodic public relations earthquakes can register a tremor that sizable. One of the best lines I saw on Twitter was from a guy who drily noted that United already has business class and economy, as well as premium economy for ... continue reading →

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ORLANDO – A timeless Disney classic. And a wonderful place to stay just minutes away. I recently had a chance to spend a day at Disney Hollywood Studios, where I hadn’t been in at least 12 or 15 years. It’s a delightful spot, with a great mix of scary rides (alas, I didn’t do any this time) and fun, family attractions. Best of all for a guy who fell in love with Princess Leia, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker in 1979 are the Star Wars bits. One of the first things we heard upon entering the park were the ominous ... continue reading →

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MIAMI – A suite with almost 3,000 square feet of interior space. 493 chandeliers. And two original Picasso drawings. And if you asked for a partridge in a pear tree they’d probably get that for you, too. I had the chance recently to tour the Regent Seven Seas Explorer ship. It’s billed as “the most luxurious ship ever built,” and I’m in no position to dispute it. I’ve only been on a handful of cruises, but if there’s a more elegant, refined and beautiful ship on one of the world’s oceans I can’t imagine it. They also have introduced a ... continue reading →

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CLEARWATER BEACH – A stylish, bright lobby. Sleek, airy rooms. And direct access to one of the top beaches in the United States. The new Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach is a welcome – and stunning – addition to one of my favourite places in the U.S. I get to visit a lot of hotels in my line of work. Most don’t stand out. But this place impressed me from the moment I walked in until the morning I left two days later. The lobby is a real stunner; bright and airy and with a wide-open breezeway that forces your eye ... continue reading →

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