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November 2013

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA – This drop-dead-gorgeous city in southern California already has endless beaches, bountiful sunshine, urban wineries selling delicious local wines and killer restaurants featuring a huge array of local cuisine. Now they’re working on a permanent, new market complex that should open next year, one that could rival Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market or the wild and wonderful Pike’s Place in Seattle. It’s just not fair that an area that already has such natural beauty and can probably make almost everything except maple syrup is kicking it up a notch like that, but nobody ever said tourism was fair. ... continue reading →

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SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA – Beautiful views. Fabulous food. Colourful culture. And a great, chic hotel. This has always been one of my favourite towns, with truly iconic sights and just about anything you could ask for in a vacation spot. We started our weekend with a visit to the unbelievable farmers market on Arizona Ave. There were organic vegetable of just about type and size; leeks and limes, Japanese turnips, ripe orange persimmons, giant bush-sized bunches of romaine lettuce, crisp apples and strawberries as red as a shiny fire truck. They put a lot of pride on organic products in ... continue reading →

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Sure, a ticket to see Aunt Gladys next spring would be a great way to spend your Aeroplan points. But maybe this Christmas you could try something a little sexier or exotic (no offence to Aunt Gladys). You’re in luck, because Aeroplan officials have unveiled a huge lineup of goodies that you can purchase to impress your loved ones, or those you’d like to make love you a little bit more. From glamorous Tissot watches to Bose electronics to Roots shaving kits to one-of-a-kind gifts you simply can’t find in a store (such as a guitar autographed by members of ... continue reading →

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MONTREAL – New finds in one of North America’s oldest – and best – cities. The other day I talked about some new spots in emerging parts of Montreal. But there are equally great places in the old city; some tried and true places and some new and emerging. On the old front, you simply can’t beat a nice afternoon in Place d’Armes. Montreal has plenty of ordinary, modern architecture (probably it’s worse than Toronto, or just as bad) downtown. But this part of town is something else; majestic stone buildings (mostly) and the hugely impressive Notre Dame Cathedral surrounding ... continue reading →

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MONTREAL – You’ve cruised Crescent St. You’ve paraded through the Plateau. And you’ve wandered the streets of Westmount. Looking for something new in Montreal? Check out Griffintown, Little Burgundy and the burgeoning Saint-Henri neighbourhoods for some fun shops and tasty treats. Our tour guide, the delightful Rene Lemieux, drove us through Griffintown, which feels a bit like the Distillery District with old warehouses and factories converted to condos and a forest of construction cranes building new condos and a new ALT Hotel, part of the lovely Le Germain group. We also toured Little Burgundy, which used to be home to ... continue reading →

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